25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister: Has the Saigon Government stated that during 1965 alone a total number of 113,000 men deserted from the army of South Vietnam? This number is equivalent to approximately half the total number of United States forces at present in South Vietnam. Was the Australian Government aware of this fantastic state of affairs last week when it decided to treble the number of Australian troops in South Vietnam?
– I have not seen the statement to which the honorable senator referred. I cannot, therefore, confirm as he requests that the Saigon Government has made such an announcement. I shall obtain the information for the honorable senator immediately and present it to him tomorrow.
– My question, which 1 direct to the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research, arises out of a discussion at a local government conference in South Australia. Can the Minister supply any general details of the latest development in the treatment of skeleton weed and can he indicate whether the treatment is an economic proposition to control this weed in areas of land of lower value?
– I have had notice of the honorable senator’s question ‘and have been able to obtain an answer for him. An extensive research programme on skeleton weed is being undertaken in Australia cooperatively between the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and State Agriculture and Lands Departments. This work is being financed by State and Commonwealth Governments, the Wheat Industry Research Council and State Wheat Industry Research Committees. The C.S.I.R.O. is undertaking basic ecological and physiological studies, while agronomic and chemical methods of con trol are being investigated by State authorities in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. The whole research programme is co-ordinated through the Australian Agricultural Council.
Promising advances have been made recently in chemical methods of controlling the weed. The results of recent trials by State authorities with the herbicide picloram have shown that it is now possible to eradicate skeleton weed with this chemical at a cost of about $32 per acre, which is less than half the cost of eradication using the chemical 2,3,6-TBA. The possibility of controlling skeleton weed, at least for some months, using picloram at very much lower rates of application and at a cost substantially below $32 per acre is at present being investigated. While it is not expected that eradication can be achieved at this lower rate, control for a period of several months can be valuable in reducing the extent of skeleton weed competition with the growing crop.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Army whether members of the Australian Communist Party or the Eureka Youth League who are called up for national service will be included among the national service trainees selected to fight in Vietnam?
– I do not know the answer to the honorable senator’s question, but I shall make inquiries of the Minister for the Army and, if an answer is available, I shall provide it for the honorable senator.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Because of the urgent need for additional finance for producers affected by the drought, can the Minister give more definite information on the scope of the additional rural finance that will be available and when it will be available?
– The Government has given deep consideration to this problem over a considerable period of time. The effects of the drought have been very disastrous in two States. The Government is well aware of the difficulties and is working in close collaboration with the State Governments concerned. The honorable senator has asked about the further sums of money that will be made available for drought relief. This matter is currently under discussion by the Government. 1 hope that an announcement on this subject will be made by the Prime Minister within the next clay or two.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Why is the Government ashamed to admit that Australia is at war in Vietnam? What is the purpose of pretending that it is not?
– Australian troops are in Vietnam as a result of requests for assistance from the South Vietnamese Government. They are there to assist that Government to resist aggression and are doing so very successfully.
– Can the Minister for Supply state whether activities at Woomera and Salisbury in South Australia, which are under his control,, will be held at their present level despite the restriction of the activities of the European Launcher Development Organisation which has recently been discussed overseas?
– Work for E.L.D.O. constitutes about IS per cent., I think, of the work at Woomera. Discussions on the future of the Organisation are to take place in Paris on about 26th April. Those discussions will decide the future work of the Organisation. Perhaps 1 should mention that E.L.D.O. consists of the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Australia. The work that is done at Woomera is in connection with satellites for meteorological, communications, television and other peaceful purposes. I cannot say what the outcome of the E.L.D.O. discussions will be. When we know that, I will be able to answer the honorable senator’s question in some detail. At the present time I can only say to him that the future of the Organisation is under discussion; that at present, work for the Organisation constitutes about IS per cent, of the work that is done at Woomera; and that we will not know the complete answer to this question until after the discussions in Paris.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. Are efforts to obtain peace in Vietnam obstructed when Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam, receives and broadcasts statements by prominent persons in Australia and elsewhere that the war is unwinnable and that troops of the democratic countries should be withdrawn? Does this encouragement of North Vietnamese aggression prolong the war and the danger to Australian troops in Vietnam?
– As will be well known, attempts by various countries from time to time to engage in discussions which could possibly lead to peace in Vietnam have been frustrated by Hanoi, which has refused to accept, for example, the members of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers mission. I believe that this obstruction would occur with or -without the broadcasts and comments from Australia to which the honorable senator refers. I should think - this is a purely personal judgment - that the broadcasting of such comments, if given credence by Hanoi, could contribute to the Administration of that part of North Vietnam gaining a completely wrong impression of what the bulk of the people in Australia and other countries believe in regard to this conflict and therefore could contribute to their being led into paths which would prolong the war, which they should never have started and must ultimately lose.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration whether any consideration has been given to increasing the representation of State local government authorities at the annual Australian Citizenship Convention. If not, will he give consideration to this matter, in view of the tremendous assistance that has been rendered by local government authorities to migrants and their families throughout the years?
– The honorable senator was good enough to give me notice of this question. Accordingly, I have made some inquiry about the matter. No previous request has been made for an increase in the representation of local government authorities at the Australian Citizenship Convention. As those of us who attend this excellent Convention from year to year know, delegates include representatives of nationally constituted organisations involved in the field of migrant integration and representatives of Commonwealth and State departments whose activities are associated with the migration programme. Because of the important role local government authorities play in the integration of new settlers, particularly in the conduct of naturalisation ceremonies, it was decided some years ago that local government authorities should be represented at Conventions by a delegate from each State, in the same way as State government departments.
In addition, the Commonwealth Immigration Advisory Council includes a representative of local government, and all members of that Council are invited to the Citizenship Convention. I should like to say that the Minister for Immigration is well aware of and appreciates the work that is being done by local government authorities throughout Australia in the integration of migrants.
– I address to the Minister for Repatriation a question which follows upon a question that I asked him on 8th March in regard to the repatriation entitlements of Gunner O’Neill. 1 now ask the Minister whether he is aware that the decision of the court martial to sentence Gunner O’Neill to six months detention and subsequent dishonorable discharge from the Army has now been confirmed. Does this mean that the soldier concerned will not be entitled to any repatriation benefits arising from the heinous and barbaric treatment he received in being handcuffed to a fixed iron post in a weapon pit for a period of 20 days by an Australian officer who should have known better?
– My reply to the second part of the question is the same as the reply 1 gave last week. That reply was in these terms: If and when Gunner O’Neill applies to the Repatriation Department for any benefits that he might be entitled to, his case will be considered.
– I ask the Minister for Repatriation whether the law of this country prescribes the repatriation benefits to which a member of the Army who earns a dishonorable discharge is entitled. Have we reached the stage of debasement in this Parliament where concern is shown for the dishonorable members of the Army to the exclusion of others whom the man in question betrayed by his defection?
– I agree entirely with the honorable senator. As Minister for Repatriation, I am concerned about those who have earned an honorable discharge from the Army and not so much about those who have earned a dishonorable discharge.
– I address a question to the Minister for Supply. In the light of expanding defence expenditure, has a survey been made to determine the existing potential of local industries and resources with the object of ensuring that a much greater proportion of defence contracts than is now the case can be awarded to Australian industries? This would have the twin advantages of conserving funds and promoting and ensuring our future independence of overseas suppliers of essential defence needs to the maximum extent possible.
– The Department of Supply calls for tenders for all of the requirements for the various Services on specifications laid down by the Services. In any comparison of prices or conditions the policy is to grant to Australian industry the full protection afforded it by the Australian tariff. I want to make it quite clear that there is only one Australian price which is compared, and that is the price which has added to it the protection granted by the Australian tariff. I think it is axiomatic that the nearest source of supply should be encouraged at all times to compete. Therefore, Australian industry should be encouraged and is encouraged by the Department of Supply to render its part in the supply of goods for the Australian Services. I think it is also axiomatic that a sound manufacturing industry in Australia, geared to the needs of the Australian defence requirements, strengthens the nation itself.
– Mr. President, I hope you will regard me as one who seeks to pursue knowledge. I ask a question through you of the Minister representing the Attorney-General. It relates to the question which was asked by Senator Murphy and deals with the matter of a declaration of war in South Vietnam. Will the Minister representing the Attorney-General inform me whether there was a declaration of war when Russia invaded Hungary, when China invaded India, when China invaded Tibet, and when North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam?
– I have not got the answers to the specific questions asked by the honorable senator though, in my own mind, I am quite confident that no declaration of war was made on the occasions he mentioned. I think that the AttorneyGeneral would claim that the question of whether or not China or Russia involved itself in a declaration of war was outside his responsibility. I speak subject to correction, but it is interesting to note, I think, in relation to Senator Murphy’s curious obsession with these legalisms, that when the United Nations, in analogous circumstances, sent forces from the United Nations to expel North Koreans from South Korea, we did not hear of the United Nations declaring war on North Korea or China, or of anybody saying that the United Nations should have been ashamed for not doing so.
– I wish to address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. I ask: Will the Government express to the Government of South Vietnam the dismay of the Australian people at the recent barbarous public execution of the alleged profiteer, Ta Vinh?
– The answer is “ No “.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, relates to national servicemen. Will the Minister inform the Senate whether any Commonwealth department* other than the Department of the Army, has a level of control over the leave provisions of national servicemen?
– To the best of my knowledge no other department has such control, but to fortify myself and the questioner, I shall forward the inquiry to the Minister and see whether the answer is any different from my understanding.’
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate who represents the Minister for National Development. It refers to an application which was made by the South Australian Government during 1965 for financial assistance for beef roads and the subsequent visit to South Australia by an officer of the Northern Division of the Department of National Development. Is the Minister yet able to advise whether or not this application has been refused?
– I understand that the Minister for National Development will be in a position to make a statement on this matter very shortly.
-My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. Will the Minister advise when projected plans for the improvement of airport facilities at Townsville will be completed? Will he also advise the commencing date of such improvement work and the nature of the work?
– I will seek the necessary information from the Minister and will advise the honorable senator accordingly.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Can the Minister advise the Senate what led to the Government’s change of face over past months? Why did the Prime Minister advise the British Minister of Defence, Mr. Healey, that the development needs of Australia virtually debarred any stepping up of our defence commitments? Why the change when the so-called Government of South Vietnam asked for assistance and this
Government, with indecent haste, called up by conscription youths of 20 years of age to fight in the jungles of Vietnam?
– There has been no change in face. I think the matter was made very lucid in a recent Press statement by the Prime Minister on a question which had been addressed to him and which was similar to the question which the honorable senator now raises. I will send the honorable senator a copy of that Press statement because I think he should read it, if he can understand it. The Prime Minister then was referring to a position which existed at that time. Discussion was taking place on a matter which had been discussed publicly. That was the possible complete withdrawal by Great Britain from areas east of Suez. That eventuality did not take place and the position is now in an entirely different context.
– I wish to ask a ques tion of the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. What was the total expenditure incurred in preparing for the referendum which was to have been held on 28th May concerning proposals for the alteration of the Constitution to break the nexus between the Senate and the House of Representatives and to provide for the Aboriginal population being taken into the count when the census is taken?
– I think that I replied to a similar question, and gave an estimate of what this proposed referendum would cost, before we rose for the Christmas recess. I do not have the information on this latest question asked by the honorable senator but I will endeavour to get it and forward it to him.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. Has the Government sunk so low that it regards the question of whether or not this country is at war merely as a legalism? The Government has not been asked why the war was not commenced by declaration. It is being asked in plain terms whether Australia is now at war. Why is the Government ashamed to admit that we are at war when our own soldiers are being killed and others are being conscripted and when soldiers and civilians of other countries are being slaughtered?
– This is a matter which Senator Murphy has raised constantly in the life of this and previous Parliaments. He seeks to have the legal position outlined and that is why I say he is obsessed with legalisms. As I have indicated previously, I cannot see any difference between the situation in South Vietnam at present and the situation which existed in Korea when Australian troops went to Korea as part of a United Nations force and operated under the United Nations flag by virtue of a resolution of the United Nations. All the other circumstances to which he has referred were the same, yet no declaration of war was made on that occasion by the United Nations.
(Question No. 682.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
What is the role and what are the policies of the Commonwealth Government in the framework, if it exists of a consistent national water policy, including, so far as it is contemplated, coordination of Federal and State agencies towards the conservation and development of water resources for the benefit of the nation as a whole as well as of the States and local authorities?
– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answer -
The Commonwealth Government is well aware of the basic importance of water as an element in Australia’s growth and development. Under the Federal Constitution responsibility for the measurement, assessment, conservation and development of water resources within the States is of course a matter for the State Government concerned. The individual States have been pursuing programmes designed to conserve water and make it available in areas where it is most needed - for city and town supplies, for irrigation and for domestic and stock watering. Within the Territories the Commonwealth Government has similar responsibilities. However, over the years the Commonwealth has undertaken a wider role in the national interest and has assisted overall activities by co-operating with the States in interstate projects and by providing financial assistance to a number of special projects. It has also provided general scientific services - for example, national mapping, irrigation research and geophysical services - of value to the State authorities.
A national water policy can only be achieved by collaboration and consultation between the Federal and State Governments. In 1962 the Commonwealth Government took the initiative to promote co-operation in the assessment of Australia’s water resources and, as a result, all Australian Governments agreed to establish the Australian Water Resources Council. The Council which first met in March 1963 has as its primary objective the provision of a comprehensive assessment on a continuing basis of Australia’s water resources and the extension of measurement and research so that future planning can be carried out on a sound and scientific basis. The Council’s functions cover a wide field and on practically all of these good progress has been made. In the first place the Council has set up a number of permanent committees and ad hoc advisory panels. It will be seen that the Council has access to a wide range of expert opinion to guide the formulation of water policies.
A first official assessment of Australia’s water resources has been made and published recently as the “ Review of Australia’s Water Resources (Stream Flow and Underground Resources) 1963 “. This report not only provides positive information noi hitherto available but serves to reveal areas deficient in data collection facilities, where additional measurement must be fostered. The Council has instituted inquiries into the adequacy of hydraulics laboratory facilities in Australia and is encouraging automatic recording and processing of hydrologic data and the systematic publication of stream gauging data. Close attention has been given to water research and education and, as a result, recommendations have been made on catchment studies, evaporation measurement and control, and on training of staff for surface water measurement programmes. The Council is taking an active part in the International Hydrological Decade (1965-1974). The Commonwealth and State Governments see the Water Resources Council as providing also a valuable forum for discussion and exchange of information on water resources at the governmental level. Through the Council the efforts of the individual Governments in the investigation and assessment of water resources are being co-ordinated in the most practicable way.
As a direct result of a recommendation by the Water Resources Council, the Commonwealth and State Governments have adopted a 10 year accelerated programme of surface and underground water investigations. The aim of the programme is to achieve a comprehensive basic network of stream gauging stations and to improve knowledge of underground water resources. Besides implementing its own accelerated programme in the Northern Territory, the Commonwealth Government is assisting the State programmes by making available grants totalling as much as £1.377 million over the three year period 1964-65 to 1966-67.
The Commonwealth Government also physically assists water resources development through its own agencies. The Snowy Mountains Authority has helped State water authorities, at their own request, with the design and location of new stream gauging stations and the design of hydraulic structures. The Division of National Mapping is providing better overall coverage of topographic maps. The Bureau of Meteorology provides essential weather and climatic data. The Bureau of Agricultural Economics reports on the economic prospects of irrigation and land development schemes and the C.S.I.R.O. contributes indirectly to such schemes over a wide range of hydrological, soil and land research activities.
Although, as mentioned above, the development of water resources within the States is the responsibility of the State Governments, the Commonwealth and the States have, on a number of occasions, co-operated in particular water development projects.
The Commonwealth contributes one-quarter of the cost of developing and utilising the waters of the River Murray. This applies to the Chowilla Dam, which is now under design in South Australia at an estimated cost of £14 million. The Commonwealth is providing, besides its own share, financial accommodation for New South Wales for its quarter share. By agreement, the Commonwealth, as a partner in the River Murray Commission is making payment to New South Wales for the use of water from the Menindee storages to augment water supplies in the Murray River during drought periods until the Chowilla reservoir begins to fill.
The Commonwealth has so far made available £265 million for the construction of the Snowy Mountains scheme, from which water for irrigation is provided free of charge in the headwaters of the Murray and Mumimbidgee Rivers.
The Government has also arranged for the Snowy Mountains Authority to design and construct Blowering Dam, estimated cost £22 million, on behalf of New South Wales and has agreed to lend New South Wales up to £11 million towards the cost of the dam. A power station will be installed by the Authority at a cost to the Commonwealth of £7 million.
In addition to the direct co-operation between the Commonwealth and States in water resources development, the Commonwealth Government from time to time has provided financial assistance for. projects in the Stales -
The first stage of the Ord River irrigation scheme (Western Australia) has been supported financially by the Commonwealth to the extent of more than £5.8 million.
The Comprehensive Water Supply Scheme in Western Australia has received Commonwealth financial support - the first stage, a grant to the extent of £5 million, and the second stage by a loan of up to £5.25 million.
The Gordon River road will give access through rugged country in south western Tasmania to enable the hydro-electric potential of the area to be assessed. The Commonwealth is providing a grant of up to £2.5 million - total estimated cost - to the Tasmanian Government.
The Commonwealth has agreed to match the State’s provision for Mood mitigation on New South Wales coastal rivers - the Shoalhaven, Hunter, Macleay, Clarence, Richmond and Tweed - up to an amount of £2.75 million over a six year period.
Clearly a national water policy can only be pursued taking into account the constitutional position. Within this limitation the Commonwealth is doing a great deal both in its own Territories where it has full responsibility and in Australia as a whole to assist and co-ordinate water resources assessment and to aid development.
(Question No. 693.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
With reference to the granting of an export licence for 60 million tons of iron ore from the Savage River deposits in the north-west of Tasmania, what will be the return to Tasmania, other than employment potential, from the disposal of these resources?
– The Minister for National Development has provided the following answer -
The most notable benefit that Tasmania will gain from the development of the Savage River iron ore deposits is the development of an entirely new industry in a relatively undeveloped region of Tasmania. The project is based on a low-grade iron ore deposit which has been known for a number of years, but which, because of certain impurities, Iras not previously been developed. The project will involve the construction and operation of an open-cut mine and concentration plant at the deposits, and a 55-mile pipeline to transport the concentrates to a palletising plant at Brickmaker’s Bay, the harbour site, which should be capable of handling ore carriers of 60,000 tons. Capital expenditure involved on facilities will be in excess of £31 million.
The employment of an estimated 1,200 persons during the construction phase and SOO to operate the project should stimulate further development by the provision of housing and services.
Tasmania will also gain through the payment of royalties and other State charges by the companies developing the Savage River project. The proposed royalty will be ls. 6d. per ton of the iron ore pellets produced. These and other details are set out in an agreement ‘between the State Government and the companies developing the project; this agreement is attached to legislation entitled the Iron Ore (Savage River) Agreement Act which, I understand, has been recently passed by the Tasmanian Parliament.
The returns that will accrue to Tasmania from the present plans for the development of the Savage River deposits for the export of iron ore pellets only relate to the initial phase of development. I understand that the State Government has it in mind that ultimately ore from the Savage River deposits will be the basis of a new iron and steel industry. If these hopes are realised, the return to Tasmania will be much greater than returns from present developments.
(Question No. 742.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
How many (a) overseas officers and (b) local officers are there in each division of the Public Service df Papua and New Guinea, and in which departments are they employed?
– The Minister for Territories has now supplied the following answer -
The following statement sets out the employment of overseas and local officers by division and by department as at the 31st October 1965 -
(Question No. 745.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
Despite Australia’s non-recognition of the new rebel Rhodesian Government, will the policy of the Commonwealth Government in respect to Rhodesian citizens be to allow unrestricted entry into Australia? If so, (a) does this policy follow British practice; and (b) is the ruling a temporary one and under review by the Government?
– The Minister for Immigration has supplied the following answer: -
Rhodesian citizens remain British subjects and as such are admitted to Australia on the basis of normal rules governing the entry of British people.
As to British practice, the British High Commission has stated: - “The entry of Rhodesians to Britain remains covered by the Commonwealth Immigrants’ Act (1962), extended to include deserving cases of close United Kingdom ancestry and those seeking political asylum. In fact, however, many Rhodesians are dual United Kingdom-Rhodesian citizens and as such can freely enter Britain.”
(Question No. 760.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The Minister for National Development has provided the following answer -
(Question No. 762.)
asked the Minister for Housing, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows -
(Question No. 763.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
In respect of each of the important beach sand minerals, which are the principal companies or persons and what is the extent of their ownership or control of -
– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answers -
Associated Minerals Consolidated Ltd. - 60% United Kingdom.
Cudgen R-Z- 100% Australian.
Mineral Deposits Pty. Ltd.- 80% United States of America.
N.S.W. Rutile Mining Co. Pty. Ltd.- 100% Australian.
Rutile and Zircon Mines (Newcastle) Ltd. - 100% Australian.
Titanium and Zirconium Industries Pty. Ltd. -85% United Kingdom.
Wyong Minerals Ltd. - 67% United Kingdom. llmenite and Monazite -
Cable (1956) Ltd.- 100% Australian, llmenite Minerals Pty. Ltd. - 100% Australian. Western Mineral Sands Pty. Ltd.- 67% United Kingdom.
Western Titanium N.L. - 90% Australian.
Westralian Oil Ltd. - 100% Australian.
However, about 60,000 tons of ilmenite were used in Australia in 1965 for the manufacture of titanium dioxide pigments by Australian Titan ProductsPty. Ltd. and Laporte Titanium (Aust.) Ltd. Neither of these companies are owned or controlled by the mining companies.
Only small quantities of rutile and zircon are used in Australia. About 1,700 tons of rutile are used each year by various Australian companies in the manufacture of welding rods,and about 4,000 tons of zircon are used in foundry sands by a number of firms.
It must be stressed that the cut-off grades used to define the reserves estimated above are by no means rigid. Improved technology and prices could change marginal deposits to commercial grades and increase reserves several fold without the addition of any new deposits. This is exemplified on North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, where recent technological developments and good prices have added approximately 1 million tons each of rutile and zircon to the 1963 estimates of reserves.
Rutile. Rutile reserves in 1955 outside Australia were estimated at about1 million tons, 900,000 tons of which were contained in the United States. However, more recently proved economic reserves in Sierra Leone are now given as 3 million tons, possible reserves being estimated at about 30 million tons.
Zircon. Non-communist world reserves are estimated at 30 million tons the bulk being in the United States, Australia, Brazil, India, and Malaysia.
Ilmenite. Commercial and sub-marginal deposits are estimated at about 2,000 million tons, about half of which might be considered to be of economic grade. In addition extensive deposits are known to exist in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and China.
Monazite. Non-communist world reserves of monazite are estimated to be at least 2 million tons of which approximately 1.3 million tons are in India.
(Question No. 775.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The Minister for Territories has now supplied the following answers -
(Question No. 776.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The Minister for Territories has supplied the following answers -
(Question No. 777.)
Senator ORMONDE (through Senator
O’Byrne) asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Is the Commonwealth Government in a position to take any action towards curtailing the supplies of unwholesome toys, emphasising the horrors of war and enhancing the cults of violence and brutality, ‘which are being freely offered for sale in this Christmas period? If so, will it take some action?
Is it a fact, as claimed by members of the Mothers’ Committee for Creative Toys, that the toy industry - manufacturers, importers and retailers - has shown an inability to police itself, and that there is an urgent need to ensure that the industry faces up to its social responsibility?
Does the same situation apply in regard to children’s comics and films?
Will the Government give consideration to the introduction of some embracing legislation to provide for reasonable control over books, comics, films, television programmes, advertisements and toys directed at or produced for children?
– The PrimeMinister has provided the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions - 1 to 4. The manufacture or sale of toys, books and comics in the States is, of course, a matter for consideration by the State Governments concerned. The Commonwealth Film Censorship Board and the Australian Broadcasting Control Board keep a watchful eye on films and television programmes in order to ensure that reasonable standards are maintained in both media.
There is no Commonwealth legislation which prohibits the import of toys because they are of a militaristic nature. However, the import of goods which, in the opinion of the Minister for Customs and Excise, are of a dangerous nature or a menace to the public is prohibited in terms of Item 18 of the Second Schedule to the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations, but this provision is only applicable to goods which by nature of their design or construction are considered to be dangerous. An example would be toy pistols capable of firing a missile at high velocity.
In the case of toys which are not in themselves dangerous, it would be extremely difficult to arrive at any firm rule which would enable the authorities to decide, without risk of anomalies, whether or not they were otherwise objectionable. Indeed, even where toys are clearly of a militaristic nature, it may well be considered that there is little or nocase for their banning. For example, toy soldiers which may be considered by some as fitting this description, have been for many years providing children with quite innocent enjoyment. The best course in matters of this nature is to leave decisions of what are suitable toys to the good sense of parents and the Government does not favourlegislation for further Commonwealth controls in this field.
(Question No. 778.)
asked the Minister for Works, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows - 1.Yes. Indigenous employees employed in the Port Moresby area complained on 5th November 1965, that they had been short paid. The situation was that the employees concerned had been previously paid1s. 3d. - 12 cents - per week in excess of the rate prescribed by the Urban Cash Wage Award and the pay of the employees had been reduced by1s. 3d. - 12 cents - per week. No retrospective adjustments were made.
(Question No. 782.)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– I have been supplied with the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
(Question No. 783.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
Is there danger that restrictions will have to be imposed upon use of water for irrigation in the Murrumbidgee Valley unless there is immediate reduction in use of water for electricity generation through Tumut 1 and 2 power stations?
– The Minister for National Development has provided the following answer to the honorable senator’s question -
The imposition of restrictions on the use of water for irrigation, or any other purpose, in the Murrumbidgee Valley is entirely a matter for the Government of New South Wales. 1 am therefore unable to comment on the likelihood of restrictions being imposed.
The 1965-66 irrigation season began in September last and, contrary to seeking a reduction in the use of water for electricity generation, the present desire of the New South Wales Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission is that releases of water through the Tumut power stations shall be maintained at a level sufficiently high to preserve adequate flows in the river for irrigation purposes. To meet this need the Snowy Mountains Council, which is responsible for the operation of Tumut 1 and 2 power stations, has undertaken to release an average of 70,000 acre feet of water a month through the Tumut stations for the eight months period September 1965 to April 1966. This is a total of up to 560,000 acre feet for the season and is 23 per cent, greater than the entitlement specified in Clause 9 of the Commonwealth-States Snowy Mountains Agreement.
(Question No. 377.)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister has provided me with the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
The Bureau pointed out that the estimated loss of exports must be qualified by the fact that metal prices over the period of the strike, on which these estimates were based, would not have moved as they did had the strike not occurred. Because of this the above estimates could overstate the loss in export revenue.
Reports on Items.
– I present reports by the Tariff Board on the following subjects -
Motor vehicles and concessional admission of components.
Replacement motor vehicle engines and certain replacement parts.
I also present reports by the Special Advisory Authority on -
Polyethylene monofil and rope.
Woven fabrics of glass fibre.
I also table a report by the Tariff Board on -
Yarns of paper (Dumping and Subsidies Act) which does not call for any legislative action.
– by leave- I present the following paper -
Report of the Delegation from the Commonwealth of Australia Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to the Eleventh Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference held in Wellington, New Zealand, in November-December 1965.
I ask for leave to propose a motion.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
.- I move -
That the Senate take note of the paper.
The report which I have just presented relates to the visit of the delegation from the Commonwealth of Australia Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to the Eleventh Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference which was held in Wellington, New Zealand, during November and December of last year. The delegation comprised the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) as leader, Senator Marriott, the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Mackinnon), the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr. Curtin), the honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters) and myself. I am sure I speak sincerely on behalf of all members of the delegation when I state that each of us was highly honoured to represent the Parliament at this quite notable Conference. Over 70 branches of the C.P.A. were represented at the Conference by more than 130 delegates and observers and this in itself provided an exceptional opportunity for Parliamentarians from all parts of the Commonwealth to make contacts, form friendships and generally get to know each other better.
The Conference met at a time of considerable tension within the field of Commonwealth relations as, only a short time before, the Rhodesian Government had issued its unilateral declaration of independence. As delegates gathered for the Conference, many African representatives publicly demanded strong action to suppress the rebel Government. It was clear that the action of the Smith Government was condemned on all sides and, by a unanimous decision, the Rhodesian Branch was expelled from the Association. It was also decided that the whole of the first day of the Conference should be devoted to the question of Rhodesia, although this was not provided for in the provisional agenda for the Conference. In a debate in which many forthright speeches were made, strong demands, particularly by African delegates, were made for the use of force, but these were with equal emphasis resisted by the United Kingdom and other delegates.
The Conference, on this occasion, was extended to cover 12 sessions which were held on 7 days and its discussions ranged over an agenda of subjects of vital interest to all Commonwealth countries. The report which I have just presented deals broadly with the Conference discussions. The full text of the speeches delivered should be available shortly from the General Council
Office of the Association and I would commend its perusal to honorable senators.
The report of the delegation also deals with the meetings of the General Council and the General Meeting of the Association at which two important matters were submitted on behalf of our own Branch. Honorable senators will recall that, at the 1964 meetings in Kingston, Jamaica, preliminary consideration was given to proposals submitted by our delegation for an increased scale of parliamentary visits. These proposals were again submitted at the Wellington meetings and were, on resolution, agreed to in principle and referred to the SecretaryGeneral for development in consultation with all Branches. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association has a very special role to play in the preservation and development of relations between Commonwealth countries and there is, I think, a growing realisation of the’ importance of interparliamentary visits in the furtherance of this role. The acceptance of the Branch proposals was, therefore, gratifying and we confidently look forward to their successful development in the future.
The second major proposal put forward by the Branch related to the administrative functioning of the General Council. With the rapid increase in the number of main branches, the Council has become a most unwieldy body for management purposes. We have therefore proposed, in a preliminary way, the formation of a subcommittee of top level councillors to manage Association affairs between Conferences. This suggestion was well received and its submission in positive form at the meetings this year could well be acceptable.
All honorable senators appreciate, I am sure, the important role which the Association can play in maintaining the links which bind together the various nations of the Commonwealth. The Australian Branch has, I think, taken an active and constructive part in the activities of the Association, a continuance of which will do much to preserve the ties which bind us within the Commonwealth. I would also like to say that in my opinion the standard of debate at the Conference was very good. Having been present at previous Conferences of the C.P.A. , I was in a position to be able to compare the standard of debate at this
Conference with that of previous Conferences. It was very noticeable on this occasion that the contributions made to the debate by the representatives of the newer Commonwealth countries were a big improvement on those made at previous Conferences. This augurs well for the success of the Commonwealth of Nations and also for the advancement of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
I personally valued very greatly the opportunity of participating in the Conference at Wellington and of meeting the large number of interesting and diverse personalities who attended. New Zealand, the host Branch, spared no effort to make our stay in that wonderful country an enjoyable one, and to that Branch we express our sincere gratitude. I would like to say how much I, in common with the other delegates, appreciated every kindness which was shown to us by the entire New Zealand delegation and by everybody in New Zealand with whom we came in contact. One feature that impressed me particularly in New Zealand was the attention which was given to tourism. One could not speak too highly of the co-operation which tourists receive in that country.
In conclusion, Mr. President, I should like to pay a tribute to the Minister for Primary Industry who was the leader of the delegation, to Senator Marriott and to the other members of the delegation who at all times co-operated fully in the function of ably representing the Branch and participating in Conference discussions. I feel I would be lacking in my duty if I did not mention the degree of co-operation and assistance given to the parliamentary delegation by Mr. Norman Parkes. the Secretary of the delegation. Mr. Parkes was at all times available to assist the delegation and I am sure that I express the thoughts of everybody when I say to him: “Thank you “.
Debate (on motion by Senator Marriott) adjourned.
– I move -
That to mark the retirement from this Parliament of the former member for Kooyong, in the House of Representatives, the Right Honorable
Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, K.T., C.H., Q.C., after a distinguished public career encompassing six years in the Parliament of the State of Victoria and over thirty-one years in membership of the House of Representatives, including sixteen consecutive years as Prime Minister, the Senate places on record its recognition of his long, able and devoted service to Australia, to the Commonwealth of Nations and to the institution of Parliament, and extends to him and Dame Pattie Menzies its sincerest good wishes.
It is a great honour for me to move this resolution by means of which the Senate will place on record its appreciation of the distinguished services to the Australian Parliament and the Australian people over so long a period of years of Sir Robert Menzies. This occasion is unique in the history of the Commonwealth Parliament. On 20th January 1966 when he resigned, Sir Robert Menzies had completed 18 years and 5 months in the service of Australia in the office of Prime Minister, including more than 16 years of continuous office. Taking into account service in the Victorian Ministry between 1932 and 1934 and his service as Attorney-General and Minister for Industry in the Commonwealth Parliament from 1934 to 1939, Sir Robert Menzies has completed 25 years service as a Minister of the Crown. Counting his Victorian service, he has had a seat in Parliament for 37 years. Of these, 31 years have been spent as a member of the Commonwealth Parliament. He has been for 28 of these 31 years a Privy Counsellor.
It is not my intention to proceed to a full chronicle of Sir Robert Menzies’ record. To do so would be unnecessary amongst us here at this point of time. But I felt that the particulars which I had just given, and the monumental nature of them, should be placed on clear and grateful record. There is virtually no end to the tributes which I, or any of us, might pay on this occasion to the great service performed for this nation by the recently retired Prime Minister. In a statement of this kind, one of the problems is to choose, perhaps, three or four of the most important and meaningful qualities so that his standards in relation to them will be recognised and remembered, as I feel is his due.
I mention him first of all as a great parliamentarian. This is a quality on which all honorable senators will place very high value - perhaps as high as any quality, and higher than most. Sir Robert Menzies not only respected the institution of Parliament, but understood it, admired it, nurtured it, defended it and proclaimed it as the occasion required. He had a feeling for Parliament and for its necessary place in the nation’s life. A wound to it was a wound to him. It was his habit to consult the Parliament, to debate in the Parliament, to lead the Parliament and to learn from it, but never to take it for granted. He has always been deeply appreciative of the need to uphold and enliven the tradition of parliamentary democracy in Australia. He saw this as the basic fabric of a stable and enduring Australian democracy. He added to that democracy lustre and advancement. He may be proud, also, of his relationships with members of Parliament, not only in his own Party but also in the Party opposite to him. Parliament, for him, offered a place of political contest and personal friendship, and he enjoyed both aspects.
I should like to mention, next, the deep love of country which found continual expression in him, and particularly in his sense of national purpose and his strong vision of nationhood. He has, by unremitting effort at home and abroad, played his full part in the increase of Australia’s stature over his term of office. His standing internationally has been a tremendous asset to us; throughout the British Commonwealth and, more than that, across the world. Another quality which deserves a place in this short record is his quality of exposition which, by definition, carries with it the quality of grasp of subject. The exposition could not exist without the grasp and so I mention them both together. All honorable senators will remember many instances of Sir Robert Menzies’ powers of clear expression, in public speech, in debate, and right down into conversation. Here were lucidity and, if I may add, a knowledge and flair in language far beyond the ordinary and into the extraordinary.
Next, and finally for this occasion, I refer to his standards in public administration. ]t was said in another place that the word “ upright “ represents one of the characteristics of his whole period of office. This may sound commonplace. It is part of the specifications for all of us. The Australian people would not and should not accept in their government anything else. But hav ing said this, the fact remains that those of us who have been associated with him day in and day out, and have been privy to his thoughts and attitudes, and have had the privilege of sharing with him in the formulation of public policy, cannot fail to remark upon his sense of integrity, propriety and rectitude.
I may go on to add a word about his attitude to and relations with the Public Service of the Commonwealth. For its degree of excellence he had genuine and full admiration and, in keeping with his standards of rectitude, what he asked of the Public Service was that its members should objectively and without stint set forward to the Minister and, if necessary, to him, their views or advice. But decision making, he insisted, was for the Government, with the benefit of advice, but on the Government’s own responsibility. This is the healthiest of all relationships with the Public Service, lt is to his credit that he observed it to the full.
I have not mentioned particular achievements of Sir Robert Menzies, although obviously there is a long list of them in practically every field of government and public life. But there are two matters which 1 suspect he would like me to mention. The first is the great contribution through his own leadership in the Government to the advancement of education and science in Australia. The second is his contribution to the development of the national capital, Canberra. These are far sighted achievements. They are nation building contributions and, thus, indicative of the man, of his objectives, and his achievements. Before I conclude I wish to refer, on behalf of us all, to Dame Pattie Menzies - a wonderful companion and a wonderful support to her husband. She has our affection. We wish Sir Robert and Dame Pattie Menzies, in the words of the resolution, our sincerest good wishes. They have brought distinction to this Parliament and to this nation and, in so doing, to themselves.
– Mr. President, I second the motion moved by the Leader of the Government (Senator Henty). In a few brief words, the motion refers to Sir Robert Menzies’ distinguished public career and recognises his long, able and devoted service. I warmly support those references but I cannot help thinking how utterly inadequate they are to convey a real impression of the man who dominated the Australian political scene for so long. Anyone who has lived close to that scene through that 37 years of public service would have in mind the background and implications of events such as these: The sacrifice of a brilliant and remunerative legal career at the Melbourne bar for the turbulence of party politics; the quick attainment of the political heights - Attorney-General and Acting Premier of Victoria, and Prime Minister of Australia; the fall from the prime ministership to the hard life of Leader of the Opposition for many years; the resilience, determination and devotion that brought him back to a continuous prime ministership for 16 years; the controversial issues that marked every stage of his career; the numerous hard fought election campaigns; and, finally, his voluntary retirement both from the prime ministership and the Parliament. It is a fitting climax to an outstanding career that he should depart from the arena carrying his bat, his wicket and his reputation both intact.
He has displayed amazing and varied qualities. He had the wit and grace to function appropriately at every level of society. He was a tough and brilliant debater, an expert in ridicule, and an orator who unerringly selected the word of the exact shade to express his meaning. Unquestionably, he was a far seeing master of political strategy and tactics, as we of the Opposition learned to our cost. He had the greatest respect for the parliamentary institution and was an upholder of its traditions. He was very considerate of the personal problems of members of the Parliament, regardless of their Party affiliations. I trust, that he has retired in time to enjoy many years of full mental and physical activity. 1 am sure Sir Robert will not mind if I say that the nicest thing about him is his wife, Dame Pattie. She has always been a gracious and charming lady and his most loyal supporter under all conditions. I wish them both peace of mind, good health and long life. I hope they will be free to devote their retirement to purposes of their own choice.
– It is fitting that the Senate should pay tribute to Sir Robert Menzies who, for 16 years, was at the political helm of our country. In his wisdom, Sir Robert decided some weeks ago to stand down from the post which he held with distinction and authority for a record term. I am sure I am expressing the thoughts of all honorable senators when I say that we respect him for his decision.
Many tributes have been paid to our former Prime Minister. To these I wish to add my quota. In doing so, I associate the Australian Country Party with all the sentiments which have been expressed by the Leader of the Government (Senator Henty) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) and also express my thanks to Sir Robert for many personal acts of kindness. Sir Robert is a remarkable man. He is a firm believer in the federal system and in the bicameral system of government. As senators, we offer our best wishes to this great Australian.
As has been stated, his gift of speech and delivery was of the highest order. He created many records, and many distinctions and honours were bestowed on him. He commanded the confidence of the people over a record period of 16 years as the leader of the coalition Government and. to use his own words, he is British to the boot heels. But more than that, he is a great Commonwealth statesman and a great Australian. He gained international respect for his realistic approach to Australia’s foreign policy problems. I had first hand knowledge of the high esteem in which he was held in all the overseas countries I visited in 1962.
Over the post-war period he cemented the firm relationship that already existed between Australia and the United States, a relationship which blossomed on the battlefields of New Guinea and which, in recent years, was strengthened through our joint role in Korea and Vietnam. Of inestimable importance to Australia was his success in establishing a warm personal link with American Presidents - Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and now Johnson. Britain’s Prime Minister, Mr. Wilson, paid Sir Robert a striking tribute when he said that Sir Robert was cast in the same mould as the late Sir Winston Churchill. Surely no greater tribute could be paid to any Australian or, for that matter, to any Commonwealth statesman.
Sir Robert’s decision to retire from political life marked an end to the parliamentary career of an outstanding, successful and colourful leader. He had qualities of courageous and forthright leadership. We of the Country Party were honoured to be associated with him in the coalition. He symbolised all that was best in the Commonwealth concept. His wise counsel will be missed not only on the home front but also in the Commonwealth of Nations.
We also pay our tribute to Dame Pattie Menzies without whose help Sir Robert would not have been able to perform the task that he has performed so well over the years. He has retired at the height of his power. An epoch has ended. A few days ago he severed his last political link with the Liberal Party electorate council of Kooyong, the division he represented in Parliament for 32 years. His passing from the political scene is a challenge to his successor, Mr. Harold Holt, who I am happy to say is making such a fine fist of the position of Prime Minister.
In conclusion, on behalf of the Australian Country Party, I express the fervent hope that Sir Robert and Dame Pattie will have a well earned, peaceful and happy retirement.
– There is very little that 1 can add to what has been said already by Senator Henty, Senator McKenna and Senator McKellar. I knew the former Prime Minister best in the six or eight years I was Premier and Treasurer of Queensland. We met at the periodical get-togethers of Premiers and Treasurers and I can assure you, Mr. President, that there were not always hallelujah choruses. However, 1 must say that I always respected his point of view on matters other than financial matters. In common with other Premiers, particularly Premiers of the smaller States, I could never understand why he was so stingy with taxation reimbursements. I could never understand why he and his Treasurer wanted to hold the money bag so tightly when we were so badly in need of the financial aid to which we believed we were entitled. However, all that has been said today about the former Prime Minister is true. He was a distinguished public man who won Australia much credit and respect.
His long record as Prime Minister cannot be attributed altogether to the policies of his Party or even to his leadership. A good deal of credit for the long term of office of the Menzies Government must be given to the ineffective Opposition and to the late Dr. Evatt and the present Leader of the Opposition Mr. Calwell. But putting that aside, I feel that he deserves our gratitude and respect. He has served this country well and I believe that the Australian people as a whole are indebted to him and are grateful to him. My colleague, Senator McManus, and I have pleasure in associating ourselves with the resolution before the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– by leave- On behalf of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) I am happy to inform the Senate that the Australian and Mexican Governments have agreed to exchange Embassies. A Charge d’ Affaires will be sent initially to open the embassy in Mexico City, and an Ambassador will be appointed at a later stage. Mexico, too, will open its mission in Canberra with a Charge d’Affaires and later appoint an Ambassador. The opening of an embassy in Mexico is a further step in the efforts the Australian Government has been making to strengthen its contacts with Latin America. Last year a delegation from the Australian Parliament, comprising members from the Government and the Opposition parties which I led visited a number of Latin American countries including Mexico. There are many direct interests and contacts between Australia and Mexico, and our two countries have been brought physically closer now than Qantas Empire Airways Ltd. is to have four flights a week through Mexico - twice a week in each direction between Australia and Britain. This has led to a marked increase in the number of Australian businessmen and other visitors to that country. The holding of the Olympic Games in Mexico City in 1968 will attract many more.
Mexico is one of the largest and most influential of Latin American countries.
Australia greatly values the political contacts which already exist between Mexico and Australia, particularly in the United Nations. We look forward to the strengthening of understanding and co-operation between the two countries as a result of the exchange of diplomatic missions.
Senator ANDERSON (New South
Wales - Minister for Customs and Excise). - by leave - On 24th February, the Minister for National Development (Mr. Fairbairn) announced the Government’s decision to offer the States about $20 million in long term loans over the next five years to help lift the planting rate in Government softwood plantations. Since forestry is a subject which will be new to many honorable senatorsI am making the following statement for honorable senator’s information to give them the background to the decision and the terms of the Commonwealth offer.
Forestry is a State matter and will always remain so, but now in the second half of this century we are realising that in forestry there is a. national interest just as there is a State interest. Perhaps the greatest national interest from the point of view of the Federal Government is the effect that the timber industry has on our balance of payments. We have seen in the past year a tremendous demand for funds for the purchase of timber from overseas. In fact, there are probably not many people in Australia who realise that we are spending over $200 million per annum on the importation of timber and forest products into Australia and this will rise substantially in the future.
Before I talk about the future, let me give the Senate the background of the present position in Australia. The area of productive native forests in use in Australia is approximately 30 million acres. Most of this area is hardwood forests, mainly eucalypts. There is less than half a million acres of native softwood forests. In addition there are about 700,000 acres of softwood plantations of which about 500,000 acres are governmentally owned and 200,000 acres are privately owned. About two thirds of the plantation area is pinus radiata.
The demand in Australia for timber and forest products is running at the equivalent of something like 500 million cubic feet of wood per annum of which about two thirds is produced locally and one third imported. This represents a factory door value approaching 600 million dollars of which imports represent over 200 million dollars. It is estimated that consumption will rise to 670 million cubic feet by 1975 and to over 1,100 million cubic feet by the year 2000.
If forestry programmes are continued only at the current rate, the annual yield of logs in Australia in 1975 would be less than 500 million cubic feet and would be of the order of 700 million cubic feet by the year 2000.
On this basis, it is estimated that the cost of imports required to maintain the supply of timber and other forest products, based on present costs, would be $280 million annually by 1975 and of the order of $600 million annually by the year 2000, the actual cost depending upon the rate of growth of population. However, it is most unlikely that future imports will be obtained at present day costs. It is also by no means certain that overseas supplies will be available to fill our future requirements. Recent studies forecast increasing deficiencies between supply and demand for timber in the Asia-Pacific region and in Europe. A similar position will probably apply in Africa and it is likely that the United States of America will require virtually the whole of the exportable surplus from Canada by the end of this century.
New Zealand exports considerable quantities of timber and is the main supplier of plantation softwoods to Australia. The Government recently concluded a free trade agreement with New Zealand which guarantees ultimate duty free trade between both countries for a wide range of products including forest products. At present we obtain approximately 10 per cent of our requirements in New Zealand and while we can look to increased supplies from New Zealand, the estimated export availability from there in the year 2000 will still represent only 10 per cent of the expected forest products market in Australia. Thus we cannot rely on ready availability of overseas supplies in the future, and it is almost certain that the cost of imported supplies will increase substantially. 1 think the Senate will agree that the Government would be remiss if it continued to count on overseas supplies to make up a deficiency as large as that at present forecast.
This is the position facing Australia, and it was basically because of this that the Commonwealth Government set up the Australian Forestry Council in consultation with the States. The Forestry Council is a national advisory body on forestry matters and a particular function is to look at ways of developing Australian forests to meet our requirements of timber and forest products both for our own use and for export. The Australian Forestry Council which first met in August, 1964, comprises the sue State Ministers for Forestry, the Minister for Territories and the Minister for National Development. Under it is a standing committee consisting of the DirectorGeneral of the Forestry and Timber Bureau, the head of each of the State Forestry Services, and the chief of the Division of Forest Products, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
The first task which the Council undertook was an urgent examination of Australia’s present and future requirements and the potential for meeting these requirements from our own resources. As a result of this examination, the Council reached the view that although the long term forecast was for a substantial deficiency in timber and other forest products, this could be made good economically from timber produced in Australia. To meet the deficiency the Council estimated that Australia would require a softwood resource of about three million acres of plantation by the year 2000. It was estimated that such a resource, together with improved production from the native forests, would be likely to make Australia reasonably self sufficient, as to total requirements for wood for the Australian population expected at that time.
Consequently, the first recommendation of the Forestry Council was that the rate of establishment of softwood plantations should be stepped up from the present 40,000 acres per annum to 75,000 acres per annum for the next 35 years. If this rate of planting were achieved, the Council estimated that the lag in production would be substantially overcome by the turn of the century. This is not to mean that we will no longer have to import. It is very difficult to estimate so far ahead. There are so many factors which can influence consumption and production. There will be deficiencies in particular types of timber and we will always need to import special purpose timbers which cannot be grown in Australia. However, with a softwood resource of three million acres of plantation, production would more nearly balance consumption and we would not face an import bill nearly as large as $600 million.
If we are to avoid dependence on substantial imports in the future, it will also be necessary to concentrate our attention on increased production of timber and forest products from our native forests. This can be achieved by better management of the natural hardwood resources that we have and this is another avenue to which the Forestry Council has been turning its attention. However, our most urgent need is to increase substantially our plantings of softwood timbers. There has been spectacular success achieved in Australia with the planting of pine species from overseas. This is particularly so in the case of pinus radiata plantations which have already been established in Australia. Average growth rates several times as great as those obtained in the traditional softwood exporting countries in the northern hemisphere have been achieved.
In addition to the large balance of payments savings which would result from an increased planting programme, there would also be substantial benefits in the contribution the programme would make to decentralisation. Forestry and forest industries by their very nature attract population to rural areas and the establishment of new or larger saw mills and processing factories in country areas will provide increased employment opportunities and consequent benefits to business in country towns. Australia is fortunate in having more than sufficient suitable land to carry out the proposed programme. Following its investigations, the Forestry Council estimated that an area of more than four million acres could be made available for planting softwoods without encroaching on the better areas of the hardwood forests.
Having reached a view that a planting programme of 75,000 acres per annum was necessary, the Australian Forestry Council turned its attention to the financing of such a programme. The Council estimated that private forest owners will contribute on the average at least 10,000 acres a year to the programme. This left 65,000 acres per annum to be planted by the government forest services. At present the governments are planting at the rate of about 30,000 acres per annum so that the programme envisages an increase by them of about 35,000 acres per annum or more than doubling their present rate of plantings.
The State Ministers on the Council indicated that their respective governments were already allocating a substantial proportion of State funds to forestry. While supporting the programme as such they pointed out that they would have great difficulty in allocating additional funds to accelerate their planting programme and requested the Minister for National Development, as Chairman, to approach the Commonwealth Government for additional funds for the expanded programme. As has already been announced, the Government has responded most generously to this request by the States. Forestry is a revenue-earning activity and our investigations have revealed that production of softwood in plantations can be a profitable operation in the long term. The emphasis is on the long term since even with the fast growth rates achieved with pinus radiata in Australia it is 35 years before any substantial income is received and it can be over 40 years before all the trees are finally felled. The Government has consistently taken the view that Commonwealth assistance to revenueearning projects should be in the form of loans. However, in recognition of the long term nature of forestry and the long period between planting and income-earning production the Commonwealth has offered long term loans free of interest and repayment of principal in the first ten years.
The initial programme proposed by the States covers the next five years and it is estimated thatthe? cost of the additional plantings over that five years will be about $20 million. The planting programme, of course, covers 35 years so that towards the end of the five years we need to have another look at the programme and consider the question of further support for future plantings. With the assistance of these loans it is expected that the planting rate in the government owned plantations will accelerate rapidly and we should be approaching the target rate of 65,000 acres of plantings per annum by the end of the initial five year period. This is a most important step in the development of Australia’s natural resources. Many of us will probably not be here to see the effects of the plantings, but future generations will, I am sure, look back and thank us for the foresight which led to the acceptance of the Forestry Council programme.
I present the following paper -
Softwood Planting in Australia - Ministerial Statement, 16th March 1966- and move -
That the Senate take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
– by leave - I make the following statement on behalf of the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman). The first person singular pronoun refers to my colleague.
The Government has reviewed the operation of immigration policy affecting nonEuropean people, taking into account the experience and changing circumstances of recent years and I wish to give the Senate details of the decisions and to discuss their significance. When, in 1956, the Government reviewed the policy, which had been followed since Federation, of not admitting persons of non-European origin for permanent residence, it introduced several significant reforms. Those people already settled here became eligible to be naturalised; the admission for permanent residence of immediate relatives of Australian citizens was authorised; and it was made possible for highly-qualified people to come here for indefinite stay, though under temporary permits. Then, in 1957, it was decided that non-Europeans who had been admitted on temporary permits could be naturalised after 15 years’ stay. In 1964, the rules governing the entry of persons of mixed descent were eased.
The Government has now decided upon two further measures which the Senate will recognise as important but as not departing from the fundamental principles of our immigration policy. First, it has been decided that non-European people who are already here under temporary permit but are likely to be here indefinitely, should not have to wait 15 years before applying for resident status and for Australian citizenship, but should be able to apply after five years’ residence, so ending a situation often criticised for its effect on individuals and families. This does not, of course, mean that everyone admitted to Australia for limited temporary residence is entitled to stay here indefinitely. Every country makes separate provision for temporary entry as distinct from the entry of settlers. For example, it would be quite wrong and most unfair to the development of countries whence they came to offer to the 12,000 Asian students in Australia the right to settle here after five years’ study. The objective of admitting these young people, to use educational facilities which are both expensive to the Australian Government and in great demand, is to help the students’ homelands by increasing their numbers of qualified people.
The Government’s decision, therefore, does not relate to people expected to leave Australia after limited temporary residence, but does apply to those who have been here for long periods or who are likely to be allowed to stay indefinitely. The two main examples of people affected by the elimination of the 15-year rule are: The highly qualified Asians admitted in recent years for ‘ “ indefinite stay “ but on temporary entry permits; and Chinese admitted before 1956 who, if they left Australia, could only go back to Communist China; by a decision of the Government in 1956, they were allowed to stay on but, lacking the status of settlers and citizens, have been unable to bring their wives and children here. I am very glad to say that one important benefit of the Government’s decision to abolish the so-called 15-year rule will be to enable many families who have been separated for some years to be reunited much sooner than would have been possible under the previous rule.
The second decision is that applications for entry by well-qualified people wishing to settle in Australia will be considered on the basis of their suitability as settlers, their ability to integrate readily, and their possession of qualifications which are in fact positively useful to Australia. They will be able after five years stay on temporary permits, to apply for resident status and citizenship. They will be able to bring their immediate families with them on first arrival. No annual quota is contemplated. The number of people entering - though limited relative to our total population - will be somewhat greater than previously, but will be controlled by the careful assessment of the individual’s qualifications, and the basic aim of preserving a homogeneous population will be maintained. The changes are, of course, not intended to meet general labour shortages or to permit the large scale admission of workers from Asia, but the widening of eligibility will help to fill some of Australia’s special needs.
Examples of those who, under the new decision, will be admitted in numbers greater than previously are persons with specialised technical skills for appointments for which local residents are not available; persons of high attainment in the arts and sciences, or of prominent achievement in other ways; persons nominated by responsible authorities or institutions for specific important professional appointments, which otherwise would remain unfilled; executives, technicians, and other specialists who have spent substantial periods in Australia - for example, with the branches here of large Asian companies - and who have qualifications or experience in positive demand here; businessmen who, in their own countries, have been engaged in substantial international trading and would be able to carry on such trade from Australia; persons who have been of particular and lasting help to Australia’s interest abroad in trade, or in other ways; and persons who, by former residence in Australia, or by association with us have demonstrated an interest in or identification with Australia that should make their future residence here feasible.
Applications by such persons and others in comparable circumstances will be eligible for consideration on an individual basis.
Those admitted will be able to apply for resident status and citizenship after five years stay.
Where the governments of other countries may be concerned over loss of qualified people, there will be appropriate consultation, as Australia must not contradict the aims of the Colombo Plan and other efforts to help such countries’ development. With the same objective, the programme of allowing young people to come from other countries as students will continue. Greater effort is to be made to ensure that courses undertaken will be of recognised value to the students’ homelands when they return there. In view of the need to ensure most effective use of scarce places at our universities and other institutions, the intending student’s ability to undertake his course successfully will e examined carefully at time of application for entry; and his progress will be assessed annually.
Honorable senators have frequently and generously stressed that humanity and discretion have marked the handling of individual cases in the immigration field generally. This, I can assure the Senate, will be continued - always with Australia’s interests in view, always in the hope of showing sympathy and consideration to men and women in difficulty, always avoiding unnecessary disclosure of private confidences or misfortunes. Representations from any responsible source will be carefully considered. Every country has not only a right to its own immigration policy but a heavy duty and a vital responsibility to administer it in the interests of its own people. Our neighbours and friends all have immigration policies that are based on their own interests and are intended to benefit their own people and future. All include elements of control of entry and residence, some with strict numerical and national limitations. No government is to be reproached for aspects of its immigration system developed for its needs and derived from its social history, political traditions and constitutional arrangements. No responsible government condones illegality or deceit, which are poor gateways indeed for the entry of new settlers.
Our programmes and policies have likewise emerged from our history, our respect for law and order and our response to our special needs. Our primary aim in immigra tion is a generally integrated and predominantly homogeneous population. A positive element in the latest changes is that which will admit selected non-Europeans capable of becoming Australians and joining in our national development. Both the policy and the rules and procedures by which it is affected cannot remain static and must be constantly reviewed. Though redefined from time to time, they must be administered in accordance with the law, on principles decided by the Government, with justice to individuals and for the future welfare of the Australian people as a whole. These will continue to be the main elements in Australia’s immigration policy.
I present the following paper -
Immigration Policy affecting Non-Europeans - Ministerial Statement, 16th March 1966 and move -
That the Senate take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
– by leave - The statement I am about to make was made in the House of Representatives this afternoon by the Treasurer (Mr. McMahon). It is as follows -
When discussing aspects of the economy in his statement to the House on 8th March, the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) referred to housing, which had been described as a weak spot in the current situation. He mentioned the additional amount of finance, estimated at $24 million, being provided by the savings banks for housing in the second half of 1965-66 and went on to say that the Government had under consideration other measures to support housing. We have, in fact, gone into the position of home building exhaustively - not only studying the available statistics and similar information but also taking the advice of many people and organisations connected with the industry.
The rate at which new dwellings are being started has of course dropped back considerably from the extremely high levels reached in 1964-65 when nearly 117,000 houses and flats were commenced. Yet in the December quarter it was still running at 100,000 dwellings per year, which was high by comparison with most earlier periods. Meanwhile there was a great amount of other building going on and there appeared to be very little spare labour in the industry. The Government attaches a very special importance to home building as an element in the economy - this for several reasons.
We need more and more homes for the increasing number of young people reaching marriageable age and also for the rising flow of migrants, many of whom come as family groups or are young people who will soon marry. There is nothing more discouraging to people arriving in Australia than to find housing difficult to obtain. From another standpoint, dwelling construction is one of our largest industries and probably the most pervasive of all in that it goes on practically everywhere, lt may not be generally realised that these days, as nearly as can be estimated, expenditure on dwellings, including alterations and additions, runs at close upon $1,000 million a year
A good deal would have to be added to that for maintenance of existing dwellings and, of course, that is by no means the end of the story either. New houses have to be fitted out with appliances and furniture and furnishings, and expenditure on these amounts to a great sum annually. The rate of dwelling construction thus has a vital interest for a very wide range of industries, trades and occupations. The Government believes that dwelling construction ought to bc kept up to the highest practicable level; by which 1 mean practicable in relation to the resources of labour, materials and equipment available at any time. It is no use trying to push things beyond that point; in fact it would be foolish because all you would get would be delays in construction, rising costs, and a drain of resources from other important activities. The view we reached was that it would be timely to make a certain further amount of finance available, and it appeared to us that the earliest and most certain effects would be achieved if this were done through the State Governments under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement. We therefore decided to make an offer to the States. We told them we would agree to support an increase of $15 million in the borrowing programmes for this financial year on condition that the share of each State in the additional amount was used wholly for housing purposes.
The States have accepted this offer and will probably start to step up their home building activity at once. 1 should like to point out that the $15 million of additional expenditure will mainly be concentrated in the three months between now and the end of 1965-66. Taking this with the addition of $24 million of savings bank money in the current half year, it is plain that the level of dwelling construction is now being strongly stimulated.
I present the following paper -
Housing Finance - Ministerial Statement, 16th March 1966- and move -
That the Senate take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Motions (by Senator Anderson) - by leave - agreed to -
That leave of absence for two months be granted to Senator Lillico on account of absence overseas.
That leave of absence for two months be granted to Senator Sherrington on account of ill health.
Motions (by Senator McKenna) - by leave - agreed to -
That leave of absence for two months be granted to Senator Ormonde on account of absence overseas.
That leave of absence for one month be granted to Senator Tangney on account of ill health.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Anderson) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill seeks the approval of Parliament to a borrowing by the Commonwealth of up to $US54 million from a group of commercial banks in the United States to assist in the financing of jet aircraft and related equipment being purchased by Qantas Empire Airways Ltd. and the Australian National Airlines Commission - TransAustralia Airlines, lt is the largest private borrowing so far arranged by the Commonwealth on behalf of Qantas and TransAustralia Airlines.
Each drawing from the loan will be made in the name of the Commonwealth and will be initially paid into the Loan Fund, prior to being advanced to Qantas or TransA*ustralia Airlines. Accordingly, the Bill appropriates the Loan Fund to enable the proceeds of the loan to be passed on to Qantas and Trans-Australia Airlines, lt also appropriates the Consolidated Revenue Fund to permit the Commonwealth to meet interest payments, repayments of principal, and other charges associated with the borrowing. As the two airlines will pay to the Commonwealth all of the funds necessary to meet these payments, the loan will involve no net cost to the Commonwealth itself.
The borrowing will assist Qantas to purchase three, four or five additional Boeing 707 - 338C jets. T.A.A. will use its share of the loan to assist in the purchase of one additional Boeing 727 and three Douglas DC9’s. The amount of the loan will be reduced by $14 million if Qantas decides to buy only three new Boeings or by $7 million if it decides to purchase four. The new aircraft will increase Qantas’ fleet of 707’s to 22, 23 or 24 and will increase T.A.A.’s jet fleet to four Boeing 727’s and three Douglas DC9’s.
The arrangements for the borrowing are similar to those approved by Parliament in November 1964, when the Commonwealth borrowed $US30 million on behalf of Qantas and T.A.A. The full proceeds of the loan will be made available to the two airlines on terms and conditions to be determined by the Treasurer, but these terms and conditions will be the same as those under which the Commonwealth itself will borrow the money from the United States banks. As the airlines will be required to meet all charges under the Loan Agreement, the Commonwealth will therefore assume the function of an intermediary only in these arrangements.
Prior to the present loan, aircraft borrowings arranged by the Commonwealth with United States commercial banks since 1956 totalled $US115.4 million, of which SUS64.4 million has yet to be repaid. In addition, the International Bank and the Export-Import Bank have lent $US39.2 million for aircraft purchases of which $US12.4 million is still outstanding. From these borrowings, $US132.2 million has been advanced to Qantas and $US22.4 million to Trans-Australia Airlines. Following sound commercial practice, the loans are repayable over the expected life of the aircraft and during the period that they are making a substantial contribution to the finances of the two airlines. Qantas, of course, earns more than enough overseas currency to cover the foreign exchange costs of the loans.
Australia is a net importer of capital, and at the present time we are running a balance of payments deficit which is expected to continue into next year. It has been the Government’s continuing policy to arrange overseas finance for a large proportion of the cost of new aircraft purchased by its two airlines. The major part of the present loan will not be drawn until the latter part of 1966 and early 1967 and there are obvious advantages in taking steps now to ensure that funds are readily available to meet known future contractual commitments of this nature. In a growing economy such as ours it is inevitable that there will be a continuously increasing demand for imports of materials, capital equipment and other items which must be obtained from abroad. It is also inevitable that there will be periods such as the present when our foreign currency receipts from exports, capital inflow and so on will be insufficient to prevent some decline in our international reserves. The Government therefore believes that it should take advantage of whatever opportunities arise to borrow overseas at reasonable rates of interest in order to strengthen our reserves or to arrest the rate at which they are declining.
The operation of the United States Interest Equalisation Tax has placed difficulties in the way of the Commonwealth continuing its series of public loans on the New York market. Our most recent public dollar loans in May and November last year were floated predominantly in Europe. However, as I shall explain later, the tax does not apply to private borrowings of the type which we have been able to arrange with United States commercial banks. The loan covered by this Bill is being made by a group of nine United States commercial banks. These are listed in section 1 of the Loan Agreement which is annexed as the schedule to the Bill.
The two airlines will request the Commonwealth to make drawings on the loan when payments for the new aircraft are required by the manufacturers. Drawings are due to commence before the end of this month and are to be completed before 31st December 1967. A commitment fee of one-half per cent is payable on undrawn amounts of the loan. As each section of the loan is drawn, interest will become payable at an initial rate of 5 per cent for a period up to 21 months. After this, all drawings will be consolidated into a single loan which will be repayable in 14 approximately equal half yearly instalments over the period June 1968 to December 1974. The earliest instalments - those due in June and December 1968 - will carry interest at the rate of5½ per cent, and this will rise in steps up to a maximum of 5¾ per cent for the portion of the loan repayable in 1974. The average interest cost over the full period of the borrowing is slightly less than5½ per cent.
In general, the Loan Agreement annexed to the Bill follows the form of the November 1964 agreement. Perhaps I should bring section 8 of the Agreement to the attention of honorable senators. This contains an undertaking by the Commonwealth that the proceeds of the loan will be used for the purchase of property manufactured in the United States. This undertaking creates no difficulties for us and, in fact, the total cost of the aircraft concerned will be greater than the amount borrowed.
Under the provisions of the interest equalisation tax legislation, the United States President is authorised to extend the application of the tax to certain commercial bank loans if. in his view, the acquisition of oversea debt obligations by commercial banks has materially impaired the effectiveness of the tax. However, the legislation specifically exempts commercial bank loans from the tax if at least 85 per cent, of the amount of the loan is attributable to the sale of property manufactured or produced in the United States. Thus the borrowing will not be subject to the interest equalisation tax.
Commercial bank lending abroad is subject also to guidelines which have been issued by the Federal Reserve system to reinforce the measures to improve the United States balance of payments of which the interest equalisation tax forms a part. Each commercial bank was requested to restrict its foreign credits outstanding during 1965 to an amount not in excess of 105 per cent of the amount outstanding at 31st December 1964. As the present loan came within these restrictions, some banks which had participated in Australian aircraft loans in the past found themselves unable to do so on - this occasion and the lending group contains a number of names which are new to these loans.
In December 1965 the Federal Reserve issued a new set of guidelines for banks and other financial institutions to follow during 1966. Each bank was requested to restrain any expansion in foreign credits during the year to an amount not exceeding 109 per cent of the December 1964 total, so that the permitted expansion in 1966 will be even less than that permitted in 1965. The terms and conditions of the loan have been approved by the Australian Loan Council and the amount of the loan will be additional to the Commonwealth’s loan programme of $A102 million for housing which was approved at the June 1965 Loan Council meeting. I commend the Bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Murphy) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Anderson) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill provides for the validation of the collection of certain duties of customs. The duties involved are those which have been collected between the adjournment of Parliament last session and 13th February 1966 inclusive under proposed Customs Tariff alterations published by “Gazette” notice. The alterations amend the Customs Tariffs 1965 which ceased to operate after 13th February 1966. They include changes consequent on the adoption by the Government of two reports by the Special Advisory Authority on woven fabrics of glass fibre, and polyethylene monofil and rope, while the balance of the changes give effect to duty reductions to which Australia has agreed under the free trade agreement recently concluded with New Zealand.
Since the Customs Tariffs 1965 has been repealed by the Customs Tariff 1966, which operated from 14th February 1966, there is no principal Act extant that tariff proposals can be introduced to amend to give effect to the “ Gazette “ notices. Hence this Act will simply validate the collection of duties up to 13th February 1966. I would stress, however, that all the amendments were reintroduced by a “ Gazette “ notice on 14th February 1966 as amendments to the Customs Tariff 1966. These “ Gazette “ notice changes have now been superseded by tariff proposals. A bill to enact the proposals will also be introduced later this session and this will provide honorable senators with the opportunity to debate the changes in the ordinary way. I commend the bill to honorable senators.
.- As the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) has pointed out, this Bill provides for the validation of the collection of certain duties of customs. The period involved expired on 13th February last. Proposals of various dates up to 23rd December were involved. Some of those proposals gave effect to duty reductions to which Australia had agreed under the free trade agreement recently concluded with New Zealand. As from 14th February, which among other things was the date of the changeover to decimal currency, there is no principal act. The legislation that is now before us actually validates action which has been taken in the past and which needs the consent of the Senate.
We hope that there will be early legislation to validate the new proposals which were gazetted on 14th February and tabled in the Parliament on 8th March. They will affect matters under the New ZealandAustralia Free Trade Agreement, such as cheese, pig meat and peas and beans. As those commodities are very important to Australian primary producers, the Opposition will give very close attention to the proposals when the relevant legislation is introduced. However, we do not oppose the present measure, as it is simply designed to validate actions which concluded on 13th February last.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator McKellar) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time. The purpose of this Bill is to provide that as from the date of the first meeting of the next Parliament the member representing the Australian Capital Territory in the House of Representatives shall have the same voting rights as other members of that House. It will be recalled that the Australian Capital Territory has been represented in the House of Representatives since the beginning of the Nineteenth Parliament although, as honorable senators are well aware, the voting rights of the member for the Australian Capital Territory have been strictly limited. Broadly speaking, he is entitled to vote only on a proposed law which relates solely to the Territory, on a motion for the disallowance of an ordinance of the Territory, on an amendment to such a motion, on a motion for the disallowance of a regulation under an ordinance or on a motion Cor the disallowance of a modification or variation of the plan of layout of the city of Canberra. Over the years there have been many requests that the member for the Australian Capital Territory be given full voting rights, but the Government has held firmly to the principle that this could be considered only when the enrolment for the Territory approached the average enrolment of the electoral divisions.
When the first member was elected to represent the Australian Capital Territory, the number of electors for the Territory was approximately 1 1,800 and most people would agree that there could be no justification for the granting of full voting rights to the member until the number of electors for the Territory approximated the average enrolment for the States. Although that stage has not yet been reached, the number of electors enrolled for the Australian Capital Territory was 43,401 at the end of January last. At that time, the average enrolment for the electoral divisions, excluding the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, was 49,236. It is expected that the Australian Capital Territory enrolment will reach 47,000 by the end of this year. The population of the Australian Capital Territory at 30th June last was 88,571 and will be approximately 100.000 by 31st December next. In the normal course, several months will elapse before the next House of Representatives election but the Government believes that this legislation should be put on the statute book without delay so that the people of the Australian Capital Territory, being aware of the Government’s intentions, will appreciate fully the important responsibility vested in them in choosing their future parliamentary representative.
I know that there are many members in the Parliament who. feel that if the member for the Australian Capital Territory is given full voting rights, then a similar right should begiven to the member for the Northern Territory. However, I would again emphasise that we are giving this voting right to the member for the Australian Capital Territory only because it conforms with the principle that we have always adopted. That is that the right should be given only when the enrolment for a territory approaches the electoral quota. The population of the Northern Territory at 30th June 1965 was 34,803 plus about 20,000 Aborigines, while the number of electors enrolled for the Territory was 17,565 as at the end of January this year. I should, however, like to inform the Senate that it is the intention of the Government to reexamine the question of the voting rights of the member for the Northern Territory when the size of the Parliament has been determined after the proposed referendum has been held to break the nexus between the House of Representatives and the Senate. This referendum is intended early in the life of the next Parliament. 1 feel that the Bill will receive the ready support of all parties and I commend it to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 5.20 to 8 p.m.
Debate resumed from 8th March (vide page 32), on motion by Senator Henty -
That the Senate take note of the following paper -
Statement of Policy by New Government - Ministerial Statement, 8th March 1966.
.- Mr. President, on behalf of the Opposition I move the following amendment -
Leave out all words after “That”, insert: - “ the Senate records -
its most emphatic opposition to the despatch of conscripted youths for service in Vietnam and the increased military commitment in that country, and
its disapproval of and grave concern at the Government’s failure -
to maintain the purchasing power of the Australian community;
to retain an adequate and proper
Australian share in the ownership and development of our national resources, particularly in Northern Australia;
to alleviate the effects of the drought and take steps to rehabilitate rural industries and conserve water resources;
to make adequate provision for housing and associated community facilities, and
lo submit to referendum the two Bills to alter the Constitution in respect of Aborigines and the Parliament which were passed last year and, in connection with the latter Bill to disclose the related distribution proposals “.
As honorable senators know, the statement of the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Henty) dealt with a multiplicity of matters. It is not my purpose to deal with all those matters because, even in the extended time that I have at my disposal, I would not be able to get through them and do them justice. Therefore, I propose to deal with only two of them - the war in Vietnam and the conscription of our youth to serve in that war, and the State of the Australian economy. I am certain that my colleagues who follow me will deal with many other matters as well as the two that 1 have mentioned, which we all believe to be the most important dealt with in the statement made by the Leader of the Government.
Although the period seems much longer, less than one year has elapsed since Australia became directly involved in the bitter and tragic struggle in Vietnam. Indeed, only nine months have elapsed since a substantial number of our troops of the 1st Battalion landed there. Now the Government has decided to increase to 4,500 the number of Australian troops involved in this war. In the period since our troops first went to Vietnam the American forces in that country have been increased to the very huge total of 220,000 and the United States has engaged at intervals in heavy bombing of targets in North Vietnam. This, of course, has escalated the v/ar. One asks oneself - the people of Australia want to know, too - just what this has achieved. Are we any closer to a settlement of this trouble? Are we any nearer peace? The answer to both of those questions obviously is: “ No “.
For the time being at least, we seem to have given up attempts to secure a just and lasting peace in Vietnam. The Government now states that it supports the seeking of a negotiated settlement, but 12 months ago it would not have anything to do with negotiated settlement. If I remember correctly, the ex-Prime Minister of this country, when leading the self-same Government, made a statement to the effect that if he were the only one in the British Commonwealth of Nations to stand up against a negotiated settlement in this area he would do so. He was speaking not only for himself. He was speaking also for those who for a great number of years had sat meekly behind him. Supporters of the Government who are here today have altered their opinions. One may ask: Can we hope, with this escalation of the war effort, to get the North Vietnamese into a frame of mind where they will attend at a peace table? The United States has at least tried to secure peace, but she has not been successful in her efforts. This we all must regret. The stepping up of the war effort does not seem to me to he the best means of getting the people from Hanoi around the table in an effort to stop the war. I am certain the people of Australia join with me in asking the Government how we can expect other countries to believe that we really want peace and a negotiated settlement when we decide to treble our forces who are waging war in this area.
When I use the word “ war “ my mind goes back to some of the answers that have been given here at question time. I think it was my colleague Senator Murphy who asked whether in legal terms we were at war with the North Vietnamese. The Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) replied: “ No “. Then Senator Cormack, the Minister’s colleague and my personal friend from Victoria, hopped in to try to get the Minister out of trouble. He asked: “ Did the Chinese declare war on India when they went in there and did the Russians declare war on Hungary when they went in there? “ What was he attempting to do? Was he attempting to prove that two wrongs make a right? Surely we are at war. The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) is reported in today’s Press as having denied that we are at war. Let the Prime Minister of this country and those who sit behind him go and ask the relatives of the 34 servicemen who have been killed in action whether we are at war. Let them ask the mothers and wives of servicemen whether we are at war, and let them ask the relatives of the 141 servicemen who have been wounded in this struggle whether we are at war. What are we doing there? Are we playing? Those who have suffered loss will say whether or not we are at war. It is of no use saying we are not at war when at the present time the Government is trebling the force in Vietnam.
It is of no use trying to hide our heads in the sand like an ostrich and saying: “ No, we are not at war because China did not declare war on India when it went into a portion of India and, of course, Russia was not at war with Hungary at the time of the Hungarian revolution “. The Minister for Works said that we were not at war when we sent a force, together with United Nations forces, to Korea. He said it was not our war, it was the United Nations war and it was up to them. To tell the people of this nation that we are not at war, when our own troops are being killed and when our own men are being wounded on the battlefields of Vietnam, makes one wonder what our men are doing there. If we are not at war, what are they doing? One wonders how silly we expect the people of this nation to be.
The majority of the people believe that we are at war, as I shall prove later. Although 1 am not one who has an overwhelming belief in the accuracy of gallup polls, there is an interesting one, to which I shall refer before I conclude my speech, relating to the Government’s present situation. To be fair to the men of this country - not only those who have volunteered to serve overseas but also the conscripts who are being sent overseas- - let us be honest and put the nation on a war footing rather than leave the servicemen there for goodness knows how long. Everyone who has read history has some idea of the length of time it took France to discover how stupid it was to fight in Indo-China. If 1 remember correctly, it was about six years.
– It was ten years.
– The honorable senator corrects me as to the number of years, but for at least six years the French were losing their men, and then they folded up and got out.
– Is the honorable senator suggesting we should do that?
– I am not suggesting that. I shall leave the honorable senator to get up and make his speech in his own way. The sooner we do what we ought to do in the interests of the people of this nation, the better it will be. We of the Opposition believe that it is very problematical, to say the least, whether this war can be won. We are supported in that view by people who know just as much as do the people who advise the Government. When one looks at the map of the unfortunate country of Vietnam and sees the area that is occupied by the West, for want of a better term, and the area occupied by those who are fighting on the other side, one wonders how long our people must remain there. A number of important people in the United States and elsewhere are concerned about whether this war can be brought to a successful conclusion, and there are such people in this country, too. Therefore, let us hope that instead of escalating the war into a much bigger war, every effort will be made to settle it in the only way in which it seems it will be settled.
We were told in the speech that was delivered in the Senate last week that the main purpose of our being in Vietnam was to resist Communist Chinese aggression and that if we do not stop it there, it will be here soon. That is, in effect, what the Government says. Yet on the other hand, what does the Government do? It allows trade between Australia and China. In fact, last year we sold $135 million worth of materials to China. I well recollect a question that I asked Sir William Spooner when he was Leader of the Government in the Senate. I asked what materials were sold to China. The first answer I received was that Australians could not sell strategic materials to the Chinese. I take it that strategic materials meant those that could be used in the manufacture of armaments and shells.
I do not know much about war, but I understand that iron and steel can be used in the manufacture of implements of war. Yet we find that this Government, whose main argument in regard to the Vietnam conflict is that we have to stop Chinese Communist aggression, is allowing steel to be exported to China. If one can believe Press reports, some of the guns and ammunition that have been captured from the Vietcong have been manufactured in China. One wonders whether history is repeating itself as in the wars of the past when private manufacturers of ammunition and of war materials sold to both sides.
Are we in this position? Why do we all use such humbug? If the Government believes it should try to bring about the state of affairs I have described it is entitled to its beliefs but it should not attempt to fool the members of this chamber or the people of Australia. If we are so afraid of Communist China - and that is one of the main reasons given to us for our troops being in this war - the Government should tell China to buy its steel and iron and other goods elsewhere.
Let us consider what goods go to Hong Kong. We know what is happening as far as imports that bear a Hong Kong label are concerned. At least 20 per cent, of Hong Kong’s imports from Australia comprise metals which can be used in the manufacture of armaments and other war materials. If we are earnest in what we are doing we should stand up and say: “ It will not affect the steel industry of Australia so much if all iron and steel and other metals which can be used in war were prevented from being exported to China, and even to Hong Kong, unless we have a very certain assurance that they will not find their resting place in China.” This would not hurt our industry, according to the figures that I have obtained from the trade.
– What volume of iron and steel went to China?
– I will ask the honorable senator to look up the book himself. I went to a lot of trouble to find out but he has more time available to him.
– Do not keep it a secret. We would like to know.
– The book is available. I have the figures myself. What have we had from this Government in the way of any real statement on what it hopes to achieve in Vietnam? We have been told of its assumption that if we do not stop Communist aggression there then Chinese Communist aggression will occur here. I do not want the Communists here but I do not believe that what the Government says is a fact. I think the Government’s argument can best be answered by what Mr. Clark has said. Until recently Mr. Clark was an officer of the Department of External Affairs. During a period of 8i years with the Department he served as third secretary in
Hong Kong and first secretary in Moscow. He had short term assignments in Taiwan and Malaysia. He holds full interpreter qualifications in Chinese and Russian and has specialised in Communist bloc affairs. His decision to resign from the Australian diplomatic service was based largely on what he described as Australia’s failure to follow independent policies in Asia. He believes that this failure has been evident particularly in the handling of the Vietnam situation, which he analysed in a newspaper article.
The article to which I refer is much too long for a bad reader like myself to read so I have taken the trouble to precis it. However, the article is available for honorable senators to read. It appeared in “ The Australian “ on 27th November last. Mr. Clark made the point that despite confident reassurances that the turning point in the war had been reached - and of course we hear that said today - the fighting ability of the Vietcong and their numbers had increased substantially in the previous 12 months and that areas under Vietcong control had increased. He pointed out, too, that since the bombing of North Vietnam the supply of weapons from that area had increased. He pointed out that support for the Vietcong grew from the time when the dictatorial Diem regime was kept in office by the West and that this happened because the regime failed to carry out the necessary reforms. He pointed out that the stepping up of the war would not bring peace closer because the Vietcong could only be beaten by political and economic measures, and that this became less possible as the West took over the running of the war. He pointed out that a continuation of hostilities in Vietnam would provide further opportunities for effective Communist propaganda amongst neutrals who were largely critical of Western policy in that area. He made the point that any negotiated settlement must be a settlement with the Vietcong but that the South Vietnamese Government refused to recognise the Vietcong. Mr. Clark asked the people of Australia to ponder why we were fighting in Vietnam. Let the Government give an answer to that question in clear and unmistakable language so that at least the people will know. Are we fighting there in order to support the United States of America in the hope that the United States will support us? If that is so, let us say so. Up to date, this Government has not said this specifically, and I do not believe it would do so.
One night last week 1 listened to a television news broadcast from a station in Melbourne of what was said by Mr. McNamara, the Secretary of Defence in the United States of America, concerning reasons for the resumption of the bombing of North Vietnam by the United States. I looked at all the newspapers the next day in Melbourne but nothing appeared in them about this statement. When I got to my office I found that the only newspaper which had printed the news I heard was the Hobart “ Mercury “. Of course it did not suit the other newspapers to print the article. When honorable senators read it they will know why those newspapers did not print it. If the people read at least one, if not two, of those reasons they would be just as shocked as I was or as anybody else ought to be.
Mr. McNamara gave three reasons for the decision to resume the bombing of North Vietnam. The first reason was that it would raise the morale of the South Vietnamese. Here is the position; we are sending our troops to South Vietnam. I have already stated the number. So far 34 have been killed, one is missing presumed dead and there are 141 wounded and the United States Secretary of Defence has said that the purpose of his country’s bombing North Vietnam was to lift the morale of the people we are fighting for. I have never heard a worse or a weaker reason than that. I agree with his second reason which is to reduce the flow of men and equipment being infiltrated to the south. There is no argument about that. If you are at war, you are at war. That is not to say that I agree with the bombing but at least it is a sane reason. The third reason is to apply pressure to try to force Hanoi to move towards negotiations.
The bombing has been condemned by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and by people in all walks of life in practically every country of the world. Therefore, we read with amazement that we are trebling our forces and that the United States is bombing the north to put a bit of courage into the South Vietnamese. The Americans are bombing the north and our fellows are spilling their blood in Vietnam. One wonders how long this will continue.
I suppose the worst feature of the proposed increase in our commitment is that about one-third of the force will be conscripts - boys of 20 years of age who have no say in the matter. One wonders whether they have any interest in the war. If they have, they must surely ask themselves: “ What will Australia get out of this? What are we fighting for?” Are they fighting for a better life for themselves and their own people or have things reached the stage at which the Government says: “ You are 20 years of age and you have been called up. for service. You will go into camp, you will train for six months and you will then be sent half way around the world. You will fight where the Government wants you to fight. You have no say in the matter.”
I said earlier that I am not one who bows his head every time he reads the results of a gallup poll. I recognise that these polls have been wrong on important occasions. They may have been out by onehalf per cent, or thereabouts in relation to the five or six elections before the 1963 election but I have reason to believe that in the majority of cases they have been’ right. The only occasion on which I believe they were wrong was in relation to the last election in 1963. So that the Government will not run away with the idea that the people are getting out the banners and the drums to support its policy on Vietnam, let me cite the result of the last gallup poll. The 1,800 people who were interviewed during the last survey were reminded that all battalions in the Australian Army included a few hundred national service trainees. Perhaps I should use the word “ conscripts “ because the term “ national service trainees “ is all humbug. The people of Australia know the word “ conscripts “. Last December when the people interviewed were asked whether they would prefer our men to remain in Australia 52 per cent, said they would, but in February this year 57 per cent, said they would. Last December 37 per cent, said they believed we should send conscripts to Vietnam but last month only 32 per cent, said they felt that way and 11 per cent, of those interviewed were undecided. I speak subject to correction, but it is possible that the survey was conducted prior to the decision to treble our commitment in Vietnam. If we continue along the road we have been travelling I believe that our commitment will be increased still further. Senator Cormack, who is to follow me in the debate, is listening intently to me. He will have the opportunity to say whether he agrees with my views but I should like to point out to him that of the 1,800 people interviewed in the gallup poll, 61 per cent, of D.L.P. voters 51 per cent, of Liberal-Country Party voters and 65 per cent, of Labour voters said that our men should remain in Australia. So all parties agreed, and there is no doubt that these percentages will increase in the future.
I remember when the Defence Act was amended to provide that those already in the Services could be sent to serve anywhere. I remember that those who were in the Citizen Military Forces were given the opportunity to resign if they had joined prior to the amending bill passing through the Parliament. If Australia is in danger and if the people feel that a war should be fought, I believe that many more will join the colours than did in 1939 or in 1914. But the people want to know today the reason why they are involved. They want to know whether there is any truth in the cry: “ If we do not stop them in Asia they will come here.” I regard that cry as spurious. Much as I have opposed the ideology of the Communist Party- I hope I will always do so - I have never been one who believes that there is a Communist under every chair I sit on. To try to tell that to the people is only falsifying the position. I have said in this House on more than one occasion that the people who control the means of life in Asia have bred Communism because in the main they have refused to give the people decent food, clothing and shelter.
I read with interest the reports emanating from the Honolulu conference about what will be done in the economic field - the villages which will be restored and the hospitals which will be built. The only thing I can say about that is that it is better late than never although it is pretty late now. Can we wonder if people take action to try to help themselves when they and those near and dear to them are hungry and starving? Courageous people might be expected to join an organisation in those circumstances if they honestly believe that by joining it they will get food, clothing and shelter. I believe they are wrong in seeking such a solution but their main thought is to get food, clothing and shelter.
I was extremely upset by the reported statements made to a meeting of the National Union of Australian University Students held in Hobart recently. I do not vouch for the accuracy of the report but I have no reason to say that it is not correct. It was stated that a significantly higher proportion of people undertaking university courses are selected for national service compared with other sections of the community. It was said that the number was almost half as many again and the reason given by officers of the Department of Labour and National Service was that those in this group reached higher standards than other groups. Personally I doubt this. I admit that possibly their educational qualifications would be better than those of the average group outside a university but I can hardly believe that they would be healthier than other groups. I think the standards in many ways are set against certain groups and to that extent they are unfair.
I have personal knowledge of one rather remarkable case. If necessary I can name the individual concerned. Recently this young man registered for national service. Before any selection was made by ballot he was contacted by an officer of Southern Command who inquired about his educational studies “ because “, the officer said, “ we think you sound like officer material “. Rightly or wrongly, this young man believes that the relevant details about him were passed on to the Army by the Department of Labour and National Service, and that whether or not his birthday is one of those selected by ballot, he will be called into service. These facts were given to me and, as I have said, I can name the individual concerned.
If there is any malpractice in selection for national service - and I would be the last to say that there is unless I have documentary proof - at least we should block up the holes in the system to prevent it. All the dates selected in the ballot for national service should be known to the people. That is the only way to make sure there is no abuse of the system. Since those selected run the danger of service in Vietnam there should be no suspicion whatever of malpractice.
It was my intention to deal with economic matters affecting the nation but no doubt some of my colleagues will speak on that subject. I am concerned about the international situation as is every other Australian. I say this to the Government: “ Do not think you can get away with the fever that characterises the nation when it is at war “. The people want to know more than the Government is prepared to tell them. They want more than the terse statement that the South Vietnam Government has asked us for help. The people want to know why the Government does not declare war, if we are at war, so that they will know where they stand. The nation could then be put on a war footing. Then at least Australia would not be in the position where it attracts the hate of Asia.
I do not speak with any hostility whatever to the United States of America. I am not hostile to the United States. I have made that plain in the Senate. I have very vivid recollections of the great help given to Australia by the United States in our hour of need. I look around and ask myself: If that hour of need came again, where else could we go? But in all honesty I ask: What guarantees have we got? Possibly if I were mean enough I would say that our only way to get a guarantee is to leave Australian industries under American ownership and then, as has happened throughout history, the sword will follow the money. But we want more than that. Surely no-one values a person who is supposed to be a friend and who nods “ Yes “ when his better instincts tell him he ought to say “ No “. We want friends. Our population is small compared with the huge area we occupy but we should have our own voice and our own policy remembering always that whether we like it or not we are part of Asia. If the U.S.A. in its wisdom wants to get out of Asia it can do so, but we cannot; we are here. Therefore, in the interests of Australia and its people we should have our own independent voice in world affairs, doing what is right by our own people and what is fair by those who are our friends.
.- It is true, as Senator Kennelly said iti the early part of his speech, that we have been friends for many years but judging by his views on the subject he has been discussing, we are going to end the long friendship and affection we have shared between us. In the latter part of his speech, the honorable senator, for whom I have great affection, was carried away by emotion. It is proper that he should have emotion but emotion does not govern the affairs of men. It is my duty to try to strip away some of the emotion the honorable senator displayed which is not based on fact but is self-induced and, what is more dangerous still, reveals an attempt to induce in the Australian electorate an emotional acceptance of a situation that does not require emotion but rather the clearest and coolest of heads.
Having said that, I want to voice an observation which I wrote down this afternoon after thinking these matters over. This is what I wrote for my own benefit and, I hope, for the benefit of honorable senators: In a free society, the strategy of defence of national integrity and order rests on and is dependent upon the values of the people of the nation concerned. If those values are confused, contradictory or superficial, the national requirements will be of a similar character.
In his speech Senator Kennelly set out not deliberately but emotionally to confuse the values and the national character of the situation which is the subject of this debate. Therefore, Sir, I shall attempt with the good nature of my senatorial colleagues on both sides of the chamber to set into pattern the problems involved in relation to the commitments that we have in South Vietnam at the present moment.
In doing that, I think I must claim the attention of the Senate for one more moment to deal with two challenges that have been thrown out by Senator Kennelly. The first is the question of whether we should or should not declare war. I shall deal with this at some length later in my speech, but I can well imagine the indignation of the honorable senator and his colleagues if the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) had last week in his speech, which was in effect a statement to the nation, announced that Australia had declared war. This would have brought down on the head and shoulders of every honorable senator who supports the Government the greatest volume of abuse. The suggestion is that we should declare war on, I assume, the people of North Vietnam.
The second matter with which I wish to deal is Senator Kennelly’s challenge in relation to the claim that we are trading with the enemy, which in this case he identifies with Communist China. I reject this. There is a moral problem in relation to the sending of wheat to China. The morality that is involved in this is as to whether or not we should withhold wheat from China, where the people are hungry. If the Chinese People’s Republic wishes to buy wheat in order to feed its hungry people, who is the moralist to say that we should not allow it to feed its hungry people? When it comes to the claim by Senator Kennelly that we have been trading with the Chinese People’s Republic, he seeks to convey, it seems to me, the impression that a vast volume of steel has been sold to the Chinese People’s Republic. He goes on to say quite truthfully of course that ammunition and weapons of Chinese manufacture have been captured in areas of South Vietnam, and he then seeks to convey by a process of political osmosis that this steel which has been shipped from Australia and has it origin in Australia is being turned into weapons in China and used to deal out death and destruction to the American, South Vietnamese and Australian people. That is something that fills me with alarm. I think that the honorable senator on this occasion was led into an error by those who did the devilling and prepared his notes because, when challenged by Senator Webster, he refused to divulge the source of his information upon which it is alleged that this vast quantity of steel was being shipped to the Chinese People’s Republic.
– I was not asked the source of it; I was asked the amount.
– The honorable senator was asked the amount and he did not. answer. I left the chamber in order to make an examination pf the facts. They indicate that steel has been shipped from Australia to the Chinese People’s Republic in the last two years, but it is strip steel for making beer cans, fruit cans or jam tins.
– Rutile has been sent there.
– Rutile is forbidden, as the honorable senator knows. As a strategic material, its shipment is prohibited. Senator Kennelly made no mention at all of rutile. He said that thousands of tons of steel had been sent. He then claimed not only that it was being shipped to China but also that it was being turned into weapons and ammunition and being shot back at the Australians. That is patently untrue, and I suggest that he has been misled by his own staff. What is more, the statement is dishonest.
– Perhaps they shot beer cans.
– Or fruit tins, or jam tins, or whatever it is. It is strip steel and it is totally incarable of being turned into weapons and ammunition. Now let me deal with what is sought to be conveyed emotionally to the Australian people in relation to this problem of South Vietnam. We want peace, but on what basis do we establish peace? Ever since 1954 there has been an attempt to establish peace in the South East Asian area, in Vietnam, and in South Vietnam. From the time of the Geneva Convention of 1954 there has been an attempt to re-establish peace in South Vietnam. As honorable senators know, there are two co-chairmen to the protocol of the Geneva Convention, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United Kingdom. Last year the Prime Minister of Great Britain, the Right Honorable Harold Wilson, the Leader of the Labour Party in Great Britain, went to Moscow. Andrei Gromyko, the First Secretary of the Commissary of Foreign Affairs, was invited to London in an attempt to get a re-establishment of the Geneva Convention. The Russians refused to agree with the United Kingdom to have a re-assembly of the Geneva Convention States. The Prime Minister of Great Britain himself has been in Moscow in the last two or three months as co-chairman in an attempt to get the Russians to agree but they will not agree.
So the problem of peace is how we are to get peace. We do not get peace unless we get people to the conference table. That is manifest. How do we get the people of North Vietnam, who are the aggressors in this - as 1 shall demonstrate in a moment - and how do we get the other people who are aggressors to the conference table? Senator Kennelly has been involved in the tactics, problems and politics of the Australian Labour Party for very many years and he knows perfectly well that the industrial front is extraordinarily important and that you exercise pressure on the people whom you want to get to the peace table before you can get them there to settle an industrial dispute. It is perfectly true that the same problem applies in relation to South Vietnam. How do we get the Hanoi Government to the peace table?
Apart from having to exercise pressure on people to get them to the peace table, as Senator Kennelly and every other member of the Australian Labour Party sitting opposite know, you only get at the peace table what you have been able to get in the field or on the industrial front. This is true of South Vietnam at the present moment. This is an attempt to get at a peace table what is obtained in the field. It was nearly left too late, when no capacity would be left in any of the free world nations - the United States, Australia, Korea, the Philippines and the Protocol States of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation - when they would have nothing to bargain with at the peace table. It was believed that there was no end to this. It was patent last July that an enormous struggle was going on inside the United States of America as to whether the Americans pulled out of South Vietnam entirely and gave it away. The United States, I believe fortunately, took its courage in both hands in July of last year and said: “ We have to try to salvage something from here “. I shall demonstrate to the Senate what is required to be salvaged. It is said that the South Vietnam problem is soluble by inviting the United Nations Organisation to take a hand. The United Nations, unfortunately, has a miserable record in its attempts to solve these problems. It was driven into the Korean episode at the last moment by the United. States, Britain, Australia and a few other nations. The United Nations Assembly shook at the knees at the very thought of being asked to tackle the problem of Hungary when the Russians invaded Hungary. When an attempt was made in the United Nations to have some action taken to prevent the Russians from pursuing the invasion of Hungary, the United Nations could do nothing but talk.
When the problem of the Congo reached a stage at which murder, rapine and arson of a most ignoble order and extent were being carried out, the United Nations took its courage in both hands - because it happened to be an African State, it seemed to me, on this occasion - and agreed to put troops into the Congo to solve the problem. There were 60,000 troops and they did not solve it and the United Nations was left with a deficit of SU.S.100 million, which most of the nations refused to pay. That is an indication that the United Nations is not able to solve these problems. What did the United Nations do when the Chinese People’s Republic invaded Tibet? Did it carry any resolution condemning the Chinese People’s Republic? Did it take any action to move the Chinese troops out of Tibet? The answer, again, is: “ No.” However desirable it might be, in this situation the United Nations has not the capacity to carry out peace keeping operations unless they are of a very minor nature, such as those in Cyprus. I belong to a generation that is familiar with the problem that Vietnam now presents. It seems, unfortunately, that every generation has to learn the lessons of the past generation. Looking back over my lifetime as a citizen, a soldier and a politician, I think that great mistakes were made in the 1930’s when aggression was not resisted. I do not believe there is a single member of the Australian Labour Party of my age, either here or in another place, who did not say in 1938 that the people of the United Kingdom were gutless because they did not resist Hitler at the time of Munich. Yet it was the same generation and the same men who said in 1940 that if France and the United Kingdom had resisted Hitler in 1938 we would not have had the capitalistic war that was then being waged. These are the same people who say now that we must not resist aggression’ in South Vietnam.
– What. . role did Stanley Baldwin play?
– I am not talking t about Stanley Baldwin. He was not in government at the time. This is the point:
Aggression was not resisted in Sudeten land; it was not resisted in Czechoslovakia; it was not resisted at Munich and it was not resisted in Austria. This, it is said by members of the Australian Labour Party and by every left wing historian, was the breeding ground of the great cataclysmic war of 1939-45. I suggest that there are indications that a world cataclysm of one sort or another is now breeding in South East Asia and particularly on the Asian mainland. It is quite patent that there is a probing operation around the periphery of the whole of southern Asia. The People’s Republic of China is probing away around Sinkiang, to the north of Pakistan and on the northern frontiers of India. It is also probing away on the northern frontiers of Thailand. There are incursions by armed Communists, obviously fomented or led or inspired from China. There is actual aggression in northern Laos and Cambodia and there is penetration in South Vietnam.
The honorable gentleman who leads the Australian Labour Party in another place claims that the Western world has no value except the value of money. But the Western world has poured out its treasure over the last 20 years to sustain and support free nations everywhere. The honorable gentleman claims, and it is claimed by implication in this place, that the Western world has no values, but in fact it has set out to establish values. It has set out to establish that there shall be a world order where aggression shall not be allowed, and in the face of the incapacity of the United Nations the responsibility devolves on individual nations to see that world order is preserved and that anarchy does not reign.
The historical oddity is that wherever the probing operations of the aggressors are taking place anywhere in the world they are taking place under the inspiration and direction of societies that take Marxism as their philosophy. It is not a philosophy in my view. It is something that General de Gaulle of France refuses to describe as philosophy. He describes it as a system, but, what is worse, it is a system which operates with two components - the conspirator and swordsman. If I may move away from that literary expression I will put it into terms of national components in various parts of the world, using their national resources to advance a system of government which I describe and which is patently recognisable as Marxism.
In the last 10 or 15 years, during which what is sometimes described as a balance of the nuclear deterrent has been achieved, there has been a new development in these wars of aggression. In the charming words of Mr. Khrushchev, the former ex-peasant boy who is now living in some dacha out of Moscow and the man who beat on a United Nations desk with his boot, it takes another form. In 1963, for example, he said that Russia must abandon the task of military competition with the Western world. As honorable senators will recollect, he said, in relation to the policy espoused by Communist China, that America is not a paper tiger and that if it is a paper tiger it has nuclear teeth. In his address to the Presidium when he made this famous remark he went on to say: “ Let us be under no illusions about it. We are not going to pull on a fight with the Western world. We are going to support wars of national liberation.”
Let us have a look at some of these wars of national liberation. The first that comes to my mind - it has obviously been forgotten by many although it is important - is the uprising which occurred in Greece from 1945 to 1948. What happened in Greece in those days has been pretty thoroughly established since then in a careful and exhaustive analysis. This shows that not more than 8 per cent, of the people of Greece at any time supported the conspiracy - the so called war of national liberation. Yet the conspirators nearly took Greece over. This was a four years war in which the people of Greece, armed by the British and Americans - only Greek troops were engaged - set out to try to reconquer their own country from the conspirators who were based “in Yugoslavia, armed by Yugoslavia, fed from Yugoslavia and hospitalised in Yugoslavia. “ Keesing’s Contemporary Archives” of 2nd-9th July 1949 says -
The Greek General Staff announced on May 29 the following figures of casualties and losses in the civil war from June 1946 to March 1949: (a) Government forces- 10,927 officers and men killed, 23,251 wounded, 3,756 missing- total 37,934;…..
civilians - 3,516 executed-
That is, by the Communists - 731 killed by mines- total 4,247. The announcement added that 28,000 children had been abducted by the Communists-
They were never returned to their homeland or their parents -
That was the operation of the Communist Party in Greece in 1949. Have we forgotten this? Have we forgotten that only recently Tibet was involved in so called national liberation? The report of the International Commission of Jurists, a legal inquiry into events in Tibet, established that genocide occurred. There was a systematic policy of killing, imprisonment and deportation of those persons opposed to the Chinese regime. It is estimated that the total number of victims of mass killing was 65,000. This was another liberating war by the forces of aggression that are loose in the world today.
However, we are dealing in this debate with South Vietnam. Honorable senators on both sides of the chamber will be interested in the figures I am about to cite which illustrate what wars of liberation mean. The figures are a record of terrorism by the Vietcong and the breakdown is based on information from all available sources, including the International Control Commission set up under the Geneva Convention. It consists of three members - a Canadian, an Indian and a Pole. It is very difficult to get the Pole to sign anything coming from the Commission. An Indian national is the Chairman.
– The Pole put in a minority report.
– I shall read the figures.
– Where did the honorable senator get them from?
– The figures come from various sources including, as I said, the International Control Commission. In a moment I shall cite, for the benefit of Senator Cavanagh, figures from the American State Department records. I did not wish to read them because I thought that they would immediately be designated as suspect. I shall read the American figures in a moment and the figures from other sources may be compared with them. In 1962 in South Vietnam 1,719 civilians were killed, 6,458 were wounded and 9,688 were kidnapped, a total of 17,865. The figures for 1963 are 2,073 killed, 8,375 wounded and 7,262 kidnapped, a total of 17,610. In 1964 1,611 civilians were killed, 2,324 were wounded and 6,710 were kidnapped, a total of 10,645. The figures I shall now give are rather extraordinary. They relate to the six months ended 30th June 1965, in which period 842 civilians were killed, 1,165 were wounded and 6,107 were kidnapped, a total of 8,114. It is clear that the curve is beginning to climb.
For the benefit of Senator Cavanagh I shall refer now to the publication “ Aggression from the North - The Record of North Vietnam’s Campaign To Conquer South Vietnam “, appendix 1. The details I am about to read are taken from a table headed “ Village, District, and other Government Officials”. In 1964 a total of 416 village, district and other government officials were killed, 162 such officials were wounded and 1,131 were kidnapped. In the same period 1,359 other civilians were killed. I have not totalled the numbers wounded in that period and I shall give them for each month. They are as follows: January 146; February 174; March 239; April 21S; May 163; June 173; July 194; August 122; September 203; October 90; November 94; and December 154. The table also shows the great numbers who were kidnapped in that period.
Another table in the publication shows the number of incidents of Vietcong terrorism, sabotage, forced propaganda sessions and armed attacks during 1964. The table shows that acts of terrorism averaged about 1,400 a month, a total of about 15,000 for the year. Acts of terrorism constitute a modern form of warfare in what are called “wars of national liberation”. The figures I have read to honorable senators relate to a war that is called by the Leader of the Australian Labour Party in another place a “ civil war “. He says: “ It is no business of ours. It is no business of the Americans.” Surely the preservation of international order, justice and peace must be based on something. Because of the inability of the United Nations Organisation to stop these acts of terrorism, masquerading as wars of national liberation, someone must enter the conflict and attempt to stop them. I suggest that the only people who can do so are the people who acknowledge that it is their duty.
Particularly does such a duty lie upon us in Australia at present. If we hand over in total to acts of unparalleled violence the people of Tibet, Thailand or South Vietnam, we abandon them. If we abandon them, what sort of people are we? The South Vietnamese people are unable to help themselves. They have been bedevilled since 1954 by constant acts of terrorism, deliberately carried out by North Vietnamese. Again for the benefit of Senator Cavanagh - who quite properly wishes verification in all these things - I shall refer to the evidence of Mr. Dean Rusk, Secretary of State of the United States of America, quoted in the “ Washington Post “ under the heading “Partial Text of Secretary of State Dean Rusk’s Prepared Testimony Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee “.
– Has the honorable senator any facts other than American facts?
– AH the facts except those I have quoted in the last two instances are taken from non-American sources.
– Sources which the honorable senator would not name.
– Why does the honorable senator hate Americans?
– 1 do not hate the Americans.
– Senator Cavanagh claims that any information that comes out of the United States of America is false. I have stated the sources of material for every statement I have made since I rose to speak in this debate. Only two of the sources I have quoted have been American. I have identified them as United States sources before I have given the information and I intend to give further information from American sources. The evidence of Mr. Dean Rusk before the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee was subsequently endorsed by the United States Senate - I think by 94 votes to 4. I shall read now what Mr. Dean Rusk had to say about the invasion of South Vietnam. He said -
The evidence is overwhelming that the National Liberation Front is exactly what its name implies - a Communist front organisation intended to give support to the deliberate fiction that the war in Vietnam is an indigenous revolt. The front is, as the facts make clear, an invention of the Communist Party of North Vietnam, to serve as a political cloak for its activities in the South. As I have noted earlier, the front was created by the North Vietnamese Communist Party, the Lao Dong party, in 1960, soon after North Vietnam’s military leader, General Giap, announced: “ The North is the revolutionary base for the whole country “.
So there is no doubt in my mind - and there should be no doubt in the mind of any honorable senator - that the invasion of South Vietnam is invasion by North Vietnam, sustained and inspired by the two Socialist fatherlands of China and Russia. J go further and say that one of the grossest miscalculations - which could easily have involved Australia in a situation of enormous danger - occurred in the last two years when it became apparent that those who were then in control of the destinies of Indonesia had made up their minds that the great break through was to take place down through the South China Sea and end in Indonesia. In fact, no attempt has been made to hide the fact that accord had been established between the Governments of Communist China, Russia, North Vietnam and Indonesia.
In September of last year, a military coup or revolt took place in Indonesia and it seems to be established from the documents and information coming out of Indonesia that it was precipitated by the Indonesian Communist Party which believed, perhaps, that control of the situation there was passing out of its hands. I believe that if the United States Government in the pursuit of the rights of the Vietnamese people had not entered into South Vietnam as it did, the results of the revolt in September 1965 in Indonesia would have produced there circumstances greatly different from- the present circumstances. Whether the present position is good or bad I do not know, but I say that for Australia it is good. It is the first fruit that has come from the entry of the United States into the Vietnamese conflict. I refer to that only to illustrate that the problem in South Vietnam is coincidental with the security of Australia. There is no true strategic defence for Australia unless the aggression in South Vietnam is halted where it is at the present moment. Therefore, the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, in the interests of the people of the Commonwealth of Australia, has announced that it is prepared to go further in order to arrest this aggression in South East Asia.
This question will be the test of the morality of our own people, as I mentioned earlier. If we are confused about what the external defence issues are, we will make bad decisions in relation to our internal defence. 1 will not move from the position that the true defence of Australia exists in South Vietnam at the present moment. The matter may be put on that level, namely that we are concerned only with our own defence. But I put it on the higher moral level that we also owe a duty to people who are defenceless in the face of aggression against them. Australians are in Vietnam for a higher moral reason than the mere physical defence of Australia.
I reject the thesis put forward by my friend, Senator Kennelly. I regard it as despicable to describe the selected national servicemen, who might be described as the select men, as conscripts as if they have been taken by the neck, dragged off and thrown into the heat and fire of battle. It seems to be clearly established that the young men whose marbles have come up and who have undergone national service training and have been selected to join the Australian Regular Army in the field of battle are proud to be going there. They deserve from the Parliament more than the condemnation implied in the word “ conscript “, which suggests that they have been press ganged or shanghaied into this conflict. They deserve all the moral support that we can give them. They are entitled to all the pride that we should have in them. Therefore, I reject this argument on conscription.
– It is a horrible word.
– I think it is an evil word in this context. I accept the challenge that has been laid down by the Leader of the Australian Labour Party in another place. I have no fear of helping to fight the by-election in the electorate of Kooyong to elect a member to replace the right honorable and distinguished gentleman who was
Prime Minister of Australia for so many years. I have not the slightest doubt that we will win that by-election. If this issue has to be carried to a general election at which the national morality will be tested, I am not frightened to face up to it there either. I believe that when the Australian people face up to this issue and when the facts, including some of the additional facts that will be adduced later in this debate, are put clearly before them, they will rally to the higher moral principles that are involved in helping people to resist aggression in South East Asia and ultimately will contrive to build a defensive barrier by which this country can remain safe for our children.
– Last night I listened to the speech delivered by the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Mr. Calwell). I was not at all surprised when he took the opportunity to question the repeated statement in the speech to the nation by the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) that his Government was a new government. In fact, in the preparation of some notes for my speech tonight I had included reference to the Prime Minister’s over-emphasis of the point that his Government was a new government. I wondered whether it was an attempt on his part to convey to the Parliament and the people of Australia that Australia has a new government with a new policy and a new approach to the economic, social and external problems facing the nation, or whether it was his intention, with undue haste, to bury the Menzies image and to build the Holt image in the minds of the people hoping that many of the dissatisfied electors would continue to vote for his political party.
Technically, the Prime Minister was correct in referring to his Government as a new government; but for all practical purposes it is the same government following out the same policy. In fact, the only changes that took place in the Government were the transfer of a few Ministers and the appointment of Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin ro the Ministry. That appointment met with my approval. I sincerely congratulate her on her elevation to the Ministry. I trust that her hopes for improvements in the important Department of Housing will be realised. Doubtless, she has already commenced to realise the deficiencies in the Government’s policy on home ownership. Her task will be to convince the Government of the necessity to do a great deal more than it appears to have been prepared to do up till now. If the Government is to continue to be a one man government, as it appears to have been for so long, she has my sympathy. I expected that the Prime Minister would take the opportunity to replace a few of his bungling Ministers, such as those who were responsible for the disgraceful case involving Ipec-Air Pty. Ltd. There can be no doubt that he has better material available to him in his party.
I take this opportunity to congratulate the Prime Minister on assuming the leadership of the Liberal Party in the National Parliament and the position of Prime Minister of Australia. I congratulate him on being able to assume those positions without having to engage in a dog and goanna struggle such as the one that we have been witnessing in another political party during the past few weeks. Such a conflict is inevitable when one individual claims to lead his party by grace and another states publicly that he believes that he is destined to be the leader of his party and to be Prime Minister. I suppose that when things are all washed up we will find that both of them will accept the famous words of my erstwhile Deputy Premier, John Edmund Duggan, who in 19S7 said that right or wrong, wise or unwise, he was prepared to answer to the dictates of the faceless men. Right or wrong, wise or unwise, the members of the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party appear to be ready to accept the decisions of the 12 witless men or the 36 faceless men, regardless of their oath of office or the effect of those decisions on our parliamentary system of government.
I regret that the regime of the new Prime Minister has begun so inauspiciously. It must have been very humiliating to the right honorable gentleman to be compelled to take note of overwhelming public reaction against the proposal to break the nexus between the Senate and the House of Representatives and to provide for approximately 24 additional members for the House of Representatives, of the excellent “No” case that was prepared by honorable senators who were opposed to the legislation when it was introduced in the Senate and of the campaign that was conducted by the Australian Democratic Labour Party. What has happened proves that the public relations of the Government and the official Opposition need brightening up and that there is an urgent need for both to get their ears nearer to the ground and to ascertain public opinion on such important matters. I heard Senator Kennelly tonight talk about gallup polls. He might well have referred to a gallup poll on this issue. If he had done so, he would have told the Senate just how decisively the public were opposed to the proposal.
Then the Prime Minister and Mr. John McEwen, his partner in government, suffered what Mr. McEwen elected to refer to as a terrible kick in the stomach from the electors of Dawson. However, for the sake of Australia and its people I wish the Prime Minister and his Government a successful term of office, at least until such time as a decent Labour Party constructed on true Labour lines is ready to take over the government of this country.
I take advantage of this opportunity to express my deep concern at the manner in which action on the proposed referendums was postponed by the Cabinet at its meeting of 15th February. The two referendudm bills in question were passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate by 2nd December. The Chief Electoral Officer then awaited receipt of the cases for and against the proposals. In a reply to a question that I addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior I was informed that 30th December was the last day on which we could submit our case on the proposals. The case for a “ No “ vote on the parliamentary proposal certainly was submitted, and I presume that the case for a “ Yes “ vote was submitted. Having received these cases by the due date the Chief Electoral Officer, in accordance with section 6a of the Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Act. 1906-1965, caused to be printed 16-page pamphlets containing the case for a “Yes” vote and the case for a “No” vote on the parliamentary proposal, the argument in support of a “ Yes “ vote on the Aboriginal proposal, and a statement showing the textual alterations and additions to the Constitution.
I submit that, under the relevant legislation, the Chief Electoral Officer was to distribute those pamphlets to 6i million electors by 28th February 1966. Indeed, the pamphlet was printed, folded and enclosed ready for despatch. The printing and assembling of those pamphlets must have involved the expenditure of thousands of pounds - I sought information in this connection today. But, upon reading the newspapers on 16th February last, we learned that the Cabinet had abandoned the two referendums. I regret that the referendum on the Aboriginal proposal was postponed. However, I am not surprised that the referendum on the Parliament was postponed, because right from the start it was an attempt, in my opinion, to hoodwink the electors into accepting a proposal that was unreal and unnecessary.
More importantly, I am concerned about the manner in which the postponement was carried out. To say the least of it, Mr. President, it was contemptuous of the Parliament itself. Two referendum bills were passed by the Parliament, and in my opinion only the Parliament has the right to cancel or repeal them. Once the Cabinet decided not to proceed with the referendums both Houses of the Parliament should have been called together immediately to enable a repealing bill to be debated. The Government’s failure to follow this proper course of action reveals its utter disregard for correct parliamentary procedure. Who knows but that the repealing legislation might not have been agreed to by the Senate? None of us can answer that question.
In 1915, five referendum bills were introduced in the Senate, were debated and agreed to, and the necessary machinery was set in motion. Later it was decided that the referendum would not be proceeded with, and a repealing bill was introduced and debated. It was found necessary to direct in that bill, which became Act No. 51 of 1915, that “ no further proceedings be taken in relation to the submission of the proposed laws to the electors”. I am sure that that direction was included to save the Chief Electoral Officer from any embarrassment in regard to the distribution of printed pamphlets which contained the respective arguments - in other words, in the discharge of his duties under the terms of the original referendum legislation. I repeat that on this occasion, too, a repealing bill should have been introduced to afford the Chief Electoral Officer protection. Action should have been taken by the Parliament, not by the Executive. The Chief Electoral Officer takes his cue in regard to the receiving and printing of the respective arguments from the passage of the referendum bills through the Parliament. Therefore, if it is desired to abandon the referendums, it is necessary for the Parliament to negate or repeal the original legislation containing the direction. As the pamphlets were to have been distributed by 28th February, it was the duty of the Cabinet to reassemble the Parliament to enable a repealing bill to be debated and adopted before that date.
I am deeply perturbed about the postponement of the proposal to count Aborigines in the taking of the census. It is true to say that they are counted during the census, but the totals appear separately from that of the population generally. If one looks at the Commonwealth “ Year Book “, one finds that figures dealing with the Aborigines are isolated as though they related to the cattle population or the sheep population. I disagree with the Prime Minister when he says that the postponement of a referendum on this proposal will have no adverse practical result. The postponement will mean an unnecessary prolongation of the existence of a provision which gives rise to much adverse criticism overseas. A census of the population will be taken at the end of June 1966. As the referendum will not have been conducted by that time, this wrong will be perpetuated for a further period. Figures relating to the Aboriginal population are said to be accessible. If that is so, I, as a former Premier, would like to know why these people were not included in me populations’ of Western Australia and Queensland in particular - those States have big Aboriginal populations - when tax reimbursements were considered. They were evidently not so accessible to the Treasurer and to the Prime Minister of Australia at the time.
The time at my disposal will not permit me to deal with all the facets of the Prime Minister’s statement. Many of them are of vital importance. Our economic problem is a serious one and calls for close and careful scrutiny by the Government of this country. Late last year at a Democratic Labour Party conference my colleage, Senator McManus, and I drew attention to some of the features of our economic life which were showing evidence of deterioration. We challenged the statement of the then Treasurer, who is now the Prime Minister, in the Budget Speech that Australia had a high pitched economy. 1 accept that the economy is relatively good today, but it is something that has to be carefully guarded and watched. I appeal to the Prime Minister to ensure that there is no worsening of our position.
I would like to make a few brief references to pensions. As honorable senators know, the Democratic Labour Party for many years has advocated that pensions must be removed from the arena of party politics and that they should be the subject of determination by an independent authority. We believe that pensioners would thus receive greater justice than they receive from governments which appear to adopt the cynical practice of throwing the pensioners a worthless sop in the second or third Budget, nicely timed prior to an election. Since the last pension increase in August 1964 the consumer price index has risen steadily. This, of course, has only aggravated the plight of the older Australians who are attempting to live on £6 per week. The position of persons on fixed incomes is worsening every day because of the increased cost of living, increased transport costs and increased service charges. Yet nothing has been done to liberalise the means test. This is long overdue.
Child endowment is another subject under the heading of social services which is calling out for urgent attention. At the present time we hear startling reports about the rapidly falling birthrate in this country. We are spending a lot of money on migration, yet nothing is being done to induce our own people to increase the size of their families. I recognise that the economic reason is not the sole reason why the size of families is controlled. In the words of the old song: “The rich get richer and the poor get children “. That is true to a great extent. But the fact remains that there are a lot of people who would not be restricting the size of their families today if they were in a better economic position.
The present rates of child endowment at 5s. per week for the first child, 10s. per week for the second child and 15s. per week for the third and later children are not realistic when one considers the great increase in the cost of living, the increase in the price of food and clothing and the increased transport charges that are hitting the working class people today. The Democratic Labour Party would like to see the present child endowment rates increased from 15s. to 30s. per week for the third child, 35s. per week for the fourth child and £2 per week for the fifth and later children. These are not gigantic or munificent amounts when one compares them with the rates that are paid in France and Canada. I believe that to some extent, this is the solution to the wages problem. Wage increases do not greatly assist the worker who has a large family, particularly as price increases invariably take place after a wage increase, but improved child endowment rates would help him in a direct way. There are many other powerful arguments that could be advanced for increasing child endowment rates, but I do not intend to elaborate them now. I believe that the Senate will be given an opportunity further to debate and discuss this matter.
I come now to the question of war and the Vietnam crisis. War is a terrible, diabolical and evil thing. Only a maniac could see any merit in war. I am sure that we all share the desire for peace, which was expressed tonight by Senator Kennelly. Australians are peace loving people. We do not want war. But what do we do when war is forced upon us and when our liberty, freedom and security are threatened? We are left with no alternative. In those circumstances we have to adopt a realistic and commonsense attitude. We have to face the issue, as we were required to do in two great world wars, in the Korean War and in other wars since. If there is any confusion about the Vietnam crisis or if there is any misunderstanding about the war in Vietnam, I say that the fault lies with the Government, and especially with the former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies. He made a public statement that we were at war. Now his successor is saying that we are not actually at war.
If the former Prime Minister believed that we were at war, he was entitled to tell the public that we were at war, but he also had an equal responsibility to explain to the Australian people the nature of the issues involved, the reason why we were fighting side by side with the South Vietnamese and the Americans and what wintended to do. With all the facilities at his disposal as Prime Minister of Australia, can any honorable senator remember the Prime Minister engaging in a national broadcast or telecast to explain to the people of Australia the issues involved and why it was necessary for Australians to be participating in the war in Vietnam?
This head in the sand attitude is not the way to convince the Australian people that the fight against Communism in Vietnam is in their interests and is to protect the future of Australia for their children and to preserve the liberty and freedom which a democracy such as ours alone can give them. The flower of this young nation made the supreme sacrifice, and others fought and were wounded so that we could continue to enjoy the freedom and liberty that this democracy provides. We would be recreant to our trust as the custodian of those things we enjoy because of the sacrifice of those people if we did not take some positive action to arrest the onward march of Communism towards this land of the Southern Cross.
I contend that the issues involved in the Vietnam question are straightforward. Our troops are fighting side by side with the Americans, the South Koreans, the South Vietnamese and the New Zealanders in a defensive war against Communist subversion and guerrilla attacks. The Communist guerrillas are following the revolutionary form of war outlined by the Chinese. These ideas on revolutionary guerrilla warfare were put up to Asian people as the path to follow. Success in this type of guerrilla activity in Vietnam would lead to a weakening of the will of other Asian governments to resist.
Australians do not want to see Communist governments in Asia and therefore the Australian Government, like the American Government, is determined to stand firm in Vietnam. Fundamentally, the main point is that a calculated and outside directed attack has been launched by one country against another and we have been asked to help that country in her hour of need and to preserve it from takeover by one of the most totalitarian countries in the world today - North Vietnam. Those who believe that the war in Vietnam is a civil war are either fools or knaves, and I cannot accept that they are fools. There are no people in the world today, throwing in the Red Chinese and Russians, who are under tighter control than are the people in North Vietnam under the Hanoi regime.
The Government’s decision to include national servicemen in the extra troops to he sent to South Vietnam has been caused, I be:ieve, by the Government’s failure once again to listen to what the Democratic Labour Party has been saying for years.
Party has been crying out for additional expenditure for the defence of this country. We advocated the restoration of national service training but we were repeatedly told by the Minister for the Army and the Minister for Defence on those occasions that, on the advice of the Service heads, it was impracticable. On the eve of the 1963 general election, the former Prime Minister announced that national service training was to be included in his policy speech. That was only a couple of weeks after the Minister for the Army had again said that his advisers had told him it could not be done. Had national service training been introduced then we would have had more trained men at our disposal than we have today.
The official Opposition in this Parliament is equally responsible with the Government for this because it was opposed to any increase in the defence vote during those years when the Democratic Labour Party was advocating increased measures for the defence of this country and for the security of our people. I agree with the previous speaker that Communism has to be arrested somewhere. Sad and sorrowful as it is for our sons to be conscripted and sent to Vietnam, I believe that if the position is explained to the people as it should have been long before this they will realise that it is much better to fight the Communists in Vietnam than to fight them in Darwin. I say that because no-one but a fool would believe that in the event of the fall of South Vietnam the Communist march towards the conquest of the world would stop. It would follow through to Malaysia, and Malaysia is 1,500 miles from Darwin - about as far as Townsville is from Sydney.
Much has been said in the last few days about conscription. Mr. Calwell, in his speech, said that the Australian Labour Party was an anti-conscription party. That is not entirely true. We know that during World War II the Curtin Government introduced conscription.
– It introduced conscription for the Pacific area.
– Yes. Then it extended the region in which men were required to serve. It is not very far from Borneo to South Vietnam. For the benefit of Senator Kennelly who said tonight that boys of 20 years of age who had no say in the government of the country were being called up and sent away, I point out that they are called up at 20 years of age but they are trained for 12 months.
– They are trained for six months.
– It is 12 months before they enter into active warfare. During the Second World War, boys were being called up before reaching the age of 20 years and they were at Milne Bay, Bougainville, on the Kokoda Trail, and in Borneo. Those areas were just as foreign to them as South Vietnam is to the present conscripts. So when Mr. Calwell says that the Australian Labour Party is an anti-conscription party he is not correct. We know that John Curtin saw the necessity of conscription in Australia. How, in conscience, could he call to the United States for aid and then have our volunteer Army assisted by conscripts from America?
I ask those people who are so disturbed by conscription today whether any of them asked, and whether Mr. Calwell asked at that time whether those Americans who helped to save our hides were conscripts or volunteers? Of course, Mr. Calwell did not. He fought against John Curtin, and against conscription, and pledged himself that he would never submit to it. He and Maurie Blackburn, a fellow member of the House of Representatives, consistently fought their Prime Minister on this issue but when it came to the showdown and When Mr. Calwell’s Cabinet position was involved, Maurie Blackburn was left alone.
The other day Mr. Calwell asked: “ Why not have a referendum on the issue of conscription as we did in 1916 and 1917 when the security of this country was threatened?” But we were far removed from the theatres of war at that time and no country had its eyes on us. The only country which was ever mentioned as a potential enemy was Japan and at that time she was an ally and convoyed our troops overseas.
Are we to permit America to send conscripts to Vietnam and do nothing ourselves about it? If we should ever again need America’s assistance could we expect America to conscript her men to come here to help us unless we had shown that we were prepared to help ourselves? And we are helping ourselves. This is more vital to Australia than it is to America. This is our war and we have to stop it. We should be determined on that point. Those mothers and wives to whom Senator Kennelly appealed so emotionally tonight should be told that if their sons do not fight and succeed in stopping the Communists in South Vietnam, they will have to fight in Australia. There is nothing more patent, nothing clearer to any thinking, unbiased, unprejudiced person than that.
The thing that disturbs me is the great difference between the conduct of the Australian Labour Party in Government in the years gone by and the Australian Labour Party in Opposition today. In the past the A.L.P. in Government could always be relied upon to accept responsibility in a crisis. It never hesitated to grasp the thistle irrespective of how much this hurt. There is ample indisputable evidence of that, in the 1914-18 war which, although far removed from Australia and one which did not intimately concern our security, was nevertheless a very important war, Andrew Fisher, the coal mining Prime Minister of this country, pledged Australia to the last man and the last shilling. Let no one deny that. I am sure that Andrew Fisher, as a good industrialist and a Labour man, would have fulfilled that promise had the necessity arisen.
What about John Curtin, a man with an excellent industrial background who knew Labour principles and who helped to build the Labour movement? What did he do? He recognised the crisis and he called on America for aid. He was prepared to go out and convince the Labour movement of the necessity of conscription, and we got conscription. As a result we still have our liberty, our freedom and our democracy. Then on the industrial front we had Mr. Chifley, another man with a great industrial background. He did not hesitate to put the Army in the coal mines and on the wharves in industrial crises. Had the same action been taken by an anti-Labour government we would have still been talking about it. But he, as Prime Minister of Australia, knew that he had an obligation to the people of this country and, as a true Labour man, he was prepared to fulfil it. 1 wonder sometimes just where we are going on this question. It is all right sometimes to arouse the emotions of people but this is to be greatly deplored when it is done for political gain. I, and my Party, would stress always that no untrained man should be sent to Vietnam or any other theatre of war. We are mindful that in the Second War young men with very little training were thrown into what might be described as blood baths. We do not want that to happen again. By the time the present boys of 20 are trained they probably will be 21 years of age. They will be men and much older than a lot of young soldiers, including my nephews who were in Milne Bay and New Guinea - pretty tough assignments - on their 20th birthdays and a little later.
I am not a warmonger and the D.L.P. is not a Party of warmongers. I reiterate our support for a geniuine and constructive foreign aid programme. Trade, aid and military assistance must go hand in hand. We want to help these less fortunate people in countries such as Vietnam and lift their standards of living, but we deplore this attempt to make political capital out of a crisis.
-Would the honorable senator apply that view to Senator Kennedy’s remarks in the United States?
– I am not concerned about the United States. It takes me all my time to help to look after Australia. I appeal to the Government to get off its seat. The time is overdue when it should be telling the people why we are in Vietnam. If the former Prime Minister did not regard it as necessary to go on television and radio and tell the people this, let his successor do so without delay or there will be confusion upon confusion not only for him but also for this country.
I suspect some people, particularly the Leader of the Opposition in another place, of smacking their lips on this question of conscription. I am reminded of a “ Meet the Press “ programme on television in Brisbane a few years ago. The honorable gentleman who appeared on it was asked by one member of the panel: “ What would you require to happen for your chances to become the government to improve?”. The honorable gentleman replied: “ The resignation of Menzies, a visit to Melbourne by the Angel of Death and a depression”. Well, Sir Robert Menzies has gone, Archbishop Mannix is dead and a depression is unlikely before the next election so I suspect that, in desperation, he plans to exploit the conscription issue to achieve his goal.
– To what does the honorable senator attribute the result in Dawson?
– I will tell the honorable senator when I have time to do so.
– Does not the honorable senator think that we have young sons, too?
– We also have them.
– Where are they? Are they in South Vietnam?
– No doubt they will be if this goes on. These rude interruptions are proof that what I am saying is having effect. The Leader of the Opposition who made the statement to which I have referred is prepared to exploit this issue for political gain. I fear that his kingdom is the Prime Minister’s Lodge. God help him. Senator Kennelly has moved an amendment. If the standing orders permit, I intend to move a further amendment later. The amendment I shall submit will contain some parts of Senator Kennelly’s amendment and will be to this effect - “ this House records -
its disapproval and grave concern at the Government’s failure -
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laught). - Order! I am advised that the Standing Orders of the Senate do not permit Senator Gair to move his amendment at this stage.
– I rise to oppose the amendment that has been moved by Senator Kennelly on behalf of the Opposition. We have often listened to the honorable senator in this chamber and generally he makes a very good contribution to the debate. However, I could not go any part of the way with him tonight. I know it is the role and the prerogative of the Opposition to oppose and criticise the policies of the Government and from time to time the Opposition, which after all is the alternative government, can offer something constructive. But Senator Kennelly did not do that. He merely added to the confusion about the situation in Vietnam. He made one statement with which I agree when he said that Australia was in South East Asia whether we liked it or not. I remind the Senate that that is why we are fighting in South Vietnam.
I remind the Senate also that as long ago as 1954 when the Geneva Agreement was signed, Sir Robert Menzies, who was then Prime Minister, stated in the Parliament that the Government would view any aggression in violation of the settlement in Indo-China as a threat to international peace and security. No-one would deny that there is aggression in South Vietnam now. This was admitted by the Leader of the Opposition in another place, the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), when he said on 4th May 1965-
That there has long been, and still is, aggression from the North and subversion inspired from the North, 1 do not for one moment deny.
We have sent our troops to fight in the jungles of South Vietnam because, in the language of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation, that country has been the victim of aggression by means of armed attack. To my mind there can be no serious question as to the existence of this aggression and its nature. The war in this area clearly represents an armed attack by the Hanoi regime against the people of South Vietnam. The Communist favour this type of aggression because it depends on terror, sabotage, stealth and subversion and creates an ambiguity that can be exploited to the advantage of the Communists. It creates in the minds of the people, not only of Australia but also of the United States of America, a sense of frustration and confusion. That is what the Communists set out to do.
The demonstrations and headlines declaring from time to time that we should not have Australian troops in Vietnam are also designed to create confusion. 1 was sorry to see honorable senators at question time today in the Senate apparently trying to create further confusion in the minds of the people. That sort of confusion can only have a demoralising effect on our troops overseas. As I look around the Senate I seeon both sides men and women who have served in the Australian armed forces from time to time. I see among them men who have seen action on the sea, on land or in the air. Some of them have been forced to retreat before the enemy. Others have fought in the stench of the jungle, in the sands and filth of the desert and the mud and slush of Europe. I know the feelings of those people when they come back to their base camp to have a rest and to get cleaned up. Their first reaction is: Is there any mail from home? Is there any news from home? We can imagine the feelings of our men in Vietnam at the present time when they open the newspapers and read the sort of headlines that we have been reading in recent months. This is most demoralising; it is exactly what the Vietcong want.
I was very interested in the recent visit paid to our fighting forces in South Vietnam by representatives of the Returned Servicemen’s League. Talking to them when they came back, I found that in their opinion our men are first class representatives of this country. They are proud to represent this country, and the type of representation they are giving us is acknowledged by all of the other forces in the area. They know why they are there. They know they have a job to do. They know they are well equipped and can match the enemy in any situation. So 1 say not only that must we back them with forces but also that the people of this country must get behind them and let them know we appreciate that they are there to do a job, that we know they will do that job and that we hope they will return to this country very shortly. To some people Vietnam seems a long way off. The issues posed there seem remote from our daily experiences and our immediate interests. It is essential, therefore, that we clearly understand and as far as possible agree on our mission and purpose in this struggle.
We are not in Vietnam because we have a wish or, indeed, a need to interfere in other people’s affairs. Nor are we there because we are a race that goes around the world looking for quarrels with other people. We have no need to seek extra land or to lay claims against any groups of people, wherever they may be. I think it is realised by everyone that this is a big enough continent for the number of people we have in it and the number we shall have for some years. It is realised that Australians are peace loving people and that all we want is to get on with the development of this country. Goodness knows that is a hard enough job. It is a challenge which any young country would be willing to accept, and it will give us a headache for many long years to come. We know that this continent returns us wealth only by hard work, by the investment of a great deal of capital, by the application of a lot of research, and by applying a lot of technical knowhow and managerial experience.
We can live in peace and be allowed to develop this country only if other countries living in our part of the world have the scope to develop their own national identities free from outside interference. Unfortunately for us, at the present time this situation does not exist. The countries of South East Asia are faced by a power whose aim is directed not towards establishing some kind of co-existence with established governments but towards the overthrow of the existing economic, social and political structures in the region. What is happening there is nothing new. We have seen it happen before and we have had to take steps to stop it. We have had to face the menace of Communism and its ambitions in Europe when, one after another, nations on the boundaries of the Soviet Union fe,1 under the domination of Moscow through the presence of the Red Army along their borders. Granted that the problems of South East Asia are not the same as those that existed in Europe, the result is much the same - instability, uncertainty and vulnerability to the bully and the aggressor.
To me, Sir, the situation in South Vietnam, whilst obviously a complex one, is relatively simple and utterly fundamental. Australians have to make up their minds whether they can stand by and watch other countries brought under domination by force and against their will by a minority supported by an outside power. The issues posed in South Vietnam are, I believe, deeply entwined with our own security, and the outcome can profoundly affect the nature of the world in which we and our children will live. I was very happy, Sir, to read this statement on policy by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) a few nights ago -
Our foreign policy is based on a proper concern for the security of our own nation, on a belief that certain principles of international conduct must be observed in order to have fair and honorable dealings between nations and peoples and in order that peace may be achieved in the world, and on a belief that certain conditions will be more conductive to peaceful relations between nations and to co-operation for mutual benefit than other conditions.
That sums up the Government’s feeling on this matter.
Much has been said about the origins of the conflict in Vietnam. I do not think it is necessary for me to say much more than that when France decided to relinquish its political presence in South East Asia it came to terms with the Communist forces that had captured the nationalist movement. The result of those terms was the Geneva
Agreement, which left Vietnam divided at the 17th parallel between the Communist forces in the north and the non-Communist forces in the south. There is no doubt that when this Agreement was signed the Hanoi regime fully expected that within a relatively short time the South Vietnamese would fall under its control. At that time South Vietnam seemed to be overburdened with troubles. It had not known self-government for a century or more. Its formidable economic problems were accentuated by the influx of 1 million refugees from the North. The North Vietnamese forces had concealed their weapons in the South and had been ordered by their leaders to stay in that area and endeavour to undermine the South Vietnamese Government.
In the initial stages these subversive efforts were unsuccessful but they were stepped up and during the five years after the Geneva Agreements all sorts of things happened. There was, first of all, the formation in South Vietnam of the Hanoi regime’s secret politico-military organisation, the activities of which were directed towards the assassination of selected South Vietnamese civilians. During this time - between 1957 and 1959 - more than 1,000 civilians were murdered or kidnapped and in 1960 alone terrorists assassinated 1,400 local government officials and kidnapped 700 others, while armed guerrillas killed 2,200 military and security personnel. This is the type of subversion and terrorism that was carried on.
The Opposition now says that we should seek a peace in Vietnam and that we should enlist the good offices of the co-chairmen of the Geneva Conference. They say we should take the problem to the United Nations or invite the efforts of neutral nations in mediation. We have done all these things. The United States has led the way in doing them, but without result. It has been said on both sides of the Iron Curtain that no peace is possible so long as United States planes fly bombing missions over North Vietnam, but might be possible if the bombing were discontinued. I remind the Senate that the United States did this, also. Not once, not twice, but three times it ceased the bombing, yet there was no response from the North Vietnamese. The United States, backed by her allies, has made all sorts of propositions to try to get some kind of conference going to discuss peace in Vietnam. The United States recently summarised, in fourteen points, what she was willing to do in order to obtain an honorable peace in Vietnam and I would like to enumerate them to the Senate. A newspaper report has given the 14 points as follows -
Those are the fourteen points put forward by America as a way of stopping armed aggression in violation of international agreements and international law. Both Hanoi and Peking have repeatedly rejected these proposals for unconditional discussions. But they in their turn have put forward suggestions. They have insisted that before any discussions can take place the allies must agree, in advance, to the four points of the Hanoi programme. The first of these points calls for the recognition of the fundamental national rights of the Vietnamese people - their sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity; the withdrawal of United States troops, the dismantling of United States military bases and the abolition of America’s military alliance with the Government of South Vietnam, in strict conformity with the Geneva Agreements. Another point relates to military clauses of the Geneva Agreements and the last one provides that the issue of peaceful reunification should be settled by the Vietnamese people without foreign intervention. America has said that she could accept all these conditions with very minor reservations.
However, the core of the Communist programme is contained in the third point, which provides that the internal affairs of South Vietnam must be settled bythe South Vietnamese people in accordance with the programme of the National Liberation Front. That is the catch. Hanoi and Peking have made it quite clear that negotiations will be possible only when we recognise the National Liberation Front as the only genuine representatives of the South Vietnamese people. In other words, the Hanoi Government is demanding agreement by the allies to preconditions before the Communists will condescend to negotiate.
The Hanoi Government is demanding, first, the overthrow of the South Vietnamese Government; secondly, that the National Liberation Front be accepted as the sole bargaining representatives of the South Vietnamese people; and thirdly, that South Vietnam be placed under a coalition government formed by the Communists from which the present South Vietnamese Government must be excluded. Surely no country thinking along the lines followed by the Americans and Australians would agree to such a situation.
No nation is more interested in peace in South East Asia than is Australia because we live in the area. If armed attack against South Vietnam is brought to an end, peace can come quickly. Our objective is a just and lasting peace based on the principles of the United Nations Charter. Such a peace must serve the interests and needs of the Asian peoples.
I have stated briefly what I regard as the reasons why we are in South Vietnam. I wished to say something about national development and farm loan funds to which the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) referred in his statement. However, time does not permit me to do so tonight. Perhaps I will get a chance to refer to those matters when the relevant legislation comes before the Senate.
– The issues now before the Senate arise from a statement by the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) on the state of the nation. The statement covered a wide range of subjects, the most important of which are the sending of conscripts to the war in Vietnam, the state of the economy, and the drought that has been stalking vast areas of Australia for the past 12 to 18 months in very serious proportions. Because my time is too limited to address myself to all these subjects tonight, I believe that first I should refer to the first part of the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Kennelly). It states -
Previous speakers in this debate have stated their views on Australia’s commitments in Vietnam. It is my view that we should get down to the basic truths of the Vietnam situation. Some honorable senators opposite will deny that it is a civil war in Vietnam; others will say that Australians are in Vietnam because we are fighting for freedom and democracy. Because Australia is so closely involved, we should look back to the cause of the present conflict. I refer to the occupation of Indo-China by the French for a century or more and the conditions that were maintained during that occupation. The French were forcibly ejected from Indo-China in 1954 after the battle of Dienbienphu. The poverty of the peasant people of Vietnam after the departure of the French was a grave reflection on the French people as a national group. They had held the responsibility for the people of Indo-China. They left behind a legacy to which we must face up today.
It was part of the policy of the Western world to have areas for exploitation. It was the basis of the Western economic system to have areas for exploitation. It is the basis of capitalism and the only way in which the old style of capitalism could survive, because capitalism is based on the exploitation of man by man, nothing more and nothing less. The driving force of capitalism is not the social need of the people. That is true in the Western world and even more applicable to Asia, Africa and Latin America. The mainspring of capitalism is private profit and power, both of which come from exploitation of peoples and countries. Capitalism requires access to the natural resources of a country and the ability to use troops in the event of war. That is the continuing pattern.
I am directing my attention to the French occupation of Indo-China, but the powers that are now retreating into the stronghold of Europe have each had an area of exploitation in Asia. The British, of course, occupied India. As soon as a Labour Government came into office in England it realised the shame of this type of policy and gave India its independence. The situation we are facing today in India is the legacy of European capitalist type exploitation. I wish to put this on the record: In India, because of the poverty that stalks the land, the ignorance and all the other complications that come from the division of rule, the very basis or ground work for some alternative system has already been laid.
– I am telling the Senate that the people of South East Asia do not appreciate our type of democracy and freedom. In the first place, because of the very nature of their overlords, patrons or however one likes to describe them, they are used to living lives of poverty or lives of peasants whose station and status were very little more than those of a slave. As I have pointed out before, the terms and conditions of their employment and their way of life were kept on a level that gave the least to them and the most to the people whose business it was to direct the product of the work they performed into European areas, which in turn were able to build up for themselves wonderful cultures, wonderful edifices, magnificent cities-
– And prosperous people.
– And prosperous people, yes. They were able to do that with the money, power and all the other things that they drew from the areas of the world which today constitute the legacy that confronts us.
Let me come back to the Vietnamese situation. Let us place ourselves in the position of the Indo-Chinese or Vietnamese from either the North or the South. Any person with any spark of life in him would have taken the opportunity that these people took when the Japanese threw the French out and the French came back. Rather than allow the French to consolidate under the despicable stooge Bao Dai, they joined forces and threw the French out The French were only too glad to get away from Vietnam. I think these people believed that the Geneva Accord would give them an opportunity to set about building up for themselves a way of life that they chose and to receive some of the fruits of their own labours and the products of their own country. Written clearly into the Accord for everyone to read was a provision that no outsiders were to return and no foreign troops were to be on the soil of Vietnam. Another clause provided for an election to be held and that the results, whichever way they went, would be accepted.
– The words “ free elections” were included in the Geneva Accord.
– This is the point We find ourselves in disagreement over the interpretation of me word “ free “.
– That is your trouble.
– That is the trouble.
What is one man’s flesh is another man’s poison. A man living in the Western world - in London, New York or Paris - if he has the money, is free to buy anything he wants. He is also free to obtain employment in a place of his choice in order to earn his money. But two-thirds of the people of the world do not have those freedoms at all. However, we cannot say, therefore, that we are free and they are not free. The point is that “ freedom “ is a relative word. These people upon whom we are trying to impose freedom and democracy do not approve of them because they know what freedom and democracy, as imposed on them by democracies for hundreds of years, meant to them.
– Surely freedom from fear has its value.
– It all depends. If a person is in gaol he does not have to fear anyone. He receives his meals there. So one could say that a person has freedom from fear when he is in gaol. The point is that “ freedom “ is a relative term.
I want to stress that we are engaging in a certain amount of hypocrisy when we say that we are trying to bring freedom and democracy to South Vietnam. That country has never had freedom and democracy. Ngo Dinh Diem was an autocrat and a dictator. He was arrogant and corrupt. He gave nothing to his people. Under him the peasants were as impoverished as they ever had been under the French or after the end of the war with the French.
– What about the free elections under the Geneva Accord?
– There were two so-called free elections in South Vietnam. Both of them were rigged. Ngo Dinh Diem would not allow any political party with which he did not agree to exist.
– Like in Russia?
– Yes. I am not defending Russia. I am trying to point out that what members of the Government parties are trying to tell us about defending freedom and democracy in Vietnam is hypocrisy and a myth, because freedom and democracy have never existed there and do not exist there today. Each of the suc cessors of the Ngo Dinh Diem Government has been a military dictatorship and has had the backing of the Western powers including Australia.
The impression is created that all of the Vietcong have come from North Vietnam. The suggestion is that there are only whites and blacks, or cleanskins and branded. But that is not the fact. Wherever poverty, ignorance, illiteracy and substandard living conditions exist, people have the human spirit to rise from those low standards. They will use any method in order to get from the gutter on to the footpath. When Russians come to them spreading the gospel, “ We had conditions like these in Russia, where for thousands of years the Czars were our overlords “, and the Chinese come to them saying, “ During all the years of the war lords in China we were being drained of the products of our labours, but we succeeded in lifting ourselves up by espousing this philosophy; so why don’t you have a go at it?”, the very seed bed exists there for the expansion of the Communist philosophy.
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 16 March 1966, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1966/19660316_senate_25_s31/>.