25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 1 1 a.m., and read prayers.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. As Colonel Samsu Sutjipoto of Djakarta is reported to have said that Mr. Bedford, a Cairns fisherman, is still being interrogated by the West Irian authorities, will the Minister say whether he thinks it should take more than a week to question a simple fisherman who inadvertently entered West Irian territory without a permit? Will the Minister agree that any progressive country would have take more active steps to help one of its citizens than has Australia? Has the officer accredited by the Australian Government interviewed Mr. Bedford in an endeavour to be of assistance to him?
– The remarks attributed to Colonel Samsu Sutjipoto, as quoted by Senator Dittmer, were brought to my notice. Senator Dittmer asked a question on this matter previously and since then 1 have made some inquiries. All I can add to my previous reply is that officers of the Department of External Affairs followed up the report which was attributed originally to sources which were not very reliable. They confirmed that this fisherman had been arrested for entering Indonesian waters and a port and was being questioned. The officers then took the matter up with the embassies here and in Djakarta in an endeavour to request the Indonesian Government to release the man and allow him to go back to Australian territory. I have not heard the outcome of their representations but I. shall endeavour to get the information.
– I direct a question to the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate. What is the nature and value of trade between Australia and North Vietnam?
– In the four financial years preceding the current financial year, our imports from North Vietnam consisted, I think entirely, of such things as magazines, periodicals and postage stamps. The total value of those imports over the four years was about £A595. In the same four financial years preceding the current financial year, our exports to North Vietnam consisted of such goods as condensed milk, wheat, malt and inedible tallow. The total value of the exports to North Vietnam for that four year period was in the vicinity of £A328,000. In June and July of the last calendar year there was some trade in inedible tallow but I do not have the relevant figure. For the past eight months there have been no exports to and no imports from North Vietnam.
– I direct a question to you, Mr. President. 1 ask whether you will be so good as to issue a warning to the effect that when the next Budget session commences all honorable senators will have to observe punctiliously Standing Order No. 406, which states -
No Senator shall read his speech.
– I would be the last one to impose on the Minister representing the Treasurer the responsibility of making a Budget speech and not reading it. So far as the reading of speeches is concerned, it must be said that the Senate is not a great offender, although honorable senators do at times read rather lengthily from their notes.
– 1 do not mind spasmodic reading but what about honorable senators who read the whole of their speeches?
– We will deal with that situation when it arises.
– I address a question to the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate, not only as the Acting Leader of the Government but also as the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research, under the Prime Minister, and in the further role which he properly assumes from time to time in the interests of the Parliament, namely, Acting Minister for External Affairs. Has his attention been directed to an article in this morning’s “Canberra Times “ by Professor Arndt? Is he aware that Professor Arndt is a member of the Australian Labour Party? Is he aware that Professor Arndt is afraid that he may be expelled from the Australian Labour Party? Would he consider using the matter contained in Professor Arndt’s article as the basis of a document relating to Australia’s posture in South Vietnam?
– I do not think the question of using Professor Arndt’s statement as the basis of a document really arises. After all, he is not an official spokesman, besides which I think Professor Arndt has. spoken quite adequately not only for himself but also for all those associated with the Labour Party who are most disturbed at the present official policy of that Party in relation to Vietnam.
– I direct my question to the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate. Unlike Senator Cormack, I cannot remember all the other positions that the Minister fills. I preface my question by referring to a question I asked earlier this week regarding the political somersaulting of the Australian Government in its relations with the efficient Labour Government in Great Britain, particularly with regard to Rhodesia. In reply to a later question on this matter the Acting Leader of the Government told the Senate -
The representative of Australia at the United Nations did abstain from voting on the question of the use of force against Rhodesia.
With this I agree. He went on -
I imagined he abstained because of the convention, if that is what it is, or feelings round the United Nations that an abstention expresses dissatisfaction with the proposal put forward.
I now ask these questions: Am I to understand that in regard to this most important debate the Australian Government neglected to give instructions to the Australian Ambassador, who was, therefore, completely ignorant of the decision of the Australian Government? If the Australian Government is opposed to the use of military force against Rhodesia, will it advise the Ambassador accordingly, because a decision of such magnitude should not be left to the guesswork of a public servant?
– What the honorable senator can understand from what I have said is that the Australian Government is utterly and unalterably opposed to the use of military force against Rhodesia. It needs to be made clear that that is the Australian policy.
(Question No. 819.)
asked the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Trade and Industry has supplied the following answers -
(Question No. 837.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
Has agreement been reached regarding the payment of increased electoral allowances for members of the Papua and New Guinea House of Assembly? If not, when is agreement likely to be reached, and what are the amounts of the allowances?
– The Minister for Territories has now supplied the following answer -
Allowances for members of the Papua and New Guinea House of Assembly are determined by the Minister for Territories under the Parliamentary Allowances Ordinance 1963 of that Territory. Recently, at the request of members representing open electorates I approved the payment to those members of the following cash allowances in lieu of the previous arrangement of reimbursing the cost of fares incurred in travelling within their electorates twice a year -
Group A- $1,700 (£850) per annum
Group B-$1 000 (£500) per annum
West New Britain
Group C- $800 (£400) per annum
East New Britain
Group D- $600 (£300) per annum
Group E -$400 (£200) per annum
In addition a committee of members representing open electorates administers a fund of $5,000 (£2,500) per annum provided to meet the cost of travel by members to other parts of the Territory on electoral or parliamentary business.
At present the ten members who represent special electorates are still reimbursed the cost of travel within their electorates, twice in each year.
(Question No. 844.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice -
To what extent does the recent publication “ Directory of Overseas Investment in Australian Manufacturing Industry “ purport to set out a complete analysis of all equity interest in Australianfirms owned or part owned overseas?
– The Minister for Trade and Industry has supplied the following answer -
The” Directory of Overseas Investment in Australian Manufacturing Industry “ lists firms which are either directly engaged in manufacturing in Australia, or indirectly engaged through subsidiary or associated companies, and which are known to have some proportion of their ordinary capital owned by persons or companies other than those resident in Australia.
The list and coverage of the directory is considered to be reasonably comprehensive, particularly for the large and medium sized firms. Reference to this point is made in the “ Introduction “ and the “ Notes on Methods” in the directory.
The directory docs not cover firms engaged in activities other than manufacturing. Therefore firms with overseas financial associations in the mining, agriculture and the service industries such as finance, banking and retail trading, are not included.
(Question No. 848.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister , for Trade and Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Trade and Industry has supplied the following answers - 1: It is not known whether the facts are as stated.
(Question No. 851.)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
In view of the long standing application, by the South Australian Government for financial assistance for beef roads and the fact that official inspections by Commonwealth officers were completed some months ago, has any decision been made in respect to this and the associated matter of freight concessions on Commonwealth railways for restocking purposes in the north of South Australia?
– The Treasurer has now supplied the following answer -
The whole question of beef road development in northern Australia and in those cattle areas integrated with the north has been covered in a report by the Northern Division of the Department of National Development on the future of the beef roads programme. This report is currently under consideration by the Government and in the course of its examination the Government will be considering the question of roa’ds in the northern portion of South Australia.
With regard to the question of freight concessions for the re-stocking of properties affected by drought, the Premier of South Australia has written to the Prime Minister in connexion with this matter, and his letter is presently under consideration.
(Question No. 856.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
Will the Minister consider a proposal suggested at the recent Asian Citizen Convention which would ensure that an intending migrant’s security status would be determined before he incurred the cost of a medical examination?
– The Minister for Immigration has supplied the following answer -
Australia’s migrant selection procedures are designed to ensure that our standards are maintained and to enable the necessary formalities to be completed with a minimum of delay and inconvenience to applicants. The procedures followed are necessarily adapted to local conditions in each country.
Present arrangements are based on long experience and periodical reviews. They are considered to serve the best interests both of Australia and the migrants themselves.
.- by leave - I am now in ‘ a position to provide the further table giving information as to which schools’ in which States and in what years of the present triennium are to receive assistance for the provision of science teaching facilities. This is the table I promised to provide to the Senate in my statement about the scheme on 6th October 1965.
As I indicated in that statement, the Commonwealth is providing during the period 1st July 1964 to 30th June 1968, a total of $28,951,200 towards the provision of additional science laboratories and apparatus in State high schools. This is a sum which is not required to be matched in any way by a State. Construction of science laboratories, in some cases not yet completed, has been undertaken to date at 204 State high schools throughout Australia with funds provided by the Commonwealth. The names of these schools, which have been selected by the States, are given in the lists which I have circulated. In addition almost every State school in Australia at which secondary science is taught has received some science teaching apparatus from these grants. The total value of apparatus so provided for State schools with Commonwealth funds throughout Australia is expected to exceed $2 million by 30th June 1966.
Of the §14,475,600 available to the States for the two year period ending 30th June 1966 for science laboratories and apparatus, it is estimated that S460.000 only will not have been spent by that date. During the period 1st July 1964 to 30th June 1968 SI 0,672,000 will have been made available to independent schools in the States for science teaching facilities. The lists which I have circulated give the names of the independent schools recommended by the various State committees for assistance from the funds made available by Parliament during the triennium from 1st July 1965 to 30th June 1968, under the provisions of the States Grants (Science Laboratories) Act 1965. Details of amounts already offered and paid are included and for the sake of completeness all schools which received assistance in 1964-65 are listed showing amounts granted in that year.
As I indicated in my previous statement, I offer assistance to independent schools on the recommendation of the State Advisory Committees on priorities and in the light of reports on the needs of individual schools provided by the Advisory Committee on Standards. Members of the Advisory Committee on Standards, who undertake this work in addition to their heavy responsibilities at universities and schools, have in the past nine months visited every school to which an offer has been made and the committee has reported to me on the needs of these schools. In the light of these reports I have offered to recommended schools more than 98 per cent, of the money available over the three-year period. A total of 416 schools has been recommended for assistance during the triennium and offers have been sent to 406 of these. Of the $2,668,000 available to independent schools during 1965-66, $1,970,772 has already been paid to those schools which have started construction or had lists of their proposed apparatus purchases approved by me. In 1964-65, 192 independent schools in the States were assisted within the scheme. Of these, 100 have been recommended for further assistance during the triennium. Thus a total of 508 independent schools in the States have either received or been recommended for assistance within the scheme. As will be seen from the lists provided, however, the assistance varied greatly as to actual amounts.
In addition, before the introduction of the new scheme for capital payments and interest reimbursement for independent schools in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern. Territory, I offered grants over the next three years towards projects for laboratories and apparatus at seven independent schools in these Territories. The Government has decided that, to simplify the introduction of the new scheme, it will discharge its undertakings in relation to these projects by making payments to the schools as the laboratories are being built. Some of the schools concerned have not yet finished their planning but I expect that the science facilities scheme in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory will be finalised by the 30th June 1967, and the further needs for science facilities in independent schools in these Territories will be dealt with under, the new scheme.
– by leave - As honorable senators are aware my colleague, the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen), recently announced that the Government has decided to introduce preferential rates of import duties for a range of products of particular export interest to the less developed countries. The purpose of this decision is to enable Australia to make a positive contribution towards overcoming the trade problems of these countries. Formulation of administrative arrangements to implement the Government’s decision is now my responsibility.
Australian importers were invited through capital city daily newspapers on 12th April 1966 to apply for quotas to import goods from the countries concerned at special rates of duty. Applications covering the first period which ends on 31st December 1966 are to be lodged with the ComptrollerGeneral of Customs, Canberra, on or before 13th May 1966. Subsequently, applications will be called and quotas alloted each six months and will be for half of the annual quota determined by the Department of Trade and Industry. Provided applications to the full extent of available quotas are received the full quota will be allotted and applications lodged after 13th May will not be considered until the next quota period. If applications received by 13th May are less than the quotas available the balance will remain open to be taken up during the quota period, that is, to 31st December 1966.
Section 22 of the Customs Tariffs provides authority for issue of instruments subject to such conditions as are specified in those instruments. These instruments will take the form of quota certificates which will be issued to successful applicants who will be required to lodge the certificate with the related customs entry when claiming concessional entry. Although the certificate will nominate a port of entry there will be no objection to it being used at another port. The Collector of Customs at the nominated port will, on request, issue a transfer from and debit the certificate accordingly. It will then be the importer’s responsibility to arrange transfer of the certificate to the port of entry.
There will be no objection, in principle, to a certificate being transferred from one importer to another. However, applications for transfer will be closely scrutinised to suppress speculation and to ensure that as far as possible quotas allotted are taken up. 1 must emphasise that the whole objective of the scheme is to encourage imports from these less developed countries and thereby assist in their development. Departmental administration will therefore be aimed at ensuring that quotas allotted are in fact used and that the intention of the scheme is achieved.
The scheme also provides for duty free admission, without quota limitation, of specified products of a cottage industry of the countries concerned. To obtain this concession importers will be required to produce to the collector at the time of entry, a certificate issued by a recognised authority in the country of origin that the goods are, in fact, hand-made traditional products of a cottage industry of that country. Australian importers are invited to discuss with officers of my Department in the States or in Canberra any aspects of the scheme on which they might require further information.
In addition there are the schedules. The first Schedule is a list of countries which have been declared to be less developed countries and the second Schedule is a list of specified commodities, by tariff classification, showing the special rates of duty applicable and the annual quota limits. Quotas may be applied for in respect of any of the countries listed in Schedule 1.
Debate resumed from 27th April (vide page 643), on motion by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin -
That the Bill bc now read a second time.
– When the sitting was suspended last night I was speaking to an amendment foreshadowed by my colleague Senator Fitzgerald and I was attempting to sketch the pattern of naturalisation. I had pointed out that there is a greater incentive to become naturalised in the case of people with a professional background because, obviously, the sooner they acquire Australian citizenship the better will be their job opportunities. If we examine the position of migrants who have gone in to heavy industries or who are working on hydroelectric schemes and such like projects, we find that in their initial years in Australia the majority of them spend a lot of their time in barracks, living in somewhat uncongenial surroundings. But obviously their intention is to make money, so that by the time they reach their early 30’s they will have some financial security. I think we will find that when they have achieved this they move to industries in the capital cities and then, either because of marriage or through the influence of associates, they come into the mainstream of applicants for naturalisation.
I want to make some observations about some of the statistics provided by the Department of Immigration, and particularly those relating to people of Euro. pean extraction who have not acquired Australian citizenship. I think it would be of value if, in that respect, we could have a breakdown of the figures into age groupings and domicile, although I realise that that might be a job of some magnitude. However, if we had such a breakdown we would be able to form more definite opinions of the motives that cause people to delay obtaining Australian citizenship. There is another side to this matter. I do not think that any government could subscribe to the view that naturalisation should be a completely machine-like process. I have no doubt that migration is a subject that all of us in the Parliament approach on a bi-partisan basis, and I think we would all agree that it would be wrong to believe that everybody who seeks citizenship here is, as it were, beating his breast with enthusiasm about the concept of democratic life in a new country. That would no doubt be a very laudible attitude, but I think that, as in the maritime world some vessels like to fly the Panamanian flag for. certain nefarious purposes, there are people who seek Australian citizenship because they fear that otherwise they may be extradited to their countries of origin because of some war crime or some black.marketeering adventure, for example. I know there are isolated cases. It would be stupid to say that they do not exist. Some people may have come from Middle East countries where they have made an economic killing. I make that observation in relation to the matter of naturalisation, in the broad sense. r think the nub of this debate is the proposal to streamline the renunciation of allegiance to a migrant’s country of birth. The purpose of the Opposition’s amendment is to further streamline the naturalisation ceremony. We suggest that it will not affect by one iota the motive of a migrant. We really regard it as a matter of proven performance. If a migrant is generally keen to become a good full-time citizen in a new country, no better result will be obtained by adding tedious details to the naturalisation ceremony. 1 thought Senator Davidson very aptly described the position last night.
Many of us have watched naturalisation ceremonies. Some ceremonies conducted in rural areas have reminded me of a football game controlled by a referee or umpire who is not too alive to the situation. The result is a bad performance from each team. A similar situation can arise in a naturalisation ceremony when the mayor of a small town gets the records mixed up. A wrong person may be called and the migrants attending the ceremony are placed on the wrong foot.
– I take it that the honorable senator’s analogy relates to the New South Wales game of football.
– I have read in interstate newspapers that the people in Melbourne at times voice their disapproval of the umpire at an Australian Rules football match. It is the object of the Opposition’s amendment to streamline even further the naturalisation procedure visualised by the Government. I am aware that if the oath taken by a migrant is weakened too much he will not appreciate the full significance of the step he is taking.
One or two interesting developments in the migration field have taken place in the last few weeks. The Inter-Parliamentary Union met in Canberra at a very fine gathering. There was an obvious interplay of ideas, in more ways than one, during the proceedings. A group of Lithuanians quite forcibly expressed their views of one foreign representative. Another group indulged, not in draft card burning, but in flag destroying. [ would be the last person to object to anyone expressing his point of view, sometimes irrespective of the outcome. One Lithuanian, who ostensibly was the spokesman for the group, said that he had lived in North Parramatta for six years. I thought that this champion of democracy would have been happy to have his name placed on the electoral roll for that division and to become an Australian citizen, in view of what he said was happening in the country whence he came. Not on your life. I examined the electoral roll for North Parramatta and there was no reference there to that gentleman. The same point applies to a couple of our Croat migrants.
– What significance does the honorable senator attach to the fact that the man’s name was not on the roll?
– If this champion of democracy, was so keen to get away from oppression in Europe, one would think that he would accept Australian citizenship at the first available opportunity and have his name placed on the electoral roll. He said that he had lived in North Parramatta for six years. He had quite sufficient time to become an Australian citizen and have his name listed on the Federal electoral roll for that division. Obviously he was using the Australian atmosphere to demonstrate about something that happened in Europe. That is fair enough, but if he wishes to participate to the maximum in the Australian democratic way of life, why has he not accepted Australian citizenship?
A sector of migrants is very keen to prate about what is wrong in Europe. Some of their complaints have a degree of merit, but they want a bit each way. The same people who prate about democracy do not join the queue to become citizens of Australia. I agree generally with what Senator McManus had to say about some migrant groups, although later I shall express some reservations about some of his assertions. I know that the honorable senator has contacted some groups that have expressed a viewpoint which is different from mine. The groups that have come to me have said: “If the procedure could be streamlined a little, we can assure you that, although some of us do not beat our breasts frantically in support of democracy, we will be equally as good citizens as some of those people who claim that they have come here to get away from foreign ideologies and who say a lot about what they intend to do”. 1 respect the views expressed by Senator Davidson and Senator Breen; but even if what is proposed in our amendment is regarded as being a calculated risk, I believe that over a period of time it will be found to be justified just as reservations expressed years ago when Mr. Calwell introduced our immigration legislation by members of the then Opposition, who said that we were stepping out a little too far, have been proved to be groundless. I am confident that the amendment, if accepted, would in no way rock the immigration boat.
– The honorable senator mentioned a man who demonstrated here. Does the honorable senator believe that this man should become an Australian citizen?
– Yes. 1 believe that if he is talking of supporting democracy and wants to play a part here, he should accept Australian citizenship.
– But he should not renounce his allegiance to his former country?
– Let me put it in another way. It is a case of deciding which comes first - the chicken or the egg. I now wish to refer to a matter that has been touched upon in an answer that I received this morning to a question that I had asked. Some people who come to Australia and seek citizenship get a terrible jolt when they receive adverse security reports. Very rarely are such reports based upon what these people are doing in Australia. That is why I directed to the Minister for Immigration the question to which I have just referred. It was based, not merely on my own views, but on views that have been expressed by the editor of “ La Fiamma “, which is a very reputable Italian newspaper published in Sydney. We ask that the whole of a person’s background be cleared before he comes here. I have usually found Mr. Opperman to be quite accessible on this subject. I have raised with him one or two supplementary matters which I shall not discuss now, because they are virtually sub judice.
As time goes by it will be found that suggestions made at the Australian Citizenship Convention for the regularising of this security procedure were justified. For the life of me I cannot see why our staffs in Europe or even the British security service cannot prepare clear-cut reports setting out the activities of prospective migrants for, say, ten years before they come here. Migrants could be accepted or rejected on the basis of such reports. If a migrant is accepted, only his activities in Australia should be taken into account in deciding whether we would be justified in giving him citizenship.
I know that some migration cases are complex. I know of an Italian migrant who went to Saigon with an engineering firm and was married to a South Vietnamese girl. There was a certain health complication, but I commend the Department of Immigration for the Solomon-like manner in which the obstacle was surmounted. Other than in regard to the suggestion we make for the streamlining of the procedure relating to the oath of allegiance, I think that we are in complete unanimity on the subject of granting citizenship.
Yesterday Senator McManus in an aside referred to the national aspirations of migrants and how they can be reconciled with their new country. Senator Mattner raised the same point by way of interjection. Let me state quite clearly the attitude of the Australian Labour Party. We have adopted as the cornerstone of our policy the United Nations concept of freedom of assembly. Most of the celebrations held by migrant groups pass without incident. Senator McManus was worried about the Yugoslavs and this matter of freedom of assembly. I shall deal with the Greeks later. I do not mind if a group of Croatian people have nostalgic yearnings for Anton Pavelic, although, as ari Australian, I have my own views on his role as a collaborator with Adolf Hitler. If those Croatians have a function in the local town hall, that is all right. Another group a little to the left politically may also have a function - and I know Senator McManus is aware of this, as everybody else - and a photograph of Queen Elizabeth the Second and a photograph of Marshal Tito may be displayed. All I ask is that we approach these matters with a degree of consistency. It is when one rival group intrudes upon another at these functions that the trouble starts. In Sydney it is the right wing Croatian Liberation Movement that has done the gatecrashing on other groups and created animosity. I defy anybody to reach any other conclusion. I do not object to freedom of assembly although it may be argued that this right does not apply to those who carry resolutions that might be regarded as disloyal to Australia and treasonable. That is fair enough. Such things must be repressed. But it is when action is taken against the simple right to self expression and freedom of assembly, that i and others object. 1 think it is significant and gratifying that in recent years when Yugoslav migrants have sought entry to Australia and even citizenships they have been asked an important S64 question: “ Have you been associated with any right wing neo fascist subversive groups such as the Ustashi? “. That was a question a number of people were worried about. Why was the Government biased on the one hand? Action has been taken to overcome that criticism and I think that is recognition of the part which I and others have played in raising this point. 1 repeat that I did not object to the various organisations maintaining some of their old world traditions. As Senator Davidson said, it is a case of having guide lines. That is our approach to this matter. I do not say that in any academic sense because some of us are aware of the difficulties.
Again 1 refer to Sydney and I think this would apply to Melbourne also: In the main, the special officers of the New South Wales Police Force have done a good job in cooling off people’s national passions. I usually make what might be termed a pilgrimage to the soccer match in Sydney between Croatia and Yugal. This is what one might call a replica of the famous Celtic versus Rangers soccer matches in Glasgow. I saw the CroatiaYugal match on Easter Monday and there was a dampening down of hostility. I do not mind full blooded applause but I think some of the demonstations go beyond that. I make the observation that, in the light of the near tragedy that occurred with a bomb explosion in Sydney, the Department of Immigration had to bear, quite unfairly, the odium for a gross misjudgment by Commonwealth security officers. I made some reference to this matter earlier, because it had surprised me. The Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) was asked a question about the incident. I regard him as one who uses his bat and not his pads when any difficult ball is bowled at him, and this was one case which required some strictures. I do not know whether, in his view, this was a bumper intended to go over his head to the wicket keeper. But I make the point that at times the Department of Immigration is not helped as it should be by Commonwealth security. By comparision the Commonwealth Police, particularly Sergeant West and others who handle matters in connection with various foreign seamen who leave their ships in Australian ports, have a much broader approach to their task.
I think I have justified my contention that there is a need to streamline the renunciation of allegiance for some immigrants who claim to be super patriots and are reluctant to seek naturalisation. But it is interesting to note that some of the groups with whom Senator McManus and I have ties are united on the issue of streamlining the renunciation of allegiance to another power. I want to pay tribute to the Government for its belated efforts to have higher Australian diplomatic status in Yugoslavia. Earlier in the session, my good friend Senator Cormack twitted us about the views of certain Labour men on South Vietnam. But that is politics. If I could have seen what went on in Cabinet, I am sure I would have seen Mr. Opperman and Senator Gorton advocating, on practical grounds, the establishment of better diplomatic relations with Yugoslavia. There must have been some back bench Liberals and possibly some Ministers who had reservations, but there was a victory for sanity. This will be a good investment. We no mare underwrite the entire internal policy of Yugoslavia by doing this than we would with any other country. However you will get a race of people who combine vigour with warm hospitality.
We are living in a sophisticated age. I have said repeatedly that when Mr. Macmillan, the then Conservative Prime Minister of Britain, entertained East European and Russian leaders he did not become a Marxist, and I do not think the present Commonwealth Government will become left wing Labour. However, I issue this warning: I have no doubt that there are some extreme right wing elements who will tell us solemnly that the Australian Government has become the pawn of the Government in Belgrade. That is the kind of infantile thinking we have to destroy. I commend the Ministers who sponsored this proposal.
On a practical note, let me say that we know that Yugoslavia today, like other European countries, is suffering economic fluctuations. There are a lot of potential migrants in Yugoslavia who have a bent for mining and duties in other heavy industries - I do not say that patronisingly - and in our basic industries there will always be a demand for such people. At the recent Inter-Parliamentary Union conference in Canberra I happened to be at Mr. Opperman’s elbow when he made this point to the Yugoslav delegation. He said that while they had strong political views, like people of other ethnic groups, he felt that Yugoslav migrants had at least made a positive contribution to industry and I heartily concur with that view. I believe it is better to get 10 migrants who are productive in the basic work force than to get some rich Asian millionaire who has been a black marketeer or some general from Europe who has hopes of going back in a third world war and changing the boundaries there. People of that kind are of no use to us. We would be better off to get 10 people who would do the productive work that is necessary. At one time the late Prime Minister Ben Chifley referred to them as the people who made the wheels go round.
This is not a matter of the relative merits of people and the parts they play in the community. It is essential that we endeavour to tap that market of migrant labour. I know that at present Yugoslavia is facing certain balance of payment problems with the United States and as a result of this she has had to re-examine some of her secondary industries. In this connection, I want to make one point that I have already indicated to Mr. Opperman. I believe that our security appraisement of migrants will have to be considerably re-oriented. We must be charitable. During the Second World War lots of people in European countries probably found themselves on the Fascist side because the big battalions happened to be there and they had to fight to eat. But we have to look at the other side of the picture and remember that everyone who was anti-Fascist then is not necessarily a devoted Marxist now. We must apply a certain degree of sophistication to this.
I will watch with extreme interest the operation of the Government’s proposal because I consider it to be a vindication of the view held by a number of people in the Labour Party that there must be a thawing of relations with Yugoslavia. I remember that on one memorable night Senator Gorton spoke in this place on similar lines. The sooner relations are established, the better. I am sure there will be an increase in the flow of migrants from Yugoslavia. This will do a lot of good even though some migrants from East . Europe in, say, the 25-35 age group will probably have radical views with which certain ultra right wing people in this country will not agree.
There is a different approach from the old, rigid revolutionary idea of the ‘twenties. I think it was Maxim Litvinov who said: “ Peace is indivisible.” It is not a hackneyed phrase. As the world gets closer, these gestures have to be made. I do not know whether it was the eloquence of my colleague, the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) or of Senator Morris - I do not know to whom I can give the credit - but I noticed when that fateful resolution was discussed at the Inter-Parliamentary Union conference the Yugoslav delegation lined up with Australia. It was some achievement, when some people, including Senator Cormack, say that they are all tarred with the one brush and they are all left wing totalitarian governments. The thaw that has developed in Europe, sponsored in many ways by the United States Government under the late President Kennedy, is something that I am pleased to see developing in this country.
This Bill is meritorious. The only improvement that we suggest is that the renunciation procedure should be streamlined further. I feel that this may be deemed to be a calculated risk, just as when, in the 1948-49 period, we pioneered certain immigration procedures. They are an admirable precedent, and if the Government accepts the amendment that we shall put forward, it will find that this will “in no way impair the successful immigration programme, which is a tribute to each of the Ministers for Immigration that we have had and their efficient staffs.
– Having listened to Senator Mulvihill with great interest and being in agreement with a lot that he said, I feel it is quite fair to say that here in the Senate he has possibly more followers than he may have in another forum, lt is good for us to hear the speeches on a Bill which not only concerns the immigration policy of this country but which also seeks to improve the application and administration of the policy. I believe that the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman) and the Government itself can learn from debates that take place in both Houses of the’ Parliament on this important subject, which is bereft of party politics.
We hear rightly spoken praise for the Department of Immigration for the work that its officers do, not only here in Australia but also in foreign lands, and I believe that it is good for these officers to be able to read the debates that take place in this Parliament on their Department’s policy and administration’. The “ Hansard records of the Parliament are not widely read, A debate of this nature would not gain six column-inches of report in the secular press because - and I do not argue the point - it is not considered as news by the news media. But it is a fundamental fact that the Parliament mirrors the people of Australia and when a subject like this which is, as I said, bereft of party politics, comes for debate in the Parliament, one does hear points of view, criticisms and ideas for improvement that are held by the people of Australia and are mirrored and spoken in the Parliament by the people’s representatives.
It is a pity that many migrants and also many people who are born in Australia do not have an opportunity to read the debate that ensues when a bill such as this is before the National Parliament. I do not like to make suggestions unless I can put forward a concrete idea for the department and the .Minister concerned. I may be ridiculed for making this suggestion,’ but nevertheless I believe I am right in doing so. It is my opinion that the “ Hansard “ report of the debate on this Bill, both here and in another place, should be issued as a supplement to the newspaper which I think is known as the “ Good Neighbour “ and which has a wide distribution to migrants and Australians generally.
– That is a good idea.
– I think it is, because statements are made in debates such us this which should be read by the people of whom I am speaking. The favorable comments which are made about them should be brought to the notice of these people whom we are trying to help.
Migration is terribly important to this young country. As has been proved since 1946 or 1947, it is also important to the development of our country. Where would our Snowy Mountains scheme, the Tasmanian hydro-electric schemes, the rail standardisation work, and our bridge and road construction work be if it had not been for the work that the migrants have done? These important projects would be in a chaotic state if it were not for our immigration policy and the work that the migrants have done. Immigration is important to the future of Australia. I believe it is correct that one in every 20 or 25 of the’ Australian population today is a newcomer to this country. Therefore, it is fair to say that in the near future a very large percentage of the people of Australia will be either newcomers or the children of newcomers to our shores. Our whole future is linked with immigration and with the way in which migrants are integrated, arid with the opportunities they are given to understand Australian ways and to progress both economically and socially. lt is of growing importance to the public life of Australia that migrants should be fully and successfully integrated because as the years roll on migrants will be taking a more active and’ prominent part in the parliaments, the local government councils and the other public organisations in Australia. I think that all political’ parties are aware that the electoral force of the migrants is of importance at elections in both the Federal and’ the State spheres. Because of the work that migrants have done for the development of this country they are of importance to our economic life. Naturally, they are of great importance to our defence effort.
I am glad to say that this Government has carried on the work that was commenced by the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). The Australian Labour Party showed its sincerity and its realisation of the importance of immigration when it vested that portfolio in Mr. Calwell in 1945. The Liberal-Australian Country Party Governments have shown that they also appreciate the value of this aspect of our national life and realise that the immigration portfolio should be in the hands of men of ability. Let us recall the names of the men who followed Mr. Calwell in that portfolio. First, there was the present Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt), who carried on the work that had been commenced by Mr. Calwell. He was followed by the late Mr. Athol Townley, a Tasmanian of great distinction who rose to high rank in the relatively short time that he was in this Parliament. Then there was Mr. Downer, a great South Australian who, as Sir Alexander Downer, is now holding an important office in London on behalf of the Australian people. The present Minister for Immigration is Mr. Opperman.
The very fact that in recent years this Parliament has been able to review the migration legislation shows that the present Minister and the Government are continuing to give attention to it and are happy to come to the Parliament and say: “ Here is a measure that we place before you because we feel that we have found means of assisting the even flow and progress of our migration policy “. Each time a migration measure has been presented to the Parliament, speakers from both sides and the centre of this chamber certainly have offered constructive criticisms but basically have agreed with and supported the Government’s policy and lauded the improvements in the administration of that policy.
One of the great improvements in the administration of the naturalisation aspects of that policy was the transfer of naturalisation ceremonies from court houses to municipal, shire and city halls, with a mayor or warden presiding instead of a police magistrate. That was a good idea. Also, we have noticed that the ceremonies gradually have been standardised, not on a low plane but on the best ideas, in order to achieve a smooth running and impressive ceremonial for the occasion. I understand that these ideas have been adopted throughout Australia. So, when people come to take the important step of becoming Australian citizens, they do so in an impressive atmosphere and realise that we understand the importance of the decision that they are making and are providing a proper form of ceremony to honour the occasion. So, I repeat that over the years the naturalisation ceremony has been given attention and has been improved.
The review of our migration policy has widened our horizons in respect of who may come and live in Australia and become Australian citizens. Sometimes we are criticised in respect of this policy. Before we accept such criticisms as being valid, let us remember that the critics are mainly from countries that have tighter or more harsh immigration laws than we have. Various types of people may now come to this country with their families. That shows that we Australians acknowledge the value of increasing the population of our country and of helping other people to come and help us. I hope that the Government will keep that aspect in mind at all times.
There is only one aspect of the policy on naturalisation and allowing people to come to Australia and to bring their families on which I wish to address the Senate and, through it, the Department of Immigration. I realise that, when the new regulations are made to allow more people to become eligible either to come to Australia or to bring their families here, the facilities and abilities of the Department are strained, sometimes to breaking point. We members of the Parliament receive information and complaints about long delays before departmental decisions are made. I hope that every care is and will be taken to see that decisions are arrived at as soon as possible and that the files are not pigeonholed while information is being obtained in other countries, and then forgotten because replies are not received.
I believe that the people of Australia have shown a readiness to co-operate fully with the Government and the Parliament in respect of migration and the important job of integrating the migrant population into the Australian life. The Good Neighbour Councils lead the field in this form of community work. They are an example to all Australians and to other organisations that could play some part in this work. Banks and business houses have interpreter services that are helping migrants to go about their business life more easily and with more satisfaction. 1 can speak only of Tasmania. I have found that the Department of Labour and National Service in that State does a fantastically good job in assisting newcomers to Australia who are seeking employment, lt overcomes language barriers very well. It finds out the type of job to which the man or woman is most suited. A quick and sincere effort appears to be made to find employment for these people. I hope - in fact, I am confident - that this spirit will continue, because it is a very important part of the integration system. Australia is in a period which might be described as a march of progress. Its population can be expanded by cooperation, by increased migration and by the happy integration of all newcomers. This is a matter which we all must understand and to which we all must give every support.
The Opposition has foreshadowed an amendment to this legislation. Its effect, if it were carried, would be that migrants seeking naturalisation as Australian citizens would not have to renounce publicly allegiance to any former country, king or potentate. I grant that this is a subject on which there can be valid and reasoned argument. I believe that we in the Senate have heard some reasoned argument both for the amendment and for what appears to be the Government’s attitude to it, namely to oppose it. We are told that many organisations and citizens, who are not cloaked in any way with political thoughts, at the Australian Citizenship Conventions in Canberra have been almost unanimous in supporting the principle embodied in the Opposition’s amendment. I think one can rightly say that this amendment flows into the Parliament through the Opposition, the Opposition having judged the views and consensus of the people who gather at these very worthwhile Conventions. I have not heard or read the arguments put forward at the Conventions by these people, but I have listened to the debate in the Senate. I cannot say that I agree with the amendment. I will not be supporting it.
When people decide, after living in this country for five years, that they want to be Australian citizens, we realise that they have made a most important decision. It is not one that is readily taken. They have had plenty of opportunity to give the subject serious thought and they have reached a decision. They go through the drill that finally results in their coming before the public, at a public function and publicly announcing their intention, in the first place, and their desire, in the second place. Their intention is to give away allegiance to their former country. Their desire is to take the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen and become Australian citizens. I have spoken about the ceremonial that is part of the step that they take. Its purpose is to help to impress upon them the importance of what is taking place in their lives. I believe that a brief public announcement of renunciation of former allegiance is very good. It is not and cannot be in any way hurtful.
Those who suggest that the act of renunciation should be got rid of say that that should be done because in any case migrants are giving away their allegiance to their former countries when they take the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty. The hurtful thing they have to do is to decide to become Australian citizens, because in order to become Australian citizens they must, of necessity, renounce allegiance to their former countries. I do not believe that any migrants could feel embarrassed, hurt or in any way put out - emotionally, mentally or in any other way whatever - by a short public act of renunciation prior to swearing the oath of allegiance to their new Queen and their new country. They know that they are being granted privileges, responsibilities and duties, which I believe should be accepted with due ceremony and with a factual and public announcement that their former allegiance is renounced and their new allegiance is taken on.
I have not heard the arguments put forward by the people attending the Australian Citizenship Convention in Canberra, but from what I have heard in this debate I cannot go along with the amendment and will oppose it. Because the rest of the Bill with which we are dealing appears to have unanimous support, there is no need for me to repeat what it will do in respect of migrants. All 1 hope is that the Government will continue its policy of reviewing the legislation and of accepting ideas for the improvement of policy and administration. If it does that, it will help in an important way in the achievement of the general welfare of the Australian people.
– 1 rise to support the amendment that has been foreshadowed. I regret that I have been absent from the chamber during most of this debate. I like to listen to debates in which I am going to participate, but it was not possible, owing to a number of other appointments, for me to listen to all of this debate. Considering the matter now, and having listened to Senator Marriott, it occurs to me that we may be arguing unnecessarily on some of the questions that have been dealt with. The alteration regarding the act of renunciation was first proposed by the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman) at the last Australian Citizenship Convention. It was thought that the act of renunciation, as it was applied at that time, caused some emotional upset to migrants who were becoming Australian citizens and the Minister was concerned at the number who were not seeking naturalisation. Some of the hesitation about seeking naturalisation was attributed to the embarrassment and emotional upset caused to migrants in renouncing allegiance to their countries of birth. The Minister assured the Convention that the Government had proposals to amend the procedure so that it would not be so embarrassing to those being naturalised. In accordance with that promise, we now have the amendments contained in the measure before us.
Having accepted that there is some emotional disturbance on the part of someone who is renouncing allegiance to his former country, should we say that renunciation should be persevered with if it is not necessary? Senator Marriott said he thought that anyone would not feel embarrassed by the brief act of renunciation that is now incorporated in the ceremony. But what if there should be one or two people so affected? Why persevere with renunciation, if it is unnecessary?
– Does the honorable senator say that the effect of the oath of allegiance without the act of renunciation would be renunciation of the former allegiance?
– That has been argued by the Opposition in this debate and is the reason for the foreshadowed amendment. If one makes a new will, that cancels the previous will. Countries such as America do not require an act of renunciation.
– The honorable senator cannot apply that to everything. If a person makes a deed, he does not cancel it by attempting to make a subsequent deed. It is said that taking the oath of allegiance without making the act of renunciation has the effect of renunciation.
– lt is argued by the Opposition that one cannot hold allegiance to two powers and that the oath of allegiance does cancel out any previous allegiance that one had to another country.
– Take Austria as an example. Would Austrian laws assume that an Austrian renounced his Austrian nationality by taking only the oath of allegiance?
– I do not know what the effect of the laws of other countries is, but I know that the general belief is that we would accept the oath of allegiance as cancelling any previous allegiance that the citizen had. If this is in fact the position, why is the Government opposing the amendment? The fact that other countries do not insist on renunciation of former allegiance supports the validity of our argument. Why does Australia wish to continue with the act of renunciation, knowing that it could cause some embarrassment and could be the reason why some migrants do not seek naturalisation? One can imagine a naturalised migrant being met by a fellow countryman who would say to him: “ You have renounced allegiance to your land of birth “. I would have thought that a question like this could have been resolved in accordance with the Minister’s thinking that we do not want to raise an unnecessary barrier. If the Opposition is wrong in believing that an oath of allegiance to the Queen cancels previous oaths of allegiance, arguments could be considered in favour of the continuation of the oath of renunciation. For the period I have been in the Senate it has not been argued that the Opposition is wrong on this point. It appears to me to be a question of law or fact that could be resolved. If the claim of the Opposition is correct, I cannot see any value in the Government’s not accepting our suggestion which seems to be in line with the Minister’s desire to remove from the naturalisation procedure emotion and embarrassment for migrants.
I wish to refer briefly to naturalisation ceremonies. I agree with the previous speakers in this debate who have commended the ceremonies as they are conducted today by local government bodies. Invariably, a naturalisation ceremony is quite a sociable gathering. After the ceremony, those persons attending enjoy cups of tea and a little supper. An opportunity is created to meet our new citizens who have accepted naturalisation. I think the procedure is greatly appreciated by all sections of the community and must be praised.
For some time in South Australia members of the Australian Labour Party believed that naturalisation ceremonies were somewhat Liberal Party functions to which Labour members were not invited. We took up this question with the Minister for Immigration, who found that it was not the desire of the Department that this should be so. The ceremonies are essentially the function of local government bodies. The Department would recommend to those bodies that where the relevant Federal seat was held by a Liberal member of the other place, a Labour senator should be invited to the ceremony. Where a seat was held by a Labour member of the other place, a Liberal senator should be invited. As a result, in most cases in South Australia, that has happened. Generally the Department rings up and states that a naturalisation ceremony is to take place. The telephone call is followed at some time by an invitation from the local council to participate in that ceremony. I have attended naturalisation ceremonies in South Australia with most Liberal Party members of this chamber and most South Australian Liberal Party members of the other place. We have always believed that migration and naturalisation matters were above party politics. They are for the development of Australia and we have been at one on this question. That attitude seems to have been appreciated and we have attended some very successful naturalisation ceremonies on that basis, lt is unfortunate that it does not happen on all occasions. I think that where complaints are made which could destroy the non-party front at naturalisation ceremonies, the Department should contact the council concerned to see whether the procedure adopted could be changed.
In South Australia the Burnside Council is located in an area which is a Liberal stronghold. The Burnside Council invites Labour members to attend naturalisation ceremonies, but not to speak at them. Included among the speakers at naturalisation ceremonies conducted by the Burnside Council is a member of the Liberal Party from the Federal Parliament, representing the Minister. After he has spoken the State member for the district, who is a Liberal representative, addresses the gathering. Therefore two Liberal Party members who do not indulge in party politics are heard, but no voice of the Opposition is heard so that there might be created at the meeting the unity that is so appreciated at ceremonies held elsewhere. I think representations should be made on a departmental level to the Burnside Council. To my knowledge it is the only local council in South Australia which is not following the procedure intended by the Minister, or sanctioned by him and his department. I think it is wrong for the impression to be created that members of my party and the persons being naturalised are attending by the grace of a particular political party. Migration and naturalisation are nonparty matters.
I have entered this debate mainly to speak on naturalisation and the refusal of naturalisation, and to try to obtain some clarity on Government policy. It is very difficult for me to discover what is Government policy in respect of naturalisation. I have studied a number of questions and listened to a series of debates. On 3rd December 1965, in answer to a question in another place asked by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Collard), the Minister replied that in the period from January 1961 to June 1965, 8,987 persons had their applications for naturalisation either rejected or deferred; 7,564 of the applications were deferred because of the inability of the applicants to meet the language requirements of the Nationality and Citizenship Act; 1,026 because of offences committed; 201 on security grounds and 27 because of inability to meet residential requirements.
I wish to refer to the rejection of 201 applications on security grounds and to establish the reasons for the rejection. The honorable senators will recall that during an adjournment debate I raised the case of Mr. Pappas, a Greek migrant who had been 38 years in Australia. He had paid his taxes and had no criminal or bad health record. For no apparent reason, five applications for naturalisation were rejected. As I said at that time, while I was of the opinion that he was a member of the Communist Party and at all times had peddled Communist propaganda, I believed that after 30 years participation in the development of Australia and payment of taxes here he had established a right on reaching retiring age to receive social service benefits. Because his applications for naturalisation were rejected, he was debarred by the action of the Government from receiving social service benefits. At the Australian Citizenship Convention held in January last, I was told by a member of the other place, who stated that he was the secretary of the Liberal Party immigration committee and had spoken to the Minister on this question, that the Minister is empowered under the Social Services Act to grant a pension to a person who does not qualify according to the strict terms of the Act. From a reply given by the Minister to the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) T gathered the impression that, if Mr. Pappas, made application he would be granted social service benefits. It is apparent that the Government realised the hardship that non.naturalisation was creating for this individual. However, there seemed to be some other compelling factor that led the authorities not to grant naturalisation. Mr. Pappas was a member of the Communist Party and is of Greek origin. It is obvious that it is the Government’s policy that a Greek who was a member of the Communist Party cannot be granted naturalisation,
I have also brought up the case of Mr. Von Elm of West Germany who, for two years after the war when the Communist Party in West Germany was a legal organisation, was a member of that Party. The Party was then declared to be illegal and since then Mr. Von. Elm has taken no interest in politics. He wanted to come to Australia to visit his son and daughter, who . are now Australian citizens and who have grandchildren whom the grandparents have not seen. I discussed the matter with the Minister, who informed me that he was of j the belief that Mr. Von Elm was seeking ; permanent residence in Australia. That was why his application was refused. When I assured the Minister that Mr. Von Elm was seeking only a visa for a three months visit, , he said that that put a different complexion on the matter and that he would look at it. As I have reported to the Senate previously, I then received a reply which stated that the Minister had looked at the matter, that he was unable to alter his previous decision, and that therefore a visa could not be granted. It would seem that this application received some sympathy from the Minister but that when he looked into the commitments or something else he found that he was unable to grant the application.
– When he looked into what?
– For some reason that we do not know the application was not granted. This suggests to my mind that there must be a commitment whereby anybody who was a member of the German Communist Party cannot get a visa to enter Australia, even if it is only to visit relatives.
I have also mentioned the case of Mr. Christos Mourikis, a waterside worker of New South Wales. I shall not deal with his application on this occasion. He, too, is a Greek. He has been refused naturalisation. I do not know the details of his political associations. However, I point out that in South Australia we have an active member of the Communist Party in that State who is an assisted British migrant and who, before migrating to Australia, stood as a Communist candidate for election to the House of Commons. This man was not an unknown Communist. But as I said, he was granted an assisted passage to Australia. For some reason or other, there is no bar to members of the British Communist Party receiving government assistance to come to Australia. What is the agreement whereby one is not acceptable if he is- a Greek Communist, one is not acceptable if he has been a member of the German Communist Party, but one is acceptable if he was a member of the British Communist Party? Is British Communism different from Communism in Greece or Germany? Does it not follow the Marxian line? Is it revisionist Communism? I do not know. Or has this Government entered into some agreement which overrides individual considerations and elements of humaneness when entitlement to social service benefits is considered? I ask the Minister or somebody else to give us the answers to these complex problems.
I now want to deal with migrants who seem to follow a course of voilence rather than seek to be integrated into the Australian society. I regret very much that I was called out of the chamber to answer a phone call when Senator Mulvihill was mentioning this matter. I do not know what he said. I hope that what I am about to say will not be repetition. On 6th October 1965 I asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration whether an author in Cairns had taken action against Mirror Newspapers Ltd. for defamation in a publication which conveyed that the complainant was or had been a Nazi war criminal and as a result was undesirable as a member of the Australian community, whilst the name of the complainant was published in the Press, I refrained from mentioning it here. Despite the fact that 1 had more protection than had Mirror Newspapers Ltd., I did not want to give publicity to the allegation.
The action was heard by a jury, which would have consisted of average Queensland citizens. The jury found that the article published was defamatory, but that it was true and that publication was in the public interest. I repeat that the jury found that the allegation that the man was a war criminal and as a result was undesirable as a member of the Australian community, was true. In his reply to my question, the Minister said that the decision was under appeal and that it would be unwise for him to comment. That was understandable. The matter was later settled without the case going to appeal. I do not want to publish the individual’s name, but I ask how he got into Australia. Is it intended that he should remain in Australia? Should some inquiry not be made into this matter?
On 27th November last at the country town of Whyalla in South Australia, where for a long period Nazi signs had been painted on public buildings, four Yugoslavs were stabbed in the street. They were identified as belonging to the Croatian Ustashi Movement. The police raided the single men’s quarters attached to the works of the Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd. They found huge quantities of sheath knives, a starting pistol, a .22 pistol and bike chains. These weapons were in the Yugoslav section of the single men’s quarters. The people in this group seem to want to carry on in Australia the political differences that exist in their own country. Obviously, they cannot be integrated into the Australian community. The question arises: How did they get into Australia and are they to remain here?
– Are they naturalised?
– I do not know whether they are naturalised.
Senator Hannaford__ What caused the stabbing affray? Did any information come out of a subsequent inquiry?
Senator CAVANAGH__ I appreciate the honorable senator’s interest and [ will give what information I can. I have a report from the Adelaide “ Advertiser “ but I do not know the date of the issue. It was about last November. The report states -
Five men who were convicted of various charges involving weapons arising from police inquiries following an altercation in Whyalla on November 27 were ordered to pay the fines imposed forthwith.
After giving details, the report stated - and I do not propose to quote the name of the defendant because I think we can forget it in this context -
In evidence on oath,- said he would give his evidence “ as a Serb honestly. I am giving you my word that I am for the King Peter and the crown “.
Inspector R. A. Schlein who prosecuted, objected, saying the defendant was introducing “ a little bit of propaganda for various factions of Yugoslavia which I am desperately trying to avoid . . .
The police prosecutor accepted that this was a political question and that politics were being introduced into the hearing. I ask seriously: Should not some investigation be made to determine whether we are not admitting into Australia - I acknowledge this is a small group - persons who are carrying on undesirable activities and cannot be integrated into our society? We should inquire how they come into Australia and how they remain here.
I have here a publication “Daugavas Vanag “ produced by the Latvian movement. I believe the name is taken from that of a river in Latvia. Under this name, it has branches throughout the western world mostly composed of Latvian migrants. So that there will be no misunderstanding, I inform the Senate that this booklet is published by the Latvian State Publishing House in Riga and is dated 1963. It was printed in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic. Someone will say immediately that I am relying on a Communist or a Soviet publication. 1 present it for what it is worth and for that reason 1 do not name those mentioned in it. I am not making accusations. But the publication shows the people mentioned in the uniform of the German secret service with their signatures on documents they signed on definite instructions. It gives details of their history and these show that if these people had been tried by a court they would have been found guilty of war crimes. When Latvia was occupied by the Germans, there began a reign of terror. They started by persecuting the Jews until the Jews were annihilated and there were no more of them to persecute. The Germans went on to persecute and kill the working men of Latvia and the booklet lists all those persons who participated in these atrocities. For what it is worth I give some references to those who are resident in Australia with the question: “ Has security looked into this matter?”.
– By whom were the atrocities committed - by Latvians or Germans?
– The atrocities were committed by Latvians who were in the secret service during the period of the German occupation. They are classified as war criminals. At German behest they engaged in activities against their own nationals.
– What is the authority for the publication?
– The Latvian State Publishing House.
Sitting suspended from. 12.46 to 2.15 p.m.
Senator CAVANAGH__ Before the suspension of the sitting I had mentioned the entry into Australia of certain people and had questioned whether they should be permitted to remain here. 1 had referred to certain incidents in Australia which had been documented by newspaper reports which I do not think can be criticised. I had reached the stage where I was referring to a Latvian publication. Attempts were made to discredit it as a Communist publication. When I first mentioned the document 1 recited its source to indicate that it was from a Communist country, but that is no reason why everything in it should be rejected. We must decide what credit should be given to the statements contained in it. In any court statements would not be rejected simply because they came from a suspicious source. So we must examine the statements contained in this publication and decide what weight we should give to them, always bearing in mind its source. I put the matter no higher than that.
I have mentioned the publication and I have said that the report to which 1 am referring is well documented with photographs, signatures and the names and full addresses in Australia of the people concerned. I believe the documentation creates sufficient suspicion to warrant an investigation, following which the Senate should be supplied with information on whether there is any truth in the allegations which have been made. If there is any truth in them, how did these particular individuals get into Australia? ls it good policy to invite such individuals to Australia? Should they be allowed to remain in Australia?
For the benefit of those who will not even look at a publication that comes from a doubtful source, let me state that I received a printed letter - probably all members of Parliament received a copy - from the delegation in Australia of the Assembly of Captive European Nations, which complains about the leader of the Soviet delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union conference. The letter claims that he was a war criminal. I do not know what power the Government has over delegations which come to Australia, but I believe that this allegation is sufficiently serious to justify an investigation so that we will know just who are these people who come to Australia.
I turn now to the Latvian publication. Because of the suspicious nature of the publication I will refrain from incriminating anyone by uttering publicly the names of the people concerned. The book is available to the Security Service if it wishes to conduct any investigation into the allegations contained in it. In any case, I suppose the Security Service already has this book in its files. On page 85 the publication states -
When war broke out between Germany and the U.S.S.R., he-
Referring to a particular individual, whom 1 shall call X- determined to carry out guerrilla warfare. In the vicinity of Smiltene. X gathered an armed band to hide in forest retreats and attack unprotected civilians who, fearing Fascism, were evacuating to Russia.
X was in command of a regiment of the Latvian SS legion on the eastern front . . . Finally he became an assistant to General-Director Dankers. Then he spent most of his time telling, with great relish, about his experiences in “ solving “ the Jewish problem in Smiltene. X lives today in Australia. He also is one of the founders of “ Daugavas Vanag “ from its very beginning, and for a time was chairman of the Central Committee. At meetings of the “ Daugavas Vanag “ organisation in Melbourne, X constantly meets one particular member.
Another member of the group is named. The report goes on -
Before the war, Y-
I will refer to the second individual as Y - was just an ordinary policeman, but he lost no time finding his niche under the German occupation. From the first, he became one of the most savage man-hunters in Riga . He stayed in Minsk from 1942 to 1943, and was the scourge of the townspeople. Y’s company was kept busy literally annihilating peaceable civilians, both in Minsk and Uzda a suburb.
Y’S death company was also put on guard duty at the Jewish ghetto. 12 kilometres from Minsk. Here Y made good use of the experience he had acquired while “ liquidating “ the Jewish ghetto in Riga. This death company and its leader did their share, or more, in wiping out the Minsk Jews by the end of 1942, using not only rifles but more “ modern “ methods of assassination. Only after this action was Y given the chance to fight partisans. However, partisan fighting meant only one thing to Y: That was “ to annihilate the civilian population.” Whenever this SS company went through a place, they left behind only ruins, completely demolished towns or villages, and corpses piled high. Former members of this death company, in their personal testimony before the Latvian Emergency Commission set up to investigate German fascist crimes, stated that their commander–
He is named - often showed them how to murder ordinary civilians, especially children, by his own personal example.
Early in 1944, Y’S company returned to Riga. This officer’s home-
The address is given - was practically turned into a warehouse. He brought back from Minsk all the riches he had been able to steal from his victims. These illgotten goods were added to the loot he had formerly brought to his wife’s snug little nest during the early days of July 1941. Ys wife-
Her name is stated - hud every reason to brag about her expensive jewellery and so on, all of which had been stolen from Jews. (Incidentally, it is known that she still continues to brag about it today in Australia.)
As I have said, a photograph accompanies this article and it can be used if there is any question about the allegation that this man is today a resident of Australia.
– What is the document from which the honorable senator is reading?
– “ Daugavas Vanagi “, a publication of the Latvian State Publishing House, Riga. The reference will be found in “ Hansard “. The article goes on -
At present this arrogant stormtrooper-
The German word is used - of the SS police lives in Melbourne.
His address is given. The article continues -
But whoever wants to meet him should be warned: Be careful, this hardened murderer goes armed.
On page 101 of this publication there is a reference to other individuals. The first is a Lieutenant-Colonel whose name is given. The document states -
He was formerly chief of the Valmiera district. This former officer of the Latvian Army besmirched the honour of an officer by his police activities. To illustrate this, it is sufficient to point out that, in the Valmiera district, he worked in close contact with the Latvian- Security Police, in particular with such S.D. officers as . . . who organised mass annihilations of civilians, now living at . . .
Here an address is given, with the number of a house in a street in Adelaide, which I think is the house mentioned by the South Australian Attorney-General as showing Nazi signs and as a place where Fascist hymns were sung. The report then mentions an associate of this person, living at Rose Park, Adelaide, and continues - . . each ot whom has on his conscience the terrible torment of hundreds of people.
Let me read one other extract, from page 106 of this publication -
In the first few pages of this book, we mentioned the Jewish massacres that took place in Kraslava a small town in Latgale. Now we shall speak about one person who was active in this brutal work
Then is mentioned the name of an individual, and the article continues -
Today he lives in Australia, wilh his wife . . . , daughter . . . and son . . .
His address in New South Wales is given -
By the beginning of July 1941, . . . had already become chief deputy in the Kraslava Security Police, which post he held till the summer of 1944. His crimes during World War II were typical of those of many D.V. members; he executed the unoffending populace; he interrogated the prisoners, giving them the third degree with such brutality that it was common for him to sec them die before their very eyes. His bestial nunile is shown by the following testament:
In the summer of 1942, accompanied by policemen . . . and took four war prisoners to the Kraslava Jewish Cemetery, one prisoner was so badly wounded he could hardly walk. Reaching the cemetery . . . picked up a heavy rock and. with ail his strength, struck the wounded man over the head, so that his brains splashed out. . . . Then he shot the remaining prisoners with his pistol.
So that is the kind of person who now lives with the Australians! But he is only one of the 1,200 members of D.V. who live in the land of the kangaroo. And their representative on the Central Committee of the “ Daugavas Vanag “ organisation is … .
This man, whose name is given, is described as being now 46 years old and having volunteered for service with the 26th Latvian police battalion at the beginning of 1942. The article continues -
From June 1942 right up to the spring of 1943, he look part in the terrible and shocking atrocities that took place near Minsk, Byelorussia. The 26th Battalion played a strong part in annihilating the Jewish population in Minsk and the surrounding countryside. After these “ actions “, . . . joined the Latvian S.S. Legion. Now he is vice-president of the Australian Branch Committee, a member of the D.V. Central Committee, and head of . . . So now you have had a glimpse of the unholy monsters and dupes of Hitler Germany, whose leaders used these Latvian tools to bring into reality the terrible Hitlerite plan of annihilating the peoples of Europe. And you know where these monsters have found asylum from justice in all live continents of the world.
I leave the matter at that, for what lt is worth. There is documentary evidence^ which I say should be investigated. The actions of a small section of fascist minded gentlemen in Australia with bestial atrocities to their records are such as to give some credence to the reports that I have just read, and I ask for some investigation of them. We find that these groups are very active on such political questions at present. Anti-conscription demonstrations have taken place in the various capitals. In Adelaide at a meeting held in January an opposing group fortunately small in number organised by the South Australian branch of the Democratic Labour Party, attended. After the publication of the “ Catholic Worker “ and Victorian Catholic journals, the South Australian branch of the Democratic Labour Party group decided not to participate in these activities in the future.
A march was held through the streets of Adelaide, and a meeting was called by the Australian Labour Party, and held in Australia Hall in Angas Street. At these activities the Democratic Labour Party did not demonstrate, but there were demonstrations by groups of foreigners, many of whom who are not naturalised, against conscription. If there was a desire to take action on political questions I do not think we could object, but if these men just desire to carry on their Fascist activities in Australia and, being unnaturalised, are prepared to fight the Communists in Vietnam to the last Australian, their activities, together with the activities of the groups, should be investigated by this Government to see whom we are letting into Australia. This section holds us up to ridicule, lt is undesirable and is unable to be integrated into the Australian community. It gives a bad impression to foreign citizens who come to these shores and who can be readily accepted and integrated. Many immigrants from foreign countries do not desire today to engage iri Australian politics. They mostly want to forget, but when we see Nazi signs appearing on public buildings, and stabbings from political motives are increasing in Australian cities, it is time that we made a check on this question.
asked earlier whether pledging allegiance to Australia means automatic renunciation of allegiance to one’s former country. I find that the general opinion is that this is more a question depending on the laws of the country of Origin than on any law that we may have in Australia. The Greek Government, particularly, will not accept any renunciation. A person who is Greek remains Greek. If he returns to Greece, he is liable to undergo a period of military service. This is the position with particular countries, irrespective of what legislation we pass in this Parliament. Therefore, whether renunciation is in the proposed form, or in the longer, absolute form, makes no difference to the nationals of those countries, if they return to their places of origin, and it contributes nothing to the argument as to whether we have some form of renunciation at our ceremonies. This is not a question upon which the Senate is divided. It is a question of difference of opinion that can be solved later, if not on this occasion. If it can be established that there is a need for renunciation - we do not accept that there is - I do not think that this side of the chamber would insist on the amendment. If there is no need, the Minister should, in keeping with his approach to this question, support the elimination of renunciation of any description.
[2.35]. - I understand that the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Gorton) intends to seek leave to make a statement. I therefore ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
.-by leave- The statement which I am about to read is at present being made in another place by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) and the personal pronoun “ I “, when it is used, refers to him. The statement is as follows -
I wish to report to the House on my visit overseas, from which I returned last Sunday. In chronological order, my tasks were to lead the Australian delegation to the annual Ministerial conference of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East in New Delhi; to meet Ministers of the
Governments of India, Israel, Greece and Italy; to hold a meeting in Rome with heads of Australian diplomatic missions in Africa; and to maintain our close consultation with Britain and the United States of America. I shall deal with this last matter first. Australia has always seen its security in terms of world security, and to that end Australia has for long allied itself with Great Britain and the United States. The basic principles and objectives of their policies are for the most part shared by us. They are our allies because we find they advance the principles and defend the causes we ourselves wish to uphold. Forthe sake of our own security and to ensure effective co-operation with our allies, both in shaping policy and applying it, we are maintaining close and constant touch with our allies.
It was also part of my purpose while overseas to try to bring home to Western European Governments the importance to them of what is happening in the Far East, and in particular the consequences to them of Chinese Communist aggressive expansion against any of its neighbours. I felt all the more right to make this point because past Australian Governments have committed Australian servicemen and resources to the preservation of security elsewhere in the world, particularly in Europe and the Middle East - notably the Fisher Government in 1914, the Menzies Government in 1939, and the Chifley Government in 1948 when it contributed part of the Royal Australian Air Force to the Berlin air lift. I have not presumed to tell European Governments what they should do, but they cannot afford to be indifferent to what is happening in the Far East. The security of the whole world, and power relationships generally, would be damaged grievously by Chinese domination over South East Asia, or by Chinese nuclear adventures, or by hostilities against any of China’s neighbours, including the Soviet Union. These are obviously not matters that concern the Asian region only. The United States and British Governments recognise that the maintenance of security in Asia by the defeat of Chinese Communist-backed aggression fits into the maintenance of global security and is vital to their own defence. Australians gain confidence from the fact that the United States has been prepared to commit large forces to repelling aggression in South East Asia. The British
Government, too, has chosen firmly to maintain significant and effective forces east of Suez. This was set out in the White Paper which followed the recent British defence review. I was present last Thursday - a week ago today - at the opening in London of the new Parliament, when the Queen’s Speech reaffirmed this policy.
These, and many other matters, were the subjects of my discussions in Washington and London. I was not there to reach decisions with those Governments, but to continue the exchange of information and views which has been proceeding among
Vis. Within recent months we have had visits to Canberra by Mr. Denis Healey, the British Minister of Defence, and by the Vice-President of the United States, Mr. Hubert Humphrey, Mr. Averell Harriman, and Mr. Cabot Lodge. My discussions in London and Washington were a continuation of these exchanges of views. While in Washington I conferred at length with VicePresident Humphrey, Mr. Dean Rusk, the Secretary of State, Mr. McNamara, the Secretary of Defence, a number of senior officials, and some senators. In London, I talked with the Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Wilson, the Minister of Defence, Mr. Healey, the Secretary for Commonwealth Relations, Mr. Bottomley, two of the Ministers at the Foreign Office, the Foreign Secretary being absent at a Central Treaty Organisation meeting, and many political figures and officials. These continuous discussions between our governments, of which my visit was part and of which the regular activities by our diplomatic missions arc another part, are designed to ensure that all the governments are fully aware of the interests, activities, assessments, and policies of the others, so that each government can make its own national decisions in the light of what others are doing and thinking and in the light of such common courses of conduct as may commend general agreement.
Tn London, I need hardly say. there was some discussion of the provision of base facilities in Australia for possible use by British forces. This, as honorable members know, was the subject of discussion with Mr. Healey when he was in Canberra last January and our Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) subsequently announced our attitude. The Australian Government’s position is. in brief, that we want Britain to maintain a strong military presence in the Far East, and specifically in Singapore; that we believe that this presence is not merely accepted but actually welcomed by Singapore and many other in the region; and that we believe, too, that a British military presence is a source of confidence to the peoples of nearby countries, quite apart from its direct practical contribution to security. Nevertheless, the adequacy of existing defence facilities in Australia, which is always under review from the point of view of Australia’s own requirements, is being examined also in the light of possible British requirements and availabilities in certain contingencies. Mr. Healey and I gave some thought in London to what has already been done since his visit here in January and we made some progress on the next steps. The Secretary of the Australian Department of Defence, Sir Edwin Hicks, was with me at this part of my talks.
The Australian Government, of course, does not think solely in terms of the United States and Britain when planning and executing its defence and foreign policy. Their strength and their world-wide commitments cast these two nations in a special role, but all the countries of the region have their part to play. No policy could be soundly based that did not secure wide participation and accord from the region itself. The Australian Government has been maintaining its contacts with South East Asian countries. Last December, for example, I visited the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Earlier in the year, too, I visited Burma. In London last Thursday I had a further talk with the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. The Prime Minister of Australia in his present overseas visit to our forces is talking to the Governments of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The Prime Minister of Thailand, accompanied by the Foreign Minister and tha Minister for National Planning, visited Australia in February. The South East Asia Treaty Organisation Council will meet in Canberra from 27th June. I give these examples - and I could quote others - to show honorable members that, apart from our regular diplomatic contacts, discussions at a ministerial level have been proceeding with our South East Asian neighbours, and moreover they have not been limited to our treaty partners.
Nor does the Australian Government think only in military terms when considering the security of the area. In the long run, security itself is dependent on a healthy economic, social, and political life and on co-operation among the countries of the region. Military measures are necessary to provide a shield behind which economic development can take place and national independence can be consolidated. But the military measures could prove in vain if progress is not made politically and economically. Consequently, Australia is contributing to economic development and stability in Asia through the Colombo Plan, or by special measures such as our two big gifts of grain to India, our flood relief for Indonesia, and our annual grants to help stabilise the currency in Laos, our contribution to the Mekong River project and by participation in various multilateral funds. As soon as the ratification procedures are completed by the various countries, Australia will be a foundation member of the new Asian Development Bank, to which we are contributing SUS85 million. 1 led the Australian delegation at the E.C.A.F.E. conference in New Delhi towards the end of March, where many subjects in this field were discussed, including ways of developing intra-regional economic co-operation. The meeting was successful and practical. In addition it afforded me an opportunity for private discussions with Ministers from Asian countries responsible for economic development programmes and economic co-operation. I was greatly encouraged by the repeated examples of the way in which Australia, as a regional member of E.C.A.F.E., is gaining the respect of its neighbours, establishing its own identity, among them as a friendly and cooperative nation and joining with them in common enterprises.
I spent two days in New York, primarily on United Nations matters. I talked with the Secretary-General, U Thant, and senior members of the Secretariat, and also with a number of representatives of other countries. Once again, my talks ranged widely. Before I leave the general subject of consultations and co-operation, particularly in regard to the security and development of Asia and the western Pacific, let me add that I am paying a short visit to New Zea land at the end of next week to continue the exchange between the two Governments of views and information.
Vietnam took a prominent part in my discussions overseas. The size of the military operations and of the United States’ own military role, and the fact that Australia too is making a significant contribution, made it desirable and natural that the course of events in Vietnam should bulk large in any discussions of Asia and the western Pacific. In addition, during my absence from Australia the internal political developments in Vietnam made it opportune to discuss their implications with other countries associated in the common effort in Vietnam.
We have to distinguish between the basic elements in the situation and current developments which are not necessarily basic. The basic element is that the Republic of Vietnam is being subjected to aggression and subversion, directed from and based outside the country and part of an expansionism radiating from Peking. Australia is helping to resist that expansionist aggression, at the request of the Government of Vietnam. But what is at stake is more than Vietnam: lt is security in the region - indeed, as I have argued, of the whole world; the right of each nation to maintain its independence: and the eventual establishment of conditions for living with Communist China by indicating that aggression will meet common resistance. The outcome in Vietnam will affect not only the future of Vietnam but the future of all southern Asia.
These basic elements remain despite what has been happening inside the political arena in Vietnam. I shall not comment in detail on those happenings, as it is primarily for the Vietnamese themselves to work out what they want. It is interesting to see the degree of political expression and political action that exists in the South, for we know that anything in the North remotely resembling that expression of dissent would have been ruthlessly suppressed and those involved would have been destroyed. The principal elements in the recent political demonstrations and manoeuvrings have not been asking that the Republic of Vietnam surrender te the Communists: They have been seeking power or influence within the framework of a non-Communist state resisting aggression and guerrilla subversion.
The search i0i a peaceful and just outcome of the hostilities continues. It must be just. North Vietnam and those associated with it have not responded to any attempts - and there have been many - by the United States and others to open the way to discussion. So South Vietnam and its allies continue to resist the guerrillas and the regular North Vietnamese forces infiltrated into the South; and the bombing of the North continues. The North Vietnamese would naturally like to limit the fighting to the South, where their underground has been practising terrorism, sabotage and open warfare, but the bases in the North from which aggression comes cannot be allowed to remain immune. They have brought themselves into the war by being used for the purposes of war. The bombing of the North is a response to what has been done for years past against the South in Southern territory. The objective of the bombing is to interfere with the flow of supplies and forces from North Vietnam into the South. The operations have so far been conducted with restraint, ft is not our objective to destroy North Vietnam, either physically or as a regime. The objective is to repel aggression and to enable the people in the South to choose and practise their own form of government, free from outside coercion.
As I have said in this House before, the big question is future relations wilh Communist China and its place in the region. This is not to be disposed of simply by recognition of Peking or its admission to the United Nations: These are only aspects of the bigger question of relations with China. I am quite sure that a successful approach to better relations cannot be made by surrendering to aggression or threats. Indeed, if the United States and the rest of us were to do so, Peking would be encouraged to push for more, and the hope and resolution of other countries in the region would be impaired. What we are attempting is delicate and dangerous - a large but still limited response to aggressive expansionism. But passivity or retreat on our part would be e”en more dangerous.
During my visit to New Delhi I talked with the new Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, before she left for the United
States. 1 told her she had the good wishes and sympathetic understanding of the Australian Government and all the Australian people in the heavy task she has shouldered. India has to cope with a rapidly growing population and a persistent food shortage, aggravated last year by a severe and widespread drought. India is determined to industralise itself, promote literacy and higher education, and so far as possible to raise living standards. All this is being pursued within the framework of parliamentary democracy, with freedom of speech and the rule of law. It is most important that this should succeed. One of the objectives of Peking when it attacked India was to obstruct and, if possible, render impossible this combination of democracy and economic development which offered to the countries of Asia an alternative pattern to the authoritarianism of Communist China. Australia recently gave India as a gift SA8 million worth of grain - our second big such gift - and we are continuing other forms of assistance. I hope many other countries of the world, particularly in Europe, will assist in India’s great task of establishing a sound economy and advancing its people.
In addition to calls on the President and Vice-President of India and my talks with Mrs. Gandhi, I talked with many Indian Ministers, including the Minister of Defence, Mr. Chavan, and the Minister of Education, Mr. Chagla, as well as a number of persons concerned with economic planning and economic development. With the Minister of Education, 1 discussed an expansion of educational and cultural exchanges and co-operation between our two countries. Both the Indian and Australian Governments attach importance to this. I also had many friendly and fruitful talks with the Indian Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Swaran Singh. I appreciated deeply the readiness of the Indian Ministers to discuss frankly all matters of common concern and to give me their confidence. At the conclusion of my visit, on 29th March, the Indian Minister of External Affairs and I issued a joint public statement, which I believe becomes something of a landmark in our relationship. The statement, after reciting the circumstances of our discussions, continues -
These discussions held in a frank and friendly atmosphere have served not only to acquaint the two Governments with each other’s points of view on various matters of national and international concern but have also helped in promoting understanding and strengthening the friendly relations already existing between the two countries. No particular negotiation was contemplated in these ministerial talks. The purpose was to reach a better understanding by each of the two Governments pf the viewpoints of the other and to exchange information about the problems each country faces in world affairs.
The talks were held on the basis that India and Australia each has an interest in the maintenance of both countries as independent progressive nations and also in the advancement of the whole of the region of South and South East Asia and in the preservation of the national independence of the States of that region.
The Ministers discussed the threats to peace in Asia and particularly those resulting from the aggressive policies of Peoples’ Republic of China of which India has already been and continues to be a victim.
It was explained on behalf of India that they would carry out the terms of the Tashkent Agreement. Hopes were expressed by the Ministers that there would be a good outcome from the implementation of the terms of the Tashkent Agreement.
It was accepted in the discussions between the Ministers that Asia faced vast and urgent tasks of reducing want, of finding the best means and methods of strengthening the economies of Asian countries and of assisting beneficial social changes. In these tasks the co-operation of countries of the region with each other and with non-regional countries would be needed and it was recognised that substantial non-Asian assistance was required. Nevertheless any lasting progress would have to be the result of Asian decisions on the use of Asian resources, both human and material; and each country of the region must be able to shape and maintain ils own political system and make its own political judgment free from any coercion or subversion from outside.
Both the Ministers agreed that the situation in Viet Nam was a matter of grave concern and that notwithstanding the great difficulties inherent in the situation, efforts should be continued to find a basis for talks so that a peaceful and just solution of the problem in accordance with the Geneva Agreements may be found.
During the talks, particular attention was given to the relationship between India and Australia. They revealed the remarkably close understanding by both the countries of Hie problems of Asia and a clearer appreciation of the possibilities that exist for working together more closely for the common good. It was agreed that both Governments would continue close co-operation in this regard. India and Australia are fellow members of the United Nations, of the Commonwealth and of a number of other international agencies including regional organisations, and when ratification processes are completed they will become major regional contributors of capital to the Asian Development Bank. The Australian Government has taken a friendly interest in India’s efforts to build up her economy and has all along given substantial help.
The Government of India particularly appreciated the prompt and generous assistance offered by the Australian Government to help tide over the current food difficulties.
It was agreed that increased cultural exchanges would offer further opportunities for closer constructive friendship between India and Australia. Already there has been, during the past decade, increasing cultural co-operation with exchange of students and scholars, participation in joint undertakings in the fields of science, medicine, agriculture and education, visits bv artists and the study of the literature of each country. Both Ministers agreed to give immediate attention to developing further means by which these cultural exchanges may be usefully increased.
In Rome from 4th to 6th April 1 held a meeting with heads of Australian diplomatic missions in Africa to review the problems of Africa and Australia’s interests there. This vast continent now contains many independent states, members of the United Nations, many of them members of the Commonwealth; and Australia has increased its diplomatic representation by adding to older embassies in the United Arab Republic and South Africa, four newer missions in Accra, Lagos, DaresSalaam, and Nairobi. At the meeting of our heads of mission the opinion was expressed that there is an increasing desire by most African governments to give priority lo their domestic tasks of economic development, education, and political evolution. Unfortunately at present this desirable development is hindered by the continuing racial tensions principally affecting Rhodesia, the Portuguese colonies, South Africa and South-West Africa.
This, however, is by no means the whole of the African story. There are other tensions in the continent and above all there are the underlying problems of economic and social needs in a continent whose natural resources are unevenly spread and in some places narrowly limited and where financial, technological and administrative capacity are still insufficient. The Rome meeting has added greatly to the Government’s appreciation of the problems in this sphere of our external affairs and the factors to be taken into account in shaping our decisions.
The most urgent problem in Africa is Rhodesia. While in London I had good talks with the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, and others on this subject. The Australian Government regards the United Kingdom as having sovereignty over and responsibility for Rhodesia, and any resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council have been adopted by or at the request of the British Government. It follows, from our belief that responsibility for Rhodesia rests with the British Government, that what we are doing in regard to Rhodesia is at the request of the British Government. Australia is imposing economic sanctions on Rhodesia to the extent of 93 per cent, of our former imports. I took the opportunity of informing Mr. Wilson that in our view there should be no resort to force in Rhodesia. I also made our position on this clear to the -Secretary General of the United Nations and to the United States representative on the Security Council.
I found among various European leaders considerable uneasiness about recent statements and actions by President de Gaulle. It was not simply that the military structure of N.A.T.O. was being affected; a delicate political balance in Western Europe was also being upset. I found, too, considerable discussions going on in Britain, cutting across party lines, about the possibility of Britain entering into the European Common Market. Reference was made to it in the Queen’s Speech last Thursday to Parliament in London. The Queen’s Speech said -
My Government will continue to promote the economic unity of Europe and to strengthen the links between the European Free Trade ‘ Association and the- European Economic Community. They would be ready to enter the European Economic Community provided essential British and Commonwealth interests were safeguarded. They will work for tariff reductions under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and for an expansion of Commonwealth trade.
There are clearly many obstacles in the way of Britain’s entering the European Common Market. Since it was first mooted some years ago, Australia’s own capacity to cope with a new situation has improved. Under the impetus of my colleague, the Minister for Trade and Industry, (Mr. McEwen), Australia has done a lot to diversify the markets of its products. I shall not attempt to give in a few words Australia’s attitude to possible entry by Britain into the Common Market, save to make these points.
We have all along taken the position that, whilst the decision to go in or to stay out is one for Britain to make in the light of its own interests, we would press for special arrangements to be made for those particular items of Australian exports to Britain which would be vulnerable if there was a change in the present conditions of entry to the British market. We want the European market to be outward-looking and to help bring about a widening of world trade, not a contraction of world trade or the limitation of access to the European market to selected countries. We hope, too, that the terms of any British membership would not constrict its world role, or impair its political relations with Australia and other Commonwealth countries. Saying this, however, we recognise the importance to ourselves of the integrity of Western Europe and the strengthening of the British economy. Indeed I expressed to British Ministers the view that one point which we would wish to see demonstrated was that entry to the Common Market would in fact strengthen Britain. Throughout my discussions in London I stressed the global context of so many problems, even those that seem regional. We in Australia cannot shut our eyes to Europe: European countries cannot turn away from what is happening in Asia.
In conclusion, I wish to express my appreciation to the Ministers of other governments for their readiness to afford considerable time to me for these conversations, and to conduct them in an atmosphere of trust and confidence. I was greatly assisted by our Ambassadors and High Commissioners at the various cities visited and by the permanent head of the Department of External Affairs, Sir James Plimsoll,- who accompanied me throughout this tour of duty. I believe that our foreign policy is developing on a foundation of confidence and respect laid down by representatives at all levels who, over the years, have shown that Australia is worthy of both.
I present the following paper -
Foreign Affairs - Ministerial Statement, 28th April 1966- and move -
That the Senate take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Debate resumed (vide page 665).
[3.3]. - in reply - I rise to reply to the speeches which have been made during the second reading debate on this Bill. I would like first of all to express my appreciation of the very fine speeches we have heard from both sides of the House. Honorable senators have expressed a real desire that people coming to live with us in this country will live as happy citizens and benefit from being here so that we may. together, build a greater Australia. The debate has shown clearly that there has not been any strong party division on this Bill. The interest of honorable senators on both sides of the chamber has been demonstrated in this most important matter of migration. I was very interested in Senator Marriott’s suggestion that people who come to this country as new Australians, as we call them, should be made aware of the many sentiments expressed in debates of this kind. The honorable senator suggested that the speeches made in this debate could be issued through the Good Neighbour Council with advantage. I am sure that the Minister will be interested in the honorable senator’s suggestion.
I want also to express appreciation to honorable senators who have raised certain questions during the debate on the second reading. Interest has been shown in the new arrangements to be introduced for the acquisition of citizenship and naturalisation by husband and wife together. This is an indication of the importance of the family unit, in which we believe so much. This was very much evidenced in figures cited in the debate. The Government has recognised the importance of the family unit.
We are also indebted to honorable senators who have referred to the importance of citizenship. Last night Senator Davidson made a very fine speech on the responsibility and privileges of citizenship. These matters are, I am sure, important to all Australians. Honorable senators on both sides of the chamber have referred to the number of people who have applied for naturalisation. Requests have been made for statistics on applications during certain periods and information on the trend in the rate of applications for naturalisation. I have received some information which may be of assistance. I have been informed that over the past four years there has been a decline in the rate of applications for naturalisation. An increase is expected in the current year. It is important to take that into account in considering the variations in the rate of intake of non-British migrants. The decline in recent years in applications for naturalisation is certainly related to the decline in nonBritish migration during 1956-58. It is of interest that, on an average, people apply for naturalisation after being in Australia for seven or eight years. The proportion of eligible migrants applying for naturalisation has increased steadily in recent years.
Senator O’Byrne and Senator Mulvihill referred to the number of people naturalised during certain periods. In the period from 1st January 1945 to 31&t December 1965, the number of people naturalised was 480,698. Information was requested on the number of persons over the age of 16 years who were eligible for naturalisation at 31st December 1965 but had not made application. I think the estimate given by an honorable senator was between 250,000 and 260,000. My information is that the correct figure is 213,750.
As I have understood the debate, there is disagreement on only one point; that is in connection with the oath of renunciation and the oath of allegiance at the naturalisation ceremony. 1 am aware that this subject will be discussed at the Committee stage. The Government feels very strongly that the time of naturalisation is a tremendously important moment in the life of a migrant. It is the moment when he becomes an Australian and takes up our citizenship. We want the ceremony to be conducted with the greatest possible dignity and in a way calculated to produce the greatest happiness for each migrant. We are very appreciative of the work done by a variety of people who make the day of naturalisation such an auspicious occasion, lt is felt that in the past a little concern and disturbance have been created by the oath of renunciation. The Minister believes that by the amendment to the Act proposed by this Bill, the problems will be overcome.
We believe that the Bill contains amendments which will have the very best possible effect in future when new Australians become Australians. I believe we all wish them well in their new country. I thank honorable senators for their interest in this Bill, their contributions to the debate and the suggestions and support they have offered.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 10 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Clause 1 1 (Second Schedule).
– Honorable senators on this side of the chamber are grateful for the expression of appreciation by the Minister for Housing (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) in relation to the contributions made to the debate. This is the third occasion in dealing with this series of bills that that has taken place. It is true to say that honorable senators on this side of the chamber are as vitally concerned about the question of migration as Government senators are. Australia is also our country. Immigration legislation was first introduced by a Labour Government and we are anxious to see that it is streamlined as much as possible. The Opposition will vote against the proposition contained in clause 11 that the Second Schedule should be amended by inserting the words “ renouncing all other allegiance “. The oath of renunciation is not contained in the Nationality and Citizenship Act. It was introduced as a separate part of the ceremony and is not provided for in the Act as it stands at present. The purpose of clause11 is to amend the Act so that authority for the oath of renunciation will be contained in it.
– Is it not referred to in the Act or the regulations?
– It has become quite a prominent part of the ceremony but it is not provided for in the Act. The question of renunciation first arises at the naturalisation ceremony and is followed by the oath or affirmation of allegiance. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman) said in his second reading speech -
The change will simplify and shorten the naturalisation ceremony and enhance its dignity, and will also,I believe, eliminate the emotional disturbance felt by candidates due to their natural and rightful love oftheir homelands.
We say that a disturbance is set up in the hearts and minds of the migrants. We do not believe that the renunciation provision should be included in the legislation. Many times in the debate on the second reading honorable senators have referred to what was said at Citizenship Conventions. I have mentioned various authorities who attended the Citizenship Convention of 1965 and have quoted what they said. This Convention, which meets every 12 months at a cost to the nation of $100,000, is attended by the best men in the immigration world. They have recommended against retention of the statement of renunciation. The Immigration Advisory Council has made a similar recommendation to the Government.
– Have any of those persons had experience in public administration, international law or defence matters?
– I have already indicated who they were, and I shall not repeat what they have said. They include Sir John Allison, the Rev. Father M. J. Rafter, who represented one of the discussion groups at the last Convention, Mr. Albert Monk of the Immigration Planning Council, the Rev. C. J. P. Mackaay, Mr. Ferrier of the Associated Chambers of Manufactures, and Dr. Una B. Porter of the Young Women’s Christian Association. In the digest that was forwarded to us there appeared a summary of the debate in the general assembly of the Convention. All those who took part at the gathering have had experience of a kind that would enable me to say “ Yes “ in reply to the question asked by Senator Wright.
– I should not have thought that they had had experience in public administration, international law or defence matters.
– I should think that the members of the Immigration Advisory Council, which has been set up by the Government, would have the qualifications about which the honorable senator speaks. That body has recommended elimination of the statement of renunciation. Such a statement is not required in Britain or New Zealand. Yesterday I mentioned that 38 per cent. of those who were naturalised in Australia in the year ended 30th June 1965 retained their own nationality, by virtue of determinations made by their former countries and I named ten countries from which they came. I do not want to name those countries again, but if I am required to do so I shall. Two weeks ago we were informed that there are still 213,750 people over the age of 16 years who are eligible to apply for naturalisation but who have not done so.
– Does the honorable senator think that the statement of renunciation is the cause?
– I, in common with the Immigration Advisory Council, believe that that could be one of the reasons. I am not saying that it is the only reason.
– Is there any evidence that that is so?
– I think there is. lt is to be found in the feelings of those who make this statement of renunciation, as mentioned yesterday by honorable senators. I have been to naturalisation ceremonies and have watched the people who have gone through this form of renunciation. As I have watched them I have thought of the words -
Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land
I have wondered how I would feel in similar circumstances. I have seen tears in their eyes as they have renounced their allegiance to their former country. Yesterday other honorable senators said much the same thing.
– Has there been any widespread public comment by national groups to the effect that if this requirement were removed the number of people applying for naturalisation would be increased?
– Statements to that effect have been made at the Citizenship Convention. Similar statements were made here yesterday, and I assume that other honorable senators taking part in the debate will say the same. I believe that we all are eager to overcome any problems that are associated with naturalisation. The Minister’s statements reveal that this difficulty exists. I urge the Government to reconsider its attitude, and I ask honorable senators to vote against the clause.
.- I support the remarks of Senator Fitzgerald. It has been admitted by previous speakers and by the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman) that the renunciation of allegiance has very great emotional overtones. Despite what Senator Davidson has said, people have refrained from seeking naturalisation or from attending a ceremony for this reason. Some people do not know that they have to renounce allegiance to their former country.
– Of course they do.
– Until they apply for naturalisation, they do not know that they have to renounce allegiance to their former country. By then they are in the process of being naturalised, and it is too late to retrace their steps.
– That is not a substantial argument.
– The honorable senator asked whether there was any evidence of people not becoming naturalised because of the requirement to renounce allegiance.
– I am still waiting for it.
– It is impossible to get the relevant figures, because by the time they discover what is required of them they are in the process of being naturalised. There can be no withdrawal once they have come forward and have commenced to take the oath.
– That displays the weakness of the argument.
– I make that comment on that aspect of the matter. I should like the legal people to give an opinion on a case that happened in my home town of Launceston. A citizen of that place returned to the land of his birth and was conscripted for national service. After a period of time he was able to find some loophole - I do not know whether it was the accepted thing - and was able to buy his way out of the obligation to serve. We make it a condition of naturalisation that migrants make a statement of renunciation. Under the existing legislation that statement is not part of the oath. The Government is now aggravating the situation by requiring applicants to say that in renouncing all other allegiance they swear by Almighty God that they will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen, her heirs and successors, according to law. We are now asked to make the renunciation part of the oath. According to the laws of his own country, a Greek is not entitled to do that. By making such an oath he excludes himself from the right to go back to his own country.
– He must still be a Greek citizen then.
– In conscience or by law, or somehow or other, he must be a citizen of both countries.
– Therefore he should not be naturalised.
– Why? We want him to be naturalised.
– But not in those circumstances.
– We encourage him to be naturalised. He prefers to be naturalised, and we want him to be naturalised. But we place him in a ridiculous position if we include as part of his sacred oath the words “ in renouncing all allegiance I swear by Almighty God that I will bear true allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen “.
As a matter of conscience and practice that is not happening because he could not do that if he went back to his own country.
– He could swear true allegiance.
– That brings me back to the point that by swearing allegiance he nullifies any previous allegiance. If a man makes a will, all the previous wills he has made are superseded, it does not matter how many wills he has made: his latest will is the final will.
– He revokes all former wills first.
– That is true.
– That is a false analogy. If a man makes a deed today and tomorrow attempts to make another in a different sense, the second one is void.
– A man making a new will would revoke all former wills. If he went to a lawyer, the lawyer would take the precaution of so advising him. I feel that there is an anomaly here that has not been corrected by adding the compulsory renunciation of former allegiance. By the connection of the renunciation with the oath of allegiance, the position has been made more difficult for the person taking the oath. Previously they were separate. In a separate act and in a separate sentence, the person concerned renounced all allegiance to any State to which he had previous allegiance. That was separate from the oath under which the person swore by Almighty God. But now the renunciation is to be connected with the oath. The commitment is to be deeper than it was previously. I should like to have some information on this point from our learned colleagues of the Senate. Anybody would have difficulty in sorting out the problem of my Greek friend in Launceston who publicly renounced all allegiance to his own country and then discovered it was so much poppycock because he finished up in the armed services as a Greek citizen with all its responsibilities.
– The honorable senator cannot blame Australia for that.
– But wc are insisting that this man must do something he is not entitled to do.
– Of course he is entitled to do it.
– He cannot have two bob each way.
– Suppose the Greeks were at war with Australia. Then you were to get a complication?
– If this man were captured in those circumstances he would be considered a traitor. Under Greek law if he were captured when fighting for Australia against the Greeks, he could be treated as a traitor . to his own country because he would still retain Greek citizenship.
– That poses the problem: What is the responsibility of the Australian Parliament?
– I am emphasising that we are asking people to undertake a commitment to renounce their allegiance when there are complications such as the one to which I have referred. This would be overcome under our amendment because we say that the provision is redundant. To take the oath is the highest action demonstrating honour and integrity in our way of life. We are asking a person to swear to Cod that he will bear allegiance to the Queen and thereby he automatically cancels in his own mind and conscience any allegiance to anyone else. Reference has been made to the emotional disturbance involved in doing this in public. The Opposition believes the provision is redundant and should be eliminated. Therefore, we oppose clause 1 1.
.- I rise to argue against the amendment proposed by Senator Fitzgerald and supported by Senator O’Byrne. Their statements were sustained in argument in another place, and much of the argument there, as well as here on occasions, has been based on opinions expressed at the immigration convention, held under the title of the Australian Citizenship Convention, in Canberra each year. I was interested in an interjection by Senator Wright who asked Senator Fitzgerald what was the validity of the opinions expressed by those attending the Citizenship Convention. Are they men and women versed in international law? Are they versed in the problems of administration? The answer in my mind is fairly conclusive as I have attended one or two of these conventions, and I believe that the time has arrived to consider seriously whether the Citizenship Convention should be abolished. 1 say this because over the years it has attracted to Canberra once a year at the expense of the Commonwealth Government, and therefore of the taxpayers, a great group of people who might be described as convention careerists. It is not uncommon at the Citizenship Convention to hear a conversation something like this: “ How do you do, Mr. Gunn’s Gully? You have been coming here for many years. It is nice to see you “. Then comes the reply: “ Yes, indeed. This is my 15th year. You must have been coming here for about 10 years “. “ No,” is the reply, “11 years “. This is what I mean by the convention careerists. The time has come when the great cost of holding this Convention each year should be diverted in terms of money to agencies such as the Good Neighbour Councils that help to assimilate migrants in Australia. The members of the Councils go from door to door and from street to street making contact with new Australians to try to assimilate them into the Australian community at that level. Less attention could be paid to some of the febrile arguments that are put at the Convention each year.
I was curious after hearing the arguments of Senator Fitzgerald and Senator O’Byrne and I went out of the chamber for a few moments to get a copy of the constitution and platform’ of the Australian Labour Party. I looked up section 16 which deals with the immigration policy of the A.L.P. 1 compared it with the section of the Liberal Party platform dealing with immigration. They both have the same object in view. In paragraph 16(b), which deals with the need to have migration into Australia, the Australian Labour Party platform has this to say -
The basis of such policy shall be . . . the welfare and the integration of all citizens.
What does the word “ integration “ mean there? It means integration into all the elements that make up the life of the community. It means that by every possible device full integration of a migrant into the Australian life shall take place. Surely a part of integration into the life of the Australian community is renunciation of legal allegiance to the country from which a migrant has come. There is no suggestion of renunciation of the country of a migrant’s birth. There is a very proper feeling in the hearts and minds of men and women that they do not want to renounce, for example, the green fields of Ireland, if they are Irish migrants. If they are Italians they may have some romantic pleasure in thinking of the beggars, trees and vines of Calabria. That is their privilege. There is no request anywhere that they renounce their romantic attachment to their native land - to the land, its soil and its people. But they are asked to renounce the legal obligation they owe to the country from which they came to Australia. They wish to become Australian citizens, so they are asked to make a legal renunciation.
– Should that not be included in the oath?
– It should be explained to them when they apply for citizenship papers, and I have npt the slightest doubt that it is explained to them.
Senator Cavanagh mentioned another point before the sitting was suspended. He said: “This is a question of international law; the act of renunciation has no validity “. There are three wide groups, as it were, of nations. There are the Iron Curtain countries, which acknowledge no ability on the part of a citizen, once he has been a Russian, a Latvian, an Estonian, a Czechoslovakia^ a Yugoslavian or a Hungarian, to renounce his allegiance. The Communist system denies totally any such ability. The Communists say quite frankly: “ Once you have been a Communist and within our grasp, you remain a Communist for the rest of your life and are subject to our jurisdiction wherever we can reach you “.
– What about other countries which do not do that?
– There is Italy, for example. 1 have in my mind the case of an old friend of mine who was a regular soldier of the Australian Army and the Chief Engineer of the 6th Division. One of his jobs before the battle of Bardia was to put up barbed wire prisoner of war pens, expecting that they would be used for Italians. In fact they were. When he went to see whether the barbed wire pens were holding the prisoners, he was very surprised to hear a man call out to him: “ Hey, Mr. Secombe, get me out of here. I am Guiseppe Minoli. Don’t you remember me? 1 used to sell you vegetables.” But it was too late for this unfortunate man. He had not taken Australian citizenship. He went back to his own country on a holiday. War broke out and he found himself in North Africa behind Australian barbed wire. My heart would bleed for such a poor fellow. He wanted to come back to Australia. My friend was good enough to see that he was placed on a prisoner of war ship coming to Australia, and eventually he got back as a prisoner of war. There are countries which give partial acknowledgment to a divesting of allegiance.
– What are they?
– France, for example.
– What about the Danes?
– 1 do not know the situation with the Danes.
– The Danes are the same as the other people the honorable senator mentioned. So are the Greeks.
– I accept that Denmark is one of those countries. As I have said, there are three groups of countries - those that give no acknowledgment to a migrant divesting himself of allegiance to his former country, those that give partial acknowledgment and those that give total acknowledgment. There are three groups of migrants in Australia deriving a problem from the three different sources that 1 have mentioned. This schedule to the Act provides a method of dealing with at least part of the problem.
It conies to my mind quite readily that there is the intolerable situation that, if a man has not taken the oath of allegiance, he can, in circumstances which every honorable senator can visualise, be accused of treason if he finds himself in some of the awkward situations that can arise. In the view of at least some civilised countries of the world, if a man has gone through the process of divesting himself of his former allegiance by taking an oath of allegiance to the Crown in Australia, he has protected himself against such an eventuality.
I oppose the amendment because T do not. see why we should seek to encourage in Australia in any way whatsoever what might be described as dual citizenship. If a migrant, by taking the oath of allegiance here, acknowledges that he divests himself of the allegiance he had to the government of his former country, the country of his birth, he at least has broken a legal link and has established himself in toto as an Australian citizen. For those short, sharp reasons I oppose the amendment.
.- I have been somewhat surprised by the fact that some honorable senators have questioned the authority of the Australian Citizenship Convention to make a recommendation on this matter. They have asked: “ Are the people who spoke at the Convention experts on international law? Are they persons with experience in public administration?” If those are the qualifications necessary to determine this matter, the Senate ought not to be dealing with it. How many of us are experts on international law and how many of us are experts in public administration? If expert knowledge is essential, we should never have dealt with the Judiciary Bill and we have no right to deal with the Bankruptcy Bill within the next few days. If there is a convention of people who devote a considerable amount of time to the work of assimilating migrants and helping our migrant scheme to run smoothly, surely the opinions of those people on a matter such as this are to be respected.
I am unrepentant in my view that this renunciation is unnecessary. I should think the British House of Commons would be a reasonably good authority on a matter such as this. One honorable senator has suggested that if there is no renunciation there will be dual nationality. I do not believe the British House of Commons would have taken action which would have resulted in certain people having dual nationality. We do not have to follow the House of Commons, but if something is good enough for Britain I do not see any reason why we should be scared of it.
– Has the honorable senator any information as to whether the form of the British oath is prompted by the peculiar position Britain holds at the centre of the Dominions constituting the Commonwealth of Nations?
– I have no information on that. All I am prepared to say is that I think Britain would have approached this question with a very high sense of responsibility and, therefore, any decision she made should be all the stronger. I would have confidence in her decision.
In endeavouring to form my opinion, I contacted a number of representative persons who are migrants to this country. Senator Mulvihill suggested - if I heard him correctly - that probably I would reflect the views of certain groups of new Australians, as he would perhaps reflect the views of others. 1 want to make it clear that when I make a statement such as this, I endeavour to reflect a general view. My Party has a Migrants Council, on which every nationality is represented, but in this particular case I went outside that. I approached a number of people of all national groups. My view, therefore, is not based just upon the views of a section. It is a view which I found to be held generally among migrants.
On the question of renunciation, it seems to me that a migrant who desires to be naturalised is obviously apprised by the Department of Immigration of what it means to be naturalised as a citizen of this country. I find it difficult to believe that our Department of Immigration does not ensure that a migrant knows the force of the action that he is taking. Therefore, he knows, when he goes to the ceremony, that he is undertaking allegiance to the Queen as an Australian citizen. If he is an honest person, he knows that that means that he is .giving up his former allegiance and taking a new allegiance. If he is a dishonest person - and some senators seem to be obsessed with the idea that there may be some dishonest fellow who does not really mean it and whom we have to make take the oath of renunciation - the taking of a million oaths of renunciation will not mean anything to him. My view is that we simply legislate for those who are honest - the overwhelming majority who are perfectly well aware that they are discarding their former allegiance and taking up a new allegiance. Therefore, I am just as determined as ever to support the amendment, which will have the effect of making renunciation unnecessary.
I was very interested in the remarks of Senator Mulvihill on the Croats and Yugoslavia, and the remarks of Senator Cavanagh in regard to Latvians, and I should like to discuss them, but I think I would be straining the Standing Orders in attempting to do so; and, with a very vigilant Temporary Chairman in charge of proceedings, I feel that I should reserve my discussion of these matters for some other time.
– I think Senator Cormack raised a very important point in this discussion. While I would not go along with him in denigrating the importance of the Australian Citizenship Convention - I believe that it does in fact play an important part in our migration programme, particularly in reconciling various points of view - I am firmly of the opinion, after having read the debates, that there was a complete misconception of what the migrant was doing when he renounced allegia nee. There was apparently a complete misunderstanding of the fact, which Senator Cormack brought forward, that the person being naturalised was not in any way renouncing the love of his country, the hills and valleys of his native land, but he was renouncing allegiance to the legal concept of the State from which he came. 1 think that this point has been confused and confounded.
Too much sentimental nonsense has been introduced into this question of renunciation. If a migrant, by his act of swearing allegiance, renounces his old allegiance, it is important that a statement be made that he is aware that he is in fact renouncing that allegiance. Otherwise, there is every possibility that he is not clearly aware that he has renounced his allegiance. A simple statement as indicated in the Bill would make it perfectly clear to him that he was renouncing his old allegiance. Therefore, I am strongly of the opinion that the words concerned should be left in the measure.
There has been much argument to and fro about what other countries do. I am not a bit concerned about what other countries do. We are concerned here with what Australia wants. We are bringing many people to this country and I hope many more will come. We must try to integrate them into our way of life, to produce people with a common outlook and a common devotion to this country. 1 believe there is a much closer analogy to the American situation than there is to the British situation, but I discount that argument completely. What is important is what we want and what we think should be done. Senator Davidson stressed, very rightly, that this is an action that should be deliberate, done not for convenience but because there is a real appreciation of the merits of doing it. The fact that a person has to think about his action and has to realise fully what it means is very important. To pass over in any way the awareness that former allegiance must be renounced would. I think, be a bad thing. I am quite sure that in the minds of some migrants there would be some doubt if we removed the words that are suggested. There could very well be some doubt as to their position regarding allegiance to their former State. With the inclusion of the words in the oath, there .should be no doubt at all. Although I appreciate and sympathise with the sentimental viewpoints that have been expressed by members of the Opposition, I cannot for one moment agree that we should take the action that is suggested.
– Before calling Senator Mulvihill, I should like to direct (he Committee’s attention to the fact that although several senators have mentioned an amendment no amendment is before the Committee. Several honorable senators have stated that they propose to vote against the clause. The question will be “ That the clause stand as printed “.
– I support the sentiments expressed by Senator Fitzgerald and other Opposition speakers in relation to this clause. The Minister’s second reading speech refers to “ incorporating “. There is no reference to deleting. The suggestion is merely for a telescoping. This is really, in the eyes of any migrant, a sort of racial striptease, if I may put it in that way. Take the Dutch migrants, who are largely of a conservative outlook. They feel that this is complete severance of their traditional approach to Queen Wilhelmina. I suppose it is very unusual for the Dutch Government’s policy to contravene ours, but the possibility is there. I consider that emphasis should, naturally, be on the future and not on the past. By all means these people should take an oath of allegiance in future to Australia. Whatever may be the way we dress it up, the inference is there that they have to disengage themselves from other ties. I know that to honorable senators this may be academic, but for migrants it is a matter of real importance. As I have said, 1 know how the Dutch feel about it.
Like Senator McManus, I have contacted the spokesmen for at least seven or eight migrant groups, some of which were formed before the war and others after the war, and I have found that they have all held the same views on this subject. I appreciate that Senator Cormack and Senator Prowse have in mind the future security of Australia. However, I should think that if a person had a long range treasonable motive, merely swearing on the Bible would not stop him from trying to give effect to it. If a person with such a motive wants to do what he thinks he should do he will resort to the most desperate measures to achieve it.
When it comes to security, whether in relation to naturalised or non-naturalised persons or to new Australians or old Australians, I am sure that in the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department we vote sufficiently large sums every year to enable Sir Charles Spry and his staff to do their job properly. . So, even if a few black sheep, as it were, should slip through, under the methods which the Government suggests or under those which we suggest, there are ways and means of detecting them. Incidentally, one of the most notorious espionage feats in recent years involved an army officer who came from one of the blue;-blood families of Sweden. That incident Icd to one of the greatest coups of Soviet espionage. Therefore, if there are reservations in the minds of some honorable senators on this matter because they think that our proposal would lead to the weakening of Australian security, they may be assured that that will not necessarily be so.
Senator Cormack referred to the Australian Citizenship Conventions. I have attended only one Convention. I think it is proper to say, in the light of his remarks, that perhaps the Government could make use of the large number of trade unions which have a big new Australian membership to attract migrants to the Conventions. We could then hear on the spot reactions of such people, even if they had been in Australia for only three or four years. I support the submissions that have been made by Senator Fitzgerald and other honorable senators on this side of the chamber.
.- I rise to speak in the Committee stage of this debate although I disclaim entirely any experience of immigration or any expertise with regard to international law and immigration law. I will forever eschew dipping into public administration as an activity in my lifetime.
– Is that an act of renunciation?
– No. I want to state plainly my position as a member of the Senate. First, I want to say that when I views of others I wish to know the sources of the quotations and the nature of their experience. I want to know as much about them, from the point of view of the depth and breadth of that experience, and also from the point of view of integrity, as is possible. I then evaluate their opinions. When I ask across the chamber whether a certain convention is constituted so as to have the benefit of the views of people versed in international law, public administration or defence responsibility, I do not disparage the convention for the want of those particular experiences. The points of view expressed by delegates to the convention take to themselves, in my mind, a different order of cogency from that of opinions expressed by people with experience of the kind I have mentioned.
So far as effrontery on the part of the Senate is concerned in dealing with matters such as the Judiciary Bill, or approaching, in a few hours or so, in however bankrupt a spirit the Bankruptcy Bill, let me lay claim as a humble member of the Parliament to the idea that one of the great features of a democratic chamber is that it is constituted by men who have had a variety of the ordinary experiences of life rather than by men of expert experience. In the discharge of our duties as ordinary men we have a common sense endowment which makes it possible for us to evaluate the opinions of the expert who is on the fringe - it is sometimes referred to as the lunatic fringe - as well as those of the expert whose views are soundly based and who has balanced knowledge of a special kind. We then make a judgment.
For the information of Senator McManus, may I say that on one occasion I heard the view expressed that all judges who deal in collision cases should be motor car drivers? I have heard the view pressed with equal force that that would be one of the worst disqualifications for judicial capacity in that regard. I therefore say unblushingly that I would have given more weight to the opinion of the Australian Citizenship Convention if there had been some member of the Convention whose view was expressed from the point of view of experience of international law, public administration or defence responsibility.
I turn to the remarks of my colleague, Senator Prowse. I heard him say that the experience of countries such as the United States of America, Great Britain, France and Greece weighed not at all with him. In that respect I am somewhat unpersuaded because I think that we would be a little overbearing in the insular discharge of our functions if we did not recognise that countries with the responsibility of the United States and Great Britain in world wide matters of extreme importance, did not have something to give us for consideration when they formulate the methods by which they command allegiance to their nationhood. When we arc considering bringing certain people within the ambit of compulsory national service training, we are told that one of the important things to be considered is the attitude of countries whose nationals we wish to have serving, if they have not yet adopted Australian allegiance. So this question is not immaterial, but I entirely agree that it is nol decisive.
I approach this subject by wanting to make plain a matter which has clarified itself in my mind only in the later stages of the debate. To the present time there has not been a requirement, either in the terms of a statute or under regulations, for an applicant for naturalisation to include, as part of his oath of allegiance, the renunciation of his former allegiance. Nor is there in the Nationality and Citizenship Act or regulations any requirement that an applicant for naturalisation in any declaration at a naturalisation ceremony shall take an oath to the effect that he renounces his former allegiance. However, I am informed that it has been the practice throughout the last 40 years to require an applicant for naturalisation to make such a declaration. I put forward the view that it is highly desirable that either in the declaration or in the oath an applicant for naturalisation should himself make quite clear that he understands that that is the effect of the ceremony in which he is engaged. In order to prevent any possibility of misunderstanding on his part, it is highly desirable that he should be required to make a statement to that effect at that time, in the form either of a declaration or an oath.
The provision is designed to adopt the form of renunciation that is least calculated to excite emotions which would be most proper and most creditable in any person who, with love of his original country’ or maybe his previously adopted country, felt compelled to renounce his former allegiance and to accept allegiance to Australia. The provision is most proper because it will prevent any misunderstanding in the mind of such a person.
I refer now to the possibility of dual nationality. 1 rely entirely on statements that have been made in the Parliament in this respect, lt has been said that (he laws of Greece and Italy, notwithstanding any renunciation by a citizen of either of (hose nations, regard his allegiance to il as continuing. I point out that our Nationality and Citizenship Act provides as follows -
An Australian citizen of full age and of full capacity, who, whilst outside Australia and New Guinea, by some voluntary and formal act, other than marriage, acquires the nationality or citizenship of a country other than Australia, shad thereupon cease to be an Australian citizen.
So, in the view of Australia, if a person wishes to go back to Greece or Italy and there re-acquire his former nationality to the exclusion of any allegiance to Australia, it is a simple matter for him to do so. Then there is provision for a person to make a declaration renouncing his Australian citizenship. I mention that simply because what Greece or Italy does is no concern of ours, except that we should endeavour to retain comity among nations by not deliberately flouting the laws of other nations. I point out that in the provisions to which I have referred there are the means of reconciling the obligations that flow from allegiance to Australia with tha obligations under Greek or Italian laws.
I believe that an applicant for naturalisation should state that he understands he is renouncing any other allegiance either in his oath of allegiance or in a declaration, as before. I am facilitated in arriving at that conclusion by reflecting that, if a person wishes to get rid of his Australian allegiance because he finds that outside Australia it is in conflict with an allegiance that he has retained or another allegiance that he wishes to acquire, our law contains provisions under which he can easily discharge himself from all the responsibilities that are imposed on him by his Australian allegiance.
[4.9]. - There are just one or two points to which I should like to reply.I believe that the following words in the second reading speech make the meaning of this clause very clear -
The change will simplify and shorten the naturalisation ceremony and enhance its dignity and will also, i believe, eliminate the emotional disturbance fell by candidates due to their natural and rightful love of their homelands.
I wonder whether some honorable senators have a little misunderstanding about the number of people who have not been naturalised because of the renunciation. Honorable senators have said that there are large numbers of people in that category. Perhaps the numbers are not as great as some honorable senators think they are. I believe that applicants for naturalisation have accepted the renunciation.I agree very strongly with Senator Wright who said that applicants for naturalisation should understand the meaning of the renunciation. I believe that the inclusion of the words “ renouncing all other allegiance “ in the oath or affirmation of allegiance makes it very clear.
I should like to give Senator McManus some information in reply to his comments about the United Kingdom legislation encouraging dual nationality.I think he will find this information interesting. I understood him to say that the United Kingdom House of Commons would not enact legislation encouraging dual nationality. In fact, the United Kingdom law does countenance dual nationality, unlike Australian law. In particular, a United Kingdom citizen, on becoming naturalised in a foreign country, retains his United Kingdom citizenship as well as gaining his new foreign nationality. By contrast, Australian law provides that an Australian, on becoming naturalised in another country, ceases to be an Australian citizen. So different outlooks are embodied in the laws of the two countries.
I do not believe that we want dual citizenship. I believe that it is important for us to make the naturalisation ceremony one of dignity, as stated in the second reading speech. I also believe that citizenship is tremendously important. When people become Australian citizens they gain privileges and responsibilities. Australia is a great country of which to become a citizen. We must remember that. We want people to become citizens of Australia and I believe that people want to become citizens of Australia. I am sure that by this amendment of the Act we will overcome the difficulties which existed previously and which were disturbing new Australians, as is obvious from comments that have been made. I believe that in principle it is right that a person who is about to undertake allegiance to the Queen and to become a citizen of Australia should renounce all other allegiance.
Question put -
That the clause stand as printed.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator T. C. Drake-Brockman.)
Majority . . . . 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause 12 (Third Schedule).
.- In view of the Senate’s decision on clause 11, the Opposition does not propose to move its proposed amendment to this clause.
Clause agreed to.
Clause13 agreed to.
Schedule agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 20th April (vide page 423), on motion by Senator Gorton -
That the Bill be now read a second lime.
– This Bill comes before the Senate almost twelve years after the Governor-General announced, on 4th August 1954, that the Government was reviewing the laws relating to bankruptcy. In 1956 the Government appointed a Committee presided over by Mr. Justice Clyne, well known as the presiding judge in the Bankruptcy Court, to review the bankruptcy law of the Commonwealth. That Committee presented a very comprehensive report on 14th December 1962, and the then Attorney-General, Sir Garfield Barwick, made the report available to members of both Houses of the Parliament and to interested members of the public. As the result of further consideration of representations made by interested groups, and of consideration by the Government itself of the report of the Clyne Committee, this Bill comes to the Parliament. In its first form it was introduced into another place in May 1965. Since then it has undergone further scrutiny and has had incorporated in it by the Government a score or two of amendments. It is in that condition that it now comes before the Senate.
The first observation thatI desire to make is that this Bill has run the gamut of a great deal of scrutiny from people whose business it is to be concerned with the administration of the bankruptcy law, and the Government has had the advantage of much attention having been given to the measure during the debate in another place. Nevertheless there remain matters in respect of which the Opposition is not satisfied, and at a proper stage in the proceedings, when the Bill is in committee, I shall move a number of amendments on behalf of the Opposition. We will not vote against the second reading of the Bill, because, broadly speaking, the measure represents a welcome review, on a comprehensive scale, of the law relating to bankruptcy.
It may be thought at times that bankruptcy is a subject that interests few people. On the contrary, it is a subject which is of very great importance to a substantial number of citizens of this country. One has only to look at the 37th Annual Report on Bankruptcy by the AttorneyGeneral, which covers the year from 1st July 1964 to 30th June 1965, to see how many people are affected by the provisions of the bankruptcy legislation. In that year there were 2,453 sequestration orders and orders for the administration of deceased bankrupts’ estates - made by the Bankruptcy Court. That represented an increase of some 2½ per cent. on the figures for the previous year. In the decade from 1954-55 to 1964-65 the number of sequestration orders more than trebbled. If one goes back a decade further, to the year 1944-45, one finds that there were something like 20 times as many sequestration orders made in the year under review as were made in that year. The amount of money involved is very substantial. In the year covered by the report to which I am alluding, the total assets of those who had sequestration orders made against them amounted to something less than £3 million and the total liabilities amounted to something over £7,500,000. So, all in all, the bankruptcy law affects a large number of people, both great and small. Sometimes the bankruptcy is in respect of a comparatively small amount and sometimes it is in respect of a very large amount.
As I say, this legislation is, for all practical purposes, a new bankruptcy statute. The amendments proposed by the Clyne Committee were so comprehensive that the Government took the view - I think it was a proper view in all the circumstances - that it should pass legislation in the form of what was virtually a new bankruptcy law.
The basic structure of the present law is undisturbed, but it contains so many practical amendments and so many revisions of the existing provisions that it is fair to regard it as the enactment of a new bankruptcy law.
There is no problem of constitutional power in relation to bankruptcy. Section 51 placitum XVII empowers the Commonwealth Parliament to pass laws relating to bankruptcy and insolvency. Therefore the problem of any limits to constitutional power does not arise for the consideration of this Parliament or of the courts. I think it would be proper for me, before embarking upon a detailed examination of the provisions of this legislation, to join with the Minister in expressing appreciation to the Clyne Committee for the very efficient manner in which it discharged its responsibilities and the mature consideration it has given to the many and complex problems that arise in the bankruptcy jurisdiction. Having said that, 1 think it is fair to draw attention to the fact that in many ways this statute has retained some of the archaic provisions of past years.
The bankruptcy law has a very ancient history. The bankruptcy statutes first passed in England in the sixteenth century were substantially penal statutes. They were aimed against fugitives and, in that sense, it meant fugitives from creditors. It is surprising to find even in 1966 - and this is not multiplied many times in the course of the Bill, but it does occur - an expression in clause 41 (c) (4) of the Bill which dates back to the earliest times. As we see it, it would seem to have no real place in a modern bankruptcy statute. That is the expression that a debtor commits an act of bankruptcy in certain specified cases if with intent to defeat or delay his creditors he “ begins to keep house “. That is an archaism, I suggest, which should not find a place in a modern statute.
I have taken the trouble to study some of the history of the notion of keeping house. It goes back a long way. According to a learned article in the “ Harvard Law Review” of December 1938, which I have had the opportunity to read, it is a type of creditor evasion which, while peculiar to England, was nevertheless so similar to the act associated with insolvency on the Continent that it was regarded as equally amenable to the bankruptcy process. This was the notorious practice of keeping house by which a debtor, protected by the sanctified English maxim that a man’s house is his castle, would betake himself to his home and there consume his creditor’s goods, utterly immune to forcible intrusion by legal process. Thus it came about that the first English statute on bankruptcy was aimed exclusively against two specific acts by the debtor - the Continental aci of flying to parts unknown as it was expressed and the English act of keeping house.
– It is not implied, is it, that it is an essential part of the meaning of the term that the debtor consumes his creditor’s goods while keeping house?
– No. That was the notion that people held about the proposition in those times. That is its origin. Other learned authors have taken the same view that the ground of keeping house has been retained from the earliest day but we would suggest that it seems now to be amply included in the term “ or otherwise absents himself “, which is the preceding ground. I mention this matter only because obviously a real attempt has been made to streamline the law. It is somewhat surprising to find such archaic expressions still with a place in the Bill.
– What if the debtor does not absent himself but simply locks himself in his house and will not see his creditors?
– There ought to be another way of describing what is the offence or act of bankruptcy. I venture to suggest that if one were to ask any honorable senator to examine this clause and ask himself what is meant by the expression “ beginning to keep house “, then to put himself in the place of explaining to a layman in the community at what stage a debtor would be committing the act of bankruptcy by beginning to keep house with intent to defeat or delay his creditors-
– When he locked all the doors and windows and would not allow his creditors in.
– It may be perfectly clear to the Minister, but I confess to a great deal of difficulty. I have studied some of the history of the term. I do not propose to delay the Senate. I simply mention it as one of the terms that one is surprised to find in this statute. 1 move on now to more positive things. The Bill contains some very welcome innovations. First, the amount of indebtedness necessary to found a creditor’s petition is increased from £50 to £250, or $500. The Minister has revealed in his second reading speech that the amount of £50 was taken from an English statute and has remained at that level since 1869. Therefore it is almost a century since any reassessment was made of the minimum sum necessary in order to make a person liable to the consequences of the bankruptcy jurisdiction. One has to state only that change to show how long overdue is this Bankruptcy Bill because until this Bill becomes law, an indebtedness of £50 is still sufficient to have a man dragged through the bankruptcy process in 1966 - the same amount as was required in 1869.
The second matter to which I wish to refer as a welcome innovation is the series of provisions contained in clause 149 of the Bill for the automatic discharge of a bankrupt after a period of five years unless some ground is shown to warrant that discharge be not granted. That provision does away with the need for an application for discharge which, in the cases of small bankruptcies, is costly, cumbersome and subject to all the risks and perils of litigation even on a minor scale because it always involves the exercise of the court’s discretion as to whether discharge should be granted.
We will be taking issue with the Government because we do not see why it is necessary for time to run only from the commencement of this legislation. We do not see why a man who has been bankrupt for a number of years prior to the legislation coming into operation should not get the benefit of this provision. We will be moving an appropriate amendment at the Committee stage.
– Even if he has been bankrupt for five years before the Bill is proclaimed?
– So that on the proclamation he is immediately discharged?
– Yes. lt may be three or five years. One can conceive cases, and 1 think the Bill covers them, where there has been a prior bankruptcy and there is another bankruptcy supervening. I would concede as exceptions cases of that kind. The Opposition believes that a benefit that is given prospectively should be given to people who have already had time running in their favour, so to speak, provided there is no discretionary reason of the kind provided for in the Bill for refusing a discharge. Provision is made for that situation. [ shall take it up in detail at the Committee stage.
Clause 269 provides that the amount of credit that may be obtained by an undischarged bankrupt shall be increased from $20 to $200. That seems to be a desirable step to take. It brings up to date amounts that were fixed long ago in an entirely different context. The existing amounts were fixed in 1924 when the present statute first came into operation. We welcome in a broad sense amendments to the law which result in the coalescing of Part XI and Part XII, which deal with assignments and schemes of arrangement. They have been brought together in the new Part X. However, we have one criticism to make. I shall elaborate it in due course. We believe that some of the proposed provisions are much too cumbersome and will work injustice in the case of small bankruptcies. I have in mind battlers - men who should not be put to the trouble, the trial and the expense of going through the procedure for the compulsory appointment of trustees. As we read the provisions of the Bill, any composition with creditors that is made otherwise than in accordance with the procedures laid down is void. There are small men who are involved to the extent of £50 or perhaps more who, if given time, would easily be able to make some arrangement with their creditors.
– Why distinguish between a composition and an arrangement?
– I do so because part of the relevant provision which I have not at my fingertips at the moment, deals with matters that have not to be formalised in quite the same way. A lot of the procedure set out in existing Part XI and Part XII has been carried over into the new Part X. It is proposed that there should be a compulsory sequence of events. At the Committee stage
I shall deal in some detail with the precise problem that the honorable senator has raised.
The Bill contains some welcome provisions which seek to abolish the privileged position of the Crown in relation to bankruptcies. They seem to us to effect a very great improvement. It is proposed that there should be some changes in the position of the Commissioner of Taxation in relation to a private creditor. These are welcome. In his second reading speech, the Minister dealt with what happened when the existing Bankruptcy Act was passed. He said -
When the existing Bankruptcy Act was passed in 1924 priority was given to the Crown in respect of outstanding income tax but the priority was limited to tax which had been assessed before the date of bankruptcy and, moreover, was limited to the amount of one year’s assessment. In 1942, when the uniform taxation scheme was introduced, the Crown’s position was considerably enhanced by giving priority to the Crown in respect of all outstanding income tax whether assessed before or after the date of sequestration. That priority has since been continued by section 221 (1.) (b) of the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act.
The Clyne Committee said, in effect: “ That is enough of that. Let us return to the position that obtained previously under the Bankruptcy Act “. The Government has decided to accept this recommendation, which finds its place in clause1 09 of the Bill. We think it is extremely important that the privileged position of the Crown should be cut down from time to time. It is pleasing to note that the position of the Crown is to be assimilated broadly to that of any private creditor, whether it is in the field of taxation or in respect of any other liability.
Certain important amendments have come forward from the Government in relation to the priorities of bankruptcy. They are incorporated in clause 109. For the first time a place has been found in the list of priorities for amounts due to employees of a bankrupt in respect of long service leave, annual leave, recreation leave or sick leave as related to a period before the date of the bankruptcy. Thus far such amounts have been comprehended in the general item of wages, salary and amount’s due to employees.
– Why should they be paid before the grocer who has provided bread and cheese for the bankrupt in the previous six months?
– I welcome the fact that they are to be given the priority accorded them in the Bill. The honorable senator may ask the Minister who is in charge of the Bill. He might say why the Government concedes this point. I can see every reason for not including in ordinary wages owing substantial amounts in respect of which a benefit has accrued to employees over a certain period. I refer to such benefits as annual leave and especially long service leave. A man who has spent a lifetime with one employer could be deprived by the bankruptcy of his employer of all benefit under long service leave legislation. The Government has seen fit to accept the view that there should be a separate category for long service leave, annual leave and sick leave benefits as distinct from wages, salary or commission. We welcome that change. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Gorton) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– Mr. President, as you and other honorable senators know, it is not my practice to delay the Senate when the motion for the adjournment is proposed. However, on this occasion I feel bound to do so. May I say that there are occasions which give rise to sadness, sometimes deepening into sorrow, and there are others that engender anger. TodayI am neither sorrowful nor angry. I am merely sad because a representative of the Press, as occasionally happens, has sunk so low as to refer to some happenings that allegedly occurred at a meeting of the Australian Labour Party yesterday, allegedly on the say so of intentionally vicious traitors. My patience, I must confess, is not everlasting nor is my tolerance unlimited. As one traverses the magnificent buildings throughout the world, erected to serve the Press-
– The honorablesenator is not reading loudly enough for me to hear what he is saying.
– I am not reading. As the honorable senator knows, I have never previously used or needed notes but on this occasion I felt that I had to use notes. I thought honorable senators would be tolerant and I know the President will be tolerant. It is not for Senator Wright to say what should be done.
– Senator Wright merely said he could not hear the honorable senator.
– I thought he said I was reading my speech. If 1 am wrong, I apologise to Senator Wright. I am always fair enough to apologise if I am wrong, and that is only occasionally. I was saying that as one traverses the magnificent buildings throughout the world to serve the Press, erected out of profits, some of which are legitimately earned through honest human endeavour but much of which are callously milked from the people, one sees engraved in stone the bold brave words of Jefferson setting out the relationship of the so called liberty of the Press as the watchdog of the preservation of freedom of the people. Of course, there has rarely been a more hypocritical utilisation of a worthwhile and magnificent quotation.
At the outset, 1 want to make it quite clear that my electoral security has been dependent on my good deeds and constant activities associated with the needs of people and my country rather than on the bleating of the Press or any publicity that I may receive. The Press has rarely sought right and privilege. Much more often has it demanded licence - the licence to flay unmercifully and unjustifiably those not necessarily opposed to the Press but those whose actions it does not accept. The Press, irrespective of what it may say, is the guardian in the main of those individuals and political parties which would preserve the established privileges of those associated with the preservation of that establishment wedded to economic exploitation and social injustice. Very rarely will the Press give space to those individuals, entities or instrumentalities seeking to support economic fairness and rectify social injustice.
I take strong exception to a newspaper which, on no reliable evidence, or to say the least on treacherous, traitorous evidence, records what I was alleged to have done yesterday at a meeting of my party - a party which has as its objective the preservation of Australia and the entitlements and the rights of all its citizens.
– What did it allege the honorable senator did?
– I ask Senator Wright to be tolerant when I am in this position.
– I am listening and [ want the basis of understanding.
– I refer to the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ of today’s date. The newspaper alleged that at the meeting of the Australian Labour Party yesterday 1 refrained from voting on a particular issue. Perhaps many would not quarrel with the sneak approach of certain journalists or the vile, vicious activities of certain parliamentarians whose minds are so small that, as their 30 pieces of silver for either telling lies or distorting the truth, they are satisfied to receive an inch of space or to have their ugly faces glaring at and gloating over everyone from the columns of a newspaper. The “ Sydney Morning Herald “ over many years has prided itself on its alleged respectability. I know that many issues, and multiple parts of other issues, are worth reading, but there are occasions when no paper can sink lower. There was a period when, for personal reasons, it saw fit to have a former Prime Minister mercilessly shot at as a sitting duck and Mr. Calwell regarded as a bright and brilliant bird. Subsequently, all this was changed. I ask in simple words: Did Sir Robert Menzies or Mr. Calwell change so much in such a short period? No, they did not, but the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ did.
The “ Sydney Morning Herald “ alleged today that I refrained from voting on a particular issue at the Australian Labour Party’s meeting yesterday. If I refrained, that was my own business but peculiarly enough, members of the Labour Party said: “ This is not true as we saw you vote “.
– What was the truth of the matter?
– Usually I am interested in interjections but this matter to me is too serious, and I am not prepared to tolerate interjections. If at the conclusion of what I have to say Senator Wright wants to buy into it. I shall be only too happy to swap punches with him. If the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ was particularly interested in what my action or actions were, perhaps its spy or spies could have contacted me as others did, and asked me what I did on that occasion.I would have been kind, courteous and decent enough to have given the answer as I did to those who went about their work efficiently, courteously and decently. I would have replied that how I voted was my own right.
This is not the first occasion on which I have had to reprimand the Press. A few years ago, in the interests of the Parliament and Parliamentarians, I had to belabour a distinguished feature writer. He writes a weekly feature article, but on this occasion he saw fit to write a special feature article on me and head it: “ How Silly Can You Get?” I had referred to the efficient utilisation of oil in Australia in times of defence need. Of course, he did not need to know what I really had said, so anxious was he to prostitute words. So anxious was his paper to portray me as an evil genius that not only words but even a photo of myself had to be distorted to serve their purpose. He was the luckiest Press representative here because the experts - and not I - claimed he should have been called to the Bar of the Senate and severe penalties meted out. However, one honorable senator, in his own discretion or otherwise, saw differently and irrespective of how wrong the feature writer was, this journalist was not called to the Bar of the Senate. However, in that case, subsequently my opinion and words were vindicated in no small measure by the actions of Sir William Spooner and the late Ernie Evans, a former member of the Queensland Cabinet.
Over the years, I have put up with and been tolerant of the Press although on two occasions the likelihood of writs brought apologies from the Press and the rectification of injustice. However, I am getting sick and tired of misrepresentation. It cannot hurt me because of the good deeds I do, but it does pain my family because of their affection for me. To give an example, it was alleged recently that “ Mr. Calwell and Senator Dittmer clashed angrily “. This could do me no harm but it could injure Mr. Calwell’s reputation for placidity.Incidently, the truth is that Mr. Calwell and I have never had an angry word. We have been friends for very many years and I have the greatest regard and affection for him even though we have differences of opinion.Incidently, may I say that these have been the only occasions when he has been wrong.
I make this plea to the Press and the working journalists who in the majority are worthwhile men with a responsible calling: “ Do the decent thing and do not depend on the surreptitious and, on many occasions, vile and vicious handouts from those who are satisfied with a small mention or an ugly picture. Go straight to the leaders of any particular party, get their views and then write your story fearlessly and truthfully. You will then rank among the greatest journalists of whom your fellows will be proud and you will be men with whom anyone will be pleased to associate.”
May I in conclusion plead with the young men assembled in the Press Gallery, who are on the eve of what we hope will be brilliant careers, to do the right thing. They may not share in the handouts of the owners of the Press. They will not get plaudits from the directors but they will partake of the manna provided by their fellow journalists and drink of the nectar of their professional workmates.
– in reply - I wish to make it perfectly clear that insofar as Senator Dittmer’s complaints were directed at what I think he described as the underhand actions of politicians, they could in no way relate to us on the Government side of the Senate because none of us were present at the meeting.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 4.54 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 28 April 1966, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1966/19660428_senate_25_s31/>.