26th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3.15 p.m., and read prayers.
– I ask the Leader of the Government: Is it correct that no Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has yet visited Australia whilst he has been in office? As many heads of state and heads of government have come here, will the Leader of the Government request the Government of Australia to consider inviting Mr Harold Wilson to visit this country?
– I know that former Prime Ministers have visited Australia. I think there has been one occasion when the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom visited Australia but I am not sure. However, this is an important question and I will ask the Prime Minister to give it consideration.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister and refers to Australia’s contribution to the Commonwealth Secretariat. Would the Minister advise the Senate of the procedure adopted in overall financing of the Secretariat; how the total cost is apportioned amongst Commonwealth countries; the contribution required from each member country; and, finally, whether each member country from which a contribution is expected has made the required contribution?
– The annual budget of the Commonwealth Secretariat is drafted by the Secretariat and is considered by the Commonwealth High Commissioners in London, or their representatives, together with a United Kingdom representative, who meet as a finance committee. The budget is thereafter submitted to the Commonwealth governments for their approval. The cost of the Secretariat is borne according to shares agreed to by the Commonwealth governments. These shares have been subject to adjustment from time to time, particularly with the introduction of the newly independent member states. I have with me information concerning the contri bution requested of each of the member governments for the 1967-68 financial year. The list is quite long so with the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate it in Hansard.
COMMONWEALTH SECR ETA RI AT
So far as the Government is aware, payments to the Secretariat by Commonwealth governments as their contributions for previous years are up to date, although there may be one or two small amounts outstanding. There has, of course, been considerable reorganisation of the Secretariat’s accounts and budget consequent upon the absorption into the Secretariat of the Commonwealth Economic Committee and the Commonwealth Education Liaison Committee. Contributions by governments to the Secretariat now embrace contributions paid to these two bodies in previous years.
– I ask the Leader of the Government whether he has read in the Canberra Times’ a statement by Mr Holding, Labor Leader of the Opposition in
Victoria, that a Labor government would, if elected, take over from ESSO-BHP its large gas and oil fields near Victoria.
– Hear, hear!
– I hear the ‘hear, hears’. After all, that is Communist policy.
– Order! The honourable senator will ask his question.
– Does the Leader of the Government believe that this policy of the Australian Labor Party will retard the search for oil in Australia?
– I read the statement in the Victorian Press. I understand it was made at a Press conference that was being held with Mr Holding. If the report was correct, Mr Holding was a little reluctant to commit himself at first but finally said: Yes: We will take it over.’ I am moved to say that I would like to see what the Federal Leader of the Australian Labor Party will say during the coming Senate election campaign or in the next general election campaign. I am wondering whether he also will say that. If he is not prepared to back Mr Holding up, I know somebody is going to tell him he has got to, and it will be very interesting to see what happens, if I may answer the honourable senator’s question, I think that no greater blow could be given to oil search than a policy such as that mentioned by Mr Holding. If these great companies which have spent millions of dollars in searching for and finding gas and oil deposits are to have them taken from them after making the discoveries, then there will be no inducement for them to search. If they do not search there will be no discoveries, and if there are no discoveries there will be nothing for the Labor Government to take from them.
– I address a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is the honourable gentleman in a position to give full details to the Senate about his statement yesterday that three countries may buy the Australian-built Italian-designed Macchi jet trainer but that the deal would depend on the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation’s manufacturing costs? Will the Minister also examine to what extent the Weapons Research
Establishment at Salisbury in South Australia and South Australian aviation firms could be given the opportunity to offer competitive sub-contracts in any such tender?
– The remarks as published in the ‘Australian’ today were made by me at the handing over of the first Macchi trainer. I had been asked whether we had export rights for these aircraft and I said that we had export rights in South East Asia and New Zealand and that interest had been displayed by two or three countries in that area. I said that I could not elaborate then; nor can I elaborate now, because they were not firm contracts, they were merely displays of interest. I further said I hoped that if we could get our costs down to a certain figure we might be able to create the interest necessary to enable us to complete the order in question. I do not think that the Weapons Research Establishment would be engaged in this field. It would be merely a manufacturing activity such as is carried out within the Government aircraft factories and Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd. If we could in any way assist to improve the aircraft or in lowering costs by reference to WRE, I can assure the honourable senator that we would certainly use those facilities to 100% capacity.
– Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate ensure that a thorough inquiry is made into a happening in Vietnam last week in which three Australians lost their lives and ten Australians were injured as a result of the misfiring of a:n American rocket? Will the Minister make a full report to the Senate on the matter?
– 1 am sure every honourable senator realises that these very sad accidents happen at times. As I understand it, a full inquiry is being made into the matter at present.
– I direct my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Can anything be done, short of censorship, to restrain sections of the Press of this country from distorting the truth and giving a false impression? I refer to a Press report which stated that the two Navy divers who drowned recently in the course of the performance of their duty to this country had alcohol in their blood, implying that they had been drinking alcoholic liquor. Is it not a fact that after death tests can show alcohol in the blood through the normal processes of decomposition?
– 1 have read the article referred to by the honourable senator. I thought it was fully explained that alcohol can appear in the bloodstream in the way referred to by the honourable senator. I believe the article stated that in fact that did happen. I do not think that any newspaper would deliberately publish a misleading report on such a matter. After reading the article concerned I was fully charged with the fact that an explanation was given which cleared the matter.
– I wish to ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether he is aware that a massive deposit of high grade iron ore, estimated to be 300 million tons, has been found in the north west of Western Australia? In view of the bonanza that the entrepreneurs are enjoying in sending our iron ore overseas, and the prospect that future generations will look on the vast holes in the ground and say: ‘It was good while it lasted’, will the Minister raise with his colleagues in the Cabinet the important principle of establishing a reserve of at least .1,000 million tons of iron ore with which more provident generations will be able to manufacture steel and other products in Australia for Australians of the future?
– I do not think that the honourable senator need worry about whether adequate reserves of iron ore will be kept in this country for Australia’s use. As to the first part of his question, I think that the honourable senator might have started a little closer to home and addressed his comments to the Premier of Tasmania because Tasmania is having its iron ore deposits exploited 100% by two overseas firms, one Japanese and one American.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport: Is it a fact that provision exists under the access roads maintenance vote administered by the Department of Shipping and Transport for the Commonwealth to make contributions for road maintenance? Will the Minister inform the Senate of the type of contributions made under this vote and say whether it is possible for local authorities to seek financial assistance under this vote for either the maintenance or upgrading of access roads to national television mast sites?
– Yes , it is correct that, under the vote administered by the Department of Shipping and Transport, there is provision for contributions to be made by the Commonwealth for the maintenance of roads of access to Commonwealthowned “properties. This provision is available for maintenance work but not for the upgrading or construction of access roads. The amount of the contribution depends on the use of the road made by Commonwealth traffic in relation to other traffic. The department using the road is usually consulted as to its requirements. Accordingly, it is open to local authorities to seek assistance for the maintenance of access roads to national television mast sites, but the Department will be guided by the requirements of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence or the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, whoever is the appropriate Minister. My question is: Can the Minister comment on statements which have appeared in the Press to the effect that there is ill-feeling and lack of co-operation at the moment between New Zealand troops and Australian troops in Vietnam?
– I have seen those reports. I have seen also the denials issued by the Prime Minister of New Zealand and by the Australian Minister for Defence. I inform the Senate that last Christmas, when I was in Vietnam, my secretary spent Christmas Day with a New Zealand contingent. There was no evidence at that time of this alleged ill-feeling. Later, at Terendak, I was in the presence of New Zealanders who were associated with Australians and there was no evidence at all of any ill-feeling between them. What we did find was the same spirit of Anzac which has existed over the years. If there is any ill-feeling of the kind alleged, as far as I can gather it is in the minds of a very few individuals only. In the main, the spirit of Anzac still exists between Australians and New Zealanders, and for this I say: ‘Thank God’.
Senior DAVIDSON - My question, addressed to the Minister representing the
Minister for Primary Industry, relates to some observations that were made on Saturday by the Minister for Health at the Tatiara Show in South Australia. The Minister for Health discussed what he called the poor outlook for wool and observed, among other things, that it could well be that some government assistance was required. Can the Minister say whether such assistance is contemplated and, if it is, what form it might take, and provide the Senate with any further information that he may have on this matter?
– First, I think I can say with quite a deal of confidence that the Government does not have in mind at the present time any form of assistance. The Government is fully aware of the tragic fall - I used the word ‘tragic’ last week and I use it again - in wool prices. Added to the difficulties associated with helping the wool industry is the fact that the industry itself is divided on the form of any assistance the Government could provide. Today I received a weekly report on wool prices. This shows that the prices are about on a par with those of last week. The price quoted for 64s average, a quality typical of the Australian clip, was the same as that for the preceding week but the price for the corresponding week of 1966-67 was 8.2% lower as was the average for that year.
As I mentioned last week, the prices being received today would have been satisfactory 8 or 10 years ago but costs have increased, and costs are what are worrying the wool growers. Only last weekend I received information to the effect that some eighty separate handling items are involved in getting wool from the rail terminal to the wharf side. That seems to be an extraordinary number, but it is correct. Therefore, if even a small saving could be effected in each of those items the total would be considerable. There is also a cost ranging between $25 and $30 in getting the wool from the grower’s shed, after the sheep have been shorn and the wool has been baled, to the markets and to the mills.
– A ton?
– No, $25 to $30 a bale. A bale ranges in weight from 200 lb to 300 lb. One of the unfortunate aspects of the wool industry in Australia is that growers are now turning away from Merino wool which has done so much over the years to make Australia famous. I believe thai we will suffer as a consequence. Without a doubt, another item which contributes to the present low prices is the economic difficulties facing consumer countries. If things brighten up in those countries I hope that this improvement will be reflected in higher prices for Australian wool. The Australian wool industry is in a parlous condition today particularly, I repeat, in areas where, because of certain conditions, no other crop can be grown.
The Government is very seriously concerned about the whole matter but there are no proposals before it to assist the industry. The Australian Wool Board is about to submit a report to the Australian Wool Industry Conference which is scheduled to meet at the end of this month. Arising from that meeting some recommendations for assistance may flow to the Government.
– I have pleasure in informing honourable senators that the Right Honourable K. J. Holyoake, Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs of New Zealand, and the Honourable N. S. Reddy, Speaker of the Lok Sabha in the Indian Parliament, are within the precincts of the Senate. With the concurrence of honourable senators, I propose to invite our distinguished visitors to take seats on the floor of the House.
Honourable senators ; Hear, hear!
Mr Holyoake and Mr Reddy were seated accordingly.
– Honourable senators will ‘be aware that the Honourable N. S. Reddy, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, is leading the Indian Parliamentary Delegation to Australia, and members of the delegation are at present in the gallery. I extend to them a cordial welcome.
Honourable senators ; ‘Hear, hear!
– I ask the Minister representing the Postmaster-General: In view of the recent rises in postal rates will the Minister discuss with the PostmasterGeneral the possibility of reducing the cost of certain Christmas greeting cards and other messages of goodwill so that an undue burden will not be placed on pensioners and others on fixed incomes?
– I will convey to the Postmaster-General the matter put forward by the honourable senator.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Treasurer. I seek information about the total cost of the financial assistance to be given during 1 967-68 under the subsidy scheme to reduce the cost of certain petroleum products in remote areas of Australia, which reduction has been of outstanding help to people in those areas. I note that a sum of $900,000 has been listed in the estimates of the Department of Customs and Excise, but I atn informed that this applies only to the Northern Territory. Will the Minister inform me of the total Australian expenditure on this scheme for 1966-67 and the proposed appropriation for 1967-68 or, alternatively, tell me where those figures appear in the Treasury estimates?
– The Treasurer has informed me where the honourable senator should look for this information. The total cost of the scheme for 1967-68 for the whole of the Commonwealth, including the Northern Territory, is estimated to be $17.9m. This compares with the actual expenditure in 1966-67 of $15,968,000. The sum of $900,000 to which the honourable senator refers is for the Northern Territory only. This information is shown in two separate documents. The estimated expenditure of $17m is a special appropriation which is shown on page 29 of the document entitled ‘Estimates of Receipts and Summary of Estimated Expenditure for the Year Ending 30th June 1968’ under the Department of the Treasury. The sum of $900,000 is shown in the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1967-68.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Territories inform me of the approximate number of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory who are eligible for primary education and the number who are actually attending primary schools in the Territory?
– The honourable senator will realise that I would not have in my mind the approximate number of Aboriginal children who are eligible for this particular benefit. Clearly this is a question which ought to find its place on the notice paper.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. 1 remind the Minister that on 7th September 1 asked him a question about the cost to the Australian taxpayers of fares and travel allowances - as well as the other detailed costs - to enable senators, Ministers, party leaders and staff to attend at Parliament House for the one day sitting when the Senate was recalled on 20th June. As the accounts for this particular political stunt will be due and payable, I now ask the Minister whether he will seek an answer from the Prime Minister so this information will be available before the next vital Senate election.
– I can only say to the honourable senator that I wrote last week to the Prime Minister seeking the information to which he refers. I will give the information to the honourable senator as soon as I can.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Territories. In view of the Minister’s earlier answer, I ask him whether it is not correct that as at the last time of asking, which was about 12 months ago, of the many thousands of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory not one had ever completed secondary school education and the number attending secondary schools could be counted on the fingers of one hand, with fingers to spare.
– The Leader of the
Opposition has made an observation rather than asked a question. As I said in reply to the previous question on this matter, if any honourable senator seeks information on statistics of this kind it is clearly unreasonable to expect a Minister to have in his mind precise statistics on all of the matters that could be raised and such questions would be much better placed on the notice paper. If that is done the responsible Minister can supply an accurate answer; that is, if the object of the exercise is, in fact, to obtain information.
– Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate seen a statement in the ‘Age’ of 2nd October 1967 !n relation to a statement by Senator Wheeldon in which, in a speech to an Australian Labor Party Senate election campaign rally at Horsham, he attacked the Japanese takeover of major iron ore and other rnining companies in Australia? Could the Minister advise mc whether any iron ore producing companies are owned by Japanese companies? If there arc no such companies, will he obtain from Senator Wheeldon an assurance that in future the honourable senator will refrain from making similar misleading statements?
– The vast benefits that have come to Western Australia from the development of iron ore deposits are well known in this chamber and throughout Australia. I read a report of a statement by Senator Wheeldon in which he referred to Japanese owned deposits, as he called them, in Western Australia. I am not aware of any such deposits. The Japanese may have some interest in iron ore deposits in Western Australia, but I am hot aware of any deposits in that State which are wholly owned by them. I would have thought that he, as a Western Australian senator, would have been well aware of the vast benefits and developments that have come to Western Australia - his own State - from the development of iron ore deposits.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for National Development aware that the Government of Victoria has set aside land in that State for the purpose of the establishment of a nuclear power station? ls he also aware of the need for a national policy that will have influence in the establishment of nuclear power reactors in Australia? Can he advise the Senate of the consideration that the Department of National Development is giving to evolving a unified policy for the development of nuclear power in Australia?
– I will reply to the last part of the question first. The development of nuclear power in Australia is essentially within the ambit of the State governments. The electricity authorities of the States are directly concerned with the development of power stations. The Commonwealth has no direct constitutional authority to intervene in this field. Those bodies will be able to assess when atomic energy will become an economic proposition. The part played by the Department of National Development is to ensure that every possible piece of information is made available to the State governments and their electricity authorities so that they can use their judgment in the development of atomic power. With that in mind, the results of experiments by and information that flows to the Australian Atomic Energy Commission are made available to the State governments and their electricity authorities as a matter of urgency.
– My question is supplementary to that which was asked by Senator Branson a few moments ago. While the Leader of the Government in the Senate is providing the information that Senator Branson seeks, will he inform the Senate how many times in the last 3 years the Government, to suit its own purposes, has called the Senate together for .1 day only in a week and then only for a few hours, and what was the total cost of those sittings?
– I think it is the function of the Government to ask the Senate to meet as and when the Government believes there is work for the Senate and it is the duly of the Senate to be here. There often comes a time when matters before another place are of great interest to the Senate and this House would not want to be absent when those matters were being discussed. As the honourable senator well knows, the Senate is a House of 60 and the other place is a House of 123, and we very often complete our business in a shorter time than the other House. There are often times when the Senate is called together by the Government quite properly for sittings of 1 or 2 days to deal with matters of current interest, and I should say that honourable senators would not want to be absent while those matters were being discussed.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Air a question without notice. May I say that 1 do not apologise for asking it without notice because news items have appeared over a considerable period in relation to Mirage aircraft. Is it true, as I understand, that an engineer is coming out from France to see if there is an element of engine failure in the light of the number of accidents - some tragic - that have happened to Mirage aircraft in Australia? Is it also true that comparatively recently, when the IsraeliArab war was on, France refused to supply Israel with spares for Mirage aircraft? What is the position in this respect in relation to the Mirage aircraft in Australia? Has provision been made, as I understand it might have been, to make spare parts for these aircraft? Will they be efficiently made, and can the Service be made efficient in relation to these aircraft, having regard to the number already purchased and the number in relation to which there has been agreement to purchase?
– I will answer the question. I understand that an engineer from the Marcel Dassault company, designers and manufacturers, of the Mirage aircraft, is to come to Australia for the purpose to which the honourable senator refers. Tn answer to the second part of the question: I understand that Israel has been refused spare parts from France whilst the conflagration is on in the Middle East. As to the third part of the question, 90% of the Mirage aircraft is made in Australia and we make in Australia all of the spare parts of high usage. At the present time we are in consultation with the company in France with a view to increasing that percentage.
– What does the Minister mean by ‘high usage’?
– I refer to parts which are knocked about because of high usage - the wing tips and so on.
– Highly used? _ Senator HENTY- Yes, that is correct. We are making such parts to the extent of 90%.
– 1 wish to direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. I ask it because of a previous question he answered concerning the wool industry. I suggest that it is to be anticipated that at any time within the next five years it will be appropriate to consult the wool growers of Australia on a marketing scheme. I remind the Minister of the contention that existed as to the franchise: that is, the eligibility of growers to vote in the previous poll. My question is: Will the Minister consider undertaking immediately a study to ascertain the appropriate franchise that should exist in the wool industry, as a typical primary producing industry, for the purpose of the conduct of a poll on marketing?
– As 1 understand it, the honourable senator’s question is directed to the matter of eligibility to vote; in other words, the number of bales. I was one of those who thought, as an individual, that the number of bales which was set previously was too low. I felt that those people who were directly interested in growing wool should have a greater say in the decision that was to be made. The Government reached a decision on this matter as a result of representations made by the growers. The honourable senator would know that it has been this Government’s policy over the years that any primary industry should make up its own mind as to whether or not it wanted a referendum on matters connected with the industry, and that when it had made up its mind, as expressed by the views of the majority, the Government then would give the industry an opportunity to hold a referendum on the question. I am quite sure that this will be the attitude of the Government in the future. Here again our decisions must be guided by the growers themselves. If wool growers desire another referendum on wool marketing, or on any other subject connected with the industry, in my view it must be made clear to the Government that a majority of growers has asked for such a referendum.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. In view of a recent statement by the Postmaster-General that he intends to extend the micro wave relay system from Townsville to Mount Isa, will provision be made in that relay system fo; television and other telephone channels to go ultimately to other places in western Queensland and to the whole of the Northern Territory in order to provide amenities, particularly television and improved telephone facilities, for much of that outback area?
– I am not in a position to give the honourable senator a technical answer and for that reason I invite him to put his question on the notice paper. lt is my understanding that a Press statement on this subject was issued by the Postmaster-General: but quite clearly, if the honourable senator has seen that Press statement, he wants some supplementary information.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Air * question relating to VIP aircraft. I have been given to understand that the rationing for the VIP aircraft is accounted for separately. Before the debate on VIP aircraft, which is to be held within the next day or so, will the Minister obtain for us the cost of rationing for VIP aircraft for the last 3 or 5 years?
– I do not know whether it is possible to get an answer to the honourable senator’s question but I shall convey it to the Minister for Air and, if possible, get an answer for him.
(Senator Scott having addressed a question to the Minister for Supply.)
– The point raised by the honourable senator is valid. Questions relating to what a Minister believes should not be asked. If honourable senators will study the Standing Orders they will see the way in which questions should be asked of Ministers. The question is out of order.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs inform the Senate whether a radio news report of this morning was accurate when it stated that the President of the Vietnam Assembly had resigned because he would not allow history to blame him for the decisions of the Assembly which declared the recent elections in Vietnam valid except in relation to eight comparatively minor breaches of the law relating to the poll?
– I take it that the honourable senator is asking whether I have any External Affairs information relating to the matter. I have none, but I shall see whether I can get for him the information which he seeks.
– I address a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Did the Government receive any request from Ipec-Air Pty Ltd for reimbursement of costs and associated expenses related to that company’s abortive approach to the Privy Council with respect to its application for a licence to operate its own air freight service in Australia? If such an application was made, what was the outcome? Finally, what is the present position with this matter?
– I am not aware of any application having been made.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Army. If it is correct, as the Government claims, that very few people are injured by napalm in Vietnam, then, in view of the international bad will caused by the use of napalm, will the Minister ask the Minister for the Army to request the Government to consider ordering that the Australian Army be no longer associated with the use of napalm in Vietnam and requesting the United States Government, in the interests of humanity and its own good name, also to refrain from using it in the hope that the use of inhumane methods of warfare, by whichever side, may be reviewed?
– There have been many reports in the Press about the use of napalm. The honourable senator refers to the use of inhumane methods of warfare. I suppose, if one sets out to kill one’s fellow man, any method of killing would be inhumane. It is obvious from the interjections of honourable senators opposite that they do not agree with me. After all, it may be necessary to use napalm at times when it is not thought that its use will be dangerous to human life. I would refer honourable senators to the statements which have been published, seeking to create the impression that a great deal of injury has been caused and is being caused by the use of napalm by the Allied forces in Vietnam. In most cases these reports have been proved to be incorrect.
– 1 address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. Has the Minister seen the numerous reports from the leaders of Australian medical teams who have operated in South Vietnam that they have operated throughout that area and have been unable to find any instances of people suffering from napalm burns? On the contrary, has the Minister seen statements by the people concerned that they have seen Vietnamese who have been burned by phosphorous bombs as a result of the activities of Communist guerillas?
– I have seen the reports of Australian medical teams who have operated in South Vietnam. My recollection is not that they have discovered no instances whatever of civilians who had been affected by napalm. My recollection is that they discovered very, very few indeed. They discovered people who had been affected by phosphorous bombs used by the Vietcong and they discovered people who had been burned as a result of using petrol fuel in cooking stoves and utensils of that kind. It is important for the. Senate to realise that we are talking about the examination of claims which I believe have been shown to be completely untrue - claims that civilians throughout Vietnam in large numbers have been affected by napalm. This is quite different from the question as to whether, when Australians and other troops are engaged in military operations, they should be sent against fortified positions and allowed to be killed from those fortified positions when high explosives, napalm or other methods of war could be used to protect them in their advances. I see no objections whatsoever to that in military terms. Neither did the United Nations in the case of the Korean conflict. It is quite clear that an attempt has been made to prevent a military operation by pretending that civilians have been adversely affected when in fact the investigations to which the honourable senator referred turned up no evidence at all of that result.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Army a question which arises from the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. Have I correctly interpreted the Minister’s answer to mean that slow, torturous methods of killing of the enemy are justified in wartime?
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is no. After all, a slow death could come about as the result of injury by a rifle bullet, as the honourable senator knows very well. Therefore I think it is very hard to distinguish between what the Opposition looks upon as humane killing and inhumane killing.
– In view of the fact that the Minister representing the Minister for the Army has just advocated the use of all types of weapons of war, including napalm, in Vietnam, I ask him whether he also supports the use of nuclear weapons in that and other theatres of war.
– The answer to that question is obviously no.
– I object to the principle of having answers to questions upon notice incorporated in Hansard. I have placed on the notice paper question No. 228, to which the Minister could have replied within 2 or 3 days. He knows whether or not a licence has been issued for the export of oil to be refined in Singapore. The question was asked on 6th August.
– The answer is no. I object to leave being granted.
– I asked that leave bo granted to incorporate in Hansard today the answers to questions upon notice. If the Senate does not wish to grant leave, it may do so. I do not want a harangue from the senator from Western Australia.
T asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:
Senator HENTY - The Prime Minister has provided me with the following answers to the honourable senator’s questions:
– May I ask that the Australian Democratic Labor Party be supplied with a list of the answers to questions upon notice to be provided today? Apparently every other Party has been supplied with such a list. The Democratic Labor Parly has not received one.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drakc-Brockman) - I will make inquiries into the matter for the honourable senator.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
Senator HENTY- The Treasurer has supplied the following answer to questions Nos 243, 244 and 245.
The Commonwealth Statistician has advised that statistics of the extent of oversea ownership and control of particular Australian industries are not available at present. Separate details of income payable overseas in respect of the food processing, chocolate and confectionery and advertising industries are not available. Information on the food processing and chocolate and confectionery industries is included in the broader industry category food, drink and tobacco. Details of income payable overseas on direct investment by companies in this broader category for the years 1963-64, 1964-63 and 1965-66 are as follows:
Income payable overseas in respect of the advertising industry is included in the residual industry category ‘Other Industries’. The income payable overseas in respect of this industry category is relatively small, amounting to $2m in 1963-64 and 1964-65 and$1m in 1965-66. It should be noted that income payable overseas includes undistributed income re-invested in the business concerned. Details of income payable on portfolio investment are not available by industries.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice:
Senator McKELLAR- The Minister for the Army has provided the following answers to the honourable senator’s questions:
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
Is the Government prepared to examine the possibility of granting assistance and relief in the matter of donations, bequests, payment of federal estate duty and exemption from sales tax on goods purchased by royal national agricultural and industrial associations,
Senator HENTY- The Treasurer has supplied the following answer:
During the preparation of the recent Budget, consideration was given to granting the taxation concessions referred to where they were not in fact already available to the organisations in question. However, in view of the limited scope available to it for taxation concessions, and after reviewing carefully all the claims before it, the Government decided that the measures to be put forward inthis Budget should be restricted to those announced in the Budget Speech.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
In view of the anticipated effects of the Bendora and Corin water supply projects on the Australian Capital Territory development, does the Minister still hold the view - vide reply to question No. 80 of 19th May 1967 - that it is still not an opportune time to have areas above Lake Burley Griffin, embracing the Jerrabomberra Creek and Molonglo River regions, declared a permanent reservation to provide feeding areas for ducks, pelicans, ibis and other bird life?
Senator McKELLAR - The Minister has replied as follows:
The establishment of the Bendora and Corin dams has no direct relationship with the areas above Lake Burley Griffin embracing the Jerrabomberra Creek and Molonglo River regions. In answer to an earlier question, it was pointed out that it would be necessary to carry out work associated with the future development of Canberra in the area to which the honourable senator referred. It is felt that until such lime as the area is no longer likely to be subject to disturbance for the purpose of carrying out essential works, it would not be opportune to consider declaring the area a permanent reserve.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
If so, in each of these offices -
With respect to the Engadine Chambers Building -
Why do employees of the Sydney office lack a modern building, similar in standard to the many in Canberra and the Commonwealth office block building in Sydney and capable of providing -
Senator HENTY - The Treasurer has supplied a very long, detailed and, somewhat intimate reply and, with the honourable senator’s concurrence, I incorporate it in Hansard.
There are no dining room facilities available inthe Taxation Office, Sydney. However, plans have been completed for the provision of a food service to be located in the Engadine Chambers Building. This service will provide sandwiches, rolls, pies, etc., for sale to the staff in both the Savings Bank and Engadine Chambers Buildings, and is expected to be in operation within the next two months.
Toilets are located, as indicated above, between floors. Each male toilet is equipped with three handbasins, one urinal and two closets. Each female toilet has three handbasins and three closets. In addition, a powder room has been provided on each of the fourth, sixth and eighth floors. Arrangements have also been made for female staff on floors having access to the Savings Bank Building to use the facilities in the latter building, if necessary.
The toilet facilities have been approved by the City Council and the Department of Labour and Industry and are within the code prescribed for the number of staff employed in the building.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:
Senator GORTON- The Minister for External Affairs has furnished the following replies:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
Did the Government suggest that a new contract should be negotiated?
Senator GORTON- The Minister for Defence has provided me with the following answers to the honourable senator’s questions:
– Minister for Housing) [4.25] - I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The Australian Loan Council decided at its meeting last June that the borrowing programme for States works and housing for 1967-68 should be $677m. Within the limits of this borrowing programme the Stales themselves have nominated the proportion of the funds that they wish to receive as advances for housing. Thus, with Loan Council approval, an amount of $122,840,000 will be made available to the States this financial year in accordance with the provisions of the Housing Agreement Act 1966. These advances will be repayable over 53 years and will bear interest at 1% per annum below the long term bond rate. The distribution, by States, is as follows:
– Has the honourable senator any comment to make on the constitutional basis for such a proposal?
– I can see no difficulty about an inquiry.
– I can see no difficulty about setting up an inquiry. I would not care whether it was a Commonwealth royal commission, a joint State-Commonwealth inquiry, a Senate select committee or a joint committee of both Houses of this Parliament. I do not see any constitutional question arising at the stage of inquiry. Indeed, I have never seen any difficulty about the Commonwealth spending whatever amount may be necessary on education, provided that the money is allocated to the States under the section 96 States grants power.
– I would hope that they would co-operate. I am not suggesting something that is to be imposed from the lop. I am quite sensitive to the importance of maintaining some balance and of paying due regard to the fact that there are established State education systems. Consistently with that, one can believe that there is room for a great deal of improvement in every State education system. I do not want particularly to go into the position in individual States, but I know that in my State many things shriek out for reform and new initiatives. I would be prepared to support any move for a broadly based inquiry that gave an opportunity for a representative body to examine the question without undue haste and without any preconceived notions as to what functions the Commonwealth should play and what functions the States should play in the future.
I am sure that we need to think about education much more elaborately or in much larger terms than we have in the past. I would like to see our country spending a greater proportion of its gross national product on education. Whatever the statistics arc - they vary according to the authority that one uses - we seem to be lagging behind countries behind which we should not be lagging. I have seen United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation statistics indicating that we are substantially behind countries such as Iraq, Venezuela and Morocco - countries that we should not be behind. One could understand our not being apace of the United
States, Soviet Russia or Great Britain. But we should not be behind countries that are very much more backward in the provision of the general amenities of civilised existence than we are.
I suggest also that we should invite the Government to reconsider a decision which I believe was a tragic mistake. I refer to its failure to act on the recommendation made by the Martin Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in 1965 concerning teacher training. There are no two views on this matter in the education world. Everybody believes that the Government made a mistake. Indeed, the Government itself has tacitly conceded its error. The then Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, said at the time that the field was important but the Commonwealth was not prepared to enter it. The present Government has tacitly conceded the error of that approach by the provision that it has made for nonmatching capital grants for teacher training colleges. Sir Robert Menzies having said that the Commonwealth was not prepared to enter the field, within 18 months the Commonwealth was in the field, or rather had its toe in the door. If the Government is prepared to do that much - we welcomed that step when the relevant legislation was before us in the autumn period - it should go further and accept the responsibilities that the Martin Committee suggested were incumbent on it.
Several proposals were made on this subject in the report. The Committee said that a joint effort by the Commonwealth and the States was obviously necessary. It recommended the setting up of autonomous boards of teacher education separate from the State education departments. The Committee found much to criticise in the system under which the employer was both the employer and the teacher. It suggested that there should be independent boards of teacher education setting standards. It said that that would introduce much greater flexibility into the teacher training system. It suggested that there should be 3-year courses instead of 2-year courses as the minimum primary teacher training. It made a number of important recommendations along those lines. Their underlying assumption was that an education system without a sufficient number of properly qualified teachers was a contradiction in terms. I believe that to be the truth of the matter.
It is not too late for the Commonwealth to reverse its attitude on this matter. As I said, it has already done so tacitly. It should do so explicitly. It would be given only credit from the education world for taking steps to mend a decision that was wrong. 1 urge the Minister to indicate that the question is not beyond recall. In the years to come we will pay very heavily for the tragic mistake that was made in rejecting that portion of the Martin Committee report if the Government does not reverse its attitude.
Our education system is in a state of development in which the position of the teaching profession is critical. The teaching profession needs an uplift in morale and conditions of employment. Unless ways of doing that are found the profession will continue to undervalue itself. I was very pleased recently when the Minister announced that it had been found possible to make substantial increases in professorial and senior teaching salaries at the universities. The increases were quite substantial. I think the annual professorial salary was increased from $10,400 to $12,400.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Bull) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– It should be doubled.
– I am certain that it should be doubled. If they ask for an increase they probably have first to ask the University of Sydney which in turn has to ask this Government and I suppose that at the end of the asking the request loses most of its force.
– This is a Commonwealth matter. The Commonwealth can get over the constitutional difficulties by assisting at the university level in the publication of this booklet, which is of tremendous importance to schools as well as to members of Parliament. I often hear senators, without stating the source, express arguments that are inspired by the ‘Current Affairs Bulletin’, and this is how it should be. As 1 said, we have great difficulty in keeping up with our reading material. Has a request been made by the ‘Current Affairs Bulletin’ people, or by the University of Sydney, for more money for this publication, and what is the Government’s attitude towards this?
– What was the subject of the lecture?
– I do not know, except that Mr Steedman stated that his main subjects of study were beer and sex. I do not know what he spoke about for the
Council of Adult Education. What worries me is this: We are informed that people who legitimately want to study science, or law, or arts at a university find the greatest trouble in getting admittance. We are informed that it is necessary to establish quotas for entrance to universities and that unless students attain certain standards they are out. Yet Mr Steedman was at Monash for 6 years, during which time he completed five subjects. Eventually, when that university decided that it would be better without him, he was able to go to the University of Melbourne and start up once again on the basis of one subject a year. What I am interested in is how much it is costing the Commonwealth to enable Mr Steedman to study beer and sex at Monash University and Melbourne University. 1 am interested in receiving an answer because, if there are so many people wanting legitimately to do a university course and to qualify for various degrees, how is it that a university can provide for a man who studies one subject a year and whose interests are the sort of interests which I would hope are not normally regarded as university interests? He has been at universities for 7 years. He had 6 years at Monash and 1 year at Melbourne University. He has passed in five subjects in a period of 7 years and he is still going strong at a university at a time when people say that some people cannot get into a university; that there is a strict quota system which keeps a lot of people out.
– I am not suggesting anything. All I am saying is that I am an earnest seeker after truth. Mr Steedman intrigues me. How did he get into a university? How does he remain there? What is it costing the people of Australia to keep him there? Those are the questions 1 want answered.
There is one more matter to which I want to refer. It is- this: I regret that at the moment a number of our universities are in bad odour in the community mainly because of the activities of a very small number of students. As one who had the privilege of attending an Australian university, let me say that 99% of the students al
Australian universities - Monash, Melbourne, La Trobe and all the others - are good Australians. They are the sort of young people who are a credit to this country. I hope that the people of Australia will not allow the activities of the 1% which is seeking publicity for all kinds of undesirable activities to prejudice them against our university students. I have reason to believe that the 99% is very concerned about the bad reputation that this small minority is giving to Australian university students. I have no desire to condemn a student who is a little bit different, who is a little individualistic, but there is a small group of students which is under political influences and that group is doing the reputation of our Australian universities no good.
I have heard some people say that they would not continue to support the allocation of their money to universities while students were doing this sort of thing. I would regret it if that attitude were to spread. I believe we ought to look at university education from the point of view that the large majority of students are good people and will eventually be a credit and an asset to this country. Let us not look at the very small percentage of undesirables; let us look at the overwhelming majority of students who are good people and good Australians; let us do all we can for university education in the interests of those people.
– ls the man that Senator McManus mentioned a professor at Monash University?
– My point is that Senator McManus was doing exactly what he was condemning. He is guilty of exactly the offence of which he is accusing others.
I want now to come back to the point 1 was making earlier about the teaching profession. I was pleased to hear the announcement in recent months by the Minister for Education and Science that university teaching staffs, professors, senior teachers and researchers, were to be given substantial increases in salary. 1 think the increase in the professorial salary was from SI 0,400 to $12,000. I would like to see the same generous approach taken in respect of the teaching profession in our schools. I think that if we had that kind of approach - and only the Commonwealth can give such a lead because only the Commonwealth has the sort of money that would be required - we would have a revolutionary change not only in the morale and competence of the members of the teaching profession but also in the attitude of the community towards the profession. At present if. is a Cinderella profession which the average student does not want to enter unless he or she cannot get into some other profession. This is a very bad thing. If we are concerned about the future generation of young Australians we want first class teachers for them. This means that teaching has to come to be regarded as a profession on a par with all other professions; one for which there is the same kind of satisfaction to be obtained as there is in the other professions; one for which there arc rewards that are not disproportionately small. We cannot expect a high degree of dedication from members of the teaching profession when they are treated as being members of a second class profession.
The next thing I come to is the problem of quotas, about which Senator McManus has spoken. I have argued against the quota system on previous occasions. I do not want to repeat those arguments now. I merely say that insofar as the argument for quotas is based upon economic and logistical considerations such as lack of finance, lack of facilities, lack of staff and so on, we should not regard quotas as a permanent feature of life in. the universities. We have to resolve that we must do better, that we must change the system, that we must make provision so that the resources, the finances, the staff and the facilities will be available.
But the Minister himself has in recent months introduced into public discussion a new ingredient. He has attempted to justify quotas by reference to an educational theory based upon the view that not all matriculated students should be allowed to enter the university. I grew up on the notion that ‘matriculation’ meant matriculation into a university, that if one passed the required standard one ought to be able to enter the faculty of one’s choice, subject only to limitations of space or accommodation or staff - which are difficulties that we ought to try to remove. In recent times I have said in his presence, and I repeat it now, that the Minister has rather tended to tease the universities about this proposition, that he has developed a tendency to pull their noses or their beards in public.
I have had occasion to ask him questions about what he means when he castigates universities for shirking their responsibilities in relation to selection. The other day I asked in the Senate whether his own view was the official view of the Government and whether there were any active official discussions between him or his Department and the universities about these problems. I do not think I am being unjust to him when I say that I gathered from his reply that in fact there were no official discussions going on about standards of selection or the altering of those standards and that what he said was an expression of his personal view. He is entitled to have his personal views; but they reflect his own assessment of the position and, if they are his views, they obviously are going to be followed by those who work in his Department. The Minister will be setting the tone of thinking in his Department. I do not suppose that is improper. It is natural that that should be so. Therefore, all his officers, senior or junior, will be following this pattern of thinking about university standards and university entrance.
If that is the position, then it is the due of the universities that they be invited to engage in discussions about the matter. It is not sufficient for the Minister to indicate his views publicly on it. The unversities should be brought into consultation. If it is a serious proposition that he has they should be invited to discuss the matter on some sensible basis. Arguments should not be conducted so much in public about it. It should be dealt with on the basis that there is a serious problem to discuss and that there are some exchanges of viewpoint to be entertained. I think this is an extremely important question.
When the Martin Committee dealt with this problem it was, I think, rather at variance with what is now being put by the Minister. Dealing with matriculation prerequisites for universities the Martin Committee says this on page 49 of volume 1 of its report:
The debate between those who regard the matriculation year as one of preparation for specific university courses and those who would prefer it to be the pinnacle of a general education is as yet unresolved. However, the Committee believes that, as a first step towards improving the performance of students at universities, an effort should be made to raise the standard of attainment at the time of their enrolment.
So far,I think the Minister will agree. The report continues:
The Committee recommends therefore that consideration should be given to organising on a national basis ad hoc committees or conferences of leading scholars and teachers to examine:
The implications of modern scholarship for the content of secondary school courses-
Then it mentions a number of courses. I shall not trouble the Senate by repeating them -
I think the Martin Committee was there suggesting that there should be conferences to deal with these questions, that these problems should be ironed out by those who were familiar with them and who were accustomed to dealing with them.
The Minister should be aware that he has a serious controversial question here, and I submit that his own personal view should not have any real effect on the matter. He is the head of a new Commonwealth department which is being looked to for a lead, particularly in the provision of finance, for education. His views are controversial. Not everybody would agree with what he says about percentages of failures. I think the modern view is well expressed by such educationists as Mr Henry Schoenheimer and Mr Don Anderson, now of Melbourne University but soon to go to the Australian National University. They have produced some interesting material which I think shows fairly conclusively that there is no exact correlation between the level of matriculation pass and performance at the university. Although we might help in some way by chopping off, say, the bottom 20%, we are excluding some people amongst those 20% who would certainly have passed university courses, although it might be only a very small percentage. Mr Anderson puts it this way in an article quoted by Mr Schoenheimer in the ‘Australian’ on 26th September: of students admitted to the University of Melbourne between 1957 and 1959, 64% passed in their first year. Too low? To raise the pass rate to 70%, you would have had to lop off the bottom 20% of those admitted. And of that bottom group, 40% passed.
Or go up to the other end of the scale. Among the top 50% of entrants, there was a 16% failure rate - 84% of passes instead of 64%. An improvement, yes, but it would have been gained at the price of denying any opportunity for tertiary education to all of the lower 50%.
To get near to 100% pass rate, Melbourne would have had to admit fewer than 10% of the total group.
– I think it covers all faculties.
– I would not say that. What the educationists say is that we create as many problems as we solve by using this argument and applying it strictly. We might insist upona higher standard for university entrance - I do not know - but if we do, then we would not be justified in applying quotas. If the Government said: ‘This is the standard; we are going to make it higher’. everybody who passes should be admitted. The Government cannot have it both ways, lt cannot want a higher standard of educational attainment and at the same time impose quotas on the ground of logistics or lack of finance, or lack of staff or lack of facilities. That is what seems to me to be the vice in this approach. All I am saying to the Minister is that I do not know the answer to the problem of selection of students and performances of students. I think it is a complicated and sophisticated question that has many difficulties. But if it is a critical question - and it obviously is in the present stage of university development and looking to the future - then it ought to be taken up with the universities. It ought to be something tha becomes the subject of some formal discussion and study. It should not be treated merely as something to be ventilated at an occasional forum or in addressing some organisations interested in education.
The people at the universities should not be make to think that the Minister is against them, that he is pursuing them and pulling their noses in public for shirking their responsibilities. As they see it there is no question of their shirking responsibilities. There is perhaps a difference in approach. Extremely important questions are involved. I invite the Minister’s attention to the problem and suggest that an attempt be made to get into active discussion with the universities. I am basing my statement on what the Minister has said. I have also discussed this particular aspect with some of the people at the universities, and I know there is a lot of concern that such criticism should be made of universities - that it should be said that they are shirking their responsibilities while at the same time it appears that there is no active and meaningful dialogue between them. I think that is the modern term.
The CHAIRMAN (Senator DrakeBrockman) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– Where is that provision shown in the estimates?
– I cannot say exactly, but the honourable senator will see the provision for capital for the States for teacher training. An Act has been passed by this Parliament to appropriate the money. I will ask my advisers to look it up and by interjection I will inform the honourable senator. An amount of $8m is provided for each financial year by the Commonwealth as an unmatched grant for teacher training purposes.
– Yes. The Commonwealth has provided that amount as an unmatched grant for each of three years - up to $8m for the first year, up to $16m by the end of the second year, and up to $24m by the end of the third year. If the full amount is not spent in the first year it will be carried over and will enable a total of SI 6m to be spent by the end of the second year, and so on. Senator McManus referred to the Riverina University College.
– It was proposed as the Riverina University College. It was the subject of an investigation by two independent tertiary committees, both of which recommended against the establishment of a university college in that place at that time. The Commonwealth accepted those recommendations, but it has expressed support for the establishment of a college of advanced education at Wagga in the Riverina. That was recommended by the Martin Committee in its report. The New South Wales Minister for Education has indicated that the New South Wales Government proposes to establish such a tertiary institution in Wagga after it has done so in Bathurst.
Senator Cohen referred to university admission quotas. I make no apologies at all for expressing the opinion that I believe the universities have been shirking their responsibilities in this field. It is a matter of public discussion from the side of the universities or some spokesmen of the universities just as much as it is from Senator Cohen or myself. It is as well that these ideas should be brought out and publicly discussed. Complaints have come from some spokesmen for universities that they have not sufficient financial resources to accept all applicants for admission to universities after matriculation. These spokesmen say that because those complaints have been made there has been a tacit acceptance of the suggestion that all students who matriculate ought to be provided with facilities to attend universities. Not all universities complain, but those which have complained have been basing their arguments on the thesis that anybody who matriculates should go to a university and if insufficient finance is provided for that goal to be achieved then there are grounds for complaint. That does not seem to me to be really a proper approach by a tertiary institute of learning.
All honourable senators are aware that when a student sits for a matriculation or leaving examination at the end of his secondary school period, the examination papers he attempts are sent to academics who honestly and fearlessly mark them in accordance with their judgment of the standards attained by the students. They would expect, as I think we would expect, that about 50% of the possible marks would represent a pass mark. But we would also realise that that is not the end of the matter. Once that process has been gone through it can then be discovered that only about 30% or 35% of all the students who sit for matriculation examinations meet those requirements. Therefore, if nothing else were to be done, only 35% of the students would be declared to have passed. So another elements enters. The various school boards or State governments, or whoever they may be, say that a certain percentage of people who sit for matriculation examinations must be passed, no matter what standard they attain in the examinations. A perfect example is the public announcement by the New South Wales Government that 80% of students sitting this year for the final examination in the last year of secondary schooling in New South Wales must be passed.
– The New South Wales Government.
– The New South Wales Government or Education Department - the appropriate authorities.
– That is so. That sort of approach is not particularly new, strange or unusual. It has been adopted for matriculation examinations in all States.
– I have given the latest example of the practice in that regard.’
– That being so, I suggest that a mark well below 50% could bo adopted for matriculation examinations.
– No, I am not. It has been possible and it is now possible for that to happen. I gave as an example a public announcement by the New South Wales Government, and that is an indication of what has been the practice in all States for years. That being so, it is perfectly obvious that a student’s being ranked as having passed a matriculation examination does not mean that he attained more than 50% of the possible marks in the subjects for which he sat. Therefore acceptance by a tertiary institution of the thesis that a passage of matriculation ought to be enough for admission to a university and that sufficient money should be provided to make that possible seems to me to show a failure to accept the responsibilities which should be accepted. I suggest that universities in general could adopt an academic standard set by their governing councils or their professors as that which should be reached, as distinct from a standard set by a government or in consultation with a government. If the universities were to say that they believed certain standards should be attained - this is not so far different from what Senator Cohen was saying about raising standards - I consider that they would be showing greater responsibility. More useful public discussion could take place as to whether sufficient resources were provided to universities to enable them to accept those students who reach the required standard. In those circumstances it would be far more possible to reach a sensible conclusion than is the case at present.
Senator Cohen made the suggestion ; I think that implied in what he said was some measure of agreement with what I have been saying - that the matriculation standards could be raised. The same thing applies to raising standards for entry into a university. That suggestion has this disadvantage: If the standards of matriculation alone are raised then there will be a number who will be failed at matriculation. I would have thought that it. would be better to raise the standards required for entry to a university. That in fact is what I have been suggesting should be done.
– I think that this is a matter for the universities themselves. It is not necessarily something on which they should agree among themselves but rather should it be something for each particular university to say what it thinks, and that then can be not necessarily accepted or rejected, but a matter for discussion. I do not think that it would be quite right for the Commonwealth Government to go to a university and say: ‘These are the standards that we believe you should adopt.’ We could discuss later whether the standards adopted were reasonable or not, but I think that there would be some objections to the suggestion by the honourable senator.
The only other thing that I want to say is that there is a very strong and very marked correlation between the standard attained at matriculation and the pass rate attained going through a university. It is quite true that the standard attained at matriculation is a bluntish instrument and that some who would not attain that standard would pass at university level if they had the chancea very small number - and some who would attain the standard would not pass at university level - again, a. very small number. But there is a very distinct correlation between the level of pass attained at a matriculation and the passage through a university. One university, I know, is seeking to refine that kind of selection by seeking to work out some kind of ACER test. I think that Senator Cohen will know to what I am referring. It is the sort of test used for selecting secondary scholarship winners-
– Yes, in conjunction with standards attained at matriculation. Unless the community wishes to adopt the very large financial burden which will be implicit in accepting the idea in the present setup that everybody who completes secondary education, or whatever level or pass is decided, automatically will be enabled to go to university, then it will be necessary for the standards required to attain entry to university to be spelt out far more fully than they are at present. I think that initially that it is the responsibility of the universities to spell out these standards.
– I can give the honourable senator the answer to his query now if he wants it.
– I do not want to waste too much of my quarter of an hour, and I do not want the answer now. I appreciate the courtesy and intelligence of the Minister. I was going to say at the start of my speech that I appreciate the right of the Minister to ventilate his opinion on matters of Government policy as he did in relation to entry standards to universities. The Minister said that certain people should not be entitled to admission to universities. I think that a responsibility falls on the Government to consult with the universities on this matter because the Government through the Treasury provides so much money for Australian universities. The adolescents who matriculate anticipate that they will have the right to enter a university. The parents have made sacrifices for their children - or adolescents - anticipating that if they matriculate they will have the right to enter a university. Is the Minister listening to me?
– I thought the Minister was not listening.
– The Minister has turned away. Is he still listening?
– Why have not these children, whose parents have made sacrifices for them so that they can be educated, the right of entry to a university if they have worked hard and have matriculated? Matriculation is the basic right to enter a university. The parents of these children have been prepared to make sacrifices aided by Government assistance and Commonwealth scholarships to provide their children with an education to matriculation standard in the reasonable anticipation that their children will be able to enter university and obtain a degree. This does not just happen. An investigation has shown that these results are not obtained. The Minister has said that these students are not qualified to go to university. Does not the Minister think that the Commonwealth Government which provides so much money should consult with the universities and State governments and see that matri culation standards are lifted so that there is a reasonable expectation of university students obtaining a degree? If adolescents matriculate and their parents have been prepared to make sacrifices for their education, the right to enter a university and obtain a degree should exist. No consideration has been given to the rights of these children and their parents. I appeal to the Minister to have another look at this issue.
I wish to ask the Minister to explain the position in relation to the number of employees in his Department. A separate Department has recently been created to handle education matters, lt is not doing much more, as far as 1 can see, than was done in this field when education matters were administered by the present Minister and were under the control of the Prime Minister’s Department. Now a separate Department has been created to deal with education and the subject of science has been added to it. How many employees are engaged by the Department of Education and Science? What departmental expenses are involved? I am not speaking now about the amount of money disbursed by the Department. I want to know how many employees are engaged by the Department and what the responsibilities of the Department are.
In relation to the responsibilities accepted over many years by the Commonwealth Government regarding universities, has it ever accepted the responsibility of seeing that staff appointed to universities is qualified to teach or impart knowledge? This has never happened. The only university that has embarked on this programme is the University of Queensland. This happened some years ago. Men who graduated with honours and were brilliant in their courses can be completely hopeless as teachers or imparters of knowledge. There is no suggestion so far as I know that by and large these people should be trained in imparting knowledge. I will not say teaching because these people would be insulted. They do not regard themselves as teachers. They are superior to teachers in ordinary schools. There is a responsibility-
– I have managed without the help of the honourable senator just as he has managed without my help.
– I did, and the honourable senator did not succeed without my help either.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Wood) - Order!
– The honourable senator is taking up my time. The position is this: Does the Minister not think that the Commonwealth Government - because of its responsibilities and the amount of money involved - along with the universities has a duty to see that these professors and lecturers have a capacity to impart knowledge? I am not denying this right to research scholars at universities. I accept their responsibility. I accept the fact that many of these men do try to teach and in fact do teach well. But a number of lecturers and professors are not capable of imparting knowledge and do not attempt to learn how to impart knowledge. The information has been given to me that there is a science in imparting knowledge. It is not beyond us to see that this science is developed within the staff of the universities. The students are little more than children; they are adolescents. They are entitled to have knowledge imparted to them competently so that they can absorb it in the most efficient way. We have a responsibility, not only to the students but also to their parents who often make sacrifices to send them to universities, to ensure that this is available.
The Minister made a statement to the effect that $8m is to be made available for teacher training colleges. How miserable is that allocation when one remembers that our gross national product is about $23,000m. The world is demanding education. We, of all nations, need it. We cannot survive without it. The Chifley Government established the Commonwealth scholarship scheme. It must be conceded that governments led by Sir Robert Menzies elaborated on that scheme and that assistance has been extended in relation to science laboratories and technical school scholarships, but the fundamental education is primary education, and the Commonwealth Government is not prepared to do one damned thing about it. I am sorry that I have used an unparlia mentary word. I withdraw it and content myself by saying that for some reason the Commonwealth Government is not doing one thing about it. Primary education is the base on which the pyramid of secondary education, technical education and tertiary education is erected. How can we cultivate or develop to the utmost the talents with which each child is endowed if we are not prepared to direct our attention to the base?
I appeal to the Minister to do something about this in the coming year or two, though I do not believe that he and his colleagues will be in office that long, judging by the results of last Saturday’s by-election in Capricornia. They certainly have only a limited time in which to leave their names in history. I do not want them to leave their footprints in the quicksands of time; I want them to leave a record of achievement in the sands of time. I pay tribute to the former Prime Minister, as I have done on other occasions, for his services to education. It is a subject in which the Government should be interested.
What are the arrangements in relation to scientists? I shall not deal now with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation but I ask: Is there any correlation between universities and the CSIRO? Do scientists move from one department to another? Some do, I know, but there is no real correlation between the various efforts. What is the attitude of the Commonwealth Government to marine biological research? This is important, because we are an island continent. We have in the Gulf of Carpentaria if not the biggest, then the second biggest, prawning grounds in the world. We have in the Great Barrier Reef probably the most unique biological structure in the world, the biggest structure built by any individual organism, including man.
Through the years since 1949 this Government has done nothing except give £5,000 on one occasion to the marine biological research station on Heron Island. Has it any plans in relation to the marine biology section of Townsville University? Does it intend to make a further allocation to the marine biological research station on Heron Island? Why, those organisations even have to pay sales tax on the articles they buy which attract sales tax. The staff at the station consists of only one research officer and a maintenance officer. This
Government, representing an island continent, is doing nothing. The Minister should tell us what the Government proposes to do.
In our waters we have possibly the best fishing grounds in the world. I do not know whether they are, but apparently the Japanese and Russians think they are, because they fish those grounds successfully. If they can do it, why can we not send Australian ships to the Gulf of Carpentaria and make :i success of the job? Irrespective of its commercial value, the Barrier Reef should be the subject of pure scientific research. The real work in that field has been done by the British, the Belgians and the Americans. Comparatively recently the Scripps research organisation was in the area and it reported that it had dragged phosphate deposits from the bottom of the sea. It claimed also that off South Australia possibly the best fishing grounds in the world have been discovered.
– The honourable senator comes from South Australia, and I point out to him that the newspapers reported the area as being off South Australia.
– A Yank found it, and the honourable senator claims to live next door to him?
– I concede thai to the honourable senator, having regard to his superior wisdom. This was printed in newspapers all over Australia and, of course, the honourable senator would be different from all other Australians. He is different from members of his former Party so I suppose he would be different on this occasion. Newspapers all over Australia reported that the find was off South Australia.
– South Australia, according to what was published. The honourable senator need not enter this argument or she will be on the outer too. lt does not matter where it happened, but it was reported in the Press as South Australia. In any case, what is the Commonwealth Government doing in relation to marine biological research? The amount of money spent already is comparatively paltry. I know that the Government has to find money somewhere to meet all sorts of expenditure, but perhaps it has the wrong approach to the way in which the available funds should be distributed. This responsibility does not rest on the Minister for Education and Science; the Government must face up to it. Fortunately, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party (Mr McMahon), who is the Treasurer, is overseas now, and I think the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) is very grateful lor his absence after last Saturday’s by-election result. The Treasurer will probably have to embark on a programme of increased taxation. A government cannot afford to educate its people, develop its country or embark on scientific investigation, pure or practical, unless it has the money for these activities, and in a country like Australia the only way it can obtain money for those purposes - so essential to the needs of Australia - is through taxation.
– No, not by regulation. Will the Minister tell us what will be the Government’s approach? He now administers a new department, the Department of Education and Science. How many employees are engaged in that Department now compared to the number engaged in this area before the new department was established and when the Minister was only assisting the Prime Minister in matters relating to education? What will be the Government’s attitude in relation to matriculation? Will it ask universities to lift the standard of matriculation? Will it ask for a separate so-called leaving certificate instead of the present matriculation examination which now gives automatic entry to a university? Will this mean that if students work hard they will, with rare exceptions, succeed in obtaining a degree? Does this mean that the Government will institute an inquiry into primary education even though it will not face up to its obligations in relation to secondary and technical education?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN-
Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
Sitting suspended from 5.44 to 8 p.m.
– Yes, I will. This is my proposition to the Senate. I agree that we are dealing with a Bill that is very restricted in scope. The Bill provides for the payment of increased pensions to dependent children only. I point out to the Senate that the Government seems to base the increase of 50c on some sort of formula. I am asking the Minister to tell the Senate whether this formula is the one which was used in former years to raise progressively each pension including this category, the TPI pension, the service pension and other allowances. I point out also that on the basis of this very meagre - even meantreatment of ex-servicemen, the Government simply says: ‘Look, we are going to be up for $llm more for repatriation services.’ But, in fact, from the report presented by the Repatriation Commission we find that great savings have been achieved respecting repatriation obligations and liabilities. What I am saying to the Senate is that this position ought to be explained by the Minister and some reason ought to be given for the attitude of the Government.
The Bill seeks to alter the Third Schedule to the principal Act by deleting from Table A all the words and figures from and including the words ‘Child (including an exnuptial child)’ to and including the words and figures ‘S5.50 per fortnight’. If honourable senators look at the Third Schedule they will find the amounts to be increased. In the Act as it now stands, a child, including an ex-nuptial child, receives certain benefits. In paragraph (a), in respect of a child other than an ex-nuptial child where both the member and the wife or husband of the member are dead, the amount of the benefit stands at $14.30 a fortnight. The Act was amended by the relevant decimal currency legislation so as to change the amount of £7 3s to its decimal equivalent. Under this legislation it is proposed to increase that benefit to $16.30 per fortnight.
Paragraph (b) of the Third Schedule provides: where the last preceding paragraph does not apply in relation to the child and the Commission is satisfied that the child is not being maintained by a parent, adoptive parent or step-parent of the child . . .
The amount of this benefit was converted by the decimal currency legislation from £7 3s to $14.30 per fortnight. It is proposed by this legislation to increase that benefit to $16.30 a fortnight. Paragraph (c) of the Third Schedule refers to payments in any other case in relation to the first child and then second and each subsequent children. The amount for the first child was converted from £3 18s to $7.80 following the introduction of decimal currency and will be increased under this legislation to $8.80 per fortnight. The amount for the second and each subsequent child stands at $5.50, having been converted under the relevant legislation from £2 15s, and will be increased under this proposed legislation to $6.50 per fortnight. Those are the amendments proposed by the Government in the Repatriation Bill 1967.
Mr Acting Deputy President, it seems that this is the main issue in this debate. When the Minister Ibr Repatriation rises to answer the points made by Opposition speakers, we would like him to explain to us why this basic formula is not being applied in this area. We would like to know also what sort of representations were made to the Cabinet sub-committee, that deals with repatriation, by the Returned Services League. Did the RSL agree with these proposed increases in the pensions for children, or did it propose amounts that would relate to the formula adjusted to the basic wage as has been its view in previous years? I have had correspondence regarding this matter not only from the RSL but also from seventeen ex-service organisations in South Australia. The letter 1 received was dated 19th September 1967 and was similar to the one that asked the Prime Minister to take this very action. I wish to know whether there is to be any reconsideration of the proposition that those organisations have put to the Government. As 1 have already mentioned the Opposition does not intend to oppose the legislation. However, we do propose an amendment. I move:
– I have moved the amendment.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Is the motion seconded?
– I rise again to a point of order. Because of the terms in which the Bill is drawn, I feel that this is an amendment to the principal Act. As I think is pretty clear, the Bill that we are discussing now is a Bill to amend the Repatriation Act 1920-1966 so as to increase the rates of pension payable to children. With all due respect, I suggest that the amendment is intended as an amendment to the principal
Act. For the life of me, 1 cannot see that this is an amendment to the Bill now before the Senate. I ask you to rule accordingly, Sir.
– Order! I rule that the proposed amendment is not in order on the ground that it is not strictly relevant to the Bill as required by standing order 195.
– The people of the 1914-18 war still have to exist on the old pensions.
– That is the very point to which I was leading. I mount my stairs step by step. I recognise the principle. I have asked the RSL to recognise it. I ask the League not to pour vinegar upon this matter but rather to recognise the revolution. This year the Budget provides for no increase in TPI or widows’ pensions. I have expressed my view as to the unworthy level of those pensions heretofore, and I do so again tonight. The principle which I have mentioned having been recognised, surely there is every argument within the principle itself that next year the Government will make a gradual adjustment up to better levels for the totally and permanently incapacitated ex-servicemen of previous campaigns and their widows.
– I know that. The annual report of the Repatriation Commission for 1966-67 contains this passage which Senator Bishop read and to which I thought he might have given more emphasis:
Indeed, this year is the first since the Second World War to show a small decline; and this is attributable to the excess deaths of First World War veterans over new pensioners.
The figures show that the disappearance of Australian Imperial Forces diggers of the First World War has been somewhat remarkable. The annual report states:
The following table shows the position at 30th June this year together with a comparison with the same period last year:
– That is not true.
– I saw Senator Scott laughing a while ago when someone referred to these unfortunate children who are the victims of war. That is the general attitude of Senator Scott on anything associated with repatriation or on anything associated with under-privileged sections of the community. He regards it as a big joke. The Government is obviously adopting an attitude of bullets before pensions - I shall cite some figures in a moment that will highlight this - so it has to accept the obligations that are the result of war. There will now be many single orphans as a result of this Government’s participation in the Vietnam conflict and there will be a number of double orphans. Before the conflict ends there will be many more orphans who will require financial assistance and the obligation is on this Government, as it is on every Australian, to see that these children get some of the things in life to which they are entitled. Remember that they have no fathers. In the case of double orphans, they have no mothers, either.
Senator Wright raised a very pertinent point when he mentioned that repatriation provisions had been regarded as social services legislation. Payment of any sort of repatriation benefit should normally be considered in a civilised society as compensation for injuries or loss suffered and not as some sort of handout or some sort of charity that we give to the dependants of those who can no longer contribute to this country either as servicemen or as ordinary members of the community. I should like honourable senators to know that the provision for defence is 17% of the total amount of the Budget. The provision for social services, health and repatriation - repatriation is not the biggest of these sections - is 21% of the total. The provision for administrative and all other expenditure not elsewhere included is 23% of the total, or 2% more than the Government is handing out under these three headings. Taking this a step further, we find that the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) said in his Budget Speech:
As to repatriation, expenditure is estimated to increase this year by about Slim to some $26 1 m. Having carefully reviewed all repatriation benefits we have decided to increase pensions for war orphans. For children who have lost one parent through war service, the weekly pension will rise by SOc to $4.40 for the first child and to $3.25 for the second and other children. For those whose mother also is dead, the weekly pension will rise by $1.00 to $8.15 for every child. These increases will cost $127,000 this year and $169,000 in a full year.
What a big sum of money! If the Government is to let its heart really expand it should look in another section of the Budget where it will see that adjustments to existing pensions under the parliamentary retiring allowances scheme will cost $85,000 in a full year. A handful of people in the community will benefit to the extent of $85,000, but for these kids who have lost everything worthwhile in life - they have lost their fathers and many have lost’ their mothers too - the Government is going to really expand; it will give them $169,000 in a full year. Compare this with what the Government is spending on VIP aircraft. It has wasted, squandered, thrown down the financial drain $10m on spares for the VIP flight. In addition, the total cost of the new aircraft is in. excess of $21 m. If the Government makes comparisons with what it is to give to the unfortunate kids of this country who are covered by this amendment to the Repatriation Act, it ought to be downright ashamed of the attitude it has adopted.
Maybe we will go a little further and look at the money that the Government is pouring into an open-ended contract for the swing wing bomber. The Government does not know where this will end, but it can afford to spend so much on expanding the Air Force by the purchase of an aircraft about which it knows nothing, which may never get into the air, and in relation to which there is no bottom to the contract. The Government is prepared to squander the taxpayers’ money like this but it is not prepared to give money to unfortunate kids. There will be a Senate election in 3 or 4 weeks’ time. Through political selfishness in 1963, when the then Prime Minister could see some hope of success, he decided to bring on an election for one House of the Parliament instead of having elections for the two Houses in conjunction, in accordance with the normal practice for almost the whole period since federation except on odd occasions. As the result of this alone, because elections for the two Houses have to be separate, about $lm is being wasted. The Government is not worried about it. The taxpayers’ money is paying for it. Spreading this expenditure over 3 years, this decision is costing in round figures $330,000 a year, or almost three times the cost of these proposals. That is the amount being wasted, because of political selfishness, on having separate elections for the two Houses of the Parliament. Yet look at what the Government is to give to these kids. I repeat it, so that it will burn into the brains of some Government supporters. The amount is $169,000.
Let us examine some of the other fantastic sums that are paid out to those who have suffered as a result of war, to those who are continuing to suffer, and to those who will suffer in the future, because it is unlikely that the Government will increase repatriation benefits. I know that 1 am limited by the terms of this Bill but shortly, of course, we shall be discussing in the Estimates debate the proposed appropriation for the Repatriation Department and undoubtedly the Government will not have that section of the debate while the proceedings of the Senate are being broadcast, because it is scared stiff on this issue. The special or TPI rate is $30.50 a week. The full general rate is $12 a week. The maximum rate for a wife is $4.05 a week, while for each child under 16 years the maximum rate is $1.38 a week. On the death of a serviceman his widow gets the fantastic sum of $1.3 a week while the first child receives $3.90, the second and any subsequent child $2.75 a week. In addition to a pension, a widow may receive a further payment by way of an allowance of $7 a week. This is referred to as a domestic allowance. She may qualify for this allowance if she has a dependant child, or children, under the age of 16 years, or is 50 years of age or over, or is permanently unemployable, or has a child over the age of 16 years who is undertaking education or training approved by the Department and who, in the opinion of the
Department, is not receiving an adequate living wage. In other words, the Government applies the means test rigidly.
The general attitude to all of these things does not vary. Now and again the Government hands out a few crumbs. No doubt in 1969 there will be some improvement in the pension rate because the Government will need it then to buy votes. According to the Budget, national production increased by between 5% and 6% over the year under review. The total budget expenditure is $6,483m. Out of this the Government has really let its head go with this proposed expenditure of $169,000 as a result of this amendment. Honourable senators will recall that some time ago the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) on behalf of the Labor Opposition moved:
I want to remind the Senate of the fact that the Labor Party endeavoured to have this Committee set up so that the whole question of repatriation could be extensively investigated. In addition to all the things that we sought to do and which had to be done, there are many anomalies which need to be rectified. However, with the aid of the two members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party, who have never shown any sympathy for repatriation, the Government was able to reject the motion submitted by Senator Murphy. Had the Parliament established this Committee one could have understood the position, perhaps, if additional benefits had been deferred until such time as a report was presented. But this would have been after a proper investigation. After all, a time limit was set in that motion as to the date by which the Committee was required to make its recommendations. But the Government would not agree to this course. 1 do not blame the Government, in a political sense, for not accepting it. But from an Australian point of view and from a moral point of view I do blame the Government. So far a? the Government is concerned, once a serviceman has done his job its only concern for him is as a recipient of a very meagre charity. The Government has no further responsibility.
The Commonwealth Council of the Totally and Permanently Disabled Soldiers’ Association of Australia made its submission for further benefits prior to the presentation of the Budget this year. I think that the submissions of the Council should be incorporated in Hansard because they bring home to every Australian some of the background to the great problem facing these pensioners. We all should be familiar with these matters. The submission made by the Council stated:
Originally War Pensions were based on the extent that accepted service disabilities would affect the earning capacity of a man if he were an unskilled worker.
Under the Bill we are discussing, the people to whom this Government is going to hand out this small amount of money, $169,000, are youngsters who have lost everything. The submission continued:
This resulted in pension rates being related to the wages of the common labourer and the cost of living at that time. This conception carried through the War Pensions Act of 1914, the first Repatriation Act of 1917 and the consolidation of both Acts in 1920. Thus the TPI rate was fixed at £4, a margin of 9s above the Federal Basic Wage.
As it was suggested in this Senate recently that we ought to refer to money in terms of dollars and cents, it means that the TPI rate was $8.90. The submission continued:
Other factors considered in arriving at the rate of pension were:
The total loss of earning power over the best years of life.
A shortened expectation of life.
The total impact of being classified TPI ami inability to lead a normal life.
In 1932 the margin above the basic wage stood at 18s 4d; eventually it ceased to exist and the current TPI rate is Two Dollars-Thirty below the Federal Basic Wage.
Since the earning capacity of a TPI man is nil, we submit that the Special Rate War Pension should, as in the past, be equivalent to the basic wage with an appropriate margin not below thai previously paid in les:: prosperous times.
Let us convert the new rale to the old currency in order to see just how fantastic this sum really is. In cases where both parents are dead it amounts to $8.15 for every child, which is £4 ls 6d. What can be done with this sum today in order to keep a child alive? Suppose that the child is living in a home with relatives who are not in receipt of a large weekly wage or salary. Remember that the child is outisde the family and belongs to nobody. Can it be adequately clothed and properly educated on that sum? Can sufficient nutritious food be purchased, together with all the other things necessary for this child? I say that it cannot be done on this sum. Until this Government is prepared to face up to its responsibilities to people who have suffered as a result of war it deserves censure by the people.
– I asked whether the submissions were related to the basic wage formula.
– Yes, the submissions were tied with the figures they had relating to the basic wage. I think Senator Bishop asked whether there was any reason for not adopting this formula or departing from it. All those submissions were considered, and not lightly. They were reviewed by the Cabinet ex-servicemen’s subcommittee and, goodness knows, my departmental officers and I spent a lot of time considering them. Then the proposals were considered by the Ministry. I could not have fought any harder to get more benefits. Other important matters have to be considered also. One of these is the defence of our country. No pension or other advantage to any taxpayer of Australia would be worthwhile unless we could hold the country, and to hold the country is the prime duty of any government, irrespective of its political colour. Honourable senators have heard me say that before.
Even though the increases proposed in this measure may seem small, this does not mean that we have stood still and done nothing in the way of improving repatriation services generally. In fact, we have not stood still. This year, as in other years, there has been an improvement in our medical services and in the equipment our medical men use. We have also carried out additional maintenance work. Extensive renovations have been undertaken and a good deal of money has been spent on new buildings and new wards. A new block of wards was erected in Brisbane. At Bundoora in Victoria one new block has been completed and another is in the course of erection. New artificial limb factories are being constructed, one in South Australia and one in Queensland.
– Why, Western Australia has the most modern of repatriation hospitals in Australia. That is why nothing has been done there to any great extent this year. Hollywood is really the most modern of all our hospitals, and the artificial limb factory in Western Australia is easily the best we have. We have it in mind to make some alterations to Hollywood Hospital, which is indeed a good hospital.
There is one other aspect that has not been mentioned. 1 refer to the children’s education scheme. I think many people are entirely ignorant of what has been done under this scheme. At the moment there are well over 7,000 children being educated and this year we are spending $2,642,392 on the scheme. It has been a tremendous success. It has produced, I think, the first lady judge, it has produced a number of padres and members of parliament, and there are people in many other walks of life who owe their present success to the children’s education scheme conducted by the Repatriation Department.
Let us look now at some of the people we treat. Last year, the repatriation hospitals treated something like 53,929 patients, and the average daily number of patients in hospitals throughout Australia was 3,000. That is a mighty effort. We are also responsible for 3,522 patients in hospitals other than repatriation institutions. This makes the total number of patients treated for the year something over 57,000, which is no mean achievement for any department. In addition, thousands of outpatients were treated. Particulars of all this work will be found in the Commission’s report, which I tabled in the Senate only a few weeks ago.
Senator Wright laid emphasis on defence forces retirement benefits, but let me reply first to his statement that he was surprised that I made no mention of repatriation matters when I spoke on the Budget papers. I deliberately omitted to do so because I knew that this Bill was coming up for discussion and that we would also be considering the proposed expenditures for the Repatriation Department. There were other matters to which I wished to refer to at that time when, if I remember rightly, I was on the air. I am not at all backward in going to any repatriation organisation or any ex-servicemen’s organisation to explain the reasons why we were unable to accept in their entirety, or even in some moderate measure, the various proposals they made to us.
Reference was made also to a motion that was moved in the Senate for the setting up of a Senate select committee to inquire into the whole of our repatriation system. I give now the answer that I gave then. In my view, the setting up of a Senate select committee to inquire into the repatriation system generally would simply not be worthwhile unless the Senate were prepared to allow the committee to extend its inquiries over a very long period. We all know how difficult it is for select committees to find the time to carry out their investigations even into matters that would not be nearly so involved as our repatriation system. They have to endeavour to fit in a day or perhaps a couple of days during the parliamentary recess or over the weekend, and in those circumstances unless the Senate were prepared to allow the committee a very long time to carry out its investigations it would not be worth setting up.
Another of the many things we have been doing recently relates to Vietnam. We sent a team of, I think, twelve doctors to Vietnam from the repatriation service. We have also sent men from the artificial limb factories overseas, with great benefit to those for whom the factories work. If we are not the leaders in the world in artificial limb production we are certainly well up among the leaders. I also remind the Senate that only a few months ago the Chairman of the Repatriation Commission visited London to attend a war veterans conference at which all war pensions and all conditions pertaining to those who have served in wars were under very close scrutiny and discussion. As a result of this visit he was able to report to me that in his opinion the repatriation system in Australia contained very few gaps.
I think it was when we were discussing the appointment of a Senate select committee to inquire into repatriation matters that 1 told the Senate that some of the war veterans from overseas who were over here a few months ago expressed amazement that such a young country as this had been able to do what they described as so much in the way of looking after its war veterans. In the light of all these things, the suggestion that the Australian Government simply forgets all about the men who have given such valuable service to Australia is just not worth answering because it is untrue.
To my mind, one of the advantages that the totally and permanently incapacitated pensioner enjoys as against, say, the person who receives a lump sum by way of compensation under the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act is that whereas the lump sum, which may bc as much as $40,000 or $50,000, can be eroded in many ways such as faulty investment, the TPI pensioner enjoys a regular fortnightly payment of an amount which never decreases; in fact, it often increases. The TPI. pensioner snares in any increases that may be granted in repatriation benefits. Those increases might take place shortly after he is admitted to the scheme, or years after, but the important point is that he does share in them. In addition, he receives medical benefits which could amount to quite a lot of money. They are some of the points in favour of a TPI pensioner as against a man who receives a payment of compensation in a lump sum.
– Once an exserviceman is declared to be totally and permanently incapacitated he is paid the pension from that time on. In cases of compensation payments, if a man’s health recovers his payments might be decreased. If a man is receiving a certain pension and his health deteriorates he can apply for a higher rate of pension. If he proves his case he receives an increase. Once an exserviceman is made a TPI pensioner, he receives that pension from that time on and it is not subject to a means test. In addition to his pension a TPI pensioner without childrenis entitled to recreation, transport and attendants’ allowances. It has been calculated by the Treasury that a TPI pensioner in a normal lifetime would receive a pension and allowances totalling about $49,000. Of course, he would also have an entitlement to medical benefits. A married TPI pensioner who was a private group 3 - a trained infantry rifleman - would receive $49,000 as I have said, plus about $29,000 from the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund, making a total of about $78,000. I have a range of figures relating to the various categories of pensioners. They bear out what Senator Wright had to say about the great improvement that will come to these fellows.
– That is so. All we can say at present is that these are the proposed allowances for our servicemen in Vietnam; but I would be very surprised indeed if, having embarked on this course, we did not continue with it.I think I have covered most of the points raised in this debate. It has been a disappointment to me that a greater increase in pensions could not be provided. However, our record shows that in only one year have we not provided for increases. This year additional benefits have been provided for, even though the increased payments are to go only to the children to whom I have referred. While I am privileged to hold my present portfolio it will always be my aim to work for the best conditions that can possibly be provided for those people who are in need.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
– 1 was speaking about the actual costs of the operation of treating these people and doing that work, rather than the cost of the building.
– The main reason for erection of the new building in the first place is that the medical advice we have received is that it is far better to have these artificial limb factories close to a hospital because of the availability of facilities there for the fitting of limbs and any treatment for those who need them. It has been the policy of the Department to establish these centres close to hospitals in the interests of the men themselves. For no other reason, that is the main reason.
– No, I cannot answer that question. If I can get an answer for the honourable senator, I will give it to him. I am sure that he will be interested to know that the erection of this building was commenced on 20th March last and that the estimated date of completion is November of this year.
In relation to the other question asked by the honourable senator, I am not quite sure exactly what he sought. I will certainly let him have a look at the papers from which I quoted. The information will be given when the legislation relating to the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund is before us. If the honourable senator is satisfied with my reply, he can certainly have a look at the papers from which I quoted. Quite a number of figures appear there, and I am not quite sure what he is seeking.
– What about the land?
– There is no land settlement scheme.
– At the moment there is no intention to introduce a land settlement scheme and there is no suggestion that the amount of the loan of $6,000 should be increased. After all conditions now are different to those which obtained during World War I and World War II. Then the servicemen did not know how long they would be fighting; it could be 1 year, 3 years or longer. National servicemen are now called up for a definite period of 2 years. There is one difference. This is one of the reasons why the Government believes that there is not the same justification for having a land settlement scheme. I think that answers the questions raised by the honourable senator.
asked a question about pharmaceutical services. The increase of $760,000 provided for under this item is attributable to the continuing upward trend in a number of prescriptions and items being dispensed. The average cost per item increased from $2.30 at the beginning of 1966-67 to $2.42 at June 1967. Provision has been made at this rate in the estimates for 1967-68.
The honourable senator mentioned cases in which he believed that fraud was involved. I would think that because of the number of prescriptions dispensed - they run into millions - what he referred to could possibly happen, although I do not think it would be very widespread. Because of the large number of prescriptions being dispensed, it is very difficult to find cases of dishonesty or fraud of the type that the honourable senator mentioned. To the best of our ability, we keep a check on these matters. I give the honourable senator that assurance. I hope that it will be of some satisfaction to him. I am informed that continuous checks are made to verify the faithful performance of these services. The cases to which Senator Devitt referred and which concerned trafficking in repatriation per.scriptions are probably those which were detected by departmental checks and were the subject of successful court action.
-(Tasmania) (10.26] - J direct my remarks to Division No. 449, item 02, which relates to pharmaceutical services. The reason I raise this matter is that we have a peculiarity in that the Director-General of Health for the whole of Australia accepts the advice of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, slates that certain drugs are harmful and prevents practitioners from prescribing them as pharmaceutical benefits and for pensioners. Secondly, he stales that Australians are drug addicts in regard to barbiturates and restricts the number of drugs that we can use. On the other hand, the doctors of the Repatriation Commission apparently have not kept up with the latest medical work. I do not agree with the Director-General of Health but apparently these gentlemen in the medical services of the Repatriation Department have not read the latest medical work because no embargo is applied in regard to the use of these drugs in the repatriation service. Why is this? Somebody is wrong.
If we believe the Director-General of Health, who says that these drugs are harmful, why are they not harmful to returned soldiers? I am not supporting the Director-General. I am just pointing out that it is nonsense to say that pensioners can have only 25 capsules of nembutal each time they come up, while we can give 100 capsules of nembutal to returned servicemen and we can order as much APC as we like for returned servicemen. There is no direction to medical officers in relation to returned servicemen but there is a direction in regard to pensioners and in regard to pharmaceutical benefits. Somebody is right and somebody else is wrong. I wish the Government would make up its mind whether the Repatriation Department is right or the Director-General of Health is wrong.
-(Senator DrakeBrockman) - Order! In conformity with tha sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:
That the Chairman do now leave the chair and report to the Senate.
Question resolved in the negative.
– I was speaking about a situation which has been referred to before. The Minister has said he believes that the benefit of the doubt is given to the applicant. During previous discussions on the Estimates and in repatriation debates in this chamber he has admitted that there are circumstances in which an ex-serviceman, for various reasons, does not have on his records all the details of his medical history. Because of the absence of medical reports his application for an assessment or an entitlement is affected. He went so far as to say in this chamber that he would recommend that publicity be given to the need for every serving man to ensure that information concerning any accident, injury, disability and so on that he suffered was recorded in his medical history. This matter causes me concern again this year after reading the figures set out in Table 13 relating to the number of cases dealt with by the War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunals. I find that an alarming number of cases have been rejected. In respect of ex-servicemen of the 1914-18 war I find that of the number of applications heard, 228 were allowed and 2,071 disallowed. In regard to the 1939-45 war, there were 1,249 cases allowed and 7,137 disallowed. In the case of the Korea-Malaya operations, 22 cases were allowed and 109 disallowed.
Turning to Table 14, dealing with appeals to War Pensions Assessment Appeal Tribunals, I note that again the situation was not good. In the case of the 1914-18 war, 818 appeals were allowed and 788 disallowed. In respect of the 1939-45 war, there were 4,997 appeals allowed and 4,299 disallowed. The proportion varies a little in the other spheres of operations but the fact is that each year this general situation is repeated. The case which Senator Poyser cited was one particular case. Most honourable senators know of other cases involving people who had magnificent war records. They have gone to the various tribunals but have found that for various reasons, such as the absence of proper records, they have been unable to obtain the benefit. In view of the time I will not take too long to deal with this matter but I come back to the issue which has been raised here and to which the Minister referred during the discussion on the Repatriation Bill earlier tonight. As I understood him, he said he would not oppose the formation of a Senate select committee to investigate and report upon repatriation benefits if it took proper time to inquire into the matters for its consideration. I understood him to say that he was against a short term select committee to look into the Repatriation Act and the existing anomalies.
I conclude by asking the Minister, in view of the debates that have taken place in the Senate relating to section 47 of the Act and the many cases brought to his notice, to inform me what sort of consideration the Government has given to altering or reviewing the Act. I would like to know whether he is in favour of some special body doing this work or whether he might agree finally to what I understood him to say: That a Senate committee could make a thorough review of the Act. I still agree with Senator Poyser in saying that there are many ex-servicemen who feel that they are not being properly dealt with. My own opinion is that the injustices arise in most of these cases because the service records are not as good as they might be. This is not intentional but the fact is that in many cases, as we know, entries are not made and because of this an ex-serviceman is penalised. I would like the Minister to reply, if he will, to the representations which have been made in debates in this place, and by ex-service organisations, about amending the Act.
– That is left to the discretion of the tribunal.
– What type of evidence do they require?
– Would that include medical certificates from three or four outside doctors?
– The Minister must have his office half filled with the details now.
– All I can do is offer to have another look at the case. In answer to Senator McClelland, I inform him that 117,000 chiropody treatments were carried out in 1966-67. This shows that the Department is interested in that form of treatment. Normally patients may go to chiropodists of their own choice where chiropody outside departmental institutions is approved. We employ some full time chiropodists when they are available and it is economic to do so. Senator McClelland may also be interested to learn that we engage outside chiropodists at sessional rates in departmental institutions. In addition, chiropody is provided at private rooms. The Repatriation Department is interested in this form of treatment and it is provided.
– I will put the honourable senator’s question to the highest man we have and get an answer for him.
– Probably I will agree with him that the Director-General of Health is wrong. The Government cannot have it both ways. It cannot support Big Brother and say that 80% of Australians cannot have APC because it is harmful and causes necrosis and this disease and that disease, and at the same time support the view of the Repatriation Department that every local medical officer has a- right to prescribe what he wishes even if it is harmful. Somebody is wrong.
Proposed expenditure and proposed provision noted.
-(Tasmania; Minister for Supply) - by leave - Senator Keeffe asked a question about the acquisition of land for the Department of Supply for a new Commonwealth clothing factory at Coburg in Victoria. I have the details for which he asked and I would like to put them on record. The Department of the Interior is the responsible authority for acquiring land for all Commonwealth departments. Land is acquired under the authority of the Lands Acquisition Act 1955-1966 and all acquisitions, except for minor ones, have to be approved by the Governor-General in Council. The acquisition of land for the clothing factory at 12-22 Gaff ney Street, Coburg, was admitted to the acquisition programme for 1966-67 at an estimated cost of $335,000.
One of the questions raised by Senator Keeffe was whether the land was purchased by negotiation, by public tender, or at auction. The normal method of acquiring land for the Commonwealth is by direct negotiation with owners or their agents, and it is not the practice to invite public tenders for the sale of land to the Commonwealth or to bid at public auction. In this particular case, however, an advertisement was placed in the Melbourne ‘Age’ and local suburban newspapers seeking details of properties for sale, 7-8 miles north of the GPO iri a light industrial area, handy to transport, and of an area of about 3-5 acres. Numerous replies were received in response to the advertisement, including particulars of the property at Gaffney Street, and quite a number of properties were investigated as to their suitability.
The area of the total property purchased at Gaffney Street, Coburg, is 6 acres, 1 rood, 13.3 perches, and the cost of acquisition was $334,800. Two parcels of land were involved, one for 5 acres, 3 roods, 14.5 perches, acquisition cost $320,000, and one for 1 rood, 38.8 perches, acquisition cost $14,800- total $334,800. Both properties were valued by the Federal taxation office, on the basis of industrial values, and it is stated that the larger property was purchased at a figure considerably less than the asking price or the Commonwealth valuation. The smaller property was purchased at the asking price which was supported by the Taxation office.
The owner of the larger area of land was Rawco Pty Ltd, owner-occupier, and the estate agent who negotiated the sale on behalf of that company was Barry Waters and Associates, Sydney Road, Coburg, in conjunction with Baillieu Allard, Collins Street, Melbourne. The owner of the smaller piece of land, which, by the way, abutts the larger area, was Mr and Mrs Bates, 1590 High Street, Glen Iris, Victoria, and the agent who negotiated the sale was Barry Waters and Associates of Sydney Road, Coburg. The matter of commission is one between the owner of the property and his agent. Normally, scale rates apply.
– Where is he?
– There was a defence meeting being held tonight and I presume that he would be taking part in those discussions. But always a Minister is on duty and the ordinary member of Parliament is always having pleasure. Let me say that this is not so. It is extremely rare for us to see Ministers in this chamber except when their departments are concerned with the matters before the Senate.
Getting back to the very point that I am raising: I object to the arrogant reply made by Senator Gorton to my question. I maintain that he is one of the most arrogant of the Ministers in the Senate. He treats every question as if it is a political snipe at him and replies in that fashion every time. I asked the Minister a question concerning this matter that I have been pursuing. On 27th September of this year he rose in the Senate and said: . . I, on behalf of the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) in another place made a statement in the Senate on 20th September on the adjournment motion replying to the matters raised by Senator Turnbull on 6th September.
The Minister went on to say that he was speaking on that occasion to place the matter on record. But in placing the matter on record, the Minister did not answer the question that 1 had asked. Was that the answer to the question? The Minister said that he had answered the question previously. What had I asked him? On 6th September, what I said specifically regarding the Matrimonial Causes Act was that T hoped that the Minister representing the Attorney-General or any Minister in the Senate representing anyone in the Government would ask the Attorney-General in another place whether section 123 of the Matrimonial Causes Act could be amended. That is the specific question that 1 asked on 6th September and to which Senator Gorton replied.
His reply to that question was given on 20th September. The Minister outlined the provisions of section 123 of the Act and then went on to say:
The Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) has asked mc to point out that since the discretion is one vested by law in the judge, it is, of course, one with which the. Executive Government cannot interfere.
That is not the answer to my question. Who gave the judge that discretion? The Executive did. If the Executive gave it to him, the Executive can take it away from him. That is what I asked for on the first occasion I raised the matter. That was not the answer to my question. I am still waiting for it. The Minister went on to say that the judge himself had stated:
That is supposed to be the answer to my question in which I asked whether the Attorney-General would consider amending the law. Neither of these two statements provides the answer to my question. These represent the opinion of the Minister as to what the law is. That is not what I am asking for.
I next raised this matter on 26th September. I asked what were these very special circumstances that were raised. What I actually said on that occasion was this:
I would like Senator Anderson to find out whether the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) will make a statement on the powers that the Federal Government has over State judges and what are the guide lines in regard to the suppression of names.
I went on to ask:
Could the Attorney-General make a statement along those lines? I wonder whether he would publish the reasons given by the judge for suppressing the names in the case to which I have referred and of which he is aware.
That is the second time I have asked this question. Senator Gorton rose the next night in this place and said that he had already answered my question. The Minister has not done so at all. No Minister has answered my question. The AttorneyGeneral has not answered my question. I suppose that I could continue to speak every night on the adjournment motion and raise this very question, and Ministers would sidestep the issue every time.
What we want to know is what this discretion is that is given to the judge. Why is it given to the judge? Is the present power of discretion justifiable in the public interest? These are some of the things that we want to know. But we are not told the answers. Why should this judicial discretion be allowed for some people and not for others? After all, even if it is the innocent party that has to ask for the suppression of names, every innocent party has the same thought for their families and would like the suppression of names. Why then was this discretion exercised in this one case only? That is what I am trying to find out from the Attorney-General. I am asking him to come out into the open and to tell us why this happened in this one case. The Attorney-General gave the Taw to the judges. The judges did not make the law. The provisions of the Matrimonial Causes Act give the judges this power. The Act can be amended to take the power away from them. This is what should be done in my opinion and in the opinions of many thoughtful people also. But of course, 1 receive no answer to my question. Instead, an arrogant Minister in the Senate says: T have answered it. So, hell, what does it matter?’ The Minister will not give any other thought to the matter at all.
I do not want to keep on with this, but it seems to me that every time 1 rise to speak he is absent, and every time he rises to speak I am absent. 1 hope that one night we can get together and have a discussion on this. I think it has wide public interest and many thoughtful people want a change. We would like to hear from the Attorney-General why he believes that a judge can suppress names. I know he has said that it is humanitarian to do so, but is it not humanitarian for everyone? Why is it humanitarian for one special person? 1 should like to raise one other point before I conclude. According to one Victorian newspaper I have apparently caused some injustice because 1 have not mentioned names and so many people are under suspicion. 1 do not propose to name the person concerned, because I think that would be an abuse of our parliamentary privilege but I will say that, as far as I am aware, he is not living in Australia at the present time. That may clear some of the people in Victoria who, I understand, have been very worried and have had fingers pointed at them.
– Is it the right answer?
– No, it is the wrong one as far as the honourable senator is concerned. I want to point out that the company was issued with a licence by the New South Wales Government to mine limestone in the Blue Mountains. The granting of that mining licence and the protection of flora and fauna in that State are within the responsibility of the State Government.I suggest that the honourable senator should mail that very excellent document produced by the Department of National Development to the New South Wales Minister concerned. The honourable senator could mention all these other limestone deposits. If the New South Wales Minister then wishes to alter the licence that is his business; it has nothing to do with this Government. If a State government with sovereign rights issues a licence for a man to do something the Commonwealth Government has no authority to intervene and tell that State government that it should not issue the licence. I understand the honourable senator’s question. Again I suggest that the honourable senator should post the letter, pointing out all these other limestone deposits. If the honourable senator is not successful then he should buy his cement from the Tasmanian company. Then Tasmania will have no worries about selling its cement.
I suggest to Senator Turnbull that the sequence of events mentioned by him was this: The honourable senator asked the question and within a couple of days Senator Gorton submitted the answer to the Senate. The following week Senator Turnbull said that he could not obtain an answer to his question. The answer was there all the time. Obviously the honourable senator did not read his Hansard.
– It was not the answer that the honourable senator wanted. That is a different matter. One does not always obtain the answer one wants. Senator Gorton had provided the answer. Obviously the honourable senator had not read it. The honourable senator asked the question: Can the Act be amended?’ During the course of his remarks the honourable senator said: ‘Of course the Act can be amended.’ The honourable senator answered his own question. He does not now need an answer to the question.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) read a first time.
This Bill seeks the necessary authority for the Treasurer to borrow the amount of $122,840,000 in question. Last financial year advances to the States under the Housing Agreement amounted to $120m. This year the amounts nominated by the States represent, in aggregrate, an increase of a little more than 2%.
As honourable senators will be aware the current Housing Agreement continues the provision that requires each State to appropriate at least 30% of the advances they receive to a Home Builders Account from which loans for private home building are made available through building societies and other approved institutions. The balance of the advances is used by the States for the erection of homes either for rental or sale to families with low or moderate incomes.
I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Poke) adjourned.
Consideration resumed from 28 September (vide page 1062).
Department of Education and Science
Proposed expenditure $49,197,000.
Proposed provision $10,638,000.
– I want to address some remarks to the estimates of the Department of Education and Science - a very important department. The financial commitments of the Commonwealth in regard to education are related substantially to this Department. It is worth recalling that this is the first occasion on which the Committee has been asked to consider estimates for the Department of Education and Science. It is a new department. Last year and in the years before that educational activities came within the estimates of the Prime Minister’s Department. Whilst such activities were the responsibility of the Prime Minister their general administration was undertaken by Senator Gorton, who is now the Minister for Education and Science.
I want to raise some general questions about the function, purpose and direction of policy of the new Department. During the debate on the Budget I took the opportunity to direct a number of questions to the Minister as to what he and the Government thought the trend was likely to be in regard to education. It is not very clear to the education minded section of the community as to precisely what will distinguish the scope and function of the new ministry from those which existed when these or very similar activities were carried on by the Prime Minister’s Department.
For years there has been a clamour La the community for the establishment of a separate Commonwealth Department of Education and sometimes for a Commonwealth Department of Education and Science. It is appreciated that traditionally education is the responsibility of the States, but it is no longer possible to argue that the Commonwealth does not have an important responsibility for providing the financial resources and, indeed, a good deal of the leadership in the field of education. For a long time the present Government resisted the temptation or the pressure, depending on the direction from which one approaches these questions, to extend its responsibility beyond the field of university training. The former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, was content to build on the foundations laid by the Curtin and Chifley governments which made the first Commonwealth incursion into the education field. The Curtin Government established the Australian National University, the first scheme for Commonwealth assistance to university students and the post-war reconstruction training scheme. If Labor had won the 1949 election a ministry of education and science would have been established forthwith. My authority for that statement is a former minister in the Chifley Government, Mr Dedman, who was responsible for Commonwealth education activities in those days. He has told me that if Labor had been returned to office at the 1949 election we would have had a ministry of education and science. That did not come to pass. Australia has waited a long time for such a ministry to be established.
I am hoping that in the course of this debate the Minister will indicate how the role of his ministry, as he sees it, differs from the role played by that section of the Prime Minister’s Department which formerly was concerned with educational activities. Is the new ministry merely a convenient roof under which to house the associated activities in education in which the Commonwealth had been engaged prior to its establishment, or does it represent the starting point of a new approach and the acceptance of new responsibilities and wider horizons? The belief of Opposition senators, and of great sections of people who are especially interested in education, is that our education system is in a period of crisis at all levels. New initiatives, parti cularly by the Commonwealth Government, are needed to open the way for a proper education system for future - young Australians.
A great deal of disputation has arisen as to how far the Commonwealth should go. The Minister has been reported as saying, on one occasion at any rate, that he sees the Commonwealth role as putting the icing on the cake. On other occasions he has used words having the same effect. To my mind that is a very restricted view of the Commonwealth’s function. The Commonwealth should do more than put the icing on the cake; it should be concerned with the quality and size of the cake. It should be concerned to look at the overall position in Australia and to attempt to assess national needs. Again and again we have advocated - I press this viewpoint again now - that there is no point in talking about the millions of dollars that admittedly we are spending in this field unless we have some measuring rod that enables us to say: ‘This is sufficient’ or ‘this is insufficient’. In other words, what is being done must be measured against what needs to be done.
In our opinion the only satisfactory way to approach this problem is to conduct a comprehensive inquiry so that the whole field of education - primary, secondary, technical and tertiary, in government and non-government schools - can be covered, future needs both of individuals and the nation can be looked at and some order of priorities can be established. In the present situation we have an extraordinarily difficult task in attempting to lay the foundation for a Commonwealth role in the field, in the midst of six State education systems and the systems that are already working in the Territories. It seems to me and to the Opposition - this is Australian Labor Party policy - that an attempt should be made as a matter of urgency to institute a national inquiry so that all of these matters can be investigated properly.
– Even on the part of the States?
– 1 am not opposing the honourable senator’s suggestion, but I wondered what the reaction of the States would be to a proposal for an inquiry into the quality of their education systems.
– I wish to make one inquiry principally to allow Senator Cohen to continue his remarks. I refer to the grants-in-aid appropriations in Division No.’ 157. I ask the Minister whether any application has been made to his Department to increase the appropriation of $9,500 for the ‘Current Affairs Bulletin’. This little booklet, which is produced by the University of Sydney, gives a very informative, non-party political and absolutely factual presentation of the pros and cons of current affairs as they arise. I daresay that most members of Parliament use this little booklet. It is non-political and it is certainly non-party. A booklet like this is an absolute necessity for members of Parliament. One of our great difficulties is to wade through all of the material that we have to read if we are to be knowledgeable in these matters. This magazine presents in a potted form the publishers’ ideas of the facts of any given situation and is of great value. I am concerned at how these people exist on this very small handout of $9,500, which does not represent the salaries of more than a couple of men, from tha Commonwealth Government.
– The State Government might be able to assist from poker machine revenue.
– I shall answer that, question first. There has been no request from the University of Sydney and no request from the publishers of the Current Affairs Bulletin’ for more money. In fact, the ‘Current Affairs Bulletin’ people are, I understand, publishing and selling some 58,000 copies and are making sufficient profit from their production to enable them to build up reserves which they hope to devote to improving the quality of their bulletin.
– I am glad of the opportunity to speak on the proposed appropriation for the Department of Education and Science, because of the importance of university education and the big advances which have been made in this sphere over recent years. I think everybody appreciates the fact that there has been a much increased demand for facilities for university education. We have all been pleasantly edified, shall I say, by the manner in which there has been an increase in the number of universities. We were glad to see Monash established and we were very pleased with the establishment of the latest university of La Trobe. There is already talk in Victoria of an additional university. 1 rise mainly to ask that if a fourth university is to be established - as it may be in years to come - consideration be given to the establishment of a university outside Melbourne. Only a couple of weeks ago 1 was at a conference in Bendigo of representatives of Victorian municipalities. A motion in these terms was carried:
That in the opinion of this conference of representatives of Victorian non-metropolitan municipalities, the fourth university should be a dispersed country university.
That conference set up the Victorian Rural University Association and invited all Victorian non-metropolitan municipalities to support it.
The proposal, I understand, is that there shall be a university in the Murray area to serve areas below the Murray in Victoria and above the Murray in New South Wales. I strongly support it. Firstly, I believe that if we are to preach decentralisation we ought to support decentralisation particularly from the point of view of university education. Secondly, I believe that such a university would be to a considerable extent a residential university where the students would live in colleges. I had the advantage in my younger days of living in a university college and I believe that whatever advantages one can get from attending a university are immeasurably increased if one has the advantage of living in a college. I believe that this has a tremendous effect for good on people who undertake a university education. Dr Merrylees, who is well known in the Riverina area, has done a considerable amount of work in an endeavour to promote the establishment of a university in the Riverina area, the area north and south of the Murray. Anybody who knows that area will admit that it is a very rich and prosperous area, the kind of area that could support a university. Some people say it is very difficult to establish a university of that nature because lecturers and professors like to live in big city areas for various reasons, but it seems strange to me that if we can establish universities at Armidale and Townsville it is not possible to have a university in an area such as the
Riverina which is comparatively close to bigger centres of population, is well populated and is very rich and very prosperous.
The other matter on which I want to speak has caused me a certain amount of concern. We have frequently heard honourable senators protest against quotas which are imposed - necessarily, it seems - :in regard to universities. The other day I was somewhat surprised to see in the Melbourne Age* an article upon a particular individual, a Mr Steedman, who was attending a university. As I understand it, we are regularly plagued with protests by people who say that it is extremely difficult to get to a university, and that there are strict provisions that unless a student reaches a certain standard within a certain number of years he is out. I am a little intrigued as to how it is possible for Mr Steedman to continue his university education. He states that he has been at a university for 7 years, 6 of them at Monash. Having apparently not made the grade at Monash, he has been able to transfer to the University of Melbourne. He states that he has two purposes in attending a university, one the study of beer and the other the study of sex. He states that in the course of 7 years he has passed in five subjects and that he maintains his position at the University of Melbourne by entering for one subject a year. He bolsters his situation by saying that he is a lecturer for the Victorian Council of Adult Education. That intrigued me because I am a member of the Victorian Council of Adult Education and I had never heard of Mr Steedman as one of our lecturers. I made inquiries about Mr Steedman’s status as a lecturer for the Council of Adult Education. I was informed by the Council that he gave one lecture in a series promoted by a professor at Monash University. I do not think anybody would be surprised to learn that it. was promoted by a professor from Monash University. On the strength of that one lecture Mr Steedman claims to be a lecturer for the Victorian Council of Adult Education.
– Is the honourable senator implying that the Government is discriminatory and that h extends a liberal attitude to a certain number of students?
- Mr Chairman, I would be tempted to join issue with Senator McManus upon one or two of the remarks he made but I want to press on with the point I was making to the Committee when I was last addressing it. I only want to say, in passing, that I would certainly share the view that universities ought be to strongly supported by the public and that one should not exaggerate incidents involving a small number of students that happen at universities. I think that Senator McManus himself has recently been responsible for giving national prominence to a number of students whose activities might otherwise have passed more or less unnoticed. I do not think it was particularly helpful for him to make his passing comment about Mr Steedman that that gentleman gave a lecture in some series sponsored, not surprisingly, by a professor at Monash University. By doing so he was falling into the very error that he was condemning; that is, condemning the institution. 1 do not appreciate the innuendo that there is something odd about being a professor at Monash University. It is a very fine university and it will develop, I am sure, into one of the outstanding universities in Australia and in the best traditions of universities.
– He would not be a professor.
– To what faculties do they refer?
– Then it is not a true analysis.
– I wish to comment on some of the points raised by Senator Cohen. I shall be brief because, after all, this is a debate on the Estimates and not so much a debate on policy. Senator Cohen referred to Commonwealth activities in the field of teacher training. It is quite true that the Commonwealth has not accepted the Martin Committee’s recommendations on teacher training. But it is also true that the Commonwealth has provided as capital for teacher training very, very much more than was recommended by the Martin Committee in its report. We have not examined the question of recurring expenditure, but we have provided for a 3-year period an amount which is about five times more than was suggested by the Martin Committee as capital for this purpose.
– Did the Minister say S8m?
– That is not correct.
– Who made that pronouncement?
-The New South Wales Government.
– Must be passed?
– For years it has been customary in public examinations at universities to direct examiners as to the percentage to be passed. I was an examiner and I received those directions.
– We were informed that 60% or 65% of students were to be passed on a particular subject.
– That has not been done so far. Is the Minister talking prospectively?
– What about discussing it directly with the universities?
– A development period test?
– I wish to direct the attention of the Minister for Education and Science to Division No. 157 - Administrative - and first and foremost to item 09. of subdivision 5 which relates to Grants-in-Aid. Set out there are certain bodies and associations, for which no appropriation has been made for the coming year. For instance, one of these bodies is the Australian Association of Occupational Therapists (New South Wales). The appropriation in this regard during 1966-67 was $6,000. No provision is made for this body or the other organisations under this heading in the appropriations for 1967-68. I would be grateful if the Minister would give the Committee the reasons why nothing is provided in the coming year for these bodies.
– I always listen to the honourable senator.
– Yes. It is very hard not to do so.
– Is the honourable senator suggesting-
– The honourable senator did not manage much nor succeed without my aid.
– That is off Western Australia, not South Australia.
– I happen to Jive next door to the man who found it in the first place. It is off Esperance in Western Australia.
– The oceanographer happens to be my next door neighbour.
– South of Australia.
– Or by regulation.
Debate resumed from 28 September (vide page 1002), on motion by Senator McKellar:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The Bill we are discussing increases war pensions for the children of ex-servicemen whose deaths have ‘been accepted as due to war service, as announced by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) in the Budget Speech. The Bill also appropriates money from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the purpose of meeting these additional commitments. For children who have lost one parent through war service, the proposals are that for the first child the weekly pension will be increased by 50c to a total of $4.40 and for the second and other children of the family the pensions will be increased by 50c to $3.25. For this financial year the cost of these increases will be $127,000; in a full year it will be $169,000. That is the full extent of increases provided by this Government this year for persons receiving repatriation benefits.
While the scope of the Bill restricts discussion to some extent, we of the Opposition would like to know how the Government arrives at the increases decided upon. Does it equate the increases to the proposals submitted by the ex-servicemen’s organisations? What formula is used? Are the increases based on the old formula of relating pensions to the basic wage? And what action is being taken to establish a just system of pension payments adjusted to the basic wage in accordance with the formula suggested by the ex-servicemen’s organisations?
I think it fair to say that this piece of legislation was accompanied by one of the briefest explanations ever to be offered by any Minister either in this or the other place. The whole scope of repatriation benefits was outlined on less than one quarto sheet of paper. We are concerned as to whether any reconsideration of pensions generally is to be made between now and the introduction of next year’s Budget. As the Minister for Repatriation (Senator McKellar) referred to the Budget proposals announced by the Treasurer, I feel it opportune to quote this statement from the Treasurer’s Budget speech: 1 have already referred to the decision to apply the benefits of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act to national servicemen and other classes of servicemen.
As to repatriation, expenditure is estimated to increase this year by about Slim to some $261m.
Having carefully reviewed all repatriation benefits we have decided to increase pensions for war orphans.
He goes on to point out that for children who have lost one parent through war service the weekly pension will rise by 50c to $4.40 for the first child and to $3.25 for the second and other children. For those whose mother also is dead, the weekly pension will rise by $1 to $8.15 for every child. As I said, these increases will cost $127,000 this year and $169,000 in a full year. 1 want to know what has been done about the proposal submitted by the ex-servicemen’s organisations not only this year but in previous years that the pensions be related to the basic wage and that the standard of pensions generally should be maintained. These organisations and the Opposition have pointed out to the Government that since the last review of pensions by the Government, the basic wage has been increased by $2 in 1966, and this year there was an increase of $1 in what is now called the total wage. I and other members of the Opposition are anxious to know whether the Government proposes to review repatriation benefits generally.
During the course of the Budget debate in another place, the Treasurer repeatedly argued that certain increases could not be given because to grant them would cost the Government another $50m. While we admit that the cost of repatriation benefits is increasing, this is due solely to the actions of the Government, whose members have little thought for the people who have to rely on pensions to meet the increasing costs brought about by the Government’s policy. They have to rely on their pensions to provide for such things as funeral costs and increases in the cost of living generally. And all this has to be done on a standard of pension which is declining all the time. Despite what the Government says about increased benefits, no attempt has been made to adjust them lo their original standards. Something ought to be done about the standards of pensions and the standards of those who have to rely on fixed incomes.
The increased cost of administration of the whole repatriation scheme is said to be about Slim. These are but the normal increases that one might expect in any administration but I remind the Government that although there has been an increase in the number of pensions paid, there has been a decline in the amount, expended on pensions and in the number of days spent in general repatriation hospitals by the recipients of repatriation benefits. Therefore, the Government has enjoyed great savings in these directions. To support my argument 1 point out that the Auditor-General states on page 1S5 of his report that whereas the number of war pensions paid in the year to 30th June 1966 totalled 712,724 that number had decreased to 698,852 by 30th June 1967, but on page 154 of his report he compares the amount expended on pensions and allowances in the various years. He points out that for the year 1965-66 expenditure on pensions and allowances amounted to $198,661,961 and that by 1966-67 that figure had decreased to $190,841,587.
The responsibilities and obligations of the Government and the Repatriation Commission are diminishing. The Commission states at page 5 of its report for 1966-67, in the general summary:
It will be noted that there has been relatively little change in the number of war pensions in force, and in the numbers treated as in-patients and out-patients. This confirms views expressed in recent reports that the number of ex-servicemen receiving war pensions has reached its peak. Indeed, this year is the first since the Second World War to show a small decline; and this is attributable to the excess deaths of First World War veterans over new pensioners. There is a more significant decline in the number of dependants of incapacitated ex-servicemen receiving pensions, because children of the Second World War parents are reaching the age of 16 and are so losing their entitlement.
Table 3 at page 48 of the report sets out the pensions payable to dependants of ex- servicemen as at 30th June 1967. The number of children receiving pensions was 6,229. At 30th June 1966 the total was 6,598. I draw the attention of honourable senators to the decline there illustrated. Of the total for the year ended 30th June 1967 113 were dependants of ex-servicemen of World War I; 5,866 were dependants of ex-servicemen of World War II, including the Interim Forces and native members; 157 were dependants of ex-servicemen from the conflicts in Korea and Malaya; 40 were dependants of ex-servicemen of the Far East Strategic Reserve; and 53 were dependants of ex-servicemen of the Special Overseas Service. Despite the argument put by Government supporters about rising costs, it is clear that there is a certain slowing down, a reduction in the number of people who are establishing entitlements to repatriation benefits. That factor should be considered by the Government as a very strong reason for making an upward adjustment to the classes of pensions we are dealing with tonight and also to the general standard of repatriation benefits.
The report of the Repatriation Commission for 1 965-66 sets out in table 3 at page 43 the number of pensions that were payable to dependants of ex-servicemen as at 30th June 1966. It shows that of the total of 6.598 children in respect of whom pensions were paid, 127 were dependants of exservicemen of World War I; 6,257 were dependants of ex-servicemen of World War II; 152 were dependants of ex-servicemen of the Korean and Malayan conflicts; 36 were dependants of ex-servicemen of the Far East Strategic Reserve; and 26 were dependants of ex-servicemen of the Special Overseas Service. The main point of our argument is that if repatritaion benefits are equated to the basic wage - we have put this argument in the past - the Government’s liability for repatriation benefits will be greatly increased. It is obvious from the argument I am advancing that some consideration might have been given to restoring repatriation benefits to their former relationship to the basic wage. I have set out details of the pensions that are payable to children. They ought to have been related to the standards submitted previously by exservicemen’s organisations. Had that been done, further increases would have resulted.
The position is unsatisfactory to exservicemen’s organisations. I have received a letter addressed to me by the Acting State President of the South Australian Branch of the Returned Services League. It is dated 12th September and states:
This State Branch gave its total support to the resolution at the last RSL National Congress held in Penh in October last, deploring and condemning methods used by the Commonwealth Government in introducing the Repatriation amendments to the Federal Budget as a Money Bill instead of the customary practice of introducing them as a Repatriation Amendment Bill. The methods adopted by the Government of completely ignoring the League’s repatriation submissions is little short of a despotic attitude and will earn the displeasure of ex-servicement throughout Australia.
The situation has now reached a crisis for our pensioners, and the League will not relent in its campaign to expose this progressive deterioration in a priority Australian standard.
Surely it is not too much to expect that Parliament be undivided in its efforts to restore a reasonable measure of justice to war and service pensioners.
We appeal to you for your support in this regard.
The last paragraphs I have quoted set out the attitude I have put to the Minister. The Opposition wants to know why the Government has decided to alter the method of adjusting the scale of pensions from the formula which has worked very well in the past. I appreciate that it was criticised by the Opposition and ex-servicemen’s organisation in the past, it might be argued that because the method of calculation of the basic wage has changed to some extent - it was a minimum wage in 1966 but became a total wage in 1967 - the previous comparison between repatriation pensions and the basic wage has been affected. The Australian Labor Party has argued in the Senate and in another place that repatriation pensions should be adjusted annually. I think it is fair to say that rather belatedly the Government has made an attempt to effect an adjustment. It is time for the Government to say whether it intends to discharge completely its responsibility to use the measuring stick which had its origin in the early establishment of repatriation and war pensions. Those standards ought to be followed.
Today there is a stronger- case for increases in repatriation benefits because of our commitment of young people in Vietnam. We must consider their future and the future of their dependants. If the Government, is to ignore the old formula it should toll us what formula it will use. Is it the intention of the Government to change its method of calculation of repatriation benefits in each Budget because of the effect of a greater defence vote? Or is it the intention of the Government to alter repatriation benefits in accordance with the formula which has been established? In the past we have argued that there has been a decline in the value of each repatriation pension, including the general rate pension and the pension for totally and permanently incapacitated ex-servicemen; but the decline in the past has not, I suggest, equalled the decline brought about by the current Budget. No attempt has been made to stop the decline. 1 wish to get from the Minister information as to the method used to evaluate pensions. How does the Government decide to increase pensions by 50c a week? What is the method? Does it use the formula I am referring to, or is there a hit and miss system such as has operated in the past? The minimum wage in July 1966 was $36.55. In July 1967 the basic wage was increased by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission by $1 to $37.55 per week. In 1920, the special rate TPI pension was 103% of the then basic wage, and the general rate pension was 54% of the then basic wage. In 1967, before the introduction of the present Budget, the special rate pension was 81% of the new minimum basic wage and the general rate pension was 32% of the minimum basic wage.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Cormack) - Order! Will the honourable senator connect these remarks with the subject matter of the Bill?
– I rise to a point of order. 1 am not sure whether the honourable senator is moving his amendment at this juncture or whether he has said that he intends to move it later. Can that point be cleared up?
– I second the motion.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, may 1 speak to the point of order? A question is raised under standing order 195. After dealing with amendments to postpone the reading of a Bill for 6 months in standing order 194, the Standing Orders state: 195. No other Amendment may be moved to such Question except in the form of a Resolution strictly relevant to the Bill.
The question has to be decided upon this point, lt is a matter of relevance. We are dealing with a Bill to amend the Repatriation Act 1920-1966 so as to increase the rates of pensions payable to children in the case of death of a member of the forces, and to appropriate the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the purpose of certain additional payments resulting from the increase. Senator Bishop has not moved an amendment to the Bill itself; he has moved an amendment to the motion for the second reading. The substance of his amendment is to say: ‘The scope of this Bill is too narrow. It should be wider in respect of repatriation matters.’
Relevant’ is defined by the ‘Oxford English Dictionary’ as ‘bearing upon’, ‘connected with’ and ‘pertaining to the matter in hand’, lt is the view of the Opposition that it is relevant to the Bill in question to say that it is too narrow. If the Bill is passed with or without the amendment, and unless other steps are taken, the view may be held that From then on one is confined to the scope of the title although if the Bill were given a second reading steps could be taken to widen that title. Surely it is relevant to the matter in hand to say that the Bill is too narrow. We say that the Bill is too narrow, that it should be wider and that the matters to which Senator Bishop adverted should be included in it. lt is not a matter of what comes within the ambit of the title; it is a matter of what is relevant to the Bill. This must mean that matters other than those strictly within the ambit of the title are relevant to the Bill. lt is on that basis that I suggest that what is put forward by Senator Bishop at this stage in the second reading debate is strictly relevant. It is connected with the Bill. It is not strictly within the ambit of the title, but that is not the test. It is not a matter of what is covered by the confined title; it is a matter of what is relevant to the Bill. We support the view that Senator Bishop’s amendment should be accepted as :being relevant to the Bill.
– We are dealing with a very narrowly expressed amendment to the Repatriation Act which provides for increases in the payments made in respect of war orphans. It was adumbrated by the Budget Speech and deals only with those increases. But even to consider this Bill I contend that it is necessary to look at the fundamental basis upon which this country votes repatriation benefits. First, I want to repudiate - I cannot do it too strongly - the idea that repatriation payments are social service payments. They are nothing of the sort. They are compensation for injury and death sustained in the service of this country. It is necessary to make that point on the threshold, because if we drift into the situation in which we associate repatriation compensation with social service payments we will be quickly misled into a complete depreciation of the very idea of repatriation compensation.
The second thing I want to say is that this sessional period is notable for the fact - I hope that my understanding of it is correct - that the Minister for Repatriation (Senator McKellar), whose services to his Department we value, delivered himself of a speech during the Budget debate without, I think, mentioning repatriation. That, to me, is an indication of a viewpoint that I must comment upon, because over the past three or four years I, for one, have made repatriation an urgent matter for discussion and action in this Parliament. I have endeavoured to obtain a reconsideration of all matters associated with it. I did not get very much encouragement from the fact that the whole of the speech of the Minister for Repatriation in the Budget debate was not devoted to an analysis of our repatriation system.
I am putting forward the view tonight that we have made a grand beginning to revolutionise the whole basis of repatriation. The Budget marks a step forward of revolutionary import. 1 will mention the Returned Services League and associated bodies directly, but I want to say now that there has been contention on this subject for the past three years. In April last we had a motion for the appointment of a select committee to examine the principles of repatriation in toto. It failed, because some persons in the chamber took the view that that was not the appropriate means to adopt, but 1 saw in repatriation sufficient in the form of principle to warrant a complete examination, nol by going over the old Act and dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s but by bringing a new approach to the subject.
The provision in this Bill in relation to war orphans has to be considered in the context that the Budget has announced that present serving soldiers, so long as they have an enlistment for not less than two years, shall be put on the same basis as are permanent soldiers. In April I forcefully brought to the attention of the Senate the severe discrimination that then existed between members of the Citizen Military Forces, enlisted men and national servicemen on the one hand, and permanent soldiers on the other, because for injuries sustained in war zones the permanent soldier was entitled not merely to repatriation benefits but also to the military service superannuation which we call defence forces retirement benefits.
The Government has accepted the view that the present serving soldier, although not a permanent soldier, when wounded or killed on the battlefield is to earn - not be given - the present war repatriation compensation plus superannuation insurance which derives from the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund. This is how it is stated in the Budget Speech:
While serving in special areas such as Vietnam, servicemen arc, in addition, covered by the repatriation legislation. Thus, for example, a married private soldier totally and permanently incapacitated as a result of war service will receive a pension of $31.50 per week under the defence forces retirement benefits legislation, together with a basic pension of $34.55 per week under the repatriation legislation.
That had the effect of doubling the pension paid to a soldier totally and permanently incapacitated in Vietnam. I have been assured that that provision is to be made retrospective to the commencement of the Vietnam campaign.
It will be remembered that I have striven for three years now with the argument that repatriation benefits, when properly evaluated, are not to be equated to the basic wage. Instead, if there were any unit in the industrial field with which they should be compared, it is the average wage, which is something like £26 or £27 a week.
Honourable senators will notice that the war pension plus the DFRB pension that will be awarded to a totally and permanently incapacitated serviceman will be of the order of $66 a week. I, for my part, believe that that amount is in no way excessive for a married private soldier. I am glad that the Government has accepted a viewpoint which will result in the TPI pension for the presently serving soldier being doubled in one stroke. The widow of a deceased soldier, in addition to receiving the present widow’s pension, will receive five-eighths of that pension which accrues to the ex-serviceman. In other words, she will be entitled to fiveeighths of $31.50 in addition to the widow’s pension. 1 think that the widow’s pension is too low altogether and that even with that increment it is not sufficient.
Honourable senators can sec in each of these improvements the recognition of an entirely new principle which does not place these pensions in one column alongside the social service pension but which takes the general system of repatriation compensation as it was before the Budget and in one stroke adds to it a permanent scheme of military service superannuation. As I indicated, in one stroke it doubles the repatriation benefit to the wounded ex-serviceman and gives a form of life insurance which is more appropriate to his needs and those of his family than does the American scheme.
I have often drawn the Government’s attention to the advantages of the American life insurance scheme, which was introduced about 3 years ago and which at first gave a lump sum of $10,000 to a widow. Then in the Budget which was presented in January last the amount was increased to $12,500 with optional increases on the part of the soldier, if he wished to contribute more, up to $25,000. It has been recognised that a lump sum payment to a widow is not in all cases the most appropriate means to provide for dependency during widowhood. The decision of the Government, as expressed in the Budget, to pay to a widow five-eighths of the amount that her husband would have received carries with it the assurance that the benefit will continue to be available to her during widowhood. It is a life insurance payable by instalments.
Emphasis cannot be placed too strongly on the fact that in the Budget the Federal Government has registered an advance in repatriation thinking that has completely revolutionised the philosophy of repatriation. Men who have served in Vietnam, those who are serving there and those who will serve in any future campaigns may be assured of a repatriation benefit the value of which is double the value of that which existed before the announcement of the current Budget. Strangely enough, I have not seen one statement emanating from the ex-service associations acknowledging that they understand that fact. Of course, I would not expect them to communicate with me. I entered the field of repatriation only 3 or 4 years ago when a challenge was thrown out in this place and when with the aid of my colleagues and on the suggestion of the late Senator Sandford I helped to correct deficiencies in repatriation benefits. Up till then I had left this field to men who had a better war record than I. Since then I have not interrupted my persistent interest in this matter. Notwithstanding that, I would not expect the Returned Services League to communicate with me; nor has it. But I have not been deterred by that, and I certainly have not been encouraged by it.
Having noted the advance that this Government has achieved in relation to repatriation, I hope that the RSL will now begin to understand this scheme in the spirit of service for the men it represents. The League does not represent only the casualties of past wars; it represents, much more realistically, the men of future campaigns. Surely the RSL should understand the spirit of the fact that the Government has added to the repatriation benefits that existed up till June last. The Government has added a principle of revolutionary import, in my view, for the nation’s casualties in the future. I hope that that thought will serve on this occasion, not to attract mean arguments devoted to other matters, but a full appreciation that that principle has been established for all men who have served since the commencement of the Vietnam campaign or who will have to serve in future campaigns in our history. The Government does not go back to the old principles of the Repatriation Act which were born with great travail out of the 1919 ideas and which were patched up by the 1949 ideas. Repatriation is now on a completely new basis.
– That may be too late for some of them.
That decrease in the number of war pensions payable to ex-servicemen of the First World War makes it urgent that the matter of in-patient treatment in repatriation hospitals for First World War and Boer War diggers be dealt with. These diggers are disappearing. Their average age would be about 73 years now.
Notwithstanding that, this Budget registers a completely new approach not merely in adding superannuation to what used to be bracketed with social services but in doubling the real pensions. I might add that the defence forces retirements benefits pension has regard to incapacitation from the point of view of civilian loss. It is a great pity that casualties of both of the world wars have not been repatriated according to their incapacity for earning. Many men who are earning big incomes are nevertheless receiving on account of injury pensions that would be better spent on people whose incapacity for earning has been caused by war injuries. But that is only by the way.
Other things still have to be done. Apart from the provision of in-patient treatment for AIF diggers of the First World War. widow pensions and total and permanent incapacity pensions are too low. The home service anomaly still exists after this Budget. If I am injured in a Army camp while in the Army, according to current theory 1 am able to sue the Army authorities if they are guilty of the slightest negligence and receive a huge verdict. 1 believe that in home service the compensation for casualties should be laid down according to a proper pattern so that everybody is treated alike and the whole idea of negligence disappears from the scene. For the concept of negligence we should substitute a concept of absolute insurance as we did in the insurance world. Then we should make the insurance ample. I wish to mention only one other matter. The national serviceman, whilst he is being repatriated for casualties, is still offered no compensation for his compulsory abstraction from his civilian occupation for 2 years. In my opinion that is wholly unjust. I do not propose to make anything more than a passing reference to that tonight.
I rose to express my regret that a Bill of the minuscule dimensions of the one before us was ever introduced. I applaud, although no words of mine are sufficient to do so, the adoption by the Government of the principle of superannuation for our Service casualties, with all that it means to the present, to the future and as a lever for uplifting the past. I say that more things still have to be done in this field of repatriation. I conclude by noting that the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) stated in his Budget speech:
As to repatriation, expenditure is estimated to increase this year by about $llm to some $261m.
That sentence might be misunderstood. Innocents other than I might be misled by it if we did not remind ourselves that last year the vote for repatriation was reduced greatly because of the vexed question of there being one too few pay days in the year. I suggest that when that is taken into account it eliminates any idea that the repatriation vote has been the subject of any real increase. I support the Bill. I propose to continue my interest in advancing the cause of these people who, I believe, on a basis of social service are underpaid at the present rates of pension. But it would be the height of unwisdom if 1 did not recognise the most important advance that has been made in the principles of repatriation in this Budget. So for me this occasion is one of the utmost encouragement.
– I support the attitude of my Party, as expressed by Senator Bishop earlier this evening. The amendments contained in this Bill provide that for children who have lost one parent through war service the weekly pension will rise by 50c to $4.40 for the first child and by 50c to $3.25 for the second child and other children; where both parents are dead - that is, in the case of what is described as the double orphan - the weekly pension will rise by $1 to $8.15 for each child. The current pension in this instance is $7.15. The Bill also appropriates the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the extent necessary to provide for the additional benefits, which will be paid on the first pension pay day after the date of assent. It is typical that the Government never has any trouble about bringing in Bills to gather revenue in a hurry after the Budget is presented. On this occasion again the payment of additional pension to these unfortunate children is further deferred. If the attitude of this country is to be that we will continue to participate in wars, the Government must adopt a general attitude of paying for the results of wars. We are dealing with the case of a child whose father has been killed or who has died as a result of injuries sustained in the course of his service duty. In this particular age group,
I should imagine, whilst the death rate amongst mothers is not very high it would be as high as if not higher than that in comparable sections of the community, so undoubtedly quite a number of double orphans will benefit in this meagre way as a result of this legislation. It is significant, too, that the Government was anxious to bring this debate on this evening and not tomorrow when the proceedings of the Senate will be broadcast, because the Government is very sensitive to criticism in relation to repatriation.
– in reply - Mr Deputy President, it would have given me very great satisfaction tonight to be able to discuss a Bill introduced to bring about a substantial increase in war pensions. It has not been possible to do more, for reasons that have been stated ov_er and over again. I will not spend a lot of time repeating those reasons tonight. I have stated them to exservice organisations. I merely want to say that there is no need to remind me of what every one of us owes to ex-servicemen. We would not be in this chamber tonight had it not been for the work and the service that these men gave their country. We all recognise that debt. I want to remind the Senate that in only 2 years were there practically no increases, or only a small increase in ex-service pensions. In 1956 there were no pension increases but there were increases in educational allowances and training allowances. In 1962 there were no increases. That was the only year, according to the information I have been given, in which there were no increases. There was some increase in pensions in all other years.
I think wc ail owe a debt to Senator Wright for explaining tonight what a big benefit has been conferred, or will be conferred in the future, by way of the defence forces retirement benefits scheme. Many people have not recognised this. A little later I will give some instances of what this can mean. Firstly, however, I want to make some comment on remarks made by Senator Bishop. He asked whether there was any possibility of the Government reconsidering the pension rates in the immediate future. The answer is no. He wanted also to know what consideration had been given to submissions made by ex-service organisations. It seemed to me that he wanted to know whether the submissions were presented in a capable and efficient manner. Those were not the words he used but I think that was what he meant. I have the utmost pleasure in saying that the submissions made by ex-service organisations were presented in a very capable and efficient manner. I do not think the result would have been any better, no matter in what manner the submissions were made.
– Western Australia is not in this.
– Is a TPI pension payable for life?
– In the future.
Consideration resumed (vide page 1 090).
Motion (by Senator McKellar) agreed to:
That further consideration of the proposed expenditure for the Department of Education and Science be postponed until after consideration of the proposed expenditure for the Repatriation Department.
Proposed expenditure, $273,859,000.
Proposed provision, $84,000.
– I refer to Division No. 446, which relates to war and service pensions and allowances. In the debate on the Repatriation Bill the Minister for Repatriation (Senator McKellar) referred to the total amount of pension and allowances that would be paid to a totally and permanently incapacitated ex-serviceman, coupled with the total amount that would be paid from the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund. In respect of payments from the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund he referred to a sum of about $29,000. I would appreciate the Minister’s repeating the figures he cited. Will he tell the Senate the amount that would be paid by a contributor to the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund in order to receive the amount slated by the Minister?
I wish now to refer to the change of site of the Artificial Limb Factory in South Australia. The Factory was transferred from Pulteney Street to the Springbank General Hospital. Represenations were made by the Limbless Soldiers Association. I would like the Minister to state how the limbless soldiers have been affected by the transfer. The Minister will remember that it was pointed out that the facilities available for transportation were not adequate. It was requested that a centre be established in or close to the city. I understand that the Minister later made some emergency arrangements for transportation. Has the transfer been effected without too much inconvenience being caused to the people who complained? Is the Limbless Soldiers Association still complaining about the lack of transport facilities? To what extent have there been savings or has extra expenditure been incurred because of the transfer of the factory to the Springbank Hospital?
– Mr Temporary Chairman, I will reply firstto the second matter raised by Senator Bishop. I have not had any representations since the commencement of the new Repatriation Artificial Limb and Appliance Centre in the new area. The honourable senator is quite right. I did have a deputation and representations before the commencement of the RALAC building in its new area. My feeling is that when this building is erected we will find that those who are in need of the services and who will be coming there will find transport facilities pretty adequate for their purposes. After all, it the location of the new building is not so convenient for some who are perhaps in the immediate vicinity of the old building, the new building will be more convenient for those who are living close to it. We will endeavour to provide some extra facilities for getting the fellows there. Regarding the matter of savings, I point out that the building has not been completed.
– I asked the Minister whether he could tell the Committee - if he cannot do so now that is okay - whether any survey has been made of the costs of the new centre as against the costs of operating the old centre in Pulteney Street, Adelaide.
-Mr Temporary Chairman I would like the Minister to enlighten the Committee on a few items that I shall raise. I refer first to page 109 of the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1967-68 on which is set out a summary of the appropriations in relation to the Repatriation Department. I refer to Division No. 443 - Repatriation Hospitals and Other Institutions. Two figures are shown in relation to that heading. Perhaps I have misread the definition. I take it that the bottom figure in light type is the figure for the previous year and that the figure in black type above the first figure to which I have referred sets out the actual appropriation for this financial year. Would that be right?
I refer now to Division No. 449 - Other Repatriation Benefits. I would like the Minister to explain what classifications are included under this heading. I do not want details down to the last dollar but I would like some information as to what items come under this particular heading. I refer now to the fares and expenses of war pensioners under review which is set out in subdivision 2 - Administrative Expenses - item 07. of Division No. 440 - Administrative. The proposed expenditure for 1967-68 for this item is $148,000. The actual expenditure in 1966- 67 was $141,285. According to the report of the Auditor-General for the year ended 30th June 1967 - I refer to page 155 of that report - the cost of expenses of travelling for medical treatment in 1965-66 was $1,279,706. For the year 1966-67, the expenditure on this item was $1,490,243. I cannot see any relevance between the two headings under which this item is dealt, with. Perhaps there is a simple explanation. The next item to which I wish to refer relates to pensions and allowances for seamen and other civilians. A significant rise has taken place. For the year 1966-67 the actual expenditure on pensions and allowances for seamen and other civilians was $301,811. The appropriation for the financial year 1966-67 was $326,000. So the Department did not spend approximately $25,000 of that appropriation. In view of the actual expenditure in 1966-67 I ask the Minister why the appropriation for 1967-68 has been increased to $330,000.
I think it is appropriate, while we are talking about pensions, that 1 should say a few words about the requirements of people in this field. Again I refer to the Commonwealth Council of the Totally and Permanently Disabled Soldiers Associations which, in its submissions to the Government, asked for increases in pensions, lt asked that the special rate war pension be increased from $30.50 to $33, an increase of $2.50. It asked that the repatriation pension payable to the wives of TPI pensioners be increased from $4.05 to $7, an increase of $2.95. It asked that the wives of TPI pensioners be granted free medical benefits and that the allowance in respect of funeral benefits for TPI pensioners be increased from $50 to $100. It asked finally that a transport allowance be available to all TPI pensioners in receipt of a monthly RT allowance of $10 be granted the current maximum rate of $20. These, to me, are not terribly large increases to request. Of course, the RSL and other ex-service organisations prior to the presentation of the Budget made a number of requests for an adjustment of the pension scales.
I know that when we were discussing the Repatriation Bill 1967 earlier this evening I was most trenchant in my criticism of the Government. I reiterate that criticism. It is all right for the Government to cry poor and say it cannot provide such increases for the pensioners. But these people have lost their health. They have lost part of their limbs. They arc unable to return to their pre-war occupations and to the fields of activity in which they were engaged. The Government and the Repatriation Department must be prepared to make some concessions to them. In fact, these are not concessions. Clearly they are physical rights to which the people concerned are entitled in the society in which we live.
Last year when we were discussing the estimates of the Repatriation Department, I was critical of the repatriation benefits granted to youngsters who are returning from the Vietnam conflict. According to the current figures, the fantastic sum of $3,000 is granted to a lad who is going into business, to restore his business or to help him to establish himself in business. The amount of $6,000 is provided if he wishes to work on the land. I know that some Government members also became involved in the discussions that took place last year, but nothing of significance has taken place since then. These lads - and in particular country lads - are losing 2 years of their lives. It does not matter what the calling or profession of a lad may bc. At the most vital part of a young man’s life, he loses 2 years.
I know that there are many young men who, in the last few months of an apprenticeship, suddenly find that they are eligible to register for national service and leave their apprenticeships. They go to remote areas of the country. 1 do not blame them for not wishing to become involved in the Vietnam issue when the risk is that they will lose their lives in the process. They lose many things in life that they would normally have if there were no possibility of being conscripted into the defence forces of this country. They would be able to continue in their careers or in their apprenticeships. If they were engaged in occupations on the land they would be able to build up farming properties. If they were going into a small business, perhaps in association with a partner, they would be able to build up some sort of asset, but because they are liable to callup they cannot provide any continuity of planning for their future life. Consequently they have this break.
The Department, and the Minister in particular, should again look at the lousy sum that is being allocated for the young man who wants to become established on a farming property and the young man who wants to become established in business. In addition, of course, there are all the other problems associated with pensions and repatriation benefits. I know that last year the Minister told us that the Government was completely bankrupt, so it granted some small concessions to returned’ servicemen in the form of repatriation pensions. This year the Minister told us that the Government was again completely bankrupt because our defence bill went up in leaps and bounds, so war orphans were given a few bob.
If we are to be honest as Australians and if the Government is to be honest as a government we must look immediately at all these problems associated wilh pensions. After all, inflation is continuing to increase, the cost of living is rising all the time and life is becoming very difficult for people who have suffered as a result of war because they do not have all the good things in life that they see around them - a secure, or partly secure, job, a home and a family.
In many instances they do not even know how long they will live, whereas most of us can look forward to our three score years and ten depending on how many cigarettes we smoke or the activities in which we engage. Those people cannot always look forward to that kind of future because in many cases their health has been ruined. We have only to look at former prisoners of war and see how their health is now deteriorating very rapidly. In many instances, not all, they are already receiving full or part pensions, and in the almost immediate future their pensions will have to bc increased. Those who occupy a position in life in which they are receiving perhaps $2,500, $3,000 or $4,000 a year will suddenly find themselves without a living and reduced to the lousy TPI pension. I make a plea on behalf of those people.
– At the outset let me say that on no occasion last year did I say that the Government was bankrupt, and on no occasion this year have I said that the Government is bankrupt. I shall reply to questions asked in relation to that section of Division No. 443 - Repatriation Hospitals and other Institutions - which relates to salaries and allowances. The estimate in relation to salaries and allowances for 1967-68 is $7,654,000. Expenditure last year was $6,759,260, so the appropriation for this year shows an increase of $894,740. There is also an increase in the allocation for 1967-68 in respect of temporary and casual employees of $810,069 and, in relation to extra duty pay, an increase of $26,147. In total, salaries and payments in the nature of salary show an increase this year of $1,730,956.
The purpose of those items is to provide for the payment of salaries, wages and overtime to permanent officers and temporary employees at the various departmental institutions in all States. We have twenty-five institutions consisting of repatriation general hospitals in all States, artificial limb and appliance centres in all States, out-patient clinics in all States except Tasmania, auxiliary hospitals and sanatoria for geriatric and tubercular patients in all States except Tasmania and Anzac Hostels in Victoria and Queensland.
The estimated increase is due to the effect for a full year of positions filled in 1966- 67, the filling of vacant positions in 1967- 68, the replacement of temporary employees by permanent officers, provision for additional higher duties allowances and penalty payments, increased provision for retirement leave, the effect for a full year of margins and determinations increases in 1966-67- that accounted for $167,000- increases following the national wage case in 1967 - that accounted for $114,000- provision for Determination No. 106 of 1967 in respect of medical officers, provision for Determination No. 1 17 of 1967 in respect of junior rates and provision for Determination No. 135 of 1967 in respect of Fourth Division officers. From the amounts involved in those items we deducted provision made in 1966-67 for salary increases arising from Determination No. 104 of 1966 in respect of the year 1965-66. The net increase has been shown as $895,000.
Now we come to pensions and allowances for seamen and other civilians. The purpose of this item is to provide for the payment of pensions and allowances and the provision of medical treatment to Australian seamen, their dependants and the representatives of certain other organisations who suffered death or incapacity as the result of the .1939-45 war. The provision of war pensions, educational benefits and medical treatment to New Guinea civilians and compassionate allowances paid on behalf of other departments is included. Let me explain the reason for the increase in the appropriation of $13,000. This has been brought about by the effect for the full year of amending legislation in 1966 which accounted for $1,000, provision for the extension of benefits to dependants of deceased mariners from 1st October 1967 which accounted for $5,000, and a small expected increase in liability in respect of this item amounting to $7,000.
We come now to other repatriation benefits which are covered by Division No. 449. The estimate in respect of specialist, local medical officer and ancillary medical services is $8,160,000; the estimate for pharmaceutical services is $14,640,000, that in respect of maintenance of patients in non-departmental institutions is $4,870,000; that in respect of dental treatment is $1,040,000; that in respect of medical sustenance allowances is $2,269,000; that in respect of expenses of travelling for medical treatment is $1,633,000; that In respect of the soldiers’ children education scheme is $2,575,000; that in respect of telephone rental concessions for pensioners is $480,600; that in respect of %e grant to the Returned Services League for employment placement activities is $5,400 and that in respect of miscellaneous items is $1,465,000. The total for Division No. 449 is $37,138,000. I think I have replied to the queries raised in relation to those items.
The honourable senator criticised the amounts which have been allocated to assist returned servicemen. He is quite right in stating that $3,000 is available for any returned serviceman who wants to be rehabilitated in business. The loan is made at a low rate of interest - no interest is payable on the first $100 - and repayment is over a long term. If the returned serviceman was on the land just prior to enlistment and wants to go back on the land he can receive a loan of $6,000 on the same terms as apply to the $3,000 loan. In addition, those who desire to continue their studies or take up a profession are allowed 12 months in which to do so.
– What about the loan for the man on the land? I asked whether the Government would increase it or at least investigate the possibility of increasing it.
– I direct the Minister’s attention io the estimated salaries and payments in the nature of salary, and administrative ex penses. Can the Minister indicate the likely increase in staff, particularly within the administrative section? I point out that as between 1966-67 and the current year the expected rise in the number of persons employed within the administrative section of the Department will be between 8% and 9% . Can the Minister indicate the increased work that will be required within the Department? In particular, 1 would be interested to know whether the introduction of automatic data processing within the Department has given hope of some decrease in the enormous numbers within the administrative section of the Department. It is proposed that 3,057 persons will be employed in the administrative section this year.
I also draw the Minister’s attention to the fact that at repatriation hospitals and other institutions a staff increase of about 12% is expected in this current year. The total number of positions will rise from 5,140 in 1966-67 to 5,733 in the current year. Are we likely to see a reflection of the present war position in that the staff at repatriation hospitals and other institutions will again increase? I am particularly concerned to see such a sharp increase in the number of individuals employed within the Department. I believe that the Parliament should at least draw attention to the growth that has occurred and perhaps make some comment about it.
Also will the Minister give me any information that he has relating to the balance in the Cafeteria (Repatriation) Trust Account, which is mentioned in the AuditorGeneral’s report for 1965-66. How was this balance dealt with? Is the figure one which will not appear from now on? Was it an item of revenue as far as the Department was concerned? What is the position of that particular trust account within the records today?
– Senator Webster has made the forecast that in 1967-68 extra persons will be employed by the Repatriation Department. I can assure the honourable senator that there is no need to remind me of the way staff has been increasing in the Department. The number employed is over 9,000 and is approaching the 10,000 mark. The increase in staff has been exercising my mind for some time. In fact, only just recently I refused to sign an Executive Council minute which provided for an increase of staff. A clerical work measurement has been operation for about 12 months, and the Department hopes to effect a savings. The survey is costing the Department quite a substantial sum. Similar surveys have been successful in other departments, and the Repatriation Department hopes that this survey will be effective.
One of the reasons for the increase in staff has been that over the years the Department has been understaffed in certain areas. One of these areas has been the Heidelberg Hospital in Melbourne. Now it is a much better position than it was before. I can assure the honourable senator that increase in staff is one of the things that I watch closely. I believe that the increase that has come about can be justified. I assure the honourable senator that any increase in staff will need to be justified before I approve it. If other questions have not been answered, I will try to obtain an answer to them.
– I want to raise one or two matters relating to the estimates of the Repatriation Department. I refer firstly to pensions and allowances for incapacitated ex-servicemen and their dependants. I ask you, Mr Chairman, to determine whether the observations that 1 make are in accordance with the normal practice when dealing with estimates. I want to bring to the attention of the Minister quite briefly something which has been concerning me for quite some time. I refer to the broad approach to entitlements for repatriation pensions and in particular to the disabilities which, though not apparent, arc suffered by ex-prisoners of war. If one follows the Press from day to day - l have noted this position fairly keenly, because I come from a relatively small State - one is able to assess, with a fair degree of accuracy, the inordinately high death rate among ex-prisoners of war. One frequently notes the death of an ex-serviceman in his late 40s or very early 50s. The position is quite alarming.
I merely bring this fact to the notice of the Minister and ask whether some fairly broad approach could be made by the Department to the disabilities of exprisoners of war. Frequently I have acted as advocate for applicants before entitlement and assessment appeal tribunals. By and large I have found that the tribunals deal with 0– r- of war in very much the same way as they do with other ex-servicemen who have been in various theatres of war and who have suffered some disability or injury in the course of war service. I believe - I ask the Minister to give this some thought - that ex-prisoners of war are in a very much different position from the servicemen who were not prisoners of war, because of the particular privations suffered by them during 31 years of incarceration in prisoner of war camps in Malaya, Burma and elsewhere.
I should like to hear the Minister’s comment on that, if he is prepared to comment on it. It is quite an alarming situation. These relatively young people appear to be in reasonable health. They are going about their normal employment. Suddently, for no reason that is apparent to their friends or people who associate frequently with them, they die. This happens with great frequency. I know that it happens in my State. I think the position would be very similar in other States. This alarms me. Yet when 1 have appeared before repatriation tribunals and endeavoured to make out cases for these people, they have been treated on exactly the same basis as any other person. I submit to the Committee and to the Minister in particular that in fact they are in a different category and that they should be given a good deal more sympathetic consideration than the ordinary ex-serviceman. I do not want to be misunderstood. I believe that these people are in a special category of ex-servicemen. I would very much like to see more consideration given to them.
I wish to make a few comments on Division No. 449, item 02, pharmaceutical services. I ask whether any check is made on the faithful performance of these services. About 12 months ago certain things came to my knowledge. I am not prepared to authenticate this in any way. I merely bring it to the attention of the Minister so that appropriate action might be taken, as considered necessary, to avoid something that could well get out of hand. It came to my knowledge that people receiving psychiatric treatment in certain repatriation hospitals - mainly in Sydney - were given prescriptions for certain pharmaceutical services, which were taken to a chemist and sold for about 50c. The ex-serviceman receiving the treatment went away with 50c for a prescription that was worth considerably more than that and the chemist was able to claim on the Repatriation Department for substantially more than 50c. If this were true, surely it would amount to a conspiracy to defraud the Repatriation Department. I merely ask the Minister whether any check is made, or whether there is any possibility of a check being made, of the faithful performance of these services. I have no doubt that this has happened.
Another case that came to my attention concerned a person who should know better. He was given a prescription on the basis of a disability that had been accepted by the Repatriation Department as a war caused disability. He was able to go to a chemist and exchange his prescription for cosmetics and various other things for his wife to the same value as the prescription. At this stage I am not prepared to mention any names or to be any more specific than that. I merely ask the Minister whether there is any hope at all of making a check on the faithful performance of these services in the interests of ex-servicemen. I believe that the cases that have been brought to my attention are indicative of a situation that might exist on a far broader scale.
– Senator Webster asked me a question about automatic data processing. The benefit from automatic data processing will not be felt in 1967-68 because it will take some considerable time to install the necessary equipment and to have the new system fully operational. Even then it is not likely to lead to decreases in staff, but it probably will avoid increases in the long term.
I think Senator Devitt will find the answer to the question that he raised about prisoners of war on page 42 of the annual report of the Repatriation Commission for 1966-67. Let me say at the outset that I, as a layman, fully agree with him. I feel that most prisoners of war underwent rigours which must inevitably react against them in the future. So we start on that basis. Under the heading ‘Prisoner of War Committee* the report states: lt was against this background that a further committee was set up in April 1947 to advise on the special medical problems of ex-servicemen who had been prisoners of the Japanese.
Both in this chamber and in the House of Representatives there are people who were prisoners of the Japanese. The report continues:
The committee included the Deputy Chairman of the Commission, senior departmental doctors and eminent members of the medical profession who had been prisoners of war.
The report of the committee, issued in September 1947, recommended the medical examination of all ex-prisoners of war (Japan). The committee’s findings were set out in a pamphlet entitled ‘Some Aspects of Medical Investigation and Treatment’, describing the various disabilities from which exprisoners of war were known to have suffered, and which included malaria, typhus, dysentery, amoebiasis, chronic colitis, hookworm, hepatitis, urinary infections, tropical ulcers, tuberculosis and psychiatric disorders. Copies of the pamphlet were sent, with suggested procedures for diagnosis and treatment, to all local medical officers. By 1951 the Commission had completed a detailed survey of some 76% of the 14,303 ex-servicemen who had endured such captivity. The majority of these subsequently applied to have those disabilities, found on examination, accepted as due to war service.
– I refer to payments to members of the appeal tribunals. I understand that about $223,000 was paid to members of appeal tribunals last year and that a similar figure will be paid this year. I submit that in many cases these tribunals are not giving the benefit of the doubt to appeallants as we are led to believe they are. I refer to one particular case which I have submitted to the Minister and for which 1 have the file with me. 1 am firmly convinced that if we had a national ombudsman and if this case were submitted to him the person involved would receive justice.
The case concerns a lad who injured a leg in 1944. He had operations on his leg during his term of service in the army. Subsequently he was discharged medically unfit. It is true that at the age of 15 or 16 years he had a minor injury to the same leg. But after a period of medical treatment he was able to play sport and to lead a completely active life. He enlisted in the Army in 1942. He served without any further indication of trouble with his leg until it had a severe knock in 1944. Subsequently he was operated on and spent several months in an Army hospital. After he was discharged in 1944 he made application for a pension. He has continued to fight this case right up to the present day and the Repatriation Department has refused, as stated in correspondence that I have received from the Minister, to allow him to submit what he believes to be additional evidence on which he could base a further appeal against a decision of the Entitlement Appeal Tribunal.
To show how. badly hurt this man was, even at the time of his discharge, I propose to read a letter in relation to a claim that he made to the National Service Officer in Bendigo when he could not receive a pension. A letter dated 29th September 1 944 from the Deputy Commissioner of the Repatriation Commission, Melbourne, states:
With reference to your communication of 20.9.44 received through the National Service Officer, Bendigo, concerning payment of unemployment sustenance for the period 24.3.44 to 7.8.44, I have to advise that unemployment sustenance may be paid to an eligible ex-member of the forces only in cases where he is physically capable of engaging in some form of remunerative employment.
It is apparent from the information supplied in your letter under reply that you were not fit to follow any occupation, in consequence of which you are not eligible for payment of unemployment sustenance.
On discharge he was unemployable and by virtue of that fact he was not able to receive any unemployment sustenance. He was unable to obtain a pension from the Repatriation Department because, the Department claimed, the injury which he suffered or which had been aggravated in the Army was not due to his war service. He subsequently submitted a number of medical reports to the Department. One in particular from Dr Kidd of Geelong makes quite clear in my view that there should be at least a further appeal by this applicant. Dr Kidd says, in part:
I submit to the Commission that even if the condition was proven to be present prior to enlistment, after 15 years it seems that the blow could cither have:
aggravated the old condition or (b) been the cause of a completely new condition and the latter in my opinion seems the most likely.
The doctor, even at this point of time, believes that the original acute injury could have been aggravated or that the applicant could have suffered a completely new injury. From 1961 until the present time this applicant has endeavoured to submit additional, fresh evidence that the Department requires of an applicant who is continuing to fight a case. The Minister replied to me on 29th March 1967 in these terms:
During 1961, medical certificates from Dr D. A. Kidd and from Drs Munro, Hurley and Coleman, together with letters from the Employee Service Manager, Ford Motor Coy of Australia . . .
Incidentally, this particular person from the Ford Motor Company served with the applicant and was aware of the accident that he suffered while he was a member of the armed forces. The letter continues:
The certificate of Dr Kidd was the one from which I have just read.
J am perfectly satisfied of the honesty and integrity of the person concerned because I have known him personally for over 20 years. He is not the type of person who would endeavour to obtain something that he did not feel was his just right. I believe that he has been able to submit sufficient evidence in the form of medical certificates to warrant a further examination of his case by a tribunal. I further submit that the evidence that he is able to produce is sufficient, if the benefit of any doubt is given to him, to justify a review of his case and the acceptance of his disability as being war caused. I believe that the administrative payments that we are now considering have been paid to tribunals which have not in every instance granted the benefit of the doubt to applicants whose cases are very strong indeed and should in my view be accepted.
– I shall certainly make inquiries on the matter raised by Senator Turnbull. In reply to Senator Poyser let me say that it is only natural that disappointed applicants should feel that they have not had the benefit of a doubt. So far as I can ascertain, the applicant is given the benefit of any doubt. My predecessor told me the same thing before I took over. I have made searching inquiries about this. 1 remind the honourable senator that the Repatriation Boards last year heard 36,000 claims; the Repatriation Commission heard 16,000 claims; the Entitlement Appeal Tribunals heard 10,000 claims; and the Assessment Appeal Tribunals heard 11,000 claims. All of these claims totalled 73,000. I should think it would be inevitable that in relation to one or two of the claims - perhaps even more - there were disappointed applicants, but so far as 1 can ascertain the benefit of any doubt is given and will always be given to an applicant. I am sure that it is the aim of the tribunals that an applicant be given the benefit of any doubt where it is possible to give it.
– I want to refer to the same question as Senator Poyser raised and to support him. As the Minister said, the appointment of a Senate select committee has been canvassed. The Minister has just said that he believes that the benefit of any doubt is given to an applicant. I suggest that in Table 13 in the report of the Repatriation Commission for 1966-67 there is evidence of a repetition of this situation which is of concern to every ex-serviceman.
– I want to raise two matters. The operation of the principle of onus of proof and benefit of the doubt in cases heard by the War Pensions Assessment Appeal Tribunals seems to me to be farcial. I have raised this matter before with the Minister. An applicant could prove his case before any judicial tribunal with medical reports from numerous doctors yet when he appears before an Assessment Appeal Tribunal his claim fails because an examination is made by only two doctors with knowledge of his complaint. No matter what went before the examination by the two doctors, it ls their opinion that counts. Therefore, no principle of benefit of the doubt is involved.
The other matter I want to raise is one that the Minister has also considered, lt involves an application for payment for medical treatment which was refused by the Repatriation Department, lt was refused because the applicant sought outside medical aid although this was not approved by the departmental panel of medical experts. On every occasion the applicant consulted the Department’s doctors they sent him to a psychiatrist for examination. Although he was given treatment he never obtained relief. The applicant went to an outside specialist who dealt with head and brain diseases. That specialist recommended and performed an operation on the applicant. The result was that he obtained relief and partial cure. But the Department has refused to reimburse him the cost of going to the outside specialist for treatment for his complaint. Reimbursement has been refused because the treatment was not recommended by the particular section of the Department which handled this case. This may be a legitimate reason in most cases for refusing payment but the argument is weakened in the instance I am citing because the patient gained some benefit from the outside consultation. I ask the Minister to consider all aspects of this case. I ask him whether he considers that in view of the fact that it can bc proved that more beneficial treatment was received from the outside consultation, the applicant should not be reimbursed the cost of the operation.
– I inform Senator Turnbull that the local medical officers prescribe according to their own judgment of the needs of the particular patient. Under the Repatriation Medical Officer service there is no restriction on the range of items that may be prescribed but quantities are limited to needs for 1 month only. The medical officers use their discretion on these occasions. I come now to Senator Cavanagh’s questions. It is not true that the two doctors on the Assessment Appeals Tribunal make up their minds on their own investigations. They consider all the evidence which is on the file and all the evidence submitted by the applicant himself, including employment opportunities and so on. This is considered by the three members of the tribunal, including the chairman, who is a lawyer, selected from a list of names submitted by the exservicemen’s organisations. Further, there are seven of these assessment appeals tribunals, not one.
As I have told the ex-servicemen’s organisations, if they are dissatisfied with the decisions arrived at some of the remedy lies in their own hands. All they have to do is recommend somebody else next time. But the tendency is for the same members to be recommended year after year. Before I would refuse a recommendation of a man eligible for appointment I would need to have something pretty substantial before me to justify the refusal.
Senator Bishop spoke of the onus of proof under section 47. I know his views on this matter. It is true that I have said it is very good advice to tell servicemen who arc going away to make sure before they are discharged that they have a very good medical checkup. But I have also stressed that if they do not have a medical checkup that does not preclude them from . any entitlement. All the medical check does is make it easier for them when they are seeking entitlement. Senator Bishop also asked whether the Government had considered any alteration to the provision. It has not. In any case, that is a matter of Government policy. It is laid down in the Act that if any doubt exists in the mind of the determining authority the applicant must receive the benefit of that doubt. If the applicant does not receive the entitlement for which he applies there obviously must be a doubt in his mind and he would feel that he should therefore get the benefit of it, but the doubt must be in the mind of the determining authority.
Senator Cavanagh spoke of the man who consulted outside medical opinion. I do not doubt what he says, but the position would become absolutely chaotic if we allowed people to consult doctors of their own choice irrespective of whether the Repatriation Department approved of their doing so. If, for instance, a man required an operation and felt that he would like to have a doctor of his choice, it is possible that, after consulting with the repatriation authorities, he would be allowed to have that doctor. I do not know the case to which the honourable senator refers. The man in question may have applied to the authorities and been allowed to have a doctor of his choice, but people who go to other than repatriation doctors without first conferring with the repatriation authorities run the risk of not receiving reimbursement of the fees. This is made plain to the doctors themselves, and T do not know what we can do to make it any plainer to the people involved.
After all, the Deputy Commissioners in the various States are reasonable men. They are concerned with the interests of the applicants. Certainly they are there to administer the Act, but every time I talk to the medical directors I impress upon them that they must give the applicant the benefit of any doubt they may have. Even when it comes to admissions to hospitals I stress that if there is a doubt they must admit the person first and fight the question out later.
– I wish to ask the Minister one further question. 1 should like him to explain in clear and precise terms just what the tribunals will accept as additional evidence, which is the stock phrase used by them.
– Additional evidence that has a bearing on the case and which can help the applicant in his claim.
– It may and it may not. I cannot answer that.
– I refer to Division No. 443 which relates to repatriation hospitals and other institutions. I wish to raise a matter which might seem trivial to the Minister and his departmental officers but which is of great importance to ex-servicemen generally, but especially the chaps who are commonly referred to as foot-sloggers. lt is the question of the availability of chiropodists to men who have been serving in the Australian forces and who are admitted to a repatriation hospital. This question has been raised with me by one or two ex-servicemen who have pointed out to me that there are chiropodists in private practice who are seconded to treat exservicemen in repatriation hospitals.
A problem seems to arise when these ex-servicemen are discharged from the repatriation hospital and seek further treatment by chiropodists. Often when they desire the services of the person who treated them in the repatriation hospital they are told that the person who treated them in the hospital lives in a distant suburb and the Department considers it not practicable to make that man’s services available. It then sends the ex-serviceman to another practitioner in another suburb. I note that according to the division covering repatriation hospitals and other institutions there are no chiropodists in the permanent employ of the Department. I am sure the Minister will appreciate the position. Because this must present a problem to a great number of ex-servicemen who have marched for miles in the service of their country in badly fitting boots on many occasions, as a number of us would know from personal experience, I suggest it is time the Department considered appointing permanent chiropodists at repatriation hospitals. 1 am wondering whether this has ever received the consideration of the Minister or his Department and, if not, whether he will give it consideration at this stage.
– There are two points that I want to make. They arise from the Minister’s reply and relate to the benefit of the doubt. He has said that the applicant is entitled to the benefit of the doubt on all occasions but has emphasised that the doubt must be in the mind of the tribunal, which may make a decision contrary to all previous evidence. Take the case of a man who has obtained medical opinion that he is entitled to a pension. The Government establishes a tribunal which, as the Minister has said, is comprised of a solicitor to ensure that the tribunal acts within the act, and two medical men who are specialists in the particular field to which the complaint relates. This is called an assessment appeals tribunal. It decides the case submitted to it. If it says it has no doubt, the applicant is not entitled to any benefit. But I submit that six, seven or eight other doctors who had examined the applicant previously, would dispute the finding of the tribunal, and that if the case were taken to an ordinary legal tribunal which bases its decisions on the weight of evidence and the balance of probabilities and that court had a doubt, the applicant should be entitled to the benefit of the onus of proof provision. lt is not a question of the powers under the Act. The point is that the tribunal appointed under the Act as it operates at present makes it impossible for the benefit of the doubt to be extended to an applicant. I agree with the Minister that an applicant should not be allowed to look around until he finds a doctor who is sympathetic to his cause and who will dispute the views of the repatriation doctors. But the Minister knows full well that I have presented to him the case of an individual suffering from war caused disabilities which were diagnosed by repatriation doctors as requiring an examination of his mental processes. On every occasion he was sent to a psychiatrist. He went to a specialist of his own choosing outside the Repatriation Department and that specialist decided the applicant needed an operation. To that point the Repatriation Department would not be justified in paying the costs of the outside specialist. However, after the operation was performed by the outside specialist the applicant’s condition improved, which clearly indicated that the diagnosis of the repatriation doctors was wrong.
I have lacked the assistance of Dr Dittmer in putting this case. In all humility I ask Dr Turnbull whether it is possible for a medical practitioner to make a wrong diagnosis. I repeat that the applicant for whom I am speaking received from the repatriation doctors a form of treatment which did not improve his condition. He went to an outside specialist who advised that an operation on his head was necessary. As a result, his condition improved a good deal. He then applied to the Department for payment of the costs of the operation but the Department rejected his application. The specialist who performed the operation was not at that time appointed as a repatriation doctor under the Repatriation Act, but the Repatriation Department, through its South Australian office, recognised his capability and appointed him then to the panel of doctors authorised to treat the applicant for whom I am speaking.
A sum of about $400 is involved as the cost of the beneficial treatment which the applicant could not get from the Repatriation Department. Now the Repatriation Department refuses to pay that cost. I ask the Minister in all sincerity whether this is just. Should not the Department, despite its rigid rule that a medical board should decide which outside practitioners may be consulted, meet the payment in this particular case?
– All I can say to Senator Cavanagh is that I would think that if six or seven doctors gave an opinion about a certain case it would be very strong extra evidence to put before an appeal tribunal. I think it would be very hard indeed for a tribunal to overlook evidence from six or seven doctors. If Senator Cavanagh likes to give me once again particulars of the case he has raised - I cannot recall the details - I will have another look at it.
– I would like in passing to support Senator Cavanagh. A British medical journal circularised seventy-five hospitals in the United Kingdom and asked for reports on the treatment of patients before they died. The reports had to be filled in before post mortem reports were completed, lt was found that about 45% of cases were wrongly diagnosed. That situation may be peculiar to the United Kingdom, but I would not think so.
I return now to the question I raised. Perhaps the Minister’s advisers do not understand me. I am not blaming the Minister, because he does not understand the point. The Minister’s advisers arc trying to teach their grandmother to suck eggs. I have been a local medical officer for about 30 years and I know exactly what the Minister has told me. We are entitled to prescribe the treatment we think best suits the case, but that was not the question I raised. If the Director-General of Health believes that about 80% to 90% of Australians should not have certain drugs prescribed for them, why then does the Repatriation Department allow local medical officers to prescribe what they wish for returned soldiers? If it is a bad thing for about 80% to 90% of Australians to have these drugs and Big Brother tells us that we must not prescribe them, surely the Repatriation Department should follow it up.
Questions upon Notice - Matrimonial Causes Act - Blue Mountains National Park
Motton (by Senator Henty) proposed:
That the Semite do now adjourn.
– Mr President, I wish to continue my serial regarding the Matrimonial Causes Act. At the same time, I wish to link up with it the other matter that I have mentioned time and time again in the Senate - that is, the attitude of Ministers to questions upon notice. It is an insult, 1 believe, to this House and an insult, I believe, to the people we represent here that we cannot get answers to our questions upon notice. Looking at the notice paper I find that the first question was asked on 23rd February of this year. It would take exactly 5 minutes for the Minister concerned to answer that question. But the question has remained on the notice paper since 23rd February. 1 have several questions on the notice paper that are still awaiting answers. An honourable senator just cannot get a Minister to answer his questions.
The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Henty) is aware of a case in which he was asked to oil the wheels for a lawyer in Launceston with the AttorneyGeneral (Mr Bowen). I think that was on 3rd June. Some time in August the lawyer wrote to Senator Henty and said: ‘Perhaps 1 should not have said oil the wheels. Perhaps 1 should have said use dynamite in order to get this matter answered.’ The Attorney-General replied through Senator Henty that he was taking up the matter personally and would look into it himself. That was in August. Now it is 3rd October. I presume that the trouble is that the Attorney-General has taken the matter over personally. If he had left it to his departmental officers the matter might have been dealt with more quickly but that is doubtful. The people concerned are waiting for a reply. In the original submission to the Attorney-General the solicitor concerned in the case said that the matter was urgent. The matter has gone on from 3rd June to 3rd October and a reply is still being awaited. What is the Attorney-General doing? Why can he not answer that question? It does not take all that time to answer the question. But, no. The arrogance of the Minister is just too absurd. This arrogance is based on the fact that the Government has a large majority, and the attitude of Ministers is: ‘What the hell! We can do what we like.’ It does not matter whom we represent here. The Ministers are not going to answer our questions. This brings me to the point that I wish to raise regarding the Matrimonial Causes Act.
When an honourable senator does receive an answer from a Minister, it is treated with a snide sort of reference. An honourable senator’s question as never treated as a factual thing. Never is an attempt made to answer honestly a question that an honourable senator has asked. I refer to the Minister for Education and Science (Senator Gorton) in this regard. All that he could mention in his reply to a question that I asked was that each time he answered my question I was out of the Senate. This is the third time that I have raised this matter and it is the third time that Senator Gorton has been out of the Senate. I am quite aware that the Minister is always on ministerial business. To be fair to him, I know that he is on serious business now.
– 1 crave the indulgence of the Senate to deal with a matter relating to the cement industry in New South Wales and in which I am seeking the mediation of the Department of National Development. lt is significant that only a short time ago the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Henty) commented on the apparent arrogance of a certain cement interest in New South Wales. It is to that organisation that I will relate my plea tonight.
A controversy has developed in New South Wales concerning virtually the whole of the Blue Mountains National Park and, in particular, the Colong Caves Reserve. Commonwealth Portland Cement Co., a subsidiary of Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers (Australia) Ltd, is seeking to buy and mine limestone in a certain area of what is known as the Blue Mountains National Park. This is not new.
The submission I am making tonight and in relation to which I am asking the Commonwealth Government to act as mediator, is similar to one that has been repeated many times in the United States Senate, in fact, it is a pity that Senator Wright is not in the chamber at the moment, because 1 know that as a senatorial historian he is only too well aware of the activities of Senator Walsh in the United States Senate in relation to the big copper interests. What happened in the United States 30 years ago is developing here with the cement industry.
Mr Taylor, Managing Director of Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers made a statement when a host of organisations protested at the activities of his company and suggested that there were ample limestone deposits all over Australia, quite apart from the attempts of his organisation to bypass section 92 of the Constitution. He said:
These people who are protesting cannot have their cake and eat it - they all have motor cars. Everything they possess comes from extractive industries.
No-one questions that fact. No-one has asked that the mining industry should cease operations, but everyone with commonsense knows that with ideal planning you can, in many instances, have your cake and eat it too. I submit that this is an instance where that can be done. With the concurrence of honourable senators, and to speed up my submission, 1 incorporate in Hansard page 356 of Bulletin No. 72 of 1965 issued by the Bureau of Mineral Resources section of the Department of National Development.
The largest and most accessible deposits form two elongate zones in central-western New South Wales. The western zone extends from north of Wellington southwards to beyond Mandurama, 25 miles north-east of Cowra, lt includes large deposits near Wellington, Euchareena, Molong, Borenore, Canomodine and Cargo Creek, and Belubula. Limestone occurrences are more widely spaced in the eastern zone, which extends from Mudgee south to near Lithgow, and includes deposits in the vicinity of Blue Rocks, Mount Frome, Kandos, and Portland. This zone continues south intermittently through Jenolan and Wombeyan (which is 32 miles north of Goulburn) to Marulan and across the Southern Tablelands through Kingsdale near Goulburn, Mulloon, about 15 miles north-west of Braidwood, Rosebrook, north-east of Cooma, and Quidong, 12 miles west of Bombala. Other extensive occurrences in southern New South Wales are Taemas, 12 miles south of Yass, Goodradigbee, 20 to 26 miles south-west of Yass, and Yarrangobilly, 40 miles south-south-east of Tumut. In the north-east of the State, large deposits occur near Timor, 15 miles east of Murrundi; Wingham, a few miles west of Taree; Yessabah and other places west of Kempsey; and Ashford, 40 miles north-north-west of Inverell. Extensive beds of limestone occur near Torrowangee, about 50 miles north of Broken Hill. An outline of these deposits (excepting those described earlier in this section) is given in Table 26411.
Sea shells, principally for use as shell-grit in the poultry industry, are dredged from estuarine deposits in Botany -Bay, Sydney Harbour, Port Hacking, and other places along the coast. A total of 368,510 tons was obtained from these sources in the period 1950 to 1961.
Top officials of the Department have proved quite clearly that there are ample alternative deposits. The basis of my plea for intervention by the Department of National Development is that Mr Lewis, the New South Wales Minister for Lands, in the State Parliament suggested that a committee comprising representatives of those who had interests in the area, might find a solution whereby the beauty of the area may be protected and, at the same time, an amount of limestone made available to the company for its needs’. The point I make is that Commonwealth officers of the Department of National Development have proved conclusively, as shown in this report, that alternative deposits of limestone are available. I believe that on this basis alone it is fitting that the Minister for National Development should intervene. This is something that has gained momentum in New South Wales, with a variety of organisations clamouring for this form of mediation. Such men can be found in the Men of the Land Society whose patron is the former Governor-General, the Right Honourable Sir William Mckell. Its president is Mr 3. A. Ferguson of the New South Wales Milk Board. The councillors include Sir Garfield Barwick, Lieutenant-General Sir F. H. Berryman, and the Honourable H. V. Budd, MLC, who I think is well known in Country Party circles. I do not think that this oan be considered as a starryeyed radical proposal which some senators opposite may think is emanating from me. This organisation is giving its complete blessing to the agitation which is sponsored by conservationists in New South Wales. But it goes beyond that. It has the support of the Royal Zoological Society of Australia, the New South Wales Chapter of the Royal Institute of Architects, the Sydney
Division of the Australian Planning Institute, the National Trust of Australia, the National Parks Association and the New South Wales Federation of Bushwalking Clubs. All of these organisations are supporting these representations. No one is Utopian. We do not say that mining should cease. However, we do say that in this modern age, with the co-operation of. Federal and State authorities, ‘ we should not have the back-of-hand attitude adopted by this arrogant monopolist in the person of Mr Taylor. Living under a federal system, we can learn from the mistakes of the United Stales of America. I do not think that the Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers (Aust.) Ltd should be permitted to emulate the big copper barons of the United States. Ultimately the United States Senate had to enact legislation to combat this sort of thing. I do appeal to the Minister for Supply who is at the table and who I know has no particular love for this particular cement combine, to ask his colleague, the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn), to arrange for the officers who produced this very comprehensive report on limestone to confer with the New South Wales Minister for Lands. I am sure that the people whom I have outlined tonight as sponsors of this scheme to preserve the Blue Mountains National Park will support such a move. I am sure that if such a conference can be arranged this company will be able to have its cake and eat it as well. I commend these proposals to the Leader of the Government.
– In May I asked a question of the Minister representing the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) regarding the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. I waited through June, July, August and September. I asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General whether he could do anything about it/ Triumphantly, I received an answer in mid-September. The answer referred me to a report of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. I have examined it but it does not contain any information about the question that I asked. I merely rise to thank the AttorneyGeneral for his courtesy and to inform him that I have given up. My term as a senator expires in 1971 and I will no longer try to obtain the answer from the Minister.
– in reply -I will reply to Senator Mulvihill’s question first. I will give the honourable senator an answer right now.
– It was not the answer I wanted.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 3 October 1967, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1967/19671003_senate_26_s36/>.