26th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– Is the Minister for Education and Science aware that the New South Wales Government is planning to reduce the number of teacher trainees next year despite the rapidly increasing school enrolments and the increasing class sizes? Is the effect of this reduction that there will be 2,400 fewer teachers in training in New South Wales next year than there will be in Victoria? Since this step would bring about a serious degeneration of education standards in New South Wales and is forced uponthe Government of that State by lack of finance, will the Minister consider the provision of special assistance to prevent the situation to which I have referred occurring?
– I am not aware of what the New South Wales Government proposes to do in this field. In order to give the Senate any information on a matter that is a direct responsibility of the Minister for Education in that Government I would need to ask him to provide it to me, because I cannot answer questions on matters that are his responsibility. The division of finance between the various areas of State responsibility - education, hospitals, roads or whatever they may be - is a matter to be decided by the various State governments. If what Senator Murphy says is correct, the Victorian Government is providing a higher proportion of its finance to this field than is the New South Wales Government. I do not say that it is doing that; I only say that it would appear to be doing that if what the honourable senator says is correct. Each State government having, through the Premiers Conference and the Loan Council, received funds applicable to the decisions of those two bodies, the further division of those funds is a matter for the State governments. As the Senate will know, the Commonwealth is providing up to$8m to the States this year for the construction of facilities for teacher training.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. By way of introductionI refer to the success of the significant function held at Ooldea in South Australia on Saturday last to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the linking of the railway lines between Western Australia and South Australia and the completion of the transcontinental railway. Arising from that is the question of the completion of the standard gauge line across Australia, with special reference to the South Australian interest and the link between Port Pirie and Adelaide. Has the Commonwealth Government received from the South Australian Government any request to complete the standard gauge link from Port Pirie to Adelaide? If it has, what is the Government’s response to that request and what is its intention in the matter? Has the Government begun any plans or any economic studies of the need for this vital railway link? Can the Minister say whether the completion of the Port Pirie to Broken Hill section will be followed by the immediate commencement of the section to which I have just referred -that between Port Pirie and Adelaide?
– After the function to which the honourable senator referredI sought some information from the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I am in a position to tell the honourable senator that at the time the Port PirieBroken Hill standard gauge link was initiated the Commissioners of the Commonwealth and South Australian railways made a preliminary study of the problems involved in linking Adelaide and Port Pirie by a standard gauge line. A great deal of the necessary information is already available. The Commonwealth Government is expecting a further report from the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner with estimates of the cost of the various alternative methods of achieving integration with the existing South Australian scheme. A few weeks ago the South Australian Premier wrote to the Prime Minister formally asking that planning begin for the actual construction to commence soon after the completion of the Port Pirie-Broken Hill link. The Prime Minister has replied to the South
Australian Premier indicating that until final agreement is reached between the governments involved on all the outstanding details of the Port Pirie-Broken Hill section, to make decisions as to the further work is not practical. The standardisation agreement with South Australia requires that when the work is undertaken the Commonwealth will find the necessary capital, subject to the repayment by South Australia of 30% on a long term basis. Therefore any final decision must relate to the budgetary resources and commitments of the Commonwealth as well as the satisfactory conclusion of the present work.
– I ask the Minister for Education and Science whether it is the Government’s intention to provide $377,000 for the erection of a new technical centre at Port Hedland in Western Australia. Is the centre to be erected in or adjacent to the present town of Port Hedland or some distance away? If it is to be built in or adjacent to the present town what will be the effect on the centre of dust from the Mount Goldsworthy loading point? What will be the effect of the dust problem when the Mount Newman Iron Company commences operations in the town?
– I am afraid that 1 cannot give any meaningful answer to the honourable senator about the effects of dust on this technical college. The situation in regard to technical colleges is this: If, as I take it, the college is being built from the grant made available to all States to build technical colleges as part of the Government’s programme of upgrading technical education, then the Commonwealth Government is providing the finance without requiring any matching grant from the Western Australian Government. The Government leaves it to the States to decide the sites at which they wish to build technical colleges. The Government believes, as has been explained to the Senate, that the States are in closer touch with the local people and know where these colleges should be built. If the honourable senator has any worries about this particular site, f suggest that he might have the matter taken up in the Western Australian Parliament.
– Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate noted a statement in Saturday’s Press by Mr A. M. Jenner, the Secretary of the Marine Underwriters’ Association of Tasmania, to the effect that claims based on loss through frustration for Tasmanian fruit locked in the Suez Canal were not covered by insurance policies? Will the Minister say whether the Commonwealth has any differing legal opinion on this matter? If it has, has the Minister noted the contention that the Commonwealth should enact legislation assigning the rights of fruit growers to the Commonwealth?
– The honourable senator would not help honourable senators on this side of the House by voting with us when we raised this matter last week.
– The statement was made on Saturday last. It is contended that the Commonwealth should then proceed to bring legal proceedings against the underwriters.
– I have not noted the statement referred to by Senator Lillico. The honourable senator will remember that this general matter - not the particular matter to which he refers - was debated in the Senate last week. Neither the AttorneyGeneral nor the Crown Solicitor has given a legal opinion of which I am aware. I suggest that, because the matter h an important one affecting the interests of fruit growers in Tasmania, the honourable senator should put the question on the notice paper so that an answer can be obtained for him.
– Has the Minister for Repatriation noted the reports of a statement made yesterday by the President of the Returned Services League, Sir Arthur Lee, at the National Congress of the RSL in Melbourne that the Government had treated the needs of men incapacitated by war with contempt and that the Government had manoeuvred in Parliament to present the repatriation amendment provisions as a money Bill to hamper criticism in debate? I ask the Minister: Has not the Government richly deserved the condemnation it received from the RSL?
– I have seen the statement made by the President of the Returned Services League. I was at the meeting although I was not present when he made the statement. The idea that this money Bill curtailed debate is entirely erroneous. It was put forward by the Leader of the Opposition in another place when, contrary to what is regarded as customary, he introduced political matters during the course of his address to the RSL yesterday. He stated that because the Bill was introduced in this fashion debate was prevented. This of course is entirely wrong. As I had the opportunity of saying at a later stage, it did not prevent debate on the Bill. Debate did take place in the other place and here. So far as the other place was concerned, extra debate could have been indulged in had the subject been raised for discussion as a matter of public importance. So far as the Senate is concerned, it is well known that in the case of a money Bill unlimited debate can take place on the motion for the first reading. This gives the lie direct to the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition in another place.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Can the Leader of the Government tell me whether there is any truth in the statement made in the London Evening Standard* newspaper which said that British servicemen have been in operation in Vietnam for the last 12 months? Are these British forces frogmen of the British Navy’s combined operations force, and do they operate from Hong Kong? Have some of these British servicemen received United States decorations for their part in the Vietnam war?
– I have not heard anything which would lead me to that understanding. 1 will seek to find out for the honourable senator whether there is anything in this statement. Did the honourable senator say this statement appeared in some British newspaper?
– Yes. It was reported in today’s ‘Canberra Times’.
– I have not noticed it, nor have I previously heard anything to suggest its accuracy. But I will seek to find out about the matter for the honourable senator.
– My question follows on the question raised by Senator Davidson in connection with railway standardisation work and is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I ask the Minister: Is it a fact that the Commonwealth Government has been holding up proposals to convert the South Australian railway system to standard gauge, although it is committed to such a conversion under the 1949 railway standardisation agreement with that State, and that the reason being given for holding up these proposals is that the negotiations concerning the Silverton Tramway are not proceeding satisfactorily? I ask the Minister also whether it is true, as reported by the South. Australian Premier and Minister for Transport, that these negotiations concerning the Silverton Tramway track are almost complete now? If this is the position, will the Commonwealth Government now commence discussions with the South Australian Government for the completion of its obligations to that State under the agreement made in 1949?
– The honourable senator asks a supplementary question to that asked by Senator Davidson. At the outset he asked, whether the Commonwealth Government was holding up the development of rail standardisation. Subsequently the honourable senator indicated that, in fact, a statement by the Premier of South Australia proved that negotiations between the Silverton Tramway authorities, South Australian Government officials and the Commonwealth were almost complete. Here we get a clear answer to the question of whether any delay has occurred. Negotiations have been going on. Those negotiations, it is true to say, have been protracted. It is anticipated, and hoped, that they will be brought to fruition at an early date.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services. In view of the excessively high increase in the cost of living announced for the September quarter, will the Minister bring down legislation before the end of this sessional period, even though this would mean an extension of sitting days, to increase all social service payments, including age, invalid and widows pensions?
– As this is a question involving Government policy it cannot be answered at question time.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry: What are the reasons for the fact that prevailing world prices during the period of operation of the International Sugar Agreements of 1953 and 1958 were below the minimum price objectives of those Agreements? What are the prospects of obtaining a new agreement which will contain effective provisions for maintaining world prices at remunerative levels?
– The mechanism which flowed from the Agreements of 1953 and 1958 involved a quota system with regulation of production by the countries concerned with a view to preventing overproduction. This mechanism worked well until the occurrence of two major international crises - the Suez crisis of 1956 and the Cuban crisis of 1960. As a result of the Cuban crisis, the United States ceased to import sugar from Cuba in 1960 with the result that the economic provisions ot the Agreement became ineffective and were suspended at the end of 1961. .Subsequent to that, there were crop failures in Cuba and other parts of the world. This led to a great shortage of sugar followed by high prices, with the result that intense overproduction occurred throughout the world. Because there was no longer any international agreement to restrict production, the sugar producing countries increased their production and finished with large surpluses which inevitably led to the low prices now obtaining throughout the world. During the period since 1962, the Australian Government has unceasingly striven for the restoration of the effective controls which flowed from the 1953 and 1958 Agreements. It will continue its efforts to obtain remunerative world prices.
Although arrangements have not been finalised, a conference designed to negotiate a new international agreement is now expected to be held next April. In preparation for this conference, and as part of the continuing studies of the whole problem, a meeting of the United Nations Convention on Trade and Development will commence in Geneva on 23rd October. Australia will be represented at that conference and will use its best endeavours to see that some satisfactory solution flows from the Convention.
– I ask the
Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs whether there are any facilities available, through our ambassadors, consulates or Government departments, to Australian citizens abroad who may encounter police or administrative trouble in overseas countries. Was any advice or assistance given to a well known Australian sportsman who was gaoled in France recently and who, according to the world Press, has received a raw deal and upon whom, the Press claims, unjust penalties have been inflicted? If no action has been taken, will the Government alert our representatives in France to see that everything possible is done to ensure that justice is given to this Australian - a foreigner according to French standards - and thereby show that Australia is prepared to stand by her people, wherever they may be, if an injustice is done to them?
– My understanding is that any Australian or any person of any nationality who is in a country other than his own, who is alleged to have broken or in any way infringed the law of the country in which he is, and who is therefore arrested, has the right to ask for access to the representative of his own country in that area. As I understand the position, any Australian in France, for example, would have the right to request an interview with a representative of die Australian Embassy in France. Should that take place I am quite sure that the Australian Embassy would do all it could to ensure that no injustice was done to the person concerned. An embassy could not interfere, of course, if a person had broken a law of the land in which he was residing.
– My question, which I address to the Minister for Repatriation, follows upon Senator Cohen’s question about repatriation benefits being enacted in a rooney Bill. I ask: Did not the Repatriation Bill confer a benefit of at least $34 a week extra on certain disabled national servicemen who are serving or had served overseas? Is this fact known to Sir Arthur Lee?
– I think the honourable senator is mistaken in that the question was asked by Senator Murphy.
– I did not ask the question.
– I asked the question.
– 1 am sorry. 1 am wrong and not for the first time. Broadly speaking, the answer to the honourable senator’s question is yes. The benefit referred to was enacted under the Repatriation Bill. That legislation provided not only for monetary benefits but also for benefits in other directions. To that extent the Returned Services League was in error.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Territories inform the Senate of the latest developments in regard to a mining mishap at Tennant Creek involving a large consignment of cyanide, which could become a serious health hazard?
– No, I cannot. I do not have any information or I would give it. I will seek the information from the Minister for Territories and give it to the honourable senator.
– The honourable senator’s suggestion sounds eminently sensible to me. I will certainly take it up with the responsible people. I had always thought that in Australia one thousand million was regarded as being a billion.
– That is so in America.
– I had always thought that in Australia one thousand million was regarded as a billion. Other people may have thought that in Australia a million million constituted a billion. I think that used to be the position in England, and perhaps it still is. Clearly I think it is reasonably sensible to take up the suggestion of the honourable senator and to have the confusion cleared up once and for all.
– 1 ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether the Government has any knowledge of the identities of the organisers of the violent world-wide demonstrations against the United States of America and her allies because of their involvement in Vietnam. If so, will the Government make a statement identifying the persons responsible for the organisation of the demonstrations?
– As was the case last year there was a strange unanimity this year in the holding of demonstrations in a number of countries against the war in Vietnam. It must be a matter of regret - or it ought to be - to all honourable senators that the demonstrations were accompanied in some places by violence and attacks, both verbal and physical, on people holding different views from those people who were organising the demonstrations. All I would say on the matter is that these kinds of demonstrations can only lead to a completely improper judgment of the situation by the people in Hanoi and are therefore likely to lead to a different conclusion from that for which they were designed. I draw the attention of the honourable senator to the fact that in the United States, where the greatest violence occurred on the steps of the Pentagon building through groups organised for the purpose, in a completely unorganised way about four out of five cars travelling on the roads in daylight had their headlights turned on by their drivers in order to express solidarity with the troops of the United States and her allies in Vietnam.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Attorney-General. Has the AttorneyGeneral forwarded correspondence to most patent attorneys advising them of the Government’s intention to introduce an amendment to the Patents Act which is expected to come into operation on 29th November? Does the letter further state that the nature of the amendment cannot be disclosed before the Bill is presented to the Parliament? If so, what was the purpose of the letter in advising of a proposed alteration without indicating the nature of the alteration? Is the withholding of information from those persons who are likely to be affected by the proposed alteration of the Act in keeping with normal Government policy and contrary to the Government’s action in relation to the trade practices legislation?
– I am not aware of whether such letters have been forwarded but from the way in which the honourable senator’s question was phrased I take it that he is. It sounded as though he had had sight of some such letter. There could be many reasons why one would not wish, before the tabling of legislation, to give some people advance information of what was to be in that legislation. The best way in which an explanation as to the reasons for this could be discovered would be for the honourable senator either to ask the Attorney-General direct or, if he wishes to get the answer from me as the AttorneyGeneral’s representative, to put the question on the notice paper.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. It has come to my notice that at least one State in Australia is asking for probate duty in respect of a small policy which has become payable on the death of a member of the Australian forces and the benefits of which accrue to his parents. Would the Minister think it appropriate to examine our own estate duty legislation and to collate State estate duty legislation with a view to seeing that there is a uniform appro priate exemption of the estates of soldiers whose lives are sacrificed in war service?
– I have no indication of a single case to which the honourable senator refers. I have always been rather reluctant to consider individual cases. I think that they should be referred to the authority concerned. The question that he asks is obviously one of policy which could not be answered, and which he would not expect me to answer, at this stage. I shall refer it to the Treasurer.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Is the French film ‘A Married Woman* still refused entry into Australia? In view of the fact that this film has been highly praised by serious critics throughout the civilised world without any apparent attendant increase in moral turpitude amongst cinema goers in other countries, will the Minister give some consideration to allowing this very great film to be imported into this country?
– As the honourable senator well knows, we have a Commonwealth Film Censorship Board and an Appeal Censorship Board. Consideration of any particular film is clearly a matter for those Boards, certainly not a matter in relation to which the Minister would make an ad hoc judgment.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy tell me whether he and bis colleague are satisfied that there really is a sunken submarine in Disaster Bay south of Eden, or is it just a hoax for publicity purposes? If it is proved to be a hoax, will appropriate action be taken against the persons responsible?
– I have no personal knowledge of the circumstances connected with this alleged submarine. If the honourable senator puts his question on the notice paper I will see what information I can get for him.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs aware that according to an eye witness report the vessel blocking the eastern section of the Suez Canal is a small barge which could be removed without any great engineering problem? If so, has the Australian Government made any move to co-operate with the United Arab Republic to remove this obstruction, which has trapped a considerable number of ships in the Great Bitter Lake? If no such move has yet been made, will the Government open negotiations with the Government of the United Arab Republic with the objective of releasing ships, crews, cargoes and passengers’ luggage so that the ships may proceed to their destination through the eastern end of the Canal.
– It may well be that a small vessel which can be removed without great engineering problems is blocking that particular part of the Suez Canal, but I do not think that engineering problems are the difficulty in clearing the Suez Canal. I think the existing difficulty lies in a continuance of hostility between the United Arab Republic and the Republic of Israel in relation to a settlement, and both sides are inclined to take action, such as occurred the other day, which goes far beyond engineering difficulties. The Australian Government is doing all that it can through the United Nations and other diplomatic channels to try to bring to a conclusion the set of circumstances which allows a vessel, which from an engineering point of view could be removed easily, to remain blocking the Canal.
– I preface my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry by directing attention to a pamphlet described as ‘Wool Report’, published by the Basic Industries Group. Will the Minister inform the Senate whether the survey carried out by the Basic Industries Group represents a true assessment of the wool industry? If the Minister’s answer is in the affirmative, will he advise whether the Government, and particularly the Country Party section of it, will take immediate steps to restore stability to the wool industry?
– I am not familiar with publications of the Basic Industries
Group. If the honourable senator would like any further information I will see whether I can get it for him from the Minister for Primary Industry.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. Has the Minister any information on the reported ban by the Hanoi Government on the International Red Cross sending assistance for civilians in North Vietnam? Will the Minister suggest to professional demonstrators in Australia that their next demonstration should be directed at the Hanoi Government for preventing them sending aid to civilians in North Vietnam?
– All I know of this matter is that I understand the Australian Red Cross has received from the International Red Cross information to the effect that the Hanoi Government has asked that this aid to civilians in North Vietnam should cease. In the past there have been other difficulties in respect of the provision of aid by the International Red Cross to North Vietnam. When aid was provided in South Vietnam there was no problem about it, nor about personnel from the International Red Cross going to that country to help use the aid. This was not permitted in North Vietnam. The prohibition now appears to have gone a step further.
As to the second part of the question, if I were to suggest anything to professional demonstrators, I would suggest that they stop demonstrating, at any rate if they are going to use violence.
– By way of preface to my question, which is addressed to the Minister for Customs and Excise, I refer him to an article in the current issue of Nation’ which deals extensively with the operations of film censorship. The writer of this article has divided the number of films by the number of members on the Commonwealth Film Censorship Board and has arrived at a figure which indicates that it is impossible for the censors to look at every film. I ask the Minister: What is the method of operation of the Board? Which films are given a clean slate and which are viewed?
– Clearly this question does not lend itself to a detailed answer being given at question time about the procedures of the Board. 1 have not seen die article in ‘Nation’ and therefore I cannot comment on it or answer the point made. I will give a reply in depth at question time tomorrow or on Thursday. Briefly, the work done by the Board is as prescribed in the regulations. I will have a copy of the regulations sent to the honourable senator so that he can study them, together with the answer I will provide.
– I direct my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. As today is United Nations day, and as the Economic and Social Committee last week accepted unanimously a motion in favour of equal pay for work of equal value - and that motion will now go to the General Assembly - will the Minister, as a practical tribute to the work of the United Nations and in recognition of the part played by women as co-partners in our democracy, inform the Senate of the way that Australia will vote on this motion in the General Assembly?
– I cannot be held to any words that I say to the honourable senator as to the way that Australia will vote on this matter. I am not exactly sure as to what Committee of the United Nations the matter will come before. I point out, as I have done before, that when similar resolutions have come up before the International Labour Organisation and so forth, Australia has voted in favour of the proposition and also has voted in favour of it being carried out by the arbitration methods suitable to particular countries which agree to the resolution.
– I address a supplementary question to the Minister for Customs and Excise about the matter I referred to earlier. Will the Minister obtain for the Senate a statement from the Commonwealth Film Censorship Board as to the reasons for banning the film ‘A Married Woman”? Further, will the Minister inform the Senate whether there are any channels open to members of the public so that they can make representations to the Board about the lifting of bans on films, other than those channels which are presently open to commercial importers of films?
– In relation to the first part of the honourable senator’s questions, my reply is that the reasons are as prescribed in the regulations. I will also send to the honourable senator a copy of the regulations, as I propose to do for Senator Mulvihill. As to access to the Board, any person or organisation is competent to direct a communication to the Chief Film Censor. He in turn is free to reply to those who communicate with him. It is not necessary for them to make representations through the Minister. It is perfectly competent for them to communicate with him on any matter on which they wish to do so. In fact, in the past organisations and people have done that very thing.
– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In view of the sharp increase in the cost of living, will the Government at least consider increasing pensions and social service benefits in order to bring their true value up to what it was when they were last altered?
– The question of pensions and social services generally is considered by the Government on every occasion on which the national accounts are prepared for presentation to the Parliament as the Budget.
– Is the Minister representing the Postmaster-General aware that apparently no post office in Queensland is able to advise when Christmas mail for Vietnam will close? Will he inform the Parliament whether a firm date for the closing of Christmas mail for Vietnam can be fixed? Will he undertake to advise the Australian public immediately so that the unfortunate troops who are based in Vietnam will be sure of obtaining mail and parcels posted to them by Australian relatives and friends in time for Christmas?
– My understanding of the position is that an announcement has been made of the last dates for the clearance of mail. I speak subject to correction on that. If such an announcement has not been made, I will certainly raise the matter with the Postmaster-General immediately and obtain a reply for the honourable senator.
– My question, which is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, refers to the Mount Gunson copper mines, which are north west of Port Augusta. Is it a fact that the Commonwealth Government has demanded from Aust.minex Pty Ltd an amount of $10,000 for feasibility studies in relation to water and electricity supplies for the area although the South Australian Government had advised the Prime Minister and the company that the facilities of the State of South Australia were available for the purposes of such studies? Has this mining organisation already paid $5,000 for this service? Will the Minister investigate this matter with a view to making a more reasonable arrangement in respect of this most important project?
– I have not the information sought by the honourable senator, but I certainly will obtain it. However, there is a point that should be cleared up before I do that. As I understand the question, it is this: Has the Commonwealth Government charged a company $10,000 for investigating the feasibility of supplying water, although the South Australian Government had informed the company that its facilities are available? If the proposition is that the South Australian Government was to make these facilities available free, I am a little at a loss to understand why the company concerned would not take advantage of that offer. On the other hand, if the facilities suggested by that Government were to cost the company more than the Commonwealth proposition, I could understand why an application would be made to the Commonwealth. In that case the Commonwealth proposition would be reasonable in comparison with what was suggested by the South Australian Government. Perhaps the honourable senator could clear up that point later.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Acting Minis ter for Air. On Friday last, on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate, I asked the Minister whether the Government would urgently ascertain from the General Dynamics Corporation the cause of a crash of an Fill aircraft over Texas. 1 now ask him when he expects to be in a position to give the Senate some information on that matter.
– The Minister has supplied the following information:
Advice received reveals that the Fi 11a aircraft which crashed in the United States on 19th October 1967 was a research and development aircraft and not a production model. It was piloted by test pilots employed by the General Dynamics company.
At this stage 1 am unable to provide any information as to the cause or circumstances of the crash. I have been informed that a board of inquiry has been set up by the appropriate authorities in the United States to investigate Ais particular accident and it is unlikely that I will have any further information on this accident for some little time.
I am advised that the crew module ejection system operated perfectly and the crew landed safely. This crew module is an operating compartment, an escape system and a survival shelter. If the crew is forced to abandon the aircraft a rocket motor ejects the module upwards and it descends by parachute to the ground or sea where it can serve as a survival shelter. The module can safely eject at any speed or altitude or even while the aircraft is motionless on the ground.
As indicated above, as soon as any further details are to hand as a result of the board of inquiry I shall inform the Senate as to the circumstances etc
– -I direct to the Minister for Customs and Excise a question following upon one that I have already asked. By way of preface I would say that I do not believe that providing me with a copy of the regulations answers my question. I do not think that certain characteristics, such as blasphemy, which are provided for in the regulations, would apply in the case of the film ‘A Married Woman*. Can the Commonwealth Film Censorship Board state specifically why this film was held by the Board to come within the ambit of the matters which are referred to in the regulations as being offensive?
– Obviously the honourable senator knows that blasphemy is one of the matters provided for in the regulations, but the listening audience also should know something of the regulations. Section 112 of the Customs Act empowers the Governor-General to prohibit, by regulation, the exportation of goods from Australia unless prescribed restrictions or conditions are complied with. In pursuance of this power the Governor-General has prohibited under the Customs Cinematographic Regulations the exportation of film produced in Australia. The regulations apply in the same way in relation to imports. The regulations provide - I shall still make a copy available for the honourable senator - that a permit shall not be granted if in the opinion of the Censorship Board the film is blasphemous, indecent or obscene, is likely to injure morality or encourage crime, is likely to offend a friendly nation, depicts matters which are undesirable in the public interest or is likely to prove detrimental or prejudicial to the Commonwealth. The Board does not give any reasons outside the prescribed regulations.
– ‘How does that help?
– 1 can see the lawyers gathering in glee over this. This is the normal procedure with all the regulations. A film is prohibited or permitted in accordance with the regulations. That is where the Board draws its powers. The regulations are under the supervision of Parliament. They are long standing but currently certain aspects of them are being examined. Quite clearly the Board does not say: ‘We will prohibit this particular film because of certain details in it.’ The Board would register a film subject to certain deletions being made, those deletions being in accordance with the requirements of the regulations. The Board would not give a written statement in relation to a particular section to an outside person who was inquiring.
– I preface my question which is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, by stating that I have been informed that a ship will leave Geelong, Victoria, tomorrow with an Australian crew of 26 on board. This ship will not reach any port until after the Senate election. Is there any method whereby persons who find themselves in these circumstances can cast a vote in Federal elections?
– I should know the answer to this question. I am afraid that it escapes me for the moment. I will obtain the answer from the Minister for the Interior and inform the honourable senator.
– I direct my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. My question relates to Federal assistance for the alleviation of hardship caused through drought. I preface my remarks by commenting that 1 understand that officials of both the Victorian Government and the Federal Government met yesterday to work out some proposition for assistance from the Federal Government to the State Government. Can the Minister give the Senate an indication of the financial arrangements which may have been agreed between the Commonwealth and the Governments of Victoria and South Australia in relation to drought conditions in those States?
– I think that all honourable senators will realise that I could not possibly give the Senate an indication of financial arrangements which may have been arrived at between the Commonwealth Government on the one hand and the Victorian Government on the other. In the first place, the officials met yesterday. I do not know the results of their discussions. After they have been made known or any recommendations have been made, it would be a matter for discussion between the Prime Minister and the Premier before any official decision was made. That is all that I can say.
– Does the Minister for Customs and Excise not remember that during the last sessional period, in answer to a question of mine, he provided information from the Commonwealth Film Censorship Board regarding the film ‘Viridiana’? He said that this film was banned on the grounds that it was blasphemous, obscene and indecent. Could not at least that information be provided in regard to ‘A Married Woman’ lest someone should be. of the opinion that this film in some ways is injurious to the Commonwealth or to our relations with foreign countries?
– ‘Blasphemous, obscene and indecent’ is the condition in one of the regulations.I would make the point that when information was given in relation to the other film to which the honourable senator referred it was probably a contraction merely of the regulations. If the honourable senator feels that there is some special case and he wants to narrow the field,I will raise the matter with the Commonwealth Chief Censor.I am quite certain that he will take the point, as has always been the practice, that it is banned in accordance with the provisions of the regulations and will give all of the regulations in relation to it.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, follows on the Minister’s reply to the question asked by Senator Sim in regard to the antiVietnam demonstrations and the reported violence that has accompanied those demonstrations. Can the Minister give one instance of demonstrations taking place in Australia where orderly, serious and humanitarian citizens have marched in protest?
– I understand that the protest staged in Sydney on this matter was an orderly protest. I have never sought to indicate to this Senate that it was not. I think that if the honourable senator reads what I have said when it is reproduced in Hansard he will see that I distinctly deprecated violence in the United States and in some other capitals around the world.
In reply to another part of the question asked by the honourable senator I think I could give him an indication of when violence did erupt in Australia, but not on the occasion of this last demonstration. There was violence, for example, during the visit of the President of the United States of America by those who disagreed with his views and actions. This is a matter of record. I can only say that I deprecate violence, and I hope all would, against those who have differing views as to what should be done inside their own country. I would have hoped, and I do believe, that in fact the honourable senator would take the same view.
– Last week Senator Mulvihill asked me what the position was relating to the issue of the Armalite rifle to our forces in Vietnam and whether any trouble was being experienced with it. I am now in a position to let him know there is no general issue of this rifle to the Australian troops, although a limited number of patrols are likely to have it. They do need more care than the general issue weapon, but the rifle is liked by those troops who have it. and so far we have had no reports of any problems connected with it.
(Question No. 63)
Senator TURNBULL (through Senator
Hannaford) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Air, upon notice:
How many applications have been received by the Minister for Air for the use of VIP aircraft for the period 1 January 1967 to 8 March 1967?
For each application - (a) Who were the applicants; (b) At which airport did they embark; (c) What were their ports of call; (d) At which airport was the VIP aircraft stationed at the time of application; (e) How many paassengers were carried; and (f) How many crew members were on each flight?
– The answer I have refers also to questions Nos 93, 143, 174 and 222.I should like to explain to the Senate that, in the main, the questions were very similar. The only difference is in the dates to which they refer. The reply covers all the periods mentioned. The other questions asked were: (Question No. 93)
For each application:
For each application:
For each application:
For each application:
The answer is:
Assuming the question seeks information as to applications leading to the use of aircraft, and counting each user separately, even though in some cases two or more users travel together the answers for the period from the 1st January 1967 to 30th September 1967 are set out below. There are two further points of explanation. Firstly, it is not always clear whether an application for a multiple journey should be treated as a single application or a plural application reflecting the number of segments of the journey. The general standard adopted has been to regard such applications as single applications. This means that a flight may be from Sydney to Canberra, in which case it would count as one use; or from Sydney to various points around Australia, in which case it would also count as one use, but the details of flights will be before the Senate. The second is that the number of flights is not identical with the number of users since, as indicated above, each user is counted separately even though travelling in the one flight with other users. The basic information from which the figures have been compiledis being tabled. The reply to the first part of each question is that the number of applications was 485. The answer to paragraph 2 (a) of the question, which relates to the applicants and number of applications made by each is: Governor-General 79, Prime Minister 81, Mr McMahon 54, Mr McEwen 40, Senator Gorton 19, Mr Sinclair 19, Mr Howson 17, Mr Fraser 16, Mr Hulme 11, Mr Bury 9, Mr Fairhall 8, Mr Fairbairn 8, Mr Adermann 6, Dr Forbes 6, Mr Barnes 5, Mr Anthony 4, Senator Anderson 4, Mr Hasluck 3, Senator Henty 3, Senator McKellar 3, Mr Bowen 3, Mr Freeth1, Mr Sneddon1, Dame Annabelle Rankin 1-
– Mr President, I direct your attention to the fact that Senator Hannaford has been taken ill.
– Order! The sitting is suspended until the ringing of the bells.
Sitting suspended from 3.57 to 4.55 p.m.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) - It is with the deepest regret that I inform the Senate that Senator Hannaford, who collapsed in the chamber earlier this afternoon, was pronounced dead on arrival at the Canberra Community Hospital.I ask honourable senators to stand with me in silence. (Honourable senators stood in their places)
– I suggest that, in view of the tragic circumstance that has occurred, the Senate should adjourn for the remainder of this day as an immediate mark of respect. I do not think that this is the appropriate time to pay to our late colleague the tributes which undoubtedly will be paid. They might well wait until a formal motion is proposed.
-I am sure that all honourable senators will concur in what has been said by Senator Gorton, the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
– As a mark of respect, the Senate will adjourn until tomorrow at 2.15 p.m.
Senate adjourned at 4.57 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 24 October 1967, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1967/19671024_senate_26_s36/>.