26th Parliament · 2nd Session
The SENATE met at 3 p.m.. pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair.
The Clerk read the proclamation.
– I inform the Senate that I have received through His Excellency the Governor-General, from the Governor of the State of Victoria, a certificate certifying the choice of Ivor John Greenwood as a senator to fill the vacancy in the representation of Victoria in the Senate caused by the resignation of Senator Gorton. The certificate will be laid on the table and read by the Clerk.
The Clerk then laid on the table the certificate certifying the choice as a senator of Ivor John Greenwood.
Senator Ivor John Greenwood made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.
HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL entered the chamber, and, being seated, with the President on his right hand, commanded that a message be sent to the House of Representatives, intimating that he desired the attendance of honourable members in the Senate chamber forthwith, who, being come with their Speaker,
HIS EXCELLENCY was pleased to deliver the following Speech:
This, the Second Session of the 26th Parliament, assembles in unusual and historic circumstances created on 17th December 1967 by the tragic disappearance in the sea of the late Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Harold Holt, C.H., M.P.
I think it fitting that here, before the whole Parliament, at this time, we should pay tribute to Mr Holt, Prime Minister of Australia from 26th January 1966 until his death, and should acknowledge the great services which he rendered to this nation in many high and important posts. His achievements were considerable and stand as part of our history.
That these achievements were recognised beyond Australia was evident from the attendance at Mr Holt’s Memorial Service of The Prince of Wales, for whose attendance we express our gratitude to Her Majesty The Queen, of the President of the United States of America, Mr Johnson, of the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr Wilson, and of Heads of State and Heads of Government from many nations, particularly those neighbouring Asian nations to whom Mr Holt’s personal warmth and actions had symbolised growing Australian interest. We thank them all.
After Mr Holt’s death, in the discharge of my responsibility to ensure the continuity and stability of government in Australia, I took steps to swear the Right Honourable John McEwen, M.P., as Prime Minister on 19 th December 1967. Mr McEwen served as Prime Minister until 10th January 1968, when, Senator John Grey Gorton having been elected the Leader of the Liberal Party, Mr McEwen tendered his resignation as Prime Minister, and I summoned Senator Gorton and swore him as Prime Minister.
Subsequently, Senator Gorton resigned from the Senate on 1st February 1968. On 24th February 1968, within the period of three months allowed, under Section 64 of the Constitution, for a Minister to hold office without a seat in either House of Parliament, he won the seat of Higgins and on 28th February was again sworn as Prime Minister.
There has therefore been orderly and continuous government since the close of the last’ Session and despite the tragic event of 17th December 1967.
My Government will continue the support accorded to the United States of
America and the Government of South Vietnam in an endeavour to ensure that aggression by force of arms, terrorism . and subversion is not successful in subjecting the people of South Vietnam to rule by an aggressor.
My Government believes that the South Vietnamese people should retain the elementary right to determine their own future in their own way and will, besides the effective military assistance it is rendering to this end, continue to provide economic and civil aid to South Vietnam.
In doing this, my Government desires neither the destruction of North Vietnam, nor the overthrow of the Government of North Vietnam but merely the cessation of aggression against the people of South Vietnam so that those people may, by the exercise of a franchise they have shown they know how to exercise even under the most difficult and dangerous circumstances, choose their own form of government. We seek a just and lasting peace based on these objectives. We have supported and will support every effort for negotiation of such a peace.
In our near north, in the areas of Malaysia and Singapore, the situation has altered since the close of the last Session.
Since that time, the British Government has decided to speed up the withdrawal of those ground forces which have for so long contributed to the stability of the region. In the result, a withdrawal which was scheduled to be completed by the end of 1975 will now be completed by the end of 1971.
This is, of course, a significant acceleration of the rate of withdrawal on which previous thinking and planning were based. But even more significant is the apparent abandonment of the previous intention that there would be a British mobile amphibious force available at all times for use .in the area, of significant capability, and able rapidly to reach the region.
Now the composition, the capacity and the availability of any such force have become obscure, and it is not known how rapidly any such force could be made available.
These matters are under intensive study by my Government. Consultations have taken place and will continue with the Governments of the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore and New Zealand. lt is, of: course, clear that Australia cannot, if it is to discharge its other responsibilities at home and abroad, fill the vacuum created by the British withdrawal. But it has been made clear to us that the Government’s of Malaysia and Singapore wish Australia to contribute towards the stability of the region by maintaining some military presence.
Therefore, in addition to providing economic and technical assistance and training to Singapore and Malaysia to help them build up their own forces, my Government will participate in Five Power consultations when they are called and will be prepared to discuss the size and role of an Australian contribution to combined defence, arrangements which embrace a joint Singapore./ Malaysia defence effort.
My Government regards this as part of the wider efforts it will make to establish a framework of regional understanding, cooperation and security in South-East Asia.
The policy of giving practical help to the less developed countries of the world will be continued. In the present financial year, expenditure on all aid programmes, including grants to Papua and New Guinea, is approximately $142m. My Government has already announced that in the next financial year the amount of aid to be provided for Indonesia will be doubled.
My Government regards defence as a major responsibility and the expansion and re-equipment of our forces steadily proceeds.
Our Task Force in Vietnam, comprising more than 8,000 men drawn from all three Services, has been maintained at full operational efficiency and has met all calls with skill and courage. Tt has also carried out a vigorous civic action programme. It has built roads, market places and schools, has carried out health surveys and provided medical, water supply and drainage services.
New ships for the Royal Australian Navy, including a third guided missile destroyer, two more Oberon class submarines, and a number of locally-built patrol vessels, will be in service or completed this year.
Fourteen Tracker anti-submarine aircraft and ten Skyhawk fighter-bombers were recently delivered and are now in service.
Approximately $5 5m will be spent this financial year on new capital equipment for the Army.
For the Air Force, twenty-four F11C strike reconnaissance aircraft and ten Orion anti-submarine aircraft will be flown from the United States to Australia during the year.
Eight HS748 navigation trainer aircraft will also arrive from the United Kingdom and progress will be made with production of the seventy-five Macchi jet trainers which are being produced locally under licence and are scheduled to be delivered by the end of 1969. Seven of these have already been delivered.
The strength of the armed forces now exceeds 138,000 compared with 105,000 three years ago.
My Government believes that this reequipment and strengthening of our three Services will give us a regular Navy, Army and Air Force better equipped than any forces we have hitherto possessed and will permit us to make significant contributions to collective defence or to bear the first shock of any attack on ourselves, should that ever eventuate in the future.
The cost of providing such defence will this year be over $ 1,100m, and will rise in the coming two years as a result of commitments already entered into and expansions already made. This represents a very significant proportion of available resources and any further increase in the proportion of total resources devoted to defence in the future will need to be considered against the other pressing requirements of this nation.
My Government has decided to reconstitute the Department of Territories as the Department of External Territories so that it may have particular concentration on the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
The responsibility for the Northern Territory will, except in certain respects as regards the welfare of Aboriginals, education and national development matters, be transferred to the Department of the Interior.
This is an indication of the recognition by the Government that the present problems and the future destiny of the Northen Territory differ from those of Papua and New Guinea.
The Northern Territory is, and always will be, an integral part of the Australian nation and its destiny is, in time, to develop into a State of Australia.
The destiny of Papua and New Guinea is to become a self-governing country developed for independence if and when it is clearly demonstrated by the majority of the indigenous population that this is what they wish. My Government’s basic policy for Papua and New Guinea is therefore to develop it for self-determination.
Whether some subsequent special relationship with Australia is worked out, and what such a special relationship might be, can only be worked out in the future between the then Government of a selfgoverning Papua and New Guinea and the then Government of Australia.
But my Government believes that the development of Papua and New Guinea as a seventh State of Australia is fraught with difficulties, and that statehood, as against self-government, is not likely to be the outcome of development.
Expansion of economic activity is being vigorously pursued and renewed emphasis will be given to increasing the role of Papuans and New Guineans in economic development and in social, administrative and political affairs.
My Government will introduce legislation in this Parliament to amend the Papua and New Guinea Act to give effect to proposals designed to increase the participation of the people of Papua and New Guinea in their own Government. These proposals include a system of limited Ministerial responsibilities for a number of elected members, and the setting up of an Administrator’s Executive Council which will be consulted by the Administrator on major executive decisions.
My Government will make additional administrative changes which will result in education in the Australian Capital Territory, and certain aspects of education in the Northern Territory, becoming the responsibility of the Department of Education and Science.
The Department of National Development will have policy responsibility in the Northern Territory for a number of matters including projects, surveys and studies forming part of Commonwealth/ State programmes and for new major government and private projects of importance to the development of the North.
The duties of the Cabinet Secretariat will be separated from the control of the Prime Minister’s Department and the Cabinet Secretariat will be constituted as a separate Department of State responsible through its head directly to the Prime Minister. At the same time, a number of matters which were previously the responsibility of the Prime Minister’s Department will be transferred to other Departments, and responsibility for my Government’s activities in the Antarctic will be transferred from the Department of External Affairs to the Department of Supply.
My Government will, through its Council and Office of Aboriginal Affairs, coordinate the policies of Commonwealth and State Departments and instrumentalities towards the welfare and advancement of the Aboriginal citizens of Australia. The Council will consider ways in which Aboriginal citizens can choose their own representatives to consult with and advise the Council. The Council will, through the Minister in charge, be responsible to the Prime Minister.
My Government will continue the policies of economic development of the previous Government.
In spite of the fact that in the world abroad there are major uncertainties in relation to trading and monetary conditions and that internally drought prevails in large areas of our most fertile southern lands, my advisers inform me that the economy is active and promises well for the future.
The inflow of capital from abroad has been continuing, and despite the loss of more than $100m in the value of London funds through the devaluation of sterling, external reserves remain comparatively high.
Employment in Australia continues at a high level, assisted migration from Britain is reviving and there is, generally, an increased flow of migrants.
New industries are being established and established industries are enlarging their capacity.
The trade drive continues and missions are being sent to Europe, Africa, America and South East Asia this year.
New export incentive schemes will come into force on 1st July this year and further incentives to export will thereby be given to manufacturing industries. My Government will introduce legislation for these purposes during this session.
The development’ of natural resources continues at a high rate and the expansion of the mineral industry is contributing significantly to the national economy.
Mineral export’s in 1967-68 are estimated at $485m and could reach $ 1,000m in the early seventies, while our dependence on imports is being reduced - or will in the future be reduced - by new discoveries such as rock phosphate in Queensland, nickel in Western Australia, and the oil fields discovered in Queensland, Western Australia and Bass Strait.
In the field of rural industry my Government will introduce legislation to provide, over the next four years, up to $25m to be used towards the reconstruction of the dairying industry.
The detail of the legislation will depend on the successful outcome of negotiations with State Governments.
The general purpose of the legislation will be to enable dairy farmers on small farms who are experiencing economic hardship and who wish to leave the industry to do so.
The money will be provided to the States to enable them to purchase such small dairy farms which may be consolidated into economic dairying units, but which it is expected will, in many cases, be used for a different form of production, including, importantly, forestry, a development which should bring about a desirable degree of diversification in dairying regions. This scheme will, my Government believes, help to bring into closer balance production and market demand for dairy produce, especially butter.
Lending approvals by the trading banks from their Farm Development Loan Funds have recently been at a rate of about $6m a quarter. The Funds were established in April 1966, at a total figure of $50m. The amount in the Funds is now down to about $l5m and part of this is, of course, committed by loans approved but not yet fully drawn.
In order to ensure that funds are available to permit continuance of a steady rate of lending by the trading banks from Farm Development Loan Funds, the Reserve Bank, with the approval of the Government, is taking action to bring about an increase of some $37m in the Funds. As in April 1966, this amount will be drawn partly from Statutory Reserve Deposits and partly from other assets of the trading banks.
My Government has made deliberate efforts to improve, export market conditions for the sugar industry and negotiations for a new international sugar agreement will take place in Geneva in April and May.
My Government’ will introduce legislation during this session -to authorise expenditure on water conservation projects already agreed upon with the States. These will be financed from the $50m being made available by the Commonwealth over 5 years for these purposes.
As a result of the devaluation of the British pound, it was recognised that some Australian industries could be adversely affected and we undertook to give assistance in those areas which suffered direct loss.
Special committees set up by my Government are examining the problems in those areas. -. .
A devaluation reporting committee of senior officials under the chairmanship of the Secretary of the Department of Primary Industry has submitted its first report on the losses suffered by rural industries as a result of devaluation and this report is receiving the attention of my Ministers.
My Government will review the field of social welfare with the object of assisting those in most need while at the same time not discouraging thrift, self-help and selfreliance.
To this end my Government will set up a Standing Cabinet Committee including the Ministers for Health, Social Services, Repatriation and Housing, and that Committee will direct its attention to coordinating the approaches and proposals of the various Departments concerned with social welfare.
My Government will introduce proposals to remove from the minds of Australians the fear of the economic consequences of long . continued illness.
It will review the operations of the Hospital and Medical Benefit Schemes operated under the National Health Act. lt is proposed to arrange for an independent inquiry to be held into the operations of the Hospital and Medical Insurance funds which provide benefits under the scheme. After this inquiry has been held the Government will consider whether any further measures should be taken to improve the operation of the scheme whilst at the same time preserving the concept of freedom of choice on which it is based.
My Government is negotiating an agreement with State Governments to help mothers with children who are not eligible for benefits under the existing Social Services Act, but who are in need. The Commonwealth is prepared to meet half the cost of State expenditure in this field.
My Government will press ahead with its proposals to amend the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act to give common entitlements to all Servicemen on continuous full-time duty for periods of 12 months or more by admitting to the benefits of the scheme those now excluded because they are enlisted for periods of less than 6 years.
Eligibility for and payment of such pension benefits will be granted retrospectively in respect of those former members of the forces whose service was terminated by death or substantial incapacity on or after the date of the first National Service intake, 28th June 1965.
My Government will legislate to improve the scheme of compensation for death and injury under the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act. The legislation will provide for the establishment of an appeal tribunal as an alternative to existing appeal arrangements, will extend certain benefits currently available and will add a number of new benefits. Responsibility for this Act will be transferred from the Treasurer to the Minister for Social Services.
In recent years attention has been focussed on the advantage to the community if people employed within the public sector were able to move from one kind of public employment to another without sacrificing their superannuation rights.
Last year my Government decided to have the question of transferability of superannuation benefits within the public sector investigated. The services of Sir Leslie Melville, K.B.E., were retained for this purpose.
His report has been received and is being examined by my advisers, so that decisions as to the course to be followed may be quickly made and published.
My Government will legislate on a number of matters of legal significance to the Commonwealth.
It will introduce legislation to limit appeals to the Privy Council from decisions of the High Court and will prepare legislation for the creation of a Commonwealth Superior Court to relieve the pressure on the High Court.
Other legislation will include amendments to the law relating to copyright, new procedures for the examination and granting of patents, measures relating to cheques, and ratification of the Tokyo Convention on Crimes on Aircraft.
I now leave you to the discharge of your high and important duties, in the faith that Divine Providence will guide your deliberations and further the welfare of the people of the Commonwealth. (His Excellency the Governor-General and. members of the House of Representatives retired.)
Sitting suspended from 3.40 to 5 p.m.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMulIin) took the chair at 5 p.m., and read prayers.
in another place, and when I use the first person personal pronoun it relates to him. The statement is as follows:
Honourable members will be aware of the tragic circumstances which resulted in the termination of the Second Holt Ministry and I shall be referring to this in some detail shortly.
Following Mr Holt’s death, the Governor-General commissioned the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Country Party, the Right Honourable John McEwen, to form a government. Mr McEwen did so and was sworn as Prime Minister on 19th December 1967 without changing the portfolios held by Ministers in the Holt Ministry. Mr McEwen accepted the commission on the basis that when the
Liberal Party, the major Party in the coalition, had elected a new leader, he would stand down. .
On 9th January 1968 the Party elected me as the new leader, and Mr McEwen having stood down, 1 was sworn as Prime Minister the next day. The Ministry otherwise remained unchanged until I had the opportunity to consider the allocation of portfolios and to contest the by-election for the seat of Higgins on 24th February.
The new Ministry was sworn by the Governor-General on 28th February and . is as Follows:
Prime Minister - the Right Honourable J. G. Gorton
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry - the Right Honourable J. McEwen
Treasurer - the Right Honourable W. McMahon.
Minister for External Affairs - the Right Honourable P. M. C. Hasluck
Minister for Defence - the Honourable A. Fairhall
Minister for Primary Industry - the Honourable J. D. Anthony
Postmaster-General and Vice-President of the Executive Council - the Honourable A. S. Hulme
Minister for National Development - the Honourable D. E. Fairbairn, D.F.C.
Minister for Labour and National Service - the Honourable L. H. E. Bury
Minister for Shipping and Transport and assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry - the Honourable I. McC. Sinclair
Minister for Supply and Leader of the Government in the Senate - Senator the Honourable K. M. Anderson
Minister for Education and Science - the Honourable J. M. Fraser
Minister for Air and assisting the Treasurer - the Honourable G. Freeth
Minister for External Territories - the Honourable C. E. Barnes
Minister for Civil Aviation - the Honourable R. W. C. Swartz, M.B.E., E.D.
Minister for Immigration and Leader of the House - the Honourable B. M. Snedden, Q.C.
Minister for Health - the Honourable A. J. Forbes, M.C.
Minister for Repatriation - Senator the Honourable G. C. McKellar
Minister for Housing - Senator the Honourable Dame Annabelle Rankin, D.B.E.
Attorney-General - the Honourable N. H. Bowen, Q.C.
Minister for the Navy - the Honourable C. R. Kelly
Minister for the Interior - ‘the Honourable P. J. Nixon
Minister for the Army - the Honourable P. R. Lynch
Minister for Customs and Excise - Senator the Honourable M. F. Scott
Minister for Social Services - the Honourable W. C. Wentworth
Minister for Works and under the Minister for Trade and Industry, Minister in charge of Tourist Activities - Senator the Honourable R. C. Wright
The first twelve Ministers named will comprise the Cabinet. The Minister for Social Services, Mr Wentworth, will be Minister in charge, of Aboriginal Affairs. The Leader of the Government in the Senate will be Senator Anderson, and the Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr Snedden. In the Senate, Senator Anderson will be my representative and will also represent the portfolios of Trade and Industry, Treasury, Defence and External Affairs.
The other representational arrangements in that chamber will be: Senator McKellar, the portfolios of Primary Industry, Navy, Army, Air; Senator Rankin, PostmasterGeneral, Immigration, Health, Social Services, including Aboriginal Affairs; Senator Scott, National Development, Shipping and Transport, Civil Aviation and Interior; and Senator Wright, Labour and National Service, Education and Science, AttorneyGeneral and External Territories.
Ministers in the Senate will be represented as follows: The Minister for Supply by Mr Fairhall; the Minister for Repatriation by Mr Swartz; the Minister for Housing by Mr Bury; the Minister for Customs and Excise by Mr Nixon; and the Minister for Works by Mr Kelly.
– toy leave. - The Opposition congratulates members of the new Ministry and those who have been elevated to the Cabinet. This congratulation is personal in relation to the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), who came from this chamber, and it is especially warm in regard to those honourable senators who have been appointed to the Ministry. We wish them well and assure them that we will do what little we can to see that they carry out their duties efficiently.
– by leave - I wish to inform the Senate of the appointment of Senator Cotton as Government Whip in place of Senator Scott who, as I have just mentioned, has been appointed to the Ministry.
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Slates Grants Bill (No. 2) 1967. Loan Bill 1967,
States Grants (Water Resources Measurement) Bill 1967.
States Grants (Mental Health Institutions) Bill 1967.
Bankruptcy (Validation) Bill 1967. Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 3) 1967. Income Tax Bill 1967.
Income Tax (Partnerships and Trusts) Bill 1967. Aged Persons Homes Bill 1967. Banking Bill 1967.
Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 4) 1967. Income Tax (International Agreements) Bill (No. 2) 1967. Income Tax (Non-resident Dividends and
Interest) Bill 1967. Pay-roll Tax Assessment Bill (No. 2) 1967. Defence (Re-establishment) Bill 1967. Superannuation (Pension Increases) Bill 1967. Defence Forces Retirement Benefits (Pension
Increases) Bill 1967. Parliamentary Retiring Allowances (Increases)
Bill 1967. Air Navigation (Charges) Bill 1967. Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Bill (No. 3) 1967. Loan (Housing) Bill 1967. Excise Tariff (No. 2) Bill 1967.
International Grains Arrangement Bill. 1967. International Wheat Agreement (Extension) Bill 1967.
Sugar Agreement Bill 1967. Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Bill 1967.
Seamen’s Compensation Bill 1967. States Grants (Special Assistance) Bill 1967. Customs Tariff Validation Bill (No. 2) 1967. National Health Bill (No. 2) 1967. Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1967. Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Bil) 1967.
Nauru Independence Bill 1967. Canberra College of Advanced Education Bill 1967.
States Grants (Advanced Education) Bill (No. 3) 1967.
Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill 1967. Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill (No. 2)
Designs Bill 1967.
Stevedoring Industry (Temporary Provisions) Bill 1967.
Stevedoring Industry Charge Bill (No. 2) 1967. Stevedoring Industry Charge Assessment Bill 1967.
Loan (Qantas Airways Limited) Bill 1967. Loan (Airlines Equipment) Bill 1967. Commonwealth Employees’ Furlough Bill 1967. Public Service Bill (No. 2) 1967. Fisheries Bill 1967. Sugar Industry Assistance Bill 1967. Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Bill 1967. Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Royalty) Bill 1967.
Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Exploration Permit Fees) Bill 1967.
Petroleum - (Submerged Lands) (Production Licence Fees) Bill 1967.
Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Pipeline Licence Fees) Bill 1967.
Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Registration Fees) Bill 1967.
Petroleum (Ashmore and Cartier Islands) Bill 1967.
– I have to inform the Senate that I have received a copy of the Opening Speech delivered by His Excellency the Governor-General to both Houses of Parliament this day.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) - by leave - agreed to:
That leave of absence for 2 months be granted to Senator Cohen on account of absence overseas.
– by leave - I wish to inform the Senate that the Minister for
Housing (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) is at present overseas representing the Government at the Independence Day celebrations in Mauritius. She will be returning to Australia on Thursday.
– It is with very great regret that I formally advise the Senate of the death on 17th December last of the Right Honourable Harold Holt who was at that time Prime Minister of Australia. His tragic death while swimming at Cheviot Beach, Portsea, in Victoria, ended his 21 months of leadership of the Government of Australia and his 32 years of distinguished parliamentary service to his country. Harold Holt entered the Commonwealth Parliament in September 1935, shortly after his twentyseventh birthday, as member for the Victorian seat of Fawkner. He was a graduate Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne.
At the age of 30 years he became the youngest man ever to hold ministerial rank in the Australian Parliament when he was appointed Acting Minister for Air in the First Menzies Government during the prolonged absence overseas of the then Minister for Air, the late Hon. James Fairbairn. In 1940 Mr Holt stepped down to make way for the entry of Australian Country Party Ministers into the coalition Government. He joined the Australian Imperial Force as a gunner, but was recalled to the Ministry after the death in an air accident of three of his former ministerial colleagues, Mr Fairbairn, Mr Geoffrey Street, then Minister for the Army, and Srr Henry Gullett, then Minister for External Affairs. During his term as Minister for Labour before the First Menzies Government was defeated in 1941, he had successfully handled legislation for payment of child endowment in Australia, an achievement which prompted one newspaper to dub him ‘The godfather of a million children’.
Mr Holt spent eight years on the Opposition front bench prior to the return of the Menzies Government in 1949, when he was elected as the member for Higgins, the electorate he represented until his death. The new Ministry at that time included Mr Holt in the dual portfolios of Immigration, and
Labour and National Service. Mr Holt was appointed a Privy Councillor by the Queen on her Coronation in 1953. In 1956 he gave up the Immigration portfolio to take over the onerous duties of Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and Leader of the House of Representatives, while retaining his portfolio as Minister for Labour and National Service. In each of these posts he served with great distinction.
Mr Holt in 1958 was appointed Treasurer and held this most senior portfolio until his appointment as Prime Minister on the retirement of Sir Robert Menzies in February 1966. He had also a very special knowledge and understanding of other parliamentary institutions gleaned from his experience as delegate and Chairman of the General Council of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association 1952-1955, and as President of that Association’s conference in Ottawa in 1952, and in Nairobi in 1954. His continuing interest and support for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association right up to the time of his untimely death enabled Mr Holt to have and hold a very real and personal acquaintance with many of the emerging political leaders in the countries of the British Commonwealth. He served as President of the International Labor Conference in Geneva in 1957, at which some 1 20 nations were represented. While Treasurer, he was a member of the Board of Governors of the International Bank, International Monetary Fund, and International Finance Corporation from 1959 to 1964, and was chairman of the annual meetings of these organisations in 1960.
From the beginnings of the 1949 Menzies Government, Harold Holt was a senior member of the Ministry. As such, he was prominent in the formulation of national policies. It was here, in the area of highlevel decision making, that his profound faith and enthusiasm in Australia’s future first showed its strength. As Minister for Labour and National Service, he set himself the task of seeking a closer employeeemployergovernment relationship, aimed towards economic prosperity in Australia, with the highest possible industrial efficiency. As Minister for Immigration the human qualities for which he is so well remembered endowed Mr Holt with understanding and sympathy so necessary in the administration of this vital programme. His seven years as Federal Treasurer completed the arduous climb of Mr Holt to the Prime Ministership. lt was as Prime Minister that he was able to express his enthusiasm for Australia’s future and importance as a fast growing and integral factor in the pattern of South-East Asia.
Mr Holt believed Australia had a special part to play in Asia and the Pacific. He toured the area extensively, visiting and conferring with Heads of State in the promotion of this conviction. As Australian Prime Minister he visited the United States of America, and the United Kingdom each on two occasions. He visited Canada, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Taiwan and Korea. As all honourable senators will recall, he visited Manila to attend the Summit Conference on Vietnam. Mr Holt had an intense feeling for the future of this part of the world. He was sensitively aware of the problems and dangers which are inherent in the area, and recognised that Australia could and should give practical assistance to these countries in their emergence to statehood.
That, Mr President, is the basic history of a man rising to and attaining the highest political office that a democracy can offer. It is, however, only the basic framework, not the finished product, of the Harold Holt we knew and admired so much. Harold Holt was a man of uncomplicated warmness, a friendly human man who, in the words of Kipling, could ‘walk with kings yet never lose the common touch’. I doubt whether there is an honourable senator or member who had not been touched at some time by his warm, open friendliness and courtesy. Nevertheless, in a political clash he would fight with all the forces at his command, but win or lose, after the encounter, he would revert to his same basic character as a cheerful, approachable and kindly man.
Harold Holt had a youthful approach to life. He liked young people and appreciated and respected their views. He believed solidly in today’s Australian youth. Replying to an attack on national service policy, he once said: ‘I will yield to no one who says I have no regard for the nation’s youth.’ Speaking several months after he was appointed Prime Minister, Harold Holt was reported as saying: ‘I have no capacity for hate’. That was a remarkable understatement. Far from any such capacity, Harold Holt had only a remarkable talent for comradeship. He was a man who enjoyed nothing more than to be wilh friends.
Apart from his family and friends, I believe Harold Holt’s greatest love was Australia. He had supreme faith in its development. His enthusiastic faith in our future eminence, however, was tempered with the knowledge of what he must do today. When tragically he was lost to us last December, he had, as our Prime Minister, already set upon a course to bring Australia closer to our near neighbours. He had this in mind, I believe, when he said: ‘Australia’s deepest dangers and highest hopes lie in Asia’s tomorrows.’ Mr President, the presence at the memorial service to our late Prime Minister of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, the President of the United States of America, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Government, Heads of State, Prime Ministers or representatives of twenty nations, was a final tribute to our late Prime Minister, and also to Harold Holt, the man.
On behalf of all senators and everyone associated with, this parliamentary institution, I express to Mrs Holt and the members of the family our real and heartfelt sympathy. I know the Senate would want mc to make a special reference to the magnificent courage and dignity displayed by Mrs Holt at the time of the tragedy, and later during the sad period of the continuous search for Mr Holt, and at the memorial service.
Mr President, I move:
That the Senate expresses its deepest regret at the death of the Right Honourable Harold Edward Holt, C.H., M.P., a member of the House of Representatives for the Division of Fawkner from 1935 to 1949, and for the Division of Higgins from 1949 to 1967, for many years a Minister of the Crown, and for almost two years Prime Minister of Australia, places on record its appreciation of his long and distinguished public service and tenders its sincere sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.
– On behalf of the Opposition I support the motion moved by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson). It was a tragedy and a great shock to all Australians when in the prime of his life our most eminent citizen disappeared without trace. The .late
Mr Holt was a popular man whose passing caused great sadness in many parts of the world. For 32 years he was a distinguished member of the House of Representatives where he gave unsparingly of his many talents. It is evidence of his wide experience that he was a Minister of the Crown holding important portfolios from 1940 when he was recalled from the Australian Imperial Force. He was highly regarded by leading world figures. He was widely known overseas through his attendance as Australia’s representative at many international conferences. He served as Chairman of the General Council of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conferences held at Ottawa in 1952 and at Nairobi in 1954. He was Chairman of the International Labour Organisation Conference held at Geneva in 1957.
As a member of the Board of Governors of the International Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the International Finance Corporation the late Mr Holt presided as Chairman of the annual meetings of those bodies for a number of years. He thought and acted internationally. He brought great distinction to himself and considerable prominence to this country. As Prime Minister he was quick to see the advantages to accrue to Australia through more active participation in the Asian region. It will be said of him that he broke with Australia’s colonial tradition and took Australia into Asia. His initial visits to Asian countries gave rise to reciprocal visits, to the mutual advantage of all countries concerned.
Mr Holt was a tireless worker, conscientiously applying his mind to problems of the nation, to the very limit of his capacity. In the fierce and raging controversy that developed around Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam war he took decisions in accordance with his own principles, in a firm and unequivocal way. Though many of his countrymen disagreed with him on this and other issues they rarely doubted the integrity which characterised his decisions. We who are on the other side of politics respected him. Regardless of the differences which are inherent in political life, everyone associated with the late Prime Minister felt the warmth of his personality. In many moving ways tributes to the late Mr Holt have come from all over the world and. from his own countrymen. Today we who worked with him and knew him personally remember him as one whose personality, happy demeanour and many fine qualities will leave a lasting impression. We all mourn his early and sad loss and extend to his widow and family our deep and sincere sympathy.
– I support the motion that has been moved and I support, too, all that has been said in tribute to our late Prime Minister. We of this Parliament, and the many thousands of Australians outside, mourned for him at the time of his tragic death. We now honour his memory. Australia - indeed, the rest of the free world - was plunged into sadness on the day Mr Holt was swept to his death in the raging surf he loved so much. The premature death of this man of distinction who had made a lasting impact on the free world was all too sudden and tragic. He had reached great heights of leadership both at home and abroad.
Within a matter of days of his death the leaders of the free world set aside the immense cares and worries of their office to attend his memorial service in Melbourne. As has been mentioned, his Royal Highness, Prince Charles, the President of the United States of America, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and many dignitaries from other countries came along to add their testimony and to show the respect and regard they felt for Australia’s late Prime Minister. In simple but sincere terms President Johnson expressed his affection for the late Mr Holt when he said: ‘I just had to go’. To our former Prime Minister, President Johnson paid this unique tribute:
I don’t think I have ever known a man whom 1 trusted more or for whom I had more respect, and affection.
One correspondent described Mr Holt as one of the most decent men to fill the nation’s highest elective office’. I feel that this is a true statement of Mr Holt’s character. It is a tribute of rare simplicity in politics. Harold Holt was a decent man. He was an honourable man. He was a man of unquestioned integrity and probity. He was a popular man. He was a man without an enemy. He loved the outdoor life. He loved work. He loved exercise. He loved the sea which, cruelly and mercilessly, was to take his life. He was a kind man. He had a human understanding and a warm humanity that exuded in his personality. Yet he was tough. Of this President Johnson commented:
He asked and gave no quarter in negotiations representing his country.
The late Prime Minister cared deeply about the Commonwealth, and above ali, despite his preoccupation with matters of Asia, be was responsive to the importance of AustralianBritish links. He made a distinctive contribution to leadership in international affairs. He established new and lasting links in the all important sphere of South East Asia where he fostered closer friendships both with the nations and the peoples, of these areas. On the day when the service was held for him in Melbourne I passed through Singapore and Saigon. Services were held in both those centres. Wherever I went tributes and expressions of sincere sympathy and sorrow were given - by the South Vietnamese, by the Americans, by the British, by a Loatian Minister whom I met and by Australians.
Mr Holt spent well over half of his life span in the service of his people in this Parliament. He spent two-thirds of this time as a Minister. He was taken from the service of his country and of the free world at a time when there should have been many years ahead of him in the cause of well being. His Prime Ministership was too short lived. As the nation’s political leader he epitomised the importance of our relationships with the United States and with those states in South East Asia and elsewhere which depend for their security on America. Evidence of the deep impact he and his policies made abroad was the impressive assembly of mourners at his memorial service. Thus, even in his death, he helped to cement good relations with all those countries which were represented at the service.
Those of us who knew him suffered a feeling of great personal loss. Our hearts go out to Mrs Holt and her family in their bereavement. The sentiments I have expressed are shared by my Australian Country Party colleagues who join with me in supporting the condolence motion. May the memory of this great Australian and world leader be preserved for all time.
– I should like to be associated with this motion of condolence to the widow and family of the late Prime Minister. My memories and knowledge of the Right Honourable Harold Holt go back over the whole of his parliamentary career - indeed, to before he entered the Parliament. I knew him as a young, forward-looking member of Parliament, and I was to know him very well as the distinguished statesman who became Prime Minister of Australia. Never over all those years did I know Harold Holt to do a mean or paltry thing. I believe he was incapable of such an action. He had the unusual, capacity to attract friendship and to give it generously. Therefore, his memory will find an abiding place in the hearts of all his friends and, I believe, in the hearts of all members of this Parliament.
The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) referred to our former Prime Minister’s widow, Mrs Zara Holt. 1 am sure that in conveying this expression of condolence to her we will all wish her to know how we admired her courage and dignity under most trying circumstances. The hearts of women everywhere bled for Mrs Zara Holt. My final message is this: Harold Holt’s first love was his family and home. His family in return loved him dearly and he will be deeply missed by them just as he will be missed by everybody who had the privilege of knowing him well. Therefore it is with a very full heart that I support this motion of condolence.
– The members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party desire to be associated with this motion of condolence to the widow and family of the late Prime Minister, Mr Harold Holt. Words are a very feeble and inadequate means of expressing feelings on an occasion such as this. No words of mine, or for that matter of anybody else, can add much to the innumerable high and genuine tributes that have been paid by all sections of the Australian community, and by governments of other countries, to our loved former Prime Minister, Mr Holt. We shared in the sorrow of the Australian people for the loss of one who had served this country with great distinction. He was a man who, in the service of this country, won the admiration of all sections of the people, even those who may have differed with him politically. He was all that has been said of him.
I believe that Harold Holt’s main aim in life, his goal in life, was to serve God and his country. He achieved that, I am sure. It must be conceded that he did it with a dignity and a friendship that won him the applause of all sections of our people. His death was tragic and unexpected and, certainly, for a time at least it placed the Government of this country in bewilderment and amazement’. The Government, like the people, was stunned by the loss of its leader. Now, for his sake and in accordance with what would have been his desire, the Government is faced with the challenge to carry on as he would have done and serve Australia in the best manner possible by doing the. things that he would have liked to have done himself.
Australia can ill afford to lose men of the calibre of Harold Holt, particularly at his time of life when he had so many more years of service to render to his native, beloved land. I too, in common with everyone else, admired the great character demonstrated by his widow at the time of his tragic death. Mrs Holt certainly showed that she had an excellent and grand spirit of forebearance and of resignation. We wish her and her beloved ones the choicest of God’s blessings in the years that lie ahead.
– Mr President, I wish to add a few words to the tributes that have been paid already to the late Prime Minister, Mr Harold Holt. As one who has served in this Parliament longer than any other member of this side of the Senate, I recall that 1 had the great privilege of attending with Mr Holt and other members of the Australian delegation the meeting of the Empire Parliamentary Association Conference in London in October 1948. lt was at that meeting that his first great interest in the work of the Association became apparent.
It was a time of transition. The Empire Parliamentary Association Conference led to the Empire Parliamentary Association becoming known as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. It was more than a change in name. It was a change in the whole constitution of the various members within the Commonwealth.
I think that the understanding that Mr Holt obtained at that Conference, as well as meeting with many of the delegates from the constituent Commonwealth nations, was of great assistance to him later when he became General President of the organisation. It was rather a difficult transitional period. At that time, even when Mr Holt did not hold executive office at the Conference, he was sought by many of the delegates from the emerging nations to help them to deal with the problems that were facing them in their emergence into nationhood within the Commonwealth. The very fact that all of those nations remained within the Commonwealth was due in great measure to the understanding which he brought to this task.
I have been a member here of the Executive of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for many years. I wish to pay tribute to the work which Mr Holt did, particularly through that Association, in the cause of peace and unity not only in the British Commonwealth of Nations but also wherever parliamentary institutions are revered and respected. Therefore, while agreeing wholeheartedly with all of the remarks passed this afternoon by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) and the leaders of the other political parties represented here, I wish to add my small tribute to Mr Holt for the great work that he has done for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. I am sure that all of those to whom the Association is dear are fully cognisant of the work of our late Prime Minister. 1 also wish to express my personal regrets to Mrs Holt. Her great courage at the time of her husband’s death was an object lesson to us all. I hope that the words spoken here this afternoon will bring some small measure of comfort to her in her great bereavement.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honourable senators standing in their places.
– Mr President, it is with deep regret that I have to advise the Senate of the death on 3rd December 1967 of Edward James Holloway, P.C., a former senior Federal Minister and Acting Prime
Minister of Australia. Mr Holloway, a leading figure in Australian Labor Party politics for some 40-odd years, was a highly respected member Of this Parliament. A former State and Federal President of his Party, Mr Holloway entered the House of Representatives in 1929 when he won the seat of Flinders in Victoria. He was returned to the next Parliament several years later, representing the electorate of Melbourne Ports, the seat which he held until his retirement in 1951.
Mr Holloway was a member of the Australian Delegation to the Fifth Session of the International Labour Organisation of the League of Nations, 1923. He was Assistant Minister for Industry, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Development, and Assistant to the Treasurer from 3rd March to 1.2th June 1931, when he resigned from the Cabinet. From February to July 1944, he was Vice-Chairman of the Manpower and Resources Survey Committee. Mr Holloway’s portfolios included those of Minister for Social Services and Minister for Health from 7th October 1941 to 21st September 1943. He was Minister assisting the Minister for Munitions from February 1942 to September 1943. He was acting Minister for Labour and National Service from 24th June 1943 to 21st September 1943, and Minister for Labour and National Service from 21st September 1943 to 19th December 1949. Mr. Holloway was a member of the Production Executive of the Cabinet from February 1942 to January 1946. He was Acting Prime Minister from 16th April 1949 to 3rd May 1949, during the absence overseas of the Right Honourable i. B. Chifley and Acting Minister for External Affairs from. 6th April 1949 to 2nd May 1949 during the absence overseas of the Right Honourable H. V. Evatt. Mr Holloway was appointed a Privy Councillor in January 1950. I am sure that all members of the Senate will join with me in offering condolences to his son and daughter.
Mr President, 1 move:
That the Senate expresses its deep regret at the death of the Right Honourable Edward James Holloway, a member of the House of Representatives for the Division of Flinders from 1929 to 19J1, and for the Division of Melbourne Ports from 1931 to 1951, and a former Minister of the Crown, places on record its appreciation of his long and meritorious public service, and tenders its sincere sympathy to his family in their bereavement.
– Mr President, on behalf of the Opposition, I second the motion moved by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson). The late Edward James Holloway was a distinguished Australian who climbed from humble beginnings to high public office. He commenced his working life as a bootmaker apprentice and took early and active interest in the affairs of his trade union. During the period from 1916 to 1929, he occupied many important positions in the trade union movement, including the office of President and General Secretary of the Melbourne Trades Hall Council. He served with great distinction as Federal President of the Australian Labor Party and President of its Victorian Branch.
The late Mr Holloway’s entry into parliament coincided with the economic turbulence which gave rise to the great depression. He contested the 1929 election as Labor candidate for Flinders and caused a political crisis by defeating the then Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Stanley Melbourne Bruce, who had held the seat for 11 years with a large majority. This was a remarkable event, perhaps unprecedented. Mr Holloway served a notable 22 years in Federal Parliament, first as the member for Flinders until 1931 and then as the member for Melbourne Ports until his retirement on 1 9th March 1951. He was appointed an honorary Minister in the Scullin Government in 1931 and served as Assistant Minister for Industry and Research and Assistant Treasurer. Within 9 months of his appointment the Lyons Government took office.
His return to the Ministry as Minister for Social Services and Minister for Health followed the return of a Labor Government led by John Curtin in October 1941. In subsequent Labor governments in the period from 1943 to 1949 he was Minister for Labour and National Service, and for a short period in 1949 he was both Acting Prime Minister and Acting Minister for External Affairs during the absence overseas of the then Prime Minister, Ben Chifley, and the Minister for External Affairs, Dr Evatt. His career spanned the Scullin, Curtin and Chifley ministries. He played an important part in each of them. Near the end of his 22 years of service as a parliamentarian he was appointed Privy Councillor. He had the misfortune to lose his wife in 1953, 2 years after his retirement from the Parliament. He lived his remaining years in quiet retirement in Middle Park, Melbourne, until his death on 4th December 1967, at the age of 92.
Mr Holloway will be long remembered as a great stalwart of the Australian Labor Party and the trade union movement who pioneered many reforms in the fields of social services, health and industry. The trade union movement held him in high esteem as a trade union leader and as Minister for Labour and National Service. Many union men will recall his outstanding skill as a negotiator in the depression era and the skill he brought to bear in settling the 1926 waterside workers overtime strike and the 1929 timber workers dispute. The Labor movement and this nation will remain indebted to this outstanding man whose ideals and foresight brought great benefit to the people. We revere his memory and convey our sympathy to his son and daughter who survive him.
– The recital of the history of the late Mr Holloway fills all of us with admiration. I should like to associate the Australian Country Party with the expressions of the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy), and to extend our sympathy to the late Mr Holloway’s family.
– Because Mr Holloway was a Victorian and I knew him well, I have been asked to express the regret of the Democratic Labor Party at his passing. Reference has been made to Mr Holloway’s long and distinguished parliamentary career but I think he will be most remembered for his service to Australian trade unionism. I would say that he was one of the grand old men of the Australian trade union movement. He helped to build unionism in days when, unlike today, unionism was not accepted and it was difficult to fight against the opposition which was often levelled at those who were trying to build trade unionism. He held the highest positions available in his own State as a union leader. While he was, as has been said, a skilled negotiator, when the movement was involved in strikes and he believed in the justice of their cause nobody fought harder or more determinedly than he did. His entry into politics, of course, conferred distinction upon him and upon Australia, but I think it was a loss to trade unionism which could well do today with men like him. The Democratic Labor Party offers its sympathy to his relatives.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honourable senators standing in their places.
Senator ANDERSON (New South Wales - Minister for Supply) - As a mark of respect to the late Right Honourable H. E. Holt and the late Right Honourable E. J. Holloway, I move:
That the Senate do now adjourn till tomorrow at 3 p.m.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 5.54 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 12 March 1968, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1968/19680312_senate_26_s37/>.