26th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. 1 refer to the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union this day. ls the Leader of the Government aware that on 29th July last I asked that Australia demonstrate publicly our support for the Czechoslovak Government and people in their determined effort to secure independence and to extend civil and political rights, and that 1 stated that the Soviet Union should desist from intimidation and that its attempt to destroy Czechoslovak independence by improper pressures deserved universal condemnation? Is he aware also that those sentiments were endorsed by the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party Executive and that a protest against Soviet pressure was sent by the Party to the Soviet Embassy? Will the Government now join the Australian Labor Party in expressing the strongest protest against the Soviet aggression, which is a violent breach of international law and human rights?
– 1 recall that the honourable senator made a statement, and 1 think it was made on 29th July. 1 am not aware of the internal decisions - 1 was about to use an unkind word, but I will not do so - and resolutions of the Australian Labor Party; but I am aware, of course, from what I have heard on the radio today, of the tragedy that has occurred in this sad and shocking invasion of Czechoslovakia, a country which in difficult circumstances has been moving towards a more free and independent society, which is the hope and ambition of every human being who has any soul or character at all. That also applies to governments. 1 cannot make any further comment. 1 have not been informed officially by the Minister for External Affairs of any communique on the matter that the Government has at this stage. But T do express the absolute concern that we all must have that this sort of invasion - an invasion against human rights - should happen in any country in this age. When 1 have official information or a communique available to me I certainly will bring it to the Senate.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for External Territories. Bearing in mind the fact that the original officers of our Department of External Affairs were trained and worked in the British Foreign Service, will the Minister discuss with the Minister for External Territories and the Minister for External Affairs the possibility of recruiting into the Department of External Affairs a small number of Papuans and New Guineans for training at the tertiary level and later for appointment in the Australian Diplomatic Service and thus be available for future diplomatic service in Papua and New Guinea?
– 1 find the suggestion that the honourable senator makes very interesting. T certainly shall pass it on to the Minister for External Territories, Mr Barnes, whom I represent in this chamber, and I shall invite him to discuss with the Minister for External Affairs the suggestion that a number of Papuans be recruited into the Department of External Affairs for tertiary education and diplomatic service. I cannot anticipate the decision on such a suggestion.
– 1 direct a question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. Is it the intention of the Government to sign a nuclear non-proliferation treaty? If not, why not? Or is it the intention of the Government to supply any arm of the Australian defence forces with nuclear weapons?
– Quite clearly, this is a question for the notice paper.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. In view of reports that Mr Jack Egerton, President of the Queensland Branch of the Australian Labor Party, has been in Latvia attending the so-called Latvian Republic Trade Union Council, which functions under the so-called Latvian Socialist Republic, can the Minister verify the claim of Latvians in Australia that the Australian Government recognises the Latvian Government in Exile and not the Communist led Republic under which, as with all Communist countries, trade unions as we know them cannot function?
– Here again, quite clearly the question needs to be put on the notice paper in order to enable me to get the facts as indicated by the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party. I am not aware of the circumstances at the moment but 1 certainly shall get a reply from the Minister for External Affairs as promptly as I possibly can.
– I direct to the Minister representing the Attorney-General a question which is additional to a question I asked on 13th June, ls law reform in the Australian Capital Territory the responsibility of the Attorney-General or the Minister for the Interior? Has the AttorneyGeneral received and studied representations from the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory, pressing for law reform in the Territory? What action does the Attorney-General propose to take?
– Following on Senator Greenwood’s earlier question J discussed the subject of law reform within the Australian Capital Territory with the AttorneyGeneral. He takes prime responsibility for that field but it is shared with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Health. I am happy to tell my colleague that the Attorney-General has a separate group of draftsmen engaged upon the subject of law reform. Consultations take place with outside bodies of a specialist technical nature, in particular the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council, the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory, the Australian Capital Territory Bar Association and the Australian National University. In addition, we are also indebted to Mr Justice Fox for the special services that are being rendered in relation to the law of evidence. I can assure my colleague that in some areas advantage is being taken of consultation with the Law Reform Committee of the State of New South Wales. Much has been achieved in this field, but much still remains, and it is being approached.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration. Have any developments occurred during the recent parliamentary recess to bring closer the signing of an immigration agreement with Yugoslavia?
– Senator Mulvihill has been interested in this matter for some time and has asked me questions previously. 1 can follow on from the answers that 1 gave him then. He will recall that in July 1967 in Belgrade there was a discussion between the Yugoslavian authorities and our Department of Immigration concerning assisted migration from Yugoslavia, lt was expected that a delegation would come lo Australia to commence negotiations about this matter. When I replied previously to Senator Mulvihill we were still awaiting the visit, lt has not eventuated. The Department of Immigration has kept in close touch with the Yugoslav authorities and the latest information is that they are now completing a draft document as a basis for discussions on assisted migration and that it should be presented soon for our examination.
– The Minister representing the Postmaster-General will be aware of the many questions to (he PostmasterGeneral and the statements made in the Senate regarding the PostmasterGeneral’s policy of demanding that private individuals bear the whole cost of upgrading by the Department of private telephone lines or be deprived of a telephone service. Can the Minister give the Senate any information regarding a possible change in this policy?
– The only information 1 can give the Senate is that the Postmaster-General, as he has told me previously, is giving this matter his very careful consideration.
– Can (he Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science advise whether the Government is aware that independent and church schools, particularly in New South Wales, are on the verge of. bankruptcy? As church schools alone in New South Wales educate over 200,000 children - the number is closer to a quarter of a million - has the Government considered the additional cost of educating children al present in church schools should such schools close? ls the Government contemplating making any additional funds available to assist in keeping these schools functioning? If it is, when may the funds be expected?
– I think it is pertinent to remind the honourable senator that the Government has led in the matter of giving federal assistance to independent schools. The suggestion that comes from the honourable senator implying that a great number of independent schools, particularly in New South Wales, are on the verge of bankruptcy shows a most belated awakening on his part to the fact that the schools needed assistance because he, in conjunction with his Party, opposed for many years the Government giving assistance to independent schools from government funds. Positively the honourable senator will be well aware that we have devoted funds of a very high order to assist these schools, particularly in the technical field. He should remind himself that recently in the Budget the Government announced an appropriation of, 1 think, $27m over a 3-year period for libraries for independent schools to follow the assistance that we have given already in other fields.
– I direct my question to the Leader of the Government. When was the last protest lodged with the French Government against the testing of nuclear weapons in the Pacific? Will the Minister inform the Parliament of the ex’act wording of the message of protest?
– I will endeavour to obtain the information that the honourable senator seeks. When 1 have it 1 will present it in the Senate.
– -My question to the Leader of the Government follows that asked of him by Senator Murphy. Will the Minister ask the Prime Minister to make a public statement challenging various peace and disarmament organisations in this country, which previously have espoused the Communist bloc countries as the only peace loving countries in the world, to declare where they stand in regard to the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the armed forces of Russia and the Warsaw Pact countries?
– Yes, I will ask the Prime Minister to consider the question put by the honourable senator. I well recall reading in the Press some few clays ago that a very distinguished member of the Australian Labor Party had made some reference to the fact that-
– Don’t be dirty. You were not asked that.
– I am just stating the fact that a very distinguished member of the Labor Party-
– I rise to order, Mr President. The purpose of question time is to enable the answering of questions. A question has been asked and pari of the answer now being given is completely irrelevant to the question that was asked. I ask that it be ruled out of order.
– Order! The po nt of order is not upheld. I remind honourable senators that a Minister can choose his own way of answering questions.
– I was speaking to a point raised in the question asked by the honourable senator. I said that 1 would ask the Prime Minister to consider making a statement along the lines requested. Senator Greenwood made reference in his question to the Australian Labor Party. 1 therefore took the opportunity to say that it is not so long ago since 1 read a statement by a very prominent member of the Labor Party to the effect that all the argument was not all the one way, that there might be a case for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in its troubles with Czechoslovakia. That is not my statement. That is something that 1 read, and I have been very mild in my comment here. The facts of life are that this happening is a tragedy, lt is a tragedy nol only for Czechoslovakia but for the free world. Indeed, it is a tragedy for the world at large, and there is a glorious opportunity now for those who want to go and demonstrate to show just where they do stand when the chips go down in connection with the question of freedom versus anarchy and freedom versus the principles and the policy of the USSR.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Army. In view of the publicity given this morning to decorations awarded to members of the Australian forces serving in Vietnam I ask whether the Government has decided that members of the Australian forces serving in Vietnam cannot accept decorations from either the Government of the United States of America or the Government of South Vietnam. If it has done so, why? Were Australian soldiers permitted to accept United States and Korean decorations during the Korean war? Does the present Chief of the Australian General Staff wear the ribbon of the Order of Merit awarded by America in Korea? Will the Government give early consideration to the question of the acceptance of decorations and awards recommended by allied nations to Australian soldiers serving in the Vietnam war?
– I did see mention of decorations in the Press this morning. I was very pleased indeed to see that they were awarded to men who had earned them in the way these men had. I am not in a position to answer the rest of the honourable senator’s question. I ask him to put it on the notice paper so that the Minister himself may answer.
– Can the Minister representing the Postmaster-General give the Senate a progressive report on the Postmaster-Generals Department’s policy of progressively closing down post offices on Saturdays?
– T cannot give the honourable senator a progressive report, but 1 will take the matter up with my colleague the PostmasterGeneral.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science. Is the Minister aware that some 800 school teachers who have been trained at the expense of the New South Wales Government are teaching in schools in the Australian Capital Territory? Is it true that the Commonwealth has contributed nothing towards the cost of their training and only reimburses the New South Wales Government for the cost of the teachers’ salaries? Can the Minister also say whether the Commonwealth has, as from 1st January of this year, withdrawn permission to holders of New South Wales teacher training scholarships to attend the Australian National University? If this is so, and in view of the high cost involved to the State in training teachers, will the Government either reimburse the Government of New South Wales for the cost of training teachers teaching in the Australian Capital Territory or revise its policy of not accepting at the Australian National University holders of New South Wales teacher training scholarships?
– It would be quite inappropriate for me, in reply to a question without notice, to answer the second part of the honourable senator’s question. I shall transmit that part of the question to the Minister so that I can give the honourable senator a careful reply. It could not be expected that the Commonwealth would have contributed to the training of teachers from the New South Wales Department of Education, employed in the Australian Capital Territory prior to 2 years ago when the Commonwealth first advanced funds to the States for teacher training institutes. Teachers employed here since the advancement of those funds have received the consequent benefits. Teachers employed by the Commonwealth in the A.C.T. are employed as qualified members of the State Education Department at the appropriate salaries.
– My question relates to the comments made by the Minister for Works when he announced that the new type of construction at the Adelaide airport will reduce the distance that passengers will have to travel when transferring from one domestic airline to another, ls the Minister aware of the long distances that passengers have to walk between international and domestic flight aircraft at the new Tullamarine Airport? Will he investigate the installation at Tullamarine of ground level mechanical conveyors for passengers, which work on the rotating belt system and which are now installed at many overseas airports? They reduce the distance that passengers have to walk and assist in regulating passenger flow. Will he also consider the introduction of these devices in similar circumstances to those which now exist at Tullamarine?
– I am aware that Tullamarine has been designed to include movable conveyor belts to obviate the need to walk long distances. In Adelaide the position is entirely different. The airport traffic there has now outgrown the capacity of the structure. Over the past few years it has been necessary to strengthen and improve the hard-standing pavements and also, under the contract that was announced this week, to extend the terminal building. I have a plan of the proposed new building in my office, if the honourable senator wishes to see it. but I do not think that it would bc at all practicable in extending an existing airport building to incorporate the mechanical devices to which the honourable senator refers.
– 1 was referring to Tullamarine.
– 1 thought the honourable senator referred to Adelaide. I shall take the matter up with the Department. My own impression was that these devices were already part of the design.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs ask his colleague to use the influence of his Department to bring about peace in the troubled Socialist countries rather than gloat over the turmoil for political purposes?
– I do not know exactly what the question means. If it is an inferential question I repudiate the inference with all the strength that I possess. I should have thought that any mature man who did not use ail his efforts and all the power and resources that God had given him to help to bring about peace would not be a man at all. I am quite certain that when I refer the honourable senator’s question to the Minister for External Affairs he will make it abundantly clear in his reply that the Government, as would be expected of it. will always do all that it can, and will use all the opportunities open to it as a responsible government, to move for peace.
(Question No. 179)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice: ls it the intention of the Postmaster-General’s Department to install progressively air conditioning in official post offices and residences in tropical areas and hoi inland areas of Australia in order to bring that Department into line with oilier government departments and private businesses?
– The Postmaster-General has furnished the following reply:
While the Postmaster-General has expressed a personal view in favour of air conditioning post office buildings in the hot northern area;, of Australia, he has emphasised the fact thai the cost of treating the large number of post offices, telephone exchanges and staff residences involved would be considerable. He has pointed out that if large expenditure is incurred in this way it would reduce the funds available for other purposes, and many areas would experience considerable delay in receiving improved or new facilities.
However, the Postmaster-General is having the matter reviewed by his Department and honourable senators will be pleased to learn thai approval has recently been given for air conditioning to be provided in the new post office buildings which are to be erected soon at Exmouth, Western Australia, and Innisfail, Queensland. In addition, the Postmaster-General’s Department has been following a programme aimed at providing evaporative cooling for staff residences in hot arid areas, where suitable water supplies are available and the tenants are prepared to pay the operating costs involved.
(Question No. 328)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
As the reply to my question on Australian Broadcasting Commission radio talks broadcast in New Guinea which were alleged to encourage inter-racial war, was in my view evasive, will the Postmaster-General obtain for the Senate the script of the talks on the occasion concerned so that it might be ascertained whether the complaints were justified?
– The Postmaster-General has furnished the following reply:
As requested, the Postmaster-General has obtained from the Australian Broadcasting Commission the script of the programme concerned, United Nations Report’, which is available at my office.
(Question No. 332)
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:
– The Postmaster-General has furnished the following replies:
The arrangement and presentation of programmes on commercial television stations is the responsibility of licensees and I am not aware if matters in respect of the news telecast on 8th May over GTV Melbourne were precisely as the honourable senator has stated them in the first two parts of his question. However, the General Manager of the station, who was under some difficulties in the matter because of the lapse of time between the date of the telecast and the honourable senator’s question, has investigated the matter and has supplied the following information:
A total of ten photographs were prepared to illustrate this report, and each photograph was exhibited onthe screen for approximately 11/2 seconds. The extraneous photograph inadvertently was prepared amongst the other nine photographs, all of which did depict street fighting in South Vietnam.
This was the result of human error, and procedures have been established to prevent mistakes such as this occurring in the future.’
(Question No. 333)
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:
If so, was their chief responsibility, during their residence at this address, to watch the activities of one or more Federal Labor Parliamentarians who live in adjacent premises in the same street?
– The AttorneyGeneral has furnished the following reply: 1, 2 and 3. Suggestions relating to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation are of the substance of these questions.I must, therefore, say that I do not propose, by any answer to them, to depart from the practice of refusing to discuss the activities of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and of refusing to deal with particular allegations, either by affirming or denying them.
(Question No. 340)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice:
– The Minister for the Army has provided the following answers to the honourable senator’s questions:
These are geographically wide spread, 9 being in Vietnam, 3 in Malaysia, 16 in New Guinea and in Commands on the Australian mainland and 17 at Army Headquarters, Canberra.
The number of written Press releases issued by the Army Public Relations Service, both at Army Headquarters and in Commands for the period was approximately 1,000. In addition many thousands of questions posed by Press, radio and television representatives were answered in the same period.
As indicated in answer to question 4, Army Public Relations records do not contain this information. However the following details give some idea of the usage:
It.) A total of 46,238 publicity Press prints, including stereo blocks, was produced and distributed in Australia and resultant recorded pictorial cover amounted to 145,839 column inches.
(Question No. 355)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The Minister for Immigration has furnished the following replies:
The Special Reports Branch of the Department, which was set up some time ago for the purpose of dealing with malpractice, is at present examining the procedures for the issue of passports.
(Question No. 357)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The Minister for Immigration has furnished the following replies:
Inquiries made disclosed that Mr Teliga was unable to comply with the usual conditions governing the entry of tourist visitors to Australia. His application for entry for tourist purposes was therefore refused. However, approval was granted for the period required to provision and effect necessary repairs to his yacht.
(Question No. 366)
asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
– The Minister for Primary Industry has furnished the following answers to the honourable senator’s questions:
– On 14th August last Senator Cavanagh asked me a question about underwater detection devices. I am perfectly happy to have the answer to that question incorporated in Hansard, if the new approach of the Opposition applies to this question.
– I am much opposed to that.
– Would the honourable senator like me to read the answer?
– The answer reads:
Underwater detection systems, some of which will be used on aircraft, are under study at the Weapons Research Establishment in South Australia. We believe that one particular concept on which we are working will be superior to existing equipment of this type. The project has not been scrapped’. Indeed, a continuing research programme on this project at the Weapons Research Establishment has recently been endorsed by the Defence Research Authority. Informal discussions on the project are being held with United States authorities. However, the American Army as such has never been involved. This project is still in the research and development phase, and while compatability with our allies’ equipment, has been taken into account, it is not a crucial factor at this stage.
-I had promised to give Senator Keeffe an answer today on a matter relating to the sale of aircraft.It was only a few minutes before I came into the chamber that I saw a draft of the reply. I shall reply to bis question tomorrow.
– On 14th August Senator Laught asked me the following question:
Can tIle Minister for Supply ascertain and let me know the number of personnel to be engaged al his Department’s satellite station currently in the course of construction near Ceduna in South Australia? As the information is being sought on behalf of those interested in studying the housing requirements of these people, does the Department of Supply intend to make provision for housing these people? If so, how many people will need to be housed?
The Postmaster-General, within whose portfolio this matter lies, as the proposed earth station at Ceduna is being installed for the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (Australia), has furnished me with the following information: lt is anticipated that when the satellite earth station is fully operational there will be a staff complement of seventeen and that provision of up to fourteen staff houses will be made.
– I inform the Senate that 1 have received a letter from Senator Cormack requesting his discharge from the Privileges Committee.
Motion (by Senator Anderson) - by leave - agreed to:
That Senator Cormack be discharged from attendance on the Privileges Committee and that Senators Greenwood and Rae be appointed to that Committee.
Motion (by Senator Anderson) agreed to:
That Senator Withers be appointed to fill the vacancy now existing on the Library Committee.
– I have received letters from Senators Cotton, Webster and Dame Ivy Wedgwood requesting their discharge from the House Committee.
Motion (by Senator Anderson) - by leave - agreed to:
That Senators Cotton, Webster and Dame Ivy Wedgwood be discharged from attendance on the House Committee and that Senators Buttfield, Maunsell and Withers be appointed to that Commitlee.
Motion (by Senator Anderson) agreed to:
That Senators Maunsell and Young be appointed to fill the vacancies now existing on the Printing Committee.
Motion (by Senator Anderson) agreed to:
That Senators Rae and Webster be appointed to fill the vacancies now existing on the Standing Committee on Disputed Returns and Qualifications.
– I inform the Senate that I have received a letter from Senator Dame Ivy Wedgwood requesting her discharge from the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory.
Motion (by Senator Anderson) - by leave - agreed to:
That Senator Damy Ivy Wedgwood be discharged from attendance on the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory.
– I inform the Senate that 1 have received a letter from the Leader of the Government in the Senate appointing Senator Withers a member of the Joint Com.mittee on the Australian Capital Territory.
Motion (by Senator Anderson) agreed to:
That Senator Young be appointed to fill the vacancy now existing on the Senate Select Committee on Off-shore Petroleum Resources.
– I have received a letter from Senator Gair requesting his discharge from the Senate Select Committee on Air Pollution.
Motion (by Senator Anderson) - by leave - agreed to:
That Senator Gair be discharged from attendance on the Senate Select Committee on Air Pollution.
– 1 inform the Senate that I have received a letter from the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party appointing Senator Little a member of the Senate Select Committee on Air Pollution.
– 1 have received a letter from the Leader of the Government in the Senate appointing Senators Davidson,
Rae and Prowse members of the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution.
– Mr President, I move:
That intervening business be postponed until after consideration of Government Business, Order of the Day No. 2. lt is understood that the Budget debate will commence at 8 o’clock this evening. This will follow in the normal way.
Question resolved in the affirmative. j NEW AND PERMANENT
Debate resumed from 20 August (vide page 148), on motion by Senator Anderson:
That the Senate is of the opinion that the new and permanent Parliament House should bc situated on the lakeside site.
Upon which Senator Murphy had moved by way of amendment:
Leave out ‘the lakeside site”, insert ‘Capital Hill’.
– Mr President, when the debate was adjourned yesterday afternoon, I was in the course of pointing out that I felt it very necessary that we, as members of this Parliament, not only should be taking a big decision but also that we should be setting out to think big, to act big and to feel big in all our undertakings. This matter seems to me to be a prime example of where we should be thinking big. I pointed out that the birth of Canberra had not been on a big scale. Canberra had been born out of the parochialism of the people of New South Wales and Victoria. But after the birth of Canberra the planning and development were on the biggest scale. The plan of Canberra certainly has great beauty. Canberra has a wonderful design. It is practical and it has a great deal of symbolism.
There is symbolism in a great many of the buildings that are going up and have gone up already in Canberra. Symbolism to me in this case when we are choosing a place for the new and permanent parliament house is that the building should display the very qualities of the nation itself. It should be the shop window of Australia. It should display the greatness and the spiritual qualities not only of our past but also of our future, lt does seem to me that if we had continued with the idea that the permanent parliament house should be on the lakeside site, our past would have been the main thing which would be looked upon from that site.
If honourable senators look across Lake Burley Griffin they will see the War Memorial in the distance. Looking past the Department of Supply building, honourable senators will see on the right the buildings of the Defence departments and the AustralianAmerican Memorial commemorating our services together during the last war. These, although they are impressive, are not the all of Australia. Although we arc proud of our past, we also must look to our future, lt seems to me, looking at the map of Canberra, that Capital Hill is the place from which we can not only view our past and act upon it but also from which we can look into the future. After all, as has been established in many countries, it is from the hills that people look, see and act big. People from mountainous countries are always big and outward looking. That is what I believe we must be.
Certainly the symbolism that surrounds the choice of the site of parliament house should be that of democracy itself. We are trying to make democracy the best system in the world, lt seems to me that at present it is; there is no better system. I have heard people saying that parliament house is only a workshop and that therefore it should be situated among the working buildings in the national capital. To my mind, that is a very small view. Parliament house certainly is a workshop. But it is not only a place Ibr those who at the moment are working in it. lt is a symbol for the people of Australia of the law making capacity, the very development and thought of the nation. When I go to the site on Capital Hill J am impressed when 1 look around the full 360 degrees. On all sides one sees the beauty of the city, the beauty of Australia - the hills and the countryside - and the great distances. In front of the site almost the whole of the lake can be seen - not just a very small part of it, as can be seen from the lakeside. From Capital Hill, on the left hand side as one faces the lake, one looks at the seat of culture from which we draw our knowledge. On the right hand side one sees the spires of the many churches from which we draw our spiritual inspiration. One sees many beautiful buildings going up in Canberra. One sees some of the well situated suburbs.
To my mind one symbolic sign from the top of the hill is the parliamentary triangle lying immediately in front. If parliament house were to be put on the lakeside the building would be amongst a whole conglomeration of buildings within the parliamentary triangle. In my view parliament house should be the pinnacle of the parliamentary triangle as it should be the pinnacle of the nation’s aspirations. The hill is that pinnacle. It is at the point of the triangle, and looking down the triangle from it one sees Commonwealth Avenue on the left hand side. Kings Avenue on the right hand side and Constitution Avenue on the far side of the lake. To my mind. Capital Hill is undoubtedly the place where parliament house should be in relation to this triangle and in relation to the national capital itself. The site on the hill at the point of the parliamentary triangle takes in an uninterrupted and sweeping view of features that symbolise both our past and our future. If parliament house were to be built on the lakeside we would see only a restricted, closer view of the Australian War Memorial, whereas from the hill we would have an uninterrupted, sweeping and much more impressive view. I believe that that is certainly the view that we should aim at having.
I cannot find anything except a limited vision to suggest to me that the lakeside would be the right place. In the short term - for 40, 50 or 60 years - it would be pleasant to be on the water’s edge. That would be very attractive. But it would not give us the big and inspiring view that I hope all parliamentarians will have when they enter this Parliament. As I mentioned, on the lakeside parliament house would be only one of a conglomeration of buildings. What is more important is that it would soon be crowded out. Last week we attended the opening of the National Library building, which has five storeys. Behind it is the Treasury building. Not far away is the Administrative building, which has six storeys. How do we know that parliament house will go to six storeys? If it does not, it not only will be crowded out for expansion space but will be dominated by the administrative buildings that surround it. I believe that parliament house must have a commanding site and that it. must be a place from which we can expect to accept our responsibilities and think big for the people of Australia.
I have heard it said that if parliament house were built on Capital Hill 70 feet of soil would have to be taken off the top. Id discussing this matter with some of the newer members of the Parliament I find that they are not aware that a great deal of soil was brought in to form the site on the lakeside which is now proposed for parliament house. I maintain that if that amount of soil has been brought in to make that site suitable, soil could be brought in to build up the area of the top of Capital Hill so that the present level could be maintained, or even raised. Less soil would be required to be brought in to bring the site up to the required level than would have to be taken away to lower the level by the 70 feet that has been mentioned. There is very little more to be said. I certainly will be casting my vote in favour of Capital Hill, but in appealing once again to those who have yet to declare their thinking I should like to be emotional for a moment. I am not ashamed to be emotional on this issue.I believe it is one in which we arc looking forward for many, many years - many centuries. I hope - making a decision for all future Australians. In order to stress the point at issue I should like to read a poem, with a few paraphrased lines in it. It is called ‘Australia - Land of the Future’, and it reads:
We live but a day of thine ages
Whose land in its infancy lies
With a history lacking in pages
In the lap of the seas and the skies.
Could we sleep and in centuries waken
And view thee, the youngest of lands,
The world with the voice of thee shaken
The fruits of the years in thy hands
Oh, shake off the shadows of smallness
The heights for thy climbing are steep
Vote for thy glory, Australia
And sow that the ages may reap.
– As a member of the Joint Select Committee that has been established to inquire into the erection of a new and permanent parliament houseI feel that I should express my views on this nationally important subject, because Australia being a young, prosperous and expanding country that has a proud history of democracy behind it - and. I hope, ahead of it - the site of the Parliament is a matter of great importance, not only for members of Parliament but also for Australians generally, having regard to the heritage that has been handed down to us and the future of our great nation. It is interesting to note some of the historical background connected with this controversy over the site of a new and permanent parliament house which has remained unresloved despite some half century of wrangling about it. I hope that this Parliament very shortly will resolve the question once and for all, because if the present accommodation arrangements within the existing Parliament House continue and get worse within the next decade the efficient working of the Parliament will have reached a very serious situation.
It was in 1912 that Walter Burley Griffin won the design competition for the federal capital city of Australia in an international contest, and he provided for the site of Parliament House to be on Camp Hill. His design also showed a building on Capital Hill, to be called the Capitol. Griffin’s conception of the Capitol was a building - I emphasise the expression ‘a building’, having regard to what the National Capital Development Commission now has in mind - not a number of buildings - for popular reception and ceremonial occasions, for the housing of archives and for the purpose of commemorating achievements. Griffin at that time discarded the possibility of placing the Houses of Parliament on Capital Hill because he considered that the fact of Parliament being bicameral, that is, consisting of two houses, precluded the making of Capital Hill a focal point. This is the reason, in fact, why he chose not Capital Hill but Camp Hill as the site of the proposed parliament house. But, of course, that was in 1912 and this is 1968. Fashions and styles of architecture have changed considerably since then.
Following the receipt of Griffin’s proposals in 1912 the then Commonwealth Government decided in 1913 to conduct an international competition for a design of houses of parliament on Camp Hill, but because of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 this international competition was deferred. The subject was not picked up again until some 8 years later in 1921 when the Federal Capital Advisory Com mittee was established. One of the Committee’s early tasks was to consider the provision of parliamentary buildings, ft recommended the building of the provisional houses of parliament on the site now occupied by this present building. Of course we must bear in mind that this present building was not then in existence because it was not opened until 1927.
The Federal Capital Advisory Committee having considered the matter in 1921 and having recommended this present site for the construction of a provisional parliamentary building, the matter was referred to and considered by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works in 1923. It is interesting to note that Walter Burley Griffin at this time still opposed any departure from his original Camp Hill proposal but, as I have indicated, the construction of this present building had not been commenced. In 1927 the present provisional Parliament House was opened by the then Duke and Duchess of York.
Very little interest seems to have been taken in the subject generally by parliamentarians or the Australian people between 1927 and 1955. No doubt this was due primarily to the fact that in 1927 we had a new provisional parliament house on this site sufficient to serve the needs of parliamentarians at that time. Shortly after that we were involved in an international depression which had very serious economic consequences for Australia. Shortly after that again we were involved in major international hostilities with the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. Following the termination of hostilities Australia was engaged in a great rehabilitation programme. It was not until 1955 that the matter was again seriously considered by members of Parliament.
In that year a Senate select committee was appointed to report upon the development of Canberra. That Committee, which incidentally consisted of Senator McCallum, Senator Benn, Senator Hannaford, Senator Ryan, Senator Tangney, Senator Vincent and Senator Wood, brought down its report in September 1955. The Committee recommended the siting of the permanent parliament house on Capital Hill in lieu of the site proposed by Walter Burley Griffin. Senator Wood who dissented in some respects from that report dissented, as far as I can see, from this aspect only in tha! he suggested that a town planner should consider whether the present site, Capital Hill or some other site was the most suitableon which the permanent parliament house ultimately should be built. But apart from that minority dissenting report, the overwhelming majority of members of the 1955 Senate Select Committee were in favour of the Capital Hill site. Then we come to 1957 when a report was submilled to the Parliament by the erstwhile Speaker of the House of Representatives, Sir John McLeay, and the present President of the Senate (Sir Alister McMullin). lt was headed: ‘The Case for a Permanent Building’, and it was a joint statement by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. On 14th May 1957. when the report was tendered to both Houses of the Parliament by the then Speaker and the present President of the Senate attachedto it was a report by the Secretary of the Joint House Department. lt is very interesting to note the comments presented to the ‘members of both Houses by the then Speaker and by the present President of the Senate. Under the heading: Selection of a site’ the report said:
Irrespective of other decisions relating to proceeding with the planning and construction of the permanent Parliament House we suggest that an early decision should be made with respect to the selection of a site.
That was 11 years ago, and here, as the national Parliament, we are still tinkering with what appears lo be - goodness only knows why - a vexed problem. The report of the then Speaker and the present President went on to say.
Canberra’s designer WalterBurley Griffin chose the area known as ‘Camp Hill’ as the site of the permanent legislative building. lt is doubtful if that is now regarded as the most suitable site.
Parliament is the pivot of the capital city and of the nation and it should occupy the pivotal position.
Let me repeat those words:
Parliament is the pivot of the capital city and of the nation and it should occupy the pivotal position.
The report then went on to set out the circumstances that exist at Washington at the present time and how a visionary in the United Slates chose Jenkins’ Hill for the impressive Capitol that stands in Washington today. After relating the position here to the situation in Washington, the report submitted by the two Presiding Officers in . 1957 went on:
Canberra, loo, has such a pedestal waiting for a monument.It is Capital Hill. Here, on a site dominating all Canberra could arise a fitting home for the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia - a majestic structure with the hill landscaped with trees, shrubs, fountains and terraces which would be an inspiration lo freedom-loving peoples.
How anyone in this Parliament, or anyone connected with the National Capital Development Commission or any other authority that might be interested in this controversy can see his way clear to disagree with those sentiments expressed by the then Presiding Officers, one of whom is still President of the Senate, is indeed quite beyond me.
Then, after the Senate Select Committee of 1955 had tendered its report, and after The Case for a Permanent Building’ had been placed before both Houses of Parliament, apparently the Government saw its way clear to invite Sir William Holford, as he was then - I understand he is now Lord Holford - to come lo Australia and make some observations on the future development of Canberra. Sir William Holford, as he then was. came to Australia and made certain observations. He said that Camp Hill was unacceptable for parliamentary buildings because the provisional Parliament. House obscured both Camp Hill and Capital Hill when viewed from Parkes Place. He believed that Parliament was an active, democratic institution which should be housed in the forum and not on the hilltop. lt is rather interesting to observeLord Holford’s proposal as set out in his report. Whilst his plan showed the siting of the parliament house on the lakeside, the building was lo be completely by itself, without the intrusion of any other building. Since that time the very modern and indeed futuristic Australian National Library, which probably would obscure architecturally a new parliament house, has been built adjacent to the lake site. Behind the proposed site a Treasury building is envisaged. On the eastern side there will be the High Court building. Adjacent to the site is the administrative building. Whilst Lord Holford’s report of 1958 may have been of some value to parliament in those days, it was a minority report bearing in mind the overwhelming majority report of the 1955 Senate select committee, and the report presented to Parliament by the then Speaker of the House of Representatives and the present President of the Senate. Since 1958, when Lord Holford inquired into the matter, substantial alterations have taken place in the situation that he envisaged for Canberra.
Together with certain of my colleagues in this chamber, representing the major parties, I became a member of the joint select committee appointed to inquire into the construction of a new and permanent parliament house. One of the first matters that confronted the Committee was to decide on a site. Was the site to be by the lake or on the hill? I remember hearing recommendations from officers of the National Capital Development Commission that the new parliament house should be sited by the lake. We must remember that they had made that same recommendation to the Cabinet in 1958. Cabinet having accepted the recommendation, those officers gave evidence before the joint select committee that the recommendation was that the site be the lake site. We were taken on a scenic tour which included the Capital Hill site, the lake site and Mount Ainslie to view the two sites. There was also a tour of the lake to view the perspective of the lake site and the Capital Hill site. After this background had been presented to us we were asked to say yea or nay, whether it was to be the lake site or not. A decision was made by the Joint Select Committee. At that stage I voted for the lake site, but I expressed rather strong reservations about having to vote for it because it appeared to me that I had to cast my vote on the evidence that had been presented to me. I thought that that evidence was on one aspect only.
– Did you hear any evidence to the contrary?
– We heard evidence only from the National Capital Development Commission. A summary of the evidence, as I remember it, is that both sites were good ones, but in the opinion of the Commission, having regard to all aspects of the matter, we must accept the lake site as first priority.
– The Commission did not say that we must accept it.
– The Commission did not say that we .must accept it but recommended that we accept the lake site over and above the Capital Hill site. If honourable senators have read the special report circulated to all senators they will see that 1 am reported as having said that I had come to the meeting with an open mind. At that time I had an open mind, having visited the two sites and having listened to the evidence given. 1 pointed out that a Senate select committee had inquired into the proposed site of the new parliament house and the majority recommendation was that the permanent parliamentary building should be sited on Capital Hill and that no doubt evidence had been presented to that committee which led it to make that recommendation. All the evidence that the Joint Select Committee had before it was that the two sites were very good but that the lake site was better .than the other. I said that the Joint Select Committee was entitled to have before it views as to why Capital Hill would not.be a better site than the lakeside site. In casting my vote I said that 1 voted for the lakeside site only because of the evidence available to the Committee at that stage.
Subsequently the Joint Select Committee applied to the Government for permission to send representatives overseas for the purpose of investigating parliament houses throughout the world. I am amazed that: this subject should be debated before the members of the Committee who went overseas and looked at buildings have had the opportunity to report back to other members of the Committee. Whilst overseas the honourable member for Wills- (Mr Bryant) in another place wrote to me from New York saying that from the tour that he had had and from the parliament houses that he had seen he was more sure than ever that, the members of the Joint Select Committee should reconsider their decision. Yesterday the Senate heard from my colleague. Senator Devitt, who was one of the members of the Joint Select Committee who went overseas. I am sure that everyone who heard Senator Devitt speak yesterday will agree that he gave us some very interesting, illuminating and informative information, lt is interesting to note that originally Senator Devitt favoured the lake site. As a result of his broadened knowledge and experience gained from the visit to other countries and from seeing other parliament houses he now has come to the firm and definite conclusion, as he told us yesterday, that the siting of the new and permanent parliament house should be on Capital -Hill.
Earlier I mentioned that Walter Burley Griffin’s proposal was that a building should be erected on Capital Hill, with the permanent parliament house being sited on Camp Hill. It is interesting to note, in the recent report of the National Capital Development Commission which has been circulated to members of this Parliament, comments in comparison of the suggested sites. The report sets out the proposed treatment of the site not selected for the new parliament house. It states that if the new parliament house is located on Capital Hill the form of building which is desirable on the lakeside site may limit the use to which that site is put; but it is said that if the new parliament house is built on the lakeside site, Capital Hill can be appropriately developed with a number of small buildings grouped around the centre of the hill.
I want to know what is intended to be done in the way of erecting a number of small buildings, grouped around the centre of the hill. It has been said frequently that if the new parliament house is built on the lakeside site a great cultural centre will be established on Capita) Hill. However. 1 repeat, the report of the NCDC states that Capital Hill will be developed by the erection of a group of small buildings around the centre of the hill. One wonders what is the purpose of: that exercise. 1 am sure that ali members of this Parliament and all Australian join me in wanting to show off Australia as a great democratic country, a young, expanding and prosperous nation with a great future. As such a nation we should choose to place the new parliament house on the highest and most prominent position available, for all to see. It should be placed where everybody can visit it and look up to it. The chosen site should be capable of expressing the vision of the light on the hill for all. I urge honour able senators to support the choice of the Capital Hill site, having regard to the history and to the future expansion of this great nation.
– Of necessity, entering this debate at this stage I will find myself repeating at least some of the remarks that have been made by previous speakers. I wish to comment on one aspect referred to by Senator Devitt. He argued hat there is no great urgency for Parliament to come to a decision at present. I believe that this is a matter of urgency. It has been pointed out that the decision on the site for the new and permanent parliament house has been in the air, as it were, although many people have been under the impression that the decision was cut and dried following Cabinet considerations in 1958. It is apparent that if any forward planning is to be done, a great deal of work is necessary in relation to the siting of the new parliament house. Therefore I think there is urgent need for Parliament to come to a decision in the matter, especially as we have now been given the opportunity to debate it. The Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) should be commended by all honourable senators for having given to the Parliament the opportunity of a free vote. Surely nothing should be done to delay the decision of this Parliament. If, by any strategy, delaying tactics are introduced, some people will have great doubts about the sincerity of the Government in giving us this opportunity to discuss the matter.
With great regret we have observed for years notices of motion by Senator Wright on subjects which have been excluded from debate by the tactical device of placing them low in the order of business on the notice paper. This Parliament was thus denied for years an opportunity to debate the subject of the siting of the new parliament house. Now that we have been given that opportunity it is pleasing to note that so many members of the Parliament have been thinking deeply about the proposal.
I wish to express my regret that in the early stages of this debate the report of the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House was presented to Parliament, containing the views of the Committee concerning a site for the new building. The opinion of the Committee was taken early during ils life, before the delegation from this Parliament went abroad to inspect parliament houses overseas. Ithink it is apparent that the opinion was formed without adequate consideration of the many factors involved. Certainly the Committee considered evidence only from people who, of necessity, had been working on what they considered was a brief for a particular site. I have not heard from any member of the Committee that it was given an opportunity to discuss with experts in the field of town planning any views contrary to those put forward by the National Capital Development Commission. It is a sad state of affairs that the Committee’s report should be put before us for our guidance in that form.
However,I agree with the presentation of the priorities of importance of the various factors involved in this decision.I refer to function, symbolism and aesthetics. The site chosen has no great impact in the matter of function. I believe that a functional parliament house can be built on any site where there is adequate room for the building. Symbolism and aesthetics are important. At times queries have been raised as to whether members of Parliament are competent to express opinions on symbolism and aesthetics. Surely symbolism is a product of the imagination. Although some people may have more fertile imaginations than others.. 1 suppose there is some validity in the concept of symbolism of every individual. I do not think that any person is more efficient or more capable of expressing symbolism than another person. It is important to remember that Lord Holford expressed his preference for the lakeside site in terms of symbolism.
In the matter of aesthetics, surely that is a matter of taste, as the old lady said when she kissed the cow. There again, who is a judge of aesthetics? Surely aesthetics cannot be measured by any definable means, such as a mathematical formula. Aesthetics are a matter of personal evaluation of what is beautiful and desirable and so I, as a humble member of hill-billy corner, must in assessing these things come down strongly in favour of the hill site. I do so largely having regard to my evaluation of matters of symbolism and aesthetics. But before I make some comment on these matters I should like to emphasise again that this is a decision that should remain with Parliament. People have asked why the present members of Parliament should be worried about this matter. It is said that they will probably never sit in the new parliament house. It is certain thatI will not do so. However, the decision where to put Parliament is something that rests upon the shoulders of the Parliament today and future generations will praise or dispraise us for our decision. I think it was a serious error to say that future generations would regard us as silly. I do not know whether someone has a crystal ball which enables him to predict what future generations will say. We can only approach this problem in all sincerity and decide where we think the parliament house should be. Certainly a decision must be arrived at.
Considering now the aesthetic questions, one reads a most remarkable statement in the report of the National Capital Development Commission on the Development of the Central Area of Canberra Including Aspects Related to the New Parliament House.I propose to read this because I believe it is fairly important. Paragraph 7 on page 7 states:
Aesthetically speaking, the view is held by eminent authorities-
Unnamed - that the design of Canberra would be greatly enhanced by siting a major building at the central point of the Triangle. The expert opinion is that the central axis is too long, visually, and that it needs an intermediate point–
A point - on which the eye can rest. A major building on the site now proposed would help to establish a satisfactory visual relationship between the Australian War Memorial, the. Houses of Parliament and theproposed National Centre grouped on Capital Hill. The Houses of Parliament, being bicameral, provide a suitable type of structure for this position.
How on earth can one; by looking at a building, determine that it is bicameral or whether any function of the building by internal arrangement has any relationship to the visual placing of the building. The report continues: (This is consistent with Griffin’s view that the Houses would be difficult to locate at the apex of the Triangle.)
Griffin’s view of a bicameral house was that there would be two buildings, but this was a completely mistaken view. When one examines the meaning of the report one sees that it is simply gobbledygook. This is the sort of stuff that Parliament has been asked to accept as an aesthetic evaluation of the situation.
– Who was the author of that publication?
– I do not know, but it would be interesting to find out. Let us look at what else was said. In other parts of the report we are told that from Parkes Place we cannot see Capital Hill. That might be true, but I do not know what proportion of their time the people of Canberra will spend in Parkes Place and whether or not it is important that they cannot see the foundation of a building on Capital Hill. If we consider the question of. vista, what will anybody in Parkes Place see of the vista leading to the War Memorial if a massive building is placed between him and Capital Hill? There will not be a point for the eye to rest on; there will be a complete destruction of the vista. 1 feel that the town planners and architects, if they were responsible for this decision, are more impressed by pretty drawings than by the actual scene because only on a drawing could an impression of this sort be gained.
We were told that we need a point on which the eye can rest, lt is a long vista, I agree, but it can be seen at its best advantage from Capital Hill or the War Memorial. There is already a breaking of the vista; the lake breaks the vista without interfering with it or blocking and destroying it. But when we place a massive building there we completely destroy the vista from either vantage point. So much for that aesthetic consideration. There are other aesthetic considerations involved in putting a building by the lakeside and before dealing with the symbolic ones perhaps I should touch upon one of them. If we erect on the proposed lake site a building big enough to house the parliament of the future, the parliament of the next SOO or 600 years, it will need to be a massive structure. The decision has to be made whether it will be a multi-storey building or a low building covering a great number of acres. If it is a low building, surely the site will be too crowded. If it is a tall building, its proportions will reduce the lake to a stream. The whole proportion of the surroundings will be destroyed.
Let us consider the view from a proposed building on the lakeside. From that position we would see across what would be mostly a muddy pool of water. The view would be largely confined by two bridges and the artificiality of the lake and the man made nature of that stretch of water would become very apparent. If we looked to one side our view would be confined to the Library and other buildings, and on the other side it would be virtually confined to the proposed law courts building. To the southern side the view would extend not much farther than the existing Parliament House. There would be a myopic outlook, whichever way we sought to view Canberra. All we would see would be the immediate neighbourhood of a building on that site. Let us compare the outlook from the hill. From there we would have a complete 360-degree view over the beautiful city of Canberra. From the hill, as Senator Buttfield has pointed out, we can see the lake as a lake and it loses the obvious artificiality because of the contours which are very beautiful when viewed from that site. From Capital Hill we can see much more of the lake and we can see it in relation to the whole city of Canberra. There is not the miserable myopic peep that we get at it from the lakeside.
We have been told that the Capital Hill site is not suitable because we can see houses from there. Fancy being able to see houses where people live. Fancy Parliament having to look at houses. If ever there was a condemnation of the symbolism that dictates that the Parliament should be down by the lakeside, this is one. I am very proud of the fact that there are people who think that it is important that we can see houses where people live and how they live. From Capital Hill we can see the city of Canberra. We can see the people. We can see a lot more than’ the confines of law and literature. From Capital Hill law and literature not only can be seen hut also can be put into perspective with the whole of the responsibilities of Parliament.
Surely much more important than seeing Canberra from Capital Hill is that we can see beyond Canberra. We are here as representatives of a national Parliament. We. are not here just to see Canberra. From Capital Hill we can see the snow on the mountains. In fact from that site we can see the hills and the plains beyond. This is a constant reminder that we arc here in a national Parliament with responsibilities to
Australia as a whole. We are not here because Canberra has been chosen as the place for the national capital. This is incidental to the duties devolving upon the members of this Parliament. I think that it is an absolute necessity that members of this Parliament should be reminded constantly that their responsibilities stretch out beyond Canberra. I think that the people of Australia as a whole would demand that we should be reminded constantly of these wider responsibilities that we have to them.
There arc people who are ridiculing the idea that the new and permanent parliament house should be set on a hill. To me this is symbolic. It is symbolic of the forces in this community that would denigrate Parliament. Wc have seen these forces at work. These forces rubbish Parliament and ridicule the members of the Parliament. I must confess that some of us - perhaps all of us - fail to live up to the great responsibilities that are placed upon us. At times we fall clown in regard to our responsibilities. But before the day comes when Parliament should be denigrated, let somebody say what is to be put in its place. Will the Press govern Canberra? Are the bureaucrats to govern Australia? Let us decide what sort of government we will have and what we will put in the place of Parliament. I think that we need to look at the symbolical features of the siting of the permanent parliament house. They arc important. Future generations will judge us on the decision that we make. I trust that this decision will not be delayed unduly.
- Mr Acting Deputy President. I have been most impressed by the eloquence, the enthusiasm and the poetry of this debate on the subject of the site for the new and permanent parliament house. Perhaps it is fitting for honourable senators to give expression to their aesthetic and other views on something that not only can become a thing of beauty but also can turn into an object that might bring criticism on this generation if we do not make the right decision. lt does not fall often to the lot of 184 people to make such a decision as this. Parliament houses unfortunately are too rare throughout the world. Perhaps our world would be a better place if many more parliament houses were to be found in a greater number of countries. We have the honour and privilege to live in this country where the institution of parliament is accepted. We accept the history and the traditions of Parliament. I think that most of us, after listening to the debates on this matter, are seised of the great importance of perpetuating and, if possible, enriching these traditions and the status of Parliament. So, I take it as a great honour to be one of the senators in this chamber and to be one of the members of this Parliament in this period in the history of Australia.
We have the responsibility of making up our own minds about choosing a site for the new and permanent parliament house. I feel that we need to draw on our best resources in order to be able to have a good long look into the future to determine what is involved in the decision that we are to make. For a start, we can take the material decision that on Capital Hill we have 130 acres of land that, without very much difficulty, engineers could turn into whatever shape they wished. In the days of Walter Burley Griffin, it would have been a horse, cart and barrow job to do anything with Capital Hill. That was the means of moving earth in those days. Even an imagination of the greatest elasticity would boggle at the thought of moving that hill with horses, carts and barrows. Yet, today, with modern equipment, this would be a matter of ease. With the equipment available in Australia the whole of Capital Hill could be moved down to water level.
– One has only to look at what has been done in the Snowy Mountains scheme.
– That is quite true. We are living in a wonderful age. But we are only on the threshhold of great things. Therefore, we must not let the smaller considerations dominate our thinking. This debate has been kept on a high level. Our sights should be set with the same vision. We should consider not only how our reputations will stand with posterity but also the wisdom of the decision that we are to make, lt is my view that the permanent parliament house should represent strongly our vigour and vision. We must have the breadth of vision required to provide a building which will be able to accommodate the elected representatives of the population that Australia could achieve quite easily in a foreseeable period. I refeto a population of from SO million to 100 million people.
– Then, where would the honourable senator put the building - down on the lake?
– No. 1 want room for the parliamentarians who will represent between 50 million people and 100 million people. 1 can foresee that in the not very distant future - perhaps in the time of children being born today - there could be quite easily 250 senators and 500 members of the House of Representatives in the Parliament.
– Where does the honourable senator want the building? Does he want it on top of Capital Hill?
– lt must be on top of Capital Hill.
– Hear, hear!
– 1 say that because on 40 acres of land sufficient accommodation could not be made available for such a number of parliamentarians to carry on the duties connected with the administration of this nation. If there were any shadow of doubt when 1 stood up to speak about where I stand on the matter, let me clear the point now. The site for the new and permanent parliament house should bc Capital Hill. This decision is of greater importance than any economic decision. The measure of our attitude towards the institution of Parliament, as expressed by our decision, will be judged by those who follow us. We have come to the time when we must make up our minds. 1 must pay tribute to Walter Burley Griffin and his concept, of Canberra. The argument that he did not choose Capital Hill as the site for parliament house does not get away from the fact that he designed a triangle. In my view, the three arms of the nation - the legislature, the judicature and the executive - are represented by the triangle. They are the basis of our nation. [ believe that that is the thought behind the concept of the triangle. Although we give equality and individuality to each of those sections of government, no-one here doubts that the Parliament is and must remain the superior part of that triangle. The Parliament is answerable to the people and represents them. Therefore it should be the dominant feature in the triangle.
We have received several reports. I was most interested to read the document ‘The Case for a Permanent Building - Joint Statement by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Report by Secretary, Joint House Department’, which was presented on 2nd May 1957. Under the heading ‘Parliament House as a Symbol of Freedom and Democracy’, paragraph 11 states:
A monumental Parliament House is the embodi ment of the recognition of that trust. Moreover, it would bc a tangible expression to visitors from other countries of our pride in, and the success of, democratic principles.
I also believe that to people who come from other parts of the world parliament house can become a symbol. In most parts of the world which I have had the good fortune to visit and in which 1 have seen a parliament house or the equivalent, the site chosen has been an eminence to which people can come and look and see. My view is that, if we were to place the new and permanent parliament house down on the side of the lake it would be overshadowed by the surrounding buildings - (he High Court building, the National Library building, the Treasury building and the Administrative building - and that the most important requirement that parliament house should be elevated would be cast aside. Paragraph .13 of the document states:
On this point, we feel sure that Australians visiting other countries are impressed with the majesty of the public buildings, which imbue the peoples of those countries with a deep sense of national pride and a recognition that such buildings are symbols of their own country’s values and achievements.
Paragraph 20 states:
At Washington, for example, a visionary chose Jenkins’ Hill as the site for the impressive Capitol, a commanding eminence which he spoke of as A pedestal waiting for a monument’.
Paragraph 21 states:
Canberra, too, has such a pedestal waiting for a monument, ft is Capital Hill. Here, on a site dominating all Canberra, could arise a fitting home for the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia - a majestic structure with the hill landscaped with trees, shrubs, fountains and terraces, which would be an inspiration to freedomloving peoples.
– Who said that?
– lt was said in a joint statement by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
– On what date?
– It was presented on 2nd May 1937. Paragraph 18 of the joint statement reads:
Canberra’s designer, Walter Burley Griffin, chose the area known as ‘Camp Hill’ for the site of the permanent legislative building. It is doubtful if that is now regarded as the most suitable site.
The improvisation of the people of the era when the present temporary Parliament House was built ls now being reflected in the fact that Burley Griffin’s original concept has been spoilt, in a way. Nevertheless, we cannot be influenced to any great extent by the mistake of putting this building here as a makeshift parliament house. We will have to forgive, the people of that era because of the economic pressures that were on them at the time. Expediency often creates very difficult problems and a not very satisfactory aftermath. But let us not make that mistake again. I believe that, if we were to put the new and permanent parliament house down on the lakeside, within a very short period we, as the incumbents of the Senate and the House of Representatives at this time of choice, would be criticised for our lack of foresight in not allowing sufficient scope.
Arguments about the traffic problem are put forward. There is no doubt that at the moment traffic is diverted away from Parkes Place and the edge of the lake. The main stream of the traffic has been diverted into the circle surrounding Capital Hill. But, as 1 mentioned before in relation to overcoming the physical problems of building on the hill and creating sufficient space there for all the landscaping, gardens and other adornments that should surround parliament house, it is not beyond the wit of engineers to overcome the traffic problem with overpasses and underpasses.
I believe that the hill lends itself to other requirements of the future. We know of the tunnelling that has been done in the Snowy Mountains scheme and by the Hydro- Electric Commission in Tasmania. A giant machine known as the ‘Mole’ can create tunnels by eating its way through the rock, lt could quite easily be used here to enable the rock mass to be used for storage purposes and underground shelters. Anyone who has done any of the civil defence courses knows that in all permanent buildings provision should be made for nuclear or atomic war. This feature could be incorporated in the stonework of the rock mass on the top of the hill.
Parking is an ever growing problem; but on the hill it could bc handled, because there are no other buildings within the circle. I am advised that there is an area of 130 acres, which could be extended.
– Would it not be possible to provide parking areas perhaps miles away and to have a moving footpath to bring people into the building?
– That is done in respect of parking areas in Sydney. People could come off the street, park their cars and then get on to escalators. Who is to say that that will not be a way of overcoming this problem? I am not trying to place myself in the position of the visionary engineer; I am just making my choice quite clear to honourable senators. I hope that the amendment will be supported very strongly by the Senate. Most of the arguments that have been put forward have been in favour of it. We have heard only one lonely voice speaking for the lakeside site. I believe that such unanimity on a matter of such importance, and on this very unusual occasion when there is a free vote, shows that the hill site not only is suitable and desirable but also has an overwhelming amount, of support in the Senate. The matter has been canvassed very well. I hope that we shall be able to come to a decision as soon as. possible and get on with the other work of the Parliament. I want to place on record my support for siting the new and permanent parliament house on Capital Hill.
– I. support the amendment. I appreciate and feel honoured at the opportunity to take part in this debate this afternoon. J appreciate that the result of the debate, will be ascertained by means of a free vote. The Parliament is the right place in which to discuss the choice of a new and permanent parliament house site. There is really no great urgency with regard to the building of a new parliament house, because this Parliament House is quite adequate for the foreseeable future. But it is quite important that the Parliament should decide where it proposes the new parliament house shall be built because, I understand, a great deal of cultural development in Canberra is being held up pending the determination of this site question. 1 understand that there is a building to be erected to be known as an art gallery. There could well be one relating to Aboriginal studies and other cultural matters. These buildings and the planning of this whole concept are held up pending the decision which is about to be taken. Therefore, I do commend to the Parliament that it take this decision without undue delay. Then events will follow in an orderly manner.
I appreciate the fact that a committee has recently toured the world to go into the question of the normal requirements of a parliament. I for one will listen with very great interest to its report when it comes before the Senate. So far so good, but such a committee can report only on requirements. Plans and specifications for the new parliament house will have to be drawn after the Parliament has decided what the requirements are. Before plans and specifications can be drawn a site will have to be determined. As a senator I take responsibility in casting my vote for the site on Capital Hill. In doing so, I must mention the fact that I have visited both sites and. in my own time, considered what I thought were all relevant aspects.
The first of those aspects is a comparison of the two sites on the basis of suitability from a practical standpoint. If one considers the Parliament as just a workshop, a place where debates are held, decisions made and an odd visitor entertained, we could build a suitable new parliament house on either site. But in relation to suitability and practicability one should consider the surrounding area. We have been told that on the Capital Hill site there is approximately 130 acres of ground. If the site is confined by a proposed ring road, the area is 85 acres. But on the lake site the area is not more than 48 acres and this is confined because on one side is the water of the lake, on another is the new Library building, on another will be the proposed court buildings, and on another is the existing- Parliament House. Consequently, one has to consider that on one’ site is afforded 85 acres and on the other only 48 acres.
In the light of the tremendous development that we see for Australia, and consequently for the Parliament of Australia,
I am moved towards the larger site. As has been explained to the Senate by Senator O’Byrne and others, the modern engineer does not boggle at a bit of uneven ground. I therefore consider that there should be no- difficulty whatsoever because of the existing unevenness of the ground on Capital Hill, in the light of modern engineer-; ing techniques. So from the standpoint of sheer practicability and suitability 1 say that the comparative largeness of the area of the Capital Kill site is of fundamental importance.
One should not move too far away from the aesthetic comparison of the two sites. Here I consider that the hill site draws right away from the lake site. On the hill site there is an uninterrupted view through 360 degrees. In one direction are the blue hills of the Australian Alps and in another there is the lake - not just the part immediately in front of where we are but the whole of it, right from Government House to beyond the industrial area. Then there is a magnificent perspective of churches, schools, administration buildings, roads, bridges, residences, sporting grounds and everything else that one would expect in a modern city. Consequently, from the standpoint of the 360-degree view and all that it encompasses, I consider that the hill site is by far preferable to the lake site, where the view in front is an expanse of water and beyond to the Australian War Memorial. On two sides the view from the lake site would be limited by the Library Building and the court buildings, and at the back it would be limited by this building and others that are projected. Consequently, there is no comparison between the two sites from the standpoint of view.
I also like to consider the new parliament house from the point of view of .symbolism and the significance of the Australian nation. At the present time there are 12 million people in Australia. By the time when the new parliament house is built there could well be double that number. By the turn of the century the new parliament building could well be the place where the political thinking of the whole of the South East Asian area is done. In the future - say at the turn of the century - Australia could well be the political and thinking centre for the peoples of many nations in this area. Therefore there is a tremendous duty upon us as parliamentarians in 196S to think very deeply on this question and not settle for a small, limited or constrained site. We should think widely and decide for the largest possible site that is available. The vehicular traffic - whether motor vehicles or other vehicles are used in the distant future; - to such a site is of great importance and the larger the area the greater the competence of the site. Looking at the matter from the viewpoint of suitability, aestheticism; symbolism and significance I support the hill site. I commend the Government for allowing us a free vote, and 1 commend also my colleagues on both sides of the Senate for the way in which they have approached this important question.
– My comments will be very brief. At the outset I want to indicate that I am a supporter of the hill site. I shall cover only three or four of what I regard as the major points which should be considered. Perhaps the most important of these is the fact that the hill provides the largest and most suitable area. If the new and permanent parliament house is built on Capital Hill there will be available approximately double the space that is available on the lakeside site.
I think too that we should have some sense of responsibility in relation to tradition. 1 know that the generations which have served in my Party in the Federal Parliament before our time always believed that ultimately Capital Hill would be chosen as the site for the new parliament house. I can recall my late father, who was born in the Williamsdale area, speaking of this on many occasions with something of a long range view and saying that Capital Hill would be the ultimate site of the house.
There are a number of very peculiar factors associated with this debate and the events leading up to it, not the least of which is the very hurried meeting of the Committee which was called only a few evenings ago at 9.30 p.m. when three Labor members of the Committee were unable to be present. It is significant that these things are rushed. It is obvious that any long range planning must be done by this Parliament. We have no right to evade the responsibility of taking a decision in this matter.
If we continue to defer it and leave it to some future parliament to make a final decision that will be a complete evasion of our responsibility. I believe that the debate could have been postponed for a few days until the report of the Committee had been submitted to the parliamentary parties. It is significant that this was not done. If the Government has seen fit to rush the debate then I believe we should conclude it and make a decision. We should not make it a matter for the never never or pass the buck to someone else.
Of the two sites the hill site commends itself for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact, as I have mentioned already, it has the greatest area of available space. When the new house is built I hope that it will make provision for the future and that it will be sufficient to last us perhaps for the next 200 or 300 years. One of our newspaper columnists said the other day that it probably would last for something like 200 years more than Australia would last. Some people may prefer to adopt facetious attitudes to a subject of this importance.
The hill site commends itself because parking facilities can be provided there. I. visualise tunnelling of the hill to provide underground parking facilities. It is an area also where helicopter pads could be established quite easily and where provision could be made for the large number of visitors who no doubt will visit the centre of government for the next 2 or 3 centuries. On the other hand there are disadvantages in the lakeside area. It has been said publicly that the area is undermined with a number of caverns and that when the Treasury building was being constructed some of the machinery disappeared into the caverns. It has been said too that there is no firm foundation. What would happen if a much larger building than the Treasury building were erected in the area and the same sort of problems were encountered?
I think our case for the hill has been strengthened by the vote taken by the Advisory Council a couple of nights ago. With the exception of the government members the Council decided unanimously on the hill site. A Queensland Liberal Party member in another place said that we should not take into consideration the views of the local people. Another honourable member said that we should have a referendum of Canberra residents. 1 think it is most important that the views of Canberra residents be considered. They are permanent residents, not transients as we members of Parliament are. They will have to live with the type of architecture that is decided upon for government buildings for generations to come. So far as 1 can ascertain from my unofficial sampling of local views, very few Canberra residents approve the siting of the new parliament house on the lakeside.
At the opening of the National Library a few days ago a prominent public servant used the words: ‘When the new parliament house is built on the lakeside’. That was almost contempt of Parliament because the debate on this subject did not begin in the House of Representatives until an hour or two later. That is a fair example of the bureaucratic attitude that has been adopted, lt can be seen in the recommendation of the National Capital Development Commission to the effect that there is no other site except the lakeside area. 1 do not condemn public servants. They do a fantastic job. but 1 do condemn people in senior positions who have decided where the House should be sited. They are using devious means to tell the Parliament of this country what should be done, so much so that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton! and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam’) have reached their decision on the basis of the Commission’s report. That is fair enough, but it is equally fair for us to disagree with the recommendation.
When the vote is taken ultimately 1 hope that the new house will be on the hill. 1 have raised these few points because I think they are pertinent to the matter under discussion. If we are not prepared to take a decision we should be condemned by future parliaments and by future generations of Australians. When the final planning is done, even if the building is not commenced for another 10 or 15 years, I hope there will be some concentration on the provision of proper facilities to make it a workable parliament house for those who have to serve in it and with whom we have to work. 1 would hope that, perhaps as a long range project, an apartment type building would be erected somewhere in the vicinity for those of us who do not find it easy to get to our homes at weekends. It. would provide some form of accommodation for ourselves and our families for a fairly substantial portion of each sessional period. 1 think that is a good thing. It is true that all of us enter parliamentary life knowing its handicaps and ils fascinations, but the handicaps are fairly great particularly when personal lives are taken into consideration.
If this kind of planning can be carried out there will be no need for the House to be started immediately. If additional accommodation is to be tagged on to the present Parliament House it is obvious that this building will do us for a fairly long time to come. We are the ones who must make a decision in relation to the new parliament, house and I hope that we have the courage to make it.
Senator WOOD (Queensland) [5.91-1 enter this debate with a very keen interest in the siting of the new parliament house and town planning generally. I have had the privilege of serving my own city of Mackay in town planning for a period of 40 years. Senator Gair, a former Premier of Queensland, would know of my activities in this direction in our State.
– You did a good job.
– Thank you. I was associated with this work from the early days, and I think that the honourable senator, who is a former Premier of Queensland, will agree with me that the first town planning legislation in Australia was that which related to the planning of Mackay and other towns. As one who has been associated with this movement for so long I have become very keen about the matter, in fact so keen that as a layman I have made the study of town planning a continuous exercise.
I served on one of the Canberra select committees and those honourable senators who recall the report of that committee will remember that 1 submitted a minority report on aspects on which I differed with the other members of the committee. I appreciate that Burley Griffin’s plan won a world wide competition and 1 admit that it has many merits. But 1 also appreciate that with the passage of time changes take place in certain areas of consideration. For example, when this plan was first drawn, motor traffic did not present the problem that it does today, in justice to Burley
Griffin. T think it fair to say that at that time no-one could have conceived the tremendous development that has since taken place in motor traffic There have been great changes in other directions, and it is possible that if Burley Griffin were devising his plan today he would in some details do it differently. So probably, changes are necessary. On the other hand, it could be that if certain basic points of design were changed the whole effect of the plan would be completely destroyed.
During the course of the debate that followed upon the presentation of the report by the Select Committee to which I have referred it was suggested that an authority be brought in from overseas to advise us. As a result, an English town planner was invited to come to Australia. But this country is quite different from Britain. In the first place, the area of Britain is very much smaller than ours. This probably had an influence on the thinking of the English expert. In that country, planners would not have the scope for thinking in the expansive way that we have because we have so much room. Our country has more affinity with the American type of planning. Therefore, I think it might have been a mistake to seek the advice of an English town planner, for it is possible that he was influenced by the concept he had developed from the planning for smaller areas in a more compact country.
– Thai is why we have so many narrow streets in Canberra.
– Quite so. One very well known English town planner who visited Queensland at one time spoke about a certain city which in his opinion had very wide streets. Queenslanders like Senator Gair and others will agree with me that the streets in the city to which this planner referred are by no means wide.
– They were planned as though we had no land.
– That is so. and that is a very important point. I do feel that we probably made a mistake in inviting an English planner to offer suggestions. Let meemphasise that I have no reason to feel hostile towards Sir William Holford, as he was then, because he did compliment me on some points which I had included in my minority report as a member of the Select Committee to which 1 have referred. Unfortunately, most parliamentarians were not aware of the move that was being made at that time to have the new parliament house- erected at the lakeside. Because of this, the recommendation for the lake site more or less slipped through without any objection being taken. The attitude taken by the then Prime Minister and others was that as there was no objection the lake site would be the one chosen for the new parliament house. But let it be said to the credit of the present Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) that he has now thrown the matter open for free debate by us. As a result of this action, we have had a most interesting debate. Certainly we are not all qualified town planners, but as one eminent town planner in Queensland, Dr Karl Langer. has said, very often the ordinary person in the street conies up with excellent suggestions that do not occur to the expert no matter how accomplished he may be in his profession, whether he be town planner or architect.
The point in question now is whether the new parliament house should be down by the lake or up on Capital Hill, lt has been argued that Burley Griffin did not specify that it should be on Capital Hill, that the hill .he chose was Camp Hill. But we are indebted to our Deputy President, Senator Drake-Brockman, for bringing up the point that although Burley Griffin suggested Camp Hill he thought Capital Hill would be equally suitable and probably better in some ways as a site for the new building. Let me get back to the time when the plan was drawn, lt was submitted as the result of the holding of a world wide competition, and it is possible that when Burley Griffin called the site Camp Hill he might have been thinking of the possibility of Capital Hill. In those days, of course, the plan submitted was something breathtaking, something completely different from -anything else, lt was something truly imaginative and there is merit in the suggestion by Senator Drake-Brock man that Burley Griffin did feel that Capital Hill would be a very good situation for Parliament House. lt would seem that he felt that there should be a feature building on top of this hill. lt should be a particular type of building, not the sort of thing wc usually go in for in Australia. I have looked at the derivation of the word ‘capital’, lt comes from the Latin word ‘caput’, which means ‘head’. Therefore, to my way of thinking, we should focus our thoughts on erecting on Capital Hill a building in which is carried out the top functions of a democracy such as Australia., So I agree that the new parliament house should be on Capital Hill.
There are various reasons why 1 have come down on the side of the hill. First, this is a parliamentary city. Parliament will always be the dominant force in this city. Therefore the parliamentary building should bc the dominating feature of the whole layout of the city so that when people come to see the national capital, the parliamentary city, the first thing they will see is Parliament House.
People visiting Canberra now have difficulty in finding this Parliament House. Invariably their first question is: ‘Where is Parliament House?’ When I first visited Canberra I and my friends went round the city for 2 hours looking for this building without finding it. All of a sudden, we seemed to arrive alongside it just by good fortune. Parliament House should not be so difficult to find in a capital city like this. Even though it is on some sort of eminence, the present Parliament House is hard to find. I ask honourable senators, when they walk out of the building tonight, to compare its elevation with that of the site down by the lake. If this building is hard to find now, then I venture the opinion that a parliament house situted on the lake site would be even harder to find. And some honourable senators are talking about placing, on one of the lowest sites in this area, the building in which are carried out the functions for which the capital was created.
– Down in the swamp.
– Down in the swamp area, as Senator Gair has said. There it would be on no eminence at all, and I think that is wrong. To suggest that on the lakeside it will be down amongst the people is an airy-fairy sort of argument. When people enter this Parliament, do they see themselves as down amongst us? Of course not. I am confident that those who know and appreciate democracy so much, those who regard democracy as something precious, those who are true democrats, all believe that the pivot upon which our democracy is based should be placed on the highest eminence so that those who visit our national capital will see at once the true focal point of Australia’s democracy. I think that unquestionably the hill is he place for the new parliament house. There it would be in a position from which it would dominate the whole of the city, as does the flagpole now situated on Capital Hill, which can be seen from all parts of the city. That is where the building should be sited. 1 dea i now with the merits of the respective sites. Firstly I refer to Capital Hill. All the avenues lead towards Capital Hill. From any building sited there you would get a vista of the following avenues: Kings Avenue, H miles long; Brisbane Avenue, 1 mile long; Canberra Avenue, three-quarters of a mile long; Hobart Avenue, about half a mile long; Melbourne Avenue, 1 mile long; Adelaide Avenue, H miles long; and, from the War Memorial, Anzac Parade, about H miles long. If parliament house were sited on the hill you would get a vista from and over each of those avenues. That gives a magnificent conception of where to site parliament house. Wherever you travelled, rotating right round the circle, you would get vistas of parliament house. In addition State Circle circles the hill. The hill is a permanent centre. Looking down from the hill you would get vistas, as you would if you were looking up from each of the avenues.
I deal now with the lake site. It is like the bottom of a saucer, depressed; it is contrary to my idea of how parliament house should be sited. You would get a vista from only one main avenue if parliament house were sited by the lake. 1 invite honourable senators to compare that vista with the vistas that would exist from all avenues, from all points of the compass, if the house were sited on Capital Hill. That comparison indicates where parliament house should be. The people who advocate the lake site suggest that difficulties would be encountered at the hill site. They say that the top of the hill would have to be bulldozed, which would reduce the height of the hill. That is nonsense. I know that experts have suggested this, but it is still nonsense. The top of the hill would not have to be bulldozed before a building could be constructed. Anyone who knows anything about architecture knows that a building could be built with the hill cutting into the building. In that way the slope of the hill would be utilised. Once (he building was constructed beyond the top you would have a complete solid building right through. Do not tell me that it could not be done.
If I remember rightly, the Capitol building in Washington is built on exactly the same lines. I have spoken to a leading architect and town planner who said that the hill site could be utilised. This talk about bulldozing the top to get it level is sheer nonsense. It can be done without taking off the top of the hill.- Those who have been to Washington will recall the steps leading up to the Capitol. That building was constructed along the lines that I envisage for the new parliament house. Arguments have been advanced- about the problems associated with parking space. These are challenges for good designers to overcome. The problem of parking could be overcome by providing parking areas down lower with a lift providing access to the main area of parliament house. The problem could be solved quite easily. It would not bc the first time that such a problem had been overcome. It has been overcome in many buildings. It could be overcome easily in this instance.
Lord Holford, in his report, mentioned that Capital Hill should have erected on it a building in which the Queen could reside, alongside of which there should be a pole made of Australian timber. This is an instance of people coming in with a rush and saying things; whereas, if they stayed a little longer, they might change their ideas. What would happen to the hill? If a 2-storey building - and not much more than that would be needed as a residence for the Queen, and such a residence is not likely to be required anyway - were placed on that hill, especially a low, squat building, looking at it from a vista-
– It would be like a caretakers residence.
– Yes. It would be nothing of any consequence. I have had a professional man take out measurements, on a proper scientific basis, in relation to the pole. He suggested that from the War Memorial a pole of that thickness would look about as big as a lead pencil. It would not be at all impressive. To be impressive it would have to be at least the size in diameter of the Australian- American War Memorial at Russell Hill. Those two developments envisaged by Lord Holford would be lost on the hill. 1 have had drawn to scale the type of building that Lord Holford suggested for the parliament house clown by the lake, lt would have been a low building. In no time at all other buildings would have risen around it and dwarfed it. Parliament house would look insignificant in comparison with the buildings surrounding it. It would be lost. It would be a lower building. From what I have read on the subject and from the studies that I have made with a professional man, I believe that the building would lose its effect and be dwarfed by other buildings of a much greater height. 1 think that some of Lord Holford’s suggestions do not stand up to the test of criticism by laymen and professionals. On this occasion we have to think for ourselves and try to find the correct solution.
I deal now with the town planning. I have discussed this matter with a man who I would say is the most eminent, town planner in the Commonwealth, Dr Karl Langer of Brisbane. He was a former town planner and architect in Vienna. The late Mr Chifley was interested in local government and had a sound knowledge of the subject. When he was Prime Minister he invited Sir Patrick Abercrombie to visit this country - which I thought was a very good move - so that local government authorities and other people could come to Sir Patrick for advice on planning. I remember Sir Patrick saying to a crowded hall in Brisbane that Dr Karl Langer was one of the world’s greatest town planners and that he hoped we were using his great brain to help to develop this country. Sir Patrick Abercrombie said that in Vienna from where Dr Langer came there were adults in town planning when those in Britain were infants. He said what a beautiful city Vienna was before World War II. 1 have discussed the site with Dr Langer. He gave evidence before the Senate Select. Committee. He has done planning work here, but I do not wish to mention that. I discussed the question with him. He said that unquestionably the hill was the place to site parliament house. He told me that the whole Burley Griffin plan was crystallised in the hill. Whether it was on Camp Hill or Capital Hill, the site had to be on a hill. His view was that in order to bring Griffin’s plan to its proper conclusion the hill had to be selected as the site on which to place parliament house.
Those honourable senators who have travelled overseas no doubt have seen major buildings in cities and towns constructed on emeninces. Those who know something of architecture will appreciate that a building constructed on a hill is architecturally designed so that it tunes in and blends with the development of the hill. I think that properly designed and handled in the correct way, a parliament house placed on Capital Hill could be not only a beautiful thing but also something of which this nation might be truly proud. The building would not have to be a squat one. Many things could be considered. In order to give elevation to the building it could have more floors. It could provide parliamentarians with accommodation so that after a late sitting they could take a lift to another floor and retire to their own rooms. These are just details that I have in mind. There is no doubt that, given height and placed on the hill, a beautiful parliament house could transform the city.
– Does the honourable senator think that there would be any point in getting the opinion of Clem Jones on the matter?
– I have discussed this question with Dr Karl Langer, who has been associated with town planning for many years. In my opinion he is the outstanding town planner in Australia. From my discussion with Dr Karl Langer and in the light of my own knowledge and experience of town planning over the years, .1 cannot help but feel that to place the new parliament house on Capital Hill would please every future visitor to Canberra because, for one thing, of its easy accessibility. One of the first calls made by visitors to Canberra is to see Parliament House. If the new parliament house were placed on Capital Hill, magnificent vistas would be opened up from the new. building. A great panorama would surround it.
I believe that in the aesthetic sense and in every other way, placing the new parliament house on Capital Hill would bring joy to the hearts of aH Australians. Future visitors to Canberra would be delighted that members of this Parliament had had sufficient vision to appreciate that the right place for the new parliament house was on Capital Hill. I make bold to say that if it were possible immediately to build new parliament houses both on Capital Hill and at the lakeside site, when both were viewed by members of this Parliament they would prefer the building on Capital Hill. I plead very strongly for honourable senators to decide that Capital Hill is the right site for the new parliament house. Parliament is the focal point of our democracy. Canberra is a parliamentary city and the parliamentary buildings should dominate the national capital.
– Like all other speakers in the debate in this chamber this afternoon T am a supporter of the Capital Hill site for the new parliament house. T was a supporter of that site before T came to Canberra as a senator, because I was swayed by the eloquence of Senator Wright when I heard a broadcast of a speech he made in a debate many years ago. The arguments that he advanced on that occasion were so impressive that my mind was made up before I ever came to Canberra and observed the alternative sites. When I came to Canberra I observed how correct Senator Wright’s arguments were.
The first main argument that has been advanced against the choice of the Capital Hill site is the cost of erection of a building there. It has been said that it would be cheaper to build on the lakeside site. It has been said, secondly, that the new building would be more accessible if built on the lakeside site and, thirdly, that it would be built among the people.
– ls the honourable senator not aware that cost does nol matter in Canberra?
– When the aim is to achieve something really big, cost does not matter in any place. The building of a new and permanent parliament house is a really big project, and this country should be able to achieve it. I have conducted a telephone survey of twenty citizens of Canberra. 1 have never met them and would not know them if I met them tomorrow morning. I made thirty telephone calls and was able to get answers from twenty people. Of those twenty, eighteen indicated quite clearly their preference for the Capital Hill site.
– What about the telephone bill?
– If the cost to the Commonwealth of my telephone calls is considered to be too high, J will be quite happy to reimburse the Commonwealth. 1 have also checked the files of the ‘Canberra Times’. The issues of the last 3 days have included many letters to the editor on the subject of the site for the new parliament house, and not one writer has declared himself to be against the building of the new parliament house on the hill. A leading article in that newspaper has indicated quite clearly the newspaper’s policy in favour of the Capital Hill site. All aspects of the matter seem to favour the hill site.
On the question of costs, we have been told that it would be cheaper to build the new parliament house on the flat, as I prefer to call the lakeside site. On 13th June last I placed on the notice paper the following questions which I addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior:
Although those questions have been on the notice paper for 10 or 11 weeks, I have not yet received an answer. I think the obvious reason for my failure to receive an answer is the knowledge that this debate was to be conducted in the Parliament. Had answers been given they could have proved to be very embarrassing to advocates of the lakeside site. The area available on Capital Hill has been estimated at varying sizes up to 130 acres. The modern thinking in relation to the building of schools to accommodate up to 500 students, with from 30 to 40 students to a class, is that a site of not less than 20 acres is required to avoid crowding in the school rooms. Space is required around the buildings for a multitude of purposes.
– Is that estimate exclusive of playing area?
– This is the position. The new parliament house will need to be surrounded by a vacant area sufficient to allow for future needs. The cost to the country in the long run of the erection of a cheaper building, erected as a result of a short-sighted decision, could be considerably increased. For this reason we should not be influenced by that argument in relation to the lakeside site, on the flat.
The bogey of transport has also been raised in this debate. We have been told by experts that a new parliament house on the flat would be much more accessible to transport. The accessibility would he to a three-sided area, because the lake itself would prevent transport operating to the fourth side. If the Capital HilT site is preferred, engineers could devise a system of transport to and from the building to operate on all four sides irrespective of the type of building decided upon. In my view, as between the two sites, the hill site wins handsomely.
I believe that this Parliament should make a decision on this matter very quickly. I doubt that any member of this present Parliament will have the privilege of serving in the new parliament house. We owe it to the future leaders of this country to act quickly and not to. put off until tomorrow a decision that should have been taken at least 20 years ago. We must decide quickly because of the need for adequate planning. Delays will be costly. As a conservative estimate it is my opinion that for every year we delay the building of the new parliament house its cost will be increased by about 5%. If the increase in cost was cumulative at the rate of 5% per annum, within 7, 8 or 9 years we could well find that the project would cost twice as much as it would if we acted now. I commend the amendment moved by Senator Murphy. I sincerely hope that we can have a vote on this matter before we rise this evening so that the voice of the Senate can be heard and taken note of in another place when the vote is taken there.
– I recollect that when I returned to the Senate after being absent on sabbatical leave for some years, while driving from the airport to Parliament House I said to the driver: ‘What is that flag pole at the top of Capital Hill?’ He said: ‘That is where the big cultural centre is going to be’. I said to him: ‘Oh! I thought that was the place where parliament house was going to be built’. Oh, no,’ he said, ‘parliament house is going to bc built on the lake front.’ As we drove along I turned over in my mind a fugitive memory I had of reading in history at some stage that when the Emperor Tiberius retired from Rome to Capri every wise Roman citizen knew when Caesar nodded just what had to be done in Rome, and I was left with a strong and distinct impression that the old story of Caesar’s nod was well understood in Canberra. lt seems to me that honourable senators are trying to obtain from me an indication as to which site 1 favour for parliament house. I must confess that as far as I have gone in this debateI am inclined to favour the Capital Hill site. However, I do not want to become too involved in this because the hour is drawing on. Nevertheless, I propose to take up some points which were made by honourable senators this afternoon. lt seems to me thatthe committee which recommended that parliament house be on the lake side was composed of people filled with some sort of nostalgia for the site of the Parliament which does not have any real validity in Australia. 1 can understand (he distinguished architect, whom Sir Robert Menzies designated as merely an architectural adviser, being filled with a concept of having a parliament house on the lake side because.Iimagine, he had spent much of his early youth looking at Hampton Court. Perhaps the National Capital Development Commission could embellish its concept of a lakeside or river site for a parliament house by importing a few white swans. This would really finish the thing off and give it that delightful touch with an English riverside appearance.
– Where would we gel them?
– I understand that it is very difficult to get them at present because of the quarantine laws, but no doubt we would be able to get them if it were necessary to have white swans on the lake. I can understand Senator Kennelly’s interest in this because he probably wants to get some for Albert Park Lake in Victoria. AlthoughI have introduced a slightly facetious note. I should be grateful to take up the more serious aspects of this matter later. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
Debate resumed from . 13 August (vide page 23), on motion by Senator Anderson:
That the Senate take note of the following papers:
Civil Works Programme 1968-69
Commonwealth Payments to or for the States, 1968-69
Estimates of Receipts and Summary of Estimated Expenditure, foryear ending 30 June
Particulars of Proposed Expenditure for the service of the year ending 30 June 1969
Particulars of Proposed Provision for Certain Expenditure in respect of the year ending 30 June 1969
Government Securities on Issue at 30 June 196s
Commonwealth Income Tax Statistics, for income year 1965-66
National Income and Expenditure 1967-68
– Mr Deputy President,I move:
The Budget disposes of$6,591m in expenditure as against receipts of 55,950m. This budget is an unfair Budget with no plans and no vision. It is no financial foundation for the growth of a great nation. No nation with our resources and with the skills and energies of our people could be proud of this Budget. We occupy a continent. Our role is to fill it with people to develop it and to control, to conserve and to use our resources, our commerce and our industries for the uplift of our people, and to share in uplifting the depressed people of other areas.
This is a mean, narrow-minded Budget. It does not meet the demands of the nation. It does not meet the demands of the citizen. Every citizen is entitled as a basic human right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of himself and of his family including food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services as well as the right of security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his or her control. This Budget will not provide the financial conditions for the enjoyment of these rights.
There are some good features in the Budget. I refer to the fertiliser subsidies, the provision for drought bonds, and some tax concessions aimed at assisting the primary producer. To be fair, there are some other worthwhile new items of expenditure. There are token increases in social services. The $1 or so rise however means only a partial compensation for value lost by inflation. The Budget is unjust to the middle and lower income earners, especially the family man. It fails to give him the social, services which would ensure an enjoyment of the basic human rights which I have mentioned and it deals in a grossly unfair manner with him in taxation. Although in theory taxation is not. increased in the Budget yet in practice inflation drives lower and middle income earners into higher and higher taxation brackets. The very wealthy on the upper limit, pay the same rate, but the less fortunate are forced to pay more and more of their earnings in taxation.
It is true that the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) concedes this injustice. But he does nothing about it. Why should those least able to afford it be taxed not only more but also at a higher and higher rate each year because of the known effects of inflation? As an aggravation, the Government now increases sales tax from 121% to 15% on a range of items that affect these same income earners, and especially the family man. These goods include confectionery, soaps, detergents, sporting goods, toys and other goods which are bought by every family. The tax on these consumer goods is increased so that the man responsible for a family pays 3 times, 4 times or even more times the sales tax paid by a single man. Where is the social justice in that? In addition, all are hit by increased television and radio licence charges and by the threat of further increased postal charges. The burden falls not mostly on those best able to afford it but equally on the rich and the poor.
The problems of this same group again are aggravated by the absence of reasonable social security and of a reasonable medical and hospital’ scheme. Whatever the original hopes for it, our health scheme fails to give proper protection against sickness. Many of those who most need protection cannot afford to join these schemes. Others, who do join, are disillusioned by the ever increasing amounts that they must pay to take advantage of- hospital and medical benefits. The establishment by this Senate earlier this year of a select committee to investigate medical and hospital costs demonstrates the gravity of this social problem that is the cause of apprehension and hardship to almost every family visited by sickness.
The Budget is surrounded by an atmosphere of inflation. It destroys savings, devalues wages from the moment of award fixation, devalues all pensions and other social service benefits. Perhaps the worst example is child endowment which has been eroded by inflation to contemptuous values. What is the Government doing about inflation? It lectures or tries to influence the arbitration tribunals. These in the main only refix wages to maintain former values. The worker has to fight industrial award cases to keep his wages from falling back in real terms, lt forces pensioners to plead for increases which at most only keep up the real value. Yet, the Government is curiously reluctant to deal wilh price rigging, collusive tendering and the other restrictive practices which are a powerful inflationary force.
Everyone agrees that these practices force persons out of business, injure the community in a hundred ways and, above all, force up the prices of goods and services. The prices to governments, Federal. State and local, are inflated by collusive tendering and price fixing by cartels. All these enlarge Government expenditure and necessitate higher Federal and State taxes as well as local government rates. For years, public bodies have been exposed to these injurious practices. Individuals of course are completely exposed, and without any real remedy. The surge in costs has been allowed to run on without the protection of laws against restrictive practices and monopolies which have been commonplace in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere for decades. For years, this Government stalled the introduction of any trade laws. When passed in 1965, these were a very weak version of the original Barwick proposals. If the Government had had its way, they would have been even weaker. Even so, their operation was delayed as long as possible until 1967. It is difficult to see now any signs of enforcement or other useful result.
If the Government bad a mind to curb inflation in the interests of those living on savings, pensions or wages, or in the interests of those in industry, especially primary industry, it would see to it that these wrongful practices were eradicated.
– Has the honourable senator any examples of these practices?
– The examples for which the honourable senator asks may be found in abundance in the report of the Tasmanian royal commission on this subject and in the results of the investigations by Sir Garfield Barwick, when he was Attorney-General, as contained in the documents which he produced and circulated to all members of Parliament. 1 think it is fair to say that those investigations and those documents showed that restrictive trade practices were rife in this community, were a serious source of inflation and were detrimental to the community.
The game of power politics being played by the Commonwealth against the States is continuing to the detriment of all the people of the States. It is intolerable that the States should be starved of the finance necessary for essential public works such as sewerage projects, for education, for hospitals, for renewing the cities and for the arts and culture which are indispensable for the standard of living to which the people are entitled. Who can deny that there must be a reappraisal of the role of the Commonwealth and the States in planning and co-ordinating the conduct of governmental activities and the use of resources by both? The present financial formula must be adjusted to meet the changes in population and in the value of money. A new formula should maintain from year to year the real value of the payments for State activities. In addition, as far as can be, such payments should be increased to reflect increases in productivity.
There should be a commonsense demarcation of spheres of government. The Government has failed to arrive at a sensible demarcation, though it can be reached. An example of that was the demarcation reached by Federal and State Labor leaders on education. Under that demarcation the Commonwealth would assume the responsibility for co-ordinating and financing university education and teacher training, and the funds saved by the States could then be spent in other educational fields. The failure of the Commonwealth to reappraise relations between the Commonwealth and the States and the financial pressure that is used by the Commonwealth against the States may satisfy those who want to play this game of power politics; but it is the people of the nation who are suffering, and it is time that suffering was ended.
In education our failings remain ominous. Our children continue to have fewer educational opportunities than those of other industrialised countries. In countries such as Japan and the United States of America a higher percentage of children enter secondary . school, more complete secondary school, more receive university education and more receive technical education than is the case in Australia. Education is a basic human right; but it is a right denied to many Australian children who are capable of benefiting from more education. Our record in the education of Aboriginal children has been and continues to be appalling, even in the Northern Territory where the Federal Government has complete responsibility. I think honourable senators are aware of the figures which have been given in answer to questions in this Senate and which reveal a situation of neglect of Aboriginal education which is disgraceful to this nation.
The defence vote is to be increased by 9%. We spend more per capita on the military vote than do most other countries in the Western world apart from the United Kingdom, the United States and France. Much of our expenditure is wasted. The great Fill bungle illustrates the inefficiency of this Government. Because it failed to take the elementary step of obtaining a firm contract price, what was supposed to cost about $100m will now cost about $300m. Other examples of appalling waste and maladministration in the defence departments have been aired in debates in this Parliament.
Apart from the wastage in military expenditure, there is the question of the basic approach. It is clear that the security of this nation must not be based on the acquisition of military hardware from others as the fundamental of Australia’s defence. Modern history shows that the greatest factor in military security is industrial strength, which comes from the industrial efficiency of a well educated nation. Defence moneys should be spent as far as possible in Australia, building up our industrial strength. It is a tragedy that our small aircraft industry is being allowed to crumble away. For defence we should be encouraging the growth of industry in electronics, data processing, shipbuilding, aircraft manufacture - everything that can add to the industrial strength of Australia, especially in its military applications.
In trade, Australia’s position continues to be dangerously unbalanced, despite our enormous pastoral, agricultural and mineral wealth. Every year Australia continues to trade at a loss. The balance on current account, which combines the balance of trade and invisibles, such as freight and insurance, shows that the balance has been adverse to Australia over the last half dozen financial years in the following amounts: $2m, $469m, $53m, $777m, $877m, and approximately $ 1,000m this year. Analysis of those figures shows that in every year there have been heavy deficits in current transactions with the United Kingdom, and the United States, Canada and other nonsterling countries, but surpluses with the other sterling area and European Common Market countries taken together, and also with Japan, the Soviet Union and Communist China.
But the total picture is one of serious, continuing and apparently permanent adverse balances on current account. The position goes back for years beyond those for which I have given the figures. The inflow of capital from the United States and elsewhere has been necessary to prop up the financial structure, which otherwise would collapse. The truth is not simply that money is coming to Australia to provide for development. In large measure the inflow is used to cover the deficit that exists in our trading and other transactions. Australia simply is not paying its way, and has not been paying its way for many years. No country can go on losing money on its trading transactions the way we have been, without disastrous consequences. We are suffering those consequences. They include the loss of ownership and control of our resources, our commerce, our industries-
– That is Socialist philosophy.
– I remind the Government senator who just interrupted that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), within a short time after his election to that high office, said: ‘Now we are all Socialists’. About 40% of Australia’s secondary industry is owned and controlled by overseas corporations. The overseas control is in some cases predominant, in others entire. It includes the strategic parts of industry: motor vehicles, heavy chemicals, oil refining, petroleum products. It extends to consumer industries: bread, meat, other foodstuffs. Our mineral resources are in Australia but much of them is no longer Australia’s. Iron ore, copper, aluminium, beach sands and other minerals have become the assets and source of wealth of overseas owners.
The agricultural arid pastoral industries are passing into overseas hands - yes, even the land itself. In the north of Australia foreign firms own great tracts of land. As the Commonwealth spends public moneys to develop the north, much of the benefit will accrue to those firms. The Australian taxpayer pays for’ development; the beneficiaries are overseas firms. It is true that incidentally employment is created here, but nothing can excuse government inaction as the resources of Australia become the assets of others. Every Australian should know that other countries, such as Japan, take elaborate precautions to ensure that their industries remain in their own control. The Australian Government is doing nothing to prevent even established, efficient Australian industries from falling into overseas control. It is doing nothing to regain for Australians the resources, the commerce, the industries which have already passed into foreign hands. As far as this Government is concerned, they can stay in foreign hands for ever.
Every Australian should know that other countries utilise their discoveries of natural resources, such as natura] gas and oil, to finance public works, education, hospitals and so on. In Australia the discoveries of great natural resources are occasions for the great sell-outs. They are becoming a bonanza for others, and no attempt is made, as is done elsewhere in the world, to see to it that the tremendous benefits that flow from the utilisation of these resources become the benefits of the people. How disgraceful is it that in this country with the tremendous discoveries which have been made in recent years - and we are proud of those discoveries - we still cannot afford to educate our children in the same way as they are educated elsewhere. When the States are crying out for moneys for their hospitals, for their roads, for essential public services, how does it come about that in this country, where there should be great affluence, we have this tremendous starvation of public services?
As an Australian, 1 welcome people from overseas coming to live here to share with us and join with us in building a society of which we can all be proud, but I object to overseas corporations’ owning and controlling major parts of our industries, commerce or resources, and determining in their own interests our development and our destiny. There is no need for such excessive overseas ownership. The Government should adopt the controls established by other countries which import capital, to preserve their own ownership. The existence of these has been one of the main reasons for the miracle of Japan’s industrial expansion. The Japanese who were advising the Government, when they were here last year, made clear that this was one of the factors to which they attributed the tremendous revitalisation and expansion of their industry, and it is something that we ought well to emulate. There should be a policy of sensible control of overseas investment in Australia. At the moment there is no control at all.
In national development the Government has abdicated its responsibility. Our development is now largely directed and controlled by insurance companies and other corporations, especially foreign ones. This is manifested by the most obvious fault in the Budget, the absence of long term planning. Elsewhere in the world a long term view has been taken in regard to national development. There are 3, 4, 5 and 10-year plans for the development of most developing countries in Asia and Africa and even of advanced countries. We are contributing heavily in this Budget to the long term plans of many nations of Asia. The Australian taxpayer pays for the long term plans of others but he is denied a share in any such plan for our own country. For others, national development is planned on a new and exciting scale on the long term view. Our Government, by its participation in plans for the development of others, can see the virtue of planning for them but apparently cannot see the, virtue of planning for Australia. For Australia the Government takes the shortsighted view: 1 year at a time, stop, start, turn around. Development calls for an additional long term budget in order to protect it from the disrupting influence of the fits and starts which have characterised its history in Australia. We should have targets to be achieved every 4 or 5 years against the background of what we have to achieve every 10 or 15 years.
We are the driest continent on earth but there is still no national water policy. Almost every year we suffer from crippling droughts or floods. Even the great cities of Melbourne and Adelaide have experienced water shortages, causing damage and threatening their expansion, yet the Government has not provided for the public works required to make the maximum use of our meagre supplies of water. Here is a complete absence of a consistent national policy on water. Any efficient federal government would formulate and declare its role and its policies within the framework of a consistent national water policy which would provide for the co-ordination of federal, State and local government activities and expenditure, so that water resources could be utilised for the welfare of the whole nation as well as of States and local areas. We may not be able to prevent droughts. We can prevent many floods. We can lessen the damage caused by droughts and floods. We can utilise the water in the great river systems which now runs to waste. To do less is to sell the nation short. What applies to water applies to other natural resources. These are either neglected altogether or left to be exploited by interests which may not, and often do not, coincide with the interests of Australia.
Where are the programmes for the revitalisation of the cities, the regeneration of the railways, the extension of our national shipping into overseas trade, the policies for water use, for land use, for the recovery of ownership and control of our resources and industries? The answer is that there are none. The great advances in science and technology have now given humanity all the means to create an affluent society. In countries such as Australia we have to solve the problems of production. We can produce far more goods than we can. consume. Our problems are those of distribution.
The failure to provide in Australia a high standard of living with social security and efficient education and health services for all is not due to a lack of human or physical resources, lt is due to incompetence and inefficient and outdated social machinery. The signs all over the world are that people, especially the educated young, will not accept this for long. This Budget is a reflection of the Government’s outworn, philosophy. Australia deserves far better than this.
– lt is indeed a pleasure to be called on to speak about a Budget which has been framed so responsibly, so thoughtfully and so honestly. The 1968-69 Budget is designed not merely for certain sections of the people of Australia but for Australia as a nation. It has been drawn up to ensure the nation’s economic stability and to make provision for its defence while at the same time helping the less fortunate in the community. It is not a dramatic Budget, lt contains no flamboyant gestures. The country’s progress rests not on economic or political drama but on good management. This Budget demonstrates the good management of the Government. This Government has pledged itself to help the aged, the sick, the disabled and the needy. The Budget now before the Senate, presented only some 7 months after Mr Gorton took office, is a mark of the Government’s firm intention to honour its pledges. The list of classes of people who will benefit from the Budget is impressive. It should be noted that in this Budget no existing social service has been reduced or eliminated.
I want to refer to some of the actions of the previous Labor administration. Let me mention first of all that the 1968-69 Budget represents an increase of 7.8% on the 1967-68 Budget. Welfare payments have increased at a faster rate than has total expenditure. It is interesting to note that whereas the Budget is 7.8% greater than that for 1967-68, payments from the National Welfare Fund have increased by 8% and repatriation benefits by 9.8%. Only last week the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) moved a motion expressing a lack of confidence in the Minister for Repatriation, my friend Senator McKellar. What a flop that was. This Budget provides for record increases in all aspects of repatriation benefits.
Let us look at age and invalid pensions. This Budget provides for increases amounting to $50m or 9.7% on last year’s allocation. Widows pensions have been increased by $8.5m or 14%. I point out that the proposed pension rates are substantially in excess of the rates justified by movement in the consumer price index.
– Since when?
– Very well, let us talk about 1949 when Labor was in office.
– Oh I
– Well, it is so long since Labor has been in office that we must go back to 1949 to make a comparison. In 1949 the weekly rate of pension was $4.24. If that rate were adjusted to the consumer price index for the lune 1968 quarter the pension today would be $9.60. In this Budget the pension has been increased to $14 a week which is $4.40 in excess of the rate adjusted to movement in the consumer price index. I point out that even the excess of $4.40 is 15c more than the pension paid by Labor in 1949. I do not think members of the Opposition should talk very much about age and invalid pensions because this coalition Government which has been in office since 1949 - 19 years - has never in any year reduced the age and invalid pensions. In the periods Labor has been in office over the past 40 years it has reduced pensions on two occasions. It is the only Party that has ever done so. While I am on this subject let me remind honourable senators that in the 10 years Labor was in office it reduced other allowances paid to deserving people. What happened in the case of a young married couple with the wife going to hospital to have a baby? Labor reduced the maternity allowance by 20%.
– What did hospitalisation cost then?
– Honourable senators opposite raised this aspect. The point is that a leopard never changes its spots. Labor is engrossed with what it will do to nationalise industry if it ever becomes the Government again. The Leader of the Opposition said that he would stop or control the inflow of capital into this country. Once you control it you stop it, and then you are in trouble. In those circumstances Labor would have to do what a previous Labor Government did a number of years ago.
Now let me deal with the special rate war pension. A man with a wife and two children whose means are such as to entitle him to a service pension will receive under this Budget a total weekly increase of $4.70 so that his total income by way of war service pension and allowances will be $63.74. This is free of income tax. By way of contrast, the average weekly income per male employed as at March 1968 was $6.1.90, and these earnings were subject to income tax. So they are going to get a very big increase indeed.
I wish to refer now to some of the matters raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy). I thought his speech was such as would make everyone in Australia believe that this nation was bankrupt, that we had the poorest and lowest standard of living of any country in the world and that we have to sell our assets overseas in order to stay alive. It is deplorable that he should paint such a picture in this place. He says it is our duty to uplift all Australians. I would point out that since 1949 the standard of living of people resident in Australia has improved to a position where it is equal to if not better than that of the people of any other country in the world. In the last 18 years, our standard of living has become the envy of every other country. If anyone cares to examine the position he will find that there are numbers of people throughout the world anxious to come and live here, to share with us the benefits that are to be obtained in Australia. As a result, we are expecting this year to increase our population, by immigration and other means, by between 3% and 4%. 1 emphasise that this is because people are anxious to come and join with us in developing this great nation.
The Leader of the Opposition said that the mineral resources of Australia are being sold overseas to obtain finance. With all due respect, I do not think there are very many members of the Australian Labor Party, who really understand what the inflow of capital means to Australia. Capital inflow is a must for us as a government, beacuse we are anxious to develop the nation as quickly as possible in the interest of its defence, and we just have not got sufficient capital in the country to develop it as quickly as we want to do.
The Leader of the Opposition said that the motor car industry of Australia was owned by overseas companies. Let me mention one company - General MotorsHolden’s Ltd - in passing. Last year that company’s gross sales in this country were worth $370m. The capital invested in this country by that company is something in excess of $400m. lt provides employment in Australia for more than 70,000 people. It is producing goods for the Commonwealth and for our people. It paid over $20m by way of income tax last year. In addition, because it repatriated some $7m on its profit to America, it paid a withholding tax of 15% on that $7m. I repeat that here we have a company operating as a car manufacturer in Australia selling $370m worth of goods in Australia, paying to the Australian Government income tax at the rate of 424% on its net profit and, after paying that, decides to repatriate some of its profits to America and pays an additional 15% by way of withholding tax on the amount it repatriated. The company kept in Australia something between SI 2m and $15m to be reinvested in Australia for the development of this industry.
Let us now examine very closely what the Leader of the Opposition said about national development. He said that this Government has a stop, start, turn around, fits and starts policy. Let us have a look at national development in Australia. You can go anywhere you like from one end of the country to the other and you will see terrific development taking place.
– By whom?
– It is being carried out by all members of the community, and the capital used includes overseas capital. It is not all being done by overseas capital. But look at some of the magnificent projects that are being developed. Take for example our iron ore deposits, from which we shall be exporting hundreds of millions of dollars worth of ore within a few years. Then there is the oil industry which has developed because of our policy of granting incentives for discovering and developing oil. So successful has this policy been that I believe that by 1971-72 we will be producing between 60% and 70% of Australia’s fuel requirements. And this is all brought about solely because, over the years, we have pursued a policy that has encouraged the investment of private capital in the search for oil in Australia.
The Leader of the Opposition says that the Labor Party would have a national fuel policy. .He has mentioned this before. He has stated that under its fuel policy the Labor Parly would construct a gas pipeline from Mereenie down to Adelaide and from Barrow Island through Onslow down to Perth. This pipeline will cost $100m or so. Of course, there is no gas at all on Barrow Island, but that does not matter to the Labor Party, lt is going to build the pipeline first and then find the gas. Honourable senators interject, but that is the Labor Party’s policy. What I am saying is factual. It is to be found recorded in Hansard. If honourable senators want me to do so, I shall look it up for them. This statement was made here a couple of years ago by the Leader of the Opposition, Senator Murphy, when he announced the Labor Party’s fuel policy. This- pipeline is to come down from Barrow Island, through Onslow to Perth, a distance of 1,000 miles. But the gas that has been discovered is only 200 miles north of Perth. Of course, to the Labor Party, it does not matter if we build a pipeline 800 miles longer than is needed.
The Leader of the Opposition spoke, about the problem of water conservation in Australia. He said that the Government did not have a policy in respect of water. He fell into line with Mr Calwell who, prior to an election, said that the Labor Party had a policy on water conservation and in fact would dam the rivers. When asked what the Party would do in relation to the waters of the north Mr Calwell said that the policy would be to dam the rivers. The questioner asked: What rivers? Mr Calwell did not name a particular river but said that the policy would be to dam all the rivers. He did not know any of the rivers, but that was the policy of the Labor Party. The Leader of the Opposition has said that the Government does not have a policy in respect of water. The Government has a sound economic policy for the development of water resources. Recently the Government announced its intention to go ahead with the Nogoa River scheme at Emerald.
– That is to get the Irish vote.
– The Government has been able to obtain sufficient votes to keep honourable senators opposite sitting over there and that is where it intends to keep them if it is at all possible. The Government has announced that it will go ahead with the Ord project. It has granted $48m to the State of Western Australia.
– What about the position in South Australia?
– The Government is looking at projects to provide more water for South Australia. The Department of National Development, through the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, is examining a scheme on the Mitta Mitta River at Dartmouth to ascertain whether it is more feasible to build a dam there than at Chowilla to provide additional water for South Australia. The total cost of the Chowilla Dam would be approximately $70m. No-one knows whether the dam will be built at Chowilla or at Dartmouth. I hope the River Murray Commission will undertake, with the support of the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn), to devise a scheme that will give the greatest quantity of the purest water to the people of South Australia. That is what the Government undertook to do and that, I am sure, will be done.
In ils last policy speech the Government announced a scheme to make available $50m for a water resources scheme of which the States could take advantage. Some $26m has been spent already. I say this because the Leader of the Opposition has staled clearly that the Government does not have a policy in respect of water. He went on to say that overseas capital is being used to develop the higher rainfall areas in our northern tropical regions. Large areas of the north need the investment of overseas capital. 1 refer to one area alone, and I. think it is the one he meant. The Cape York Peninsula has an area in excess of that of Victoria and an average rainfall of about 50 inches a year. Prior to the investment of overseas capital that area was carrying less than one million head of cattle. If overseas capital can be encouraged to develop these areas the Government indirectly will obtain an advantage from the sate of the cattle overseas by the imposition of company tax at the rate of 45% on profits, if any are made. Over the years sufficient Australian capital has not been available to develop these areas. We want to develop them and that is why I advocate such investment.
– lt suited Vesteys, with overseas capital, to keep the area tied up.
– The Vestey people have not kept the area tied up. They do nol own all the areas. Some of them are owned by private companies in Australia. As the honourable senator knows, large sums of money are required to develop those areas. What the Leader of the Opposition has said in relation to the development of the north and in relation to water resources and capital investment is not quite accurate. This nation is developing at a faster rate than any other country. The Government is spending more on education than ever before. The Budget provides for estimated expenditure of $2 10m on education, which is 19% more than last year. That is what the Government is doing.
Australia is in the proud position of spending more money than most other countries in aiding underdeveloped countries. France heads the list of countries tha! are aiding underdeveloped countries. France gives 0.98% of its national income. Australia gives 0.79% . Then come Belgium and the Netherlands, which give 0.60%; the United States of America, 0.53%; the United Kingdom, 0.49%; and Japan, 0.4%. f would like the Labor Party to know that Australia is the only nation giving this aid and not requiring the underdeveloped coun tries that are taking advantage of it to pay interest and/or sinking fund charges. That is a proud record for the Government and for the people of Australia. We give 0.79% of our gross national product in aid to underdeveloped countries. 1 mention this because the Leader of the Opposition said that the Government has not given enough aid to overseas countries. It is quite easy for a member of the Opposition to endeavour to flay the Government and say that it is not doing this and it is not doing that. The Leader of the Opposition said that the Labor Party would increase pensions and all kinds of aid to various people. But the people have to pay. No: one sentence in his speech indicated from where the money would come.
The Budget, which was introduced in this chamber on Tuesday of last week, provides for all this expenditure but it shows a deficit of approximately §614m. The Government intends to recoup some of this deficit by increasing company tax by 24% to make it 45%, by increasing sales tax by ‘2i% and by increasing certain items such as radio and television licence fees. The Government sets out clearly how the revenue is to be raised. The details are there for honourable senators opposite to study. Details are given of how the money is to be spent. The Government has lo act in a responsible manner. I do nol wish to decry the ability of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) but I must say that 1 do not think I have heard a more irresponsible speech by any member of this Parliament since I have been a senator than was delivered tonight by him in his attack on the Budget. I have great pleasure in telling the Leader of the Opposition that I will not be supporting the amendment he has proposed. I will be supporting the Government’s proposals.
– Someone said many years ago that finance is government and government is finance. I suppose that statement is as true today as when it was made. For that reason the Budget papers are unquestionably the most vital documents with which it is our business to deal. This year’s Budget could not properly be regarded as a Budget that gave people a great deal of joy. lt could not truly be regarded as generous in its treatment of the less fortunate sections of our community or as. giving any great hope for the economic stability of this country, in spite of what the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott) has had to say tonight. I do not think that the Minister is the man who gave rise to the expression ‘Great Scott’, lt is an unimaginative and disappointing Budget. Probably it is the worst Budget since World War II. It appears to have been prepared by a computer and not by a human being, lt fails to have regard to the necessity to assist our people, who are in need of help in spite of the figures submitted by Senator Scott or any other Government supporter. It is an indisputable fact that the Budget has failed the people miserably.
When I saw, in the local Press, photographs of the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) kissing old age pensioners on the steps of Parliament House 1 thought: ‘That is the kiss of death.’ They were not ready to kiss the Treasurer on his way out of Parliament House after delivering the Budget. Some of the pensioners who waited on me expressed their opinions of the Budget in true Australian terms. There was a time when I thought that a kiss was worthwhile, but Bill McMahon and others like him who kiss to deceive or to destroy have taken all the beauty out of kissing. I will be very guarded in future, because such betrayals are becoming too frequent to encourage me to reengage in the practice. I will stay as I am. However, what is more important in the overall picture is the changing viewpoint of the Treasurer and other Government supporters in regard to the economic position of Australia. Business executives with whom I discuss the matter invariably say that they believe our economy is very sensitively balanced on a razor’s edge. They fear that unless the Government exercises the greatest care we will be in for economic trouble.
It is difficult to understand the economic reasons behind the Budget. Last month the Treasurer issued a review of the economy in which he stated that although demand gained strength during 1967-68 it did not cause serious strain in the labour market or on domestic resources generally. Last week in the Budget Speech the Treasurer said that the Government felt it necessary to modify the stimulus slightly; in other words, that the Government felt a dampen ing effect was necessary, lt sounds very much to me as though the left economic hand does not know what the right economic hand is doing. I am informed by people qualified to gauge the economic pulse of Australia that one of the reasons why thought is being given by the Government to an unwarranted and unnecessary election is that its supporters fear the events of the coming year. They believe that they should discharge the election when conditions are reasonably favourable to them compared with what they are likely to be faced with in the new financial year.
It would not be the first time that a government has taken this course. Of course, the suggestion that an election should be held to give the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) a majority in his own name is too silly for words. In 1966 the people of this country endorsed the policy of the coalition Government in a very decisive manner. The present Prime Minister was a Minister in that Government. We have been led to believe that the policy of that time is a continuing policy. But perhaps there are many changes taking place about which the public has not been told. We know that the policy has not been continuous in the field of defence or of our involvement in Vietnam. There have been many changes of heart in those areas since the election of the new Prime Minister, some very disturbing and some which insome very disturbing and some which caused me to ask where we are going. The Prime Minister was like a man in a dark room looking for a way out until he reailsed on closer and more intimate contact with representatives of friendly countries that he has an obligation greater than he believed. I shall deal with that at another time. My purpose tonight is to deal with the Budget.
– Has the Democratic Labor Party a torch for that dark room?
– Yes, the Democratic Labor Party has a policy, which it has set down in black and white on matters of defence, foreign affairs, security and social services. If the honourable senator is not acquainted with our policy it is because he is either unable to read or refuses to believe. I hope that my criticism of the Budget will not be regarded as irresponsible, intemperate or excessive. I am familiar with the job of preparing a Budget. I know what it is to try to spread over all the financial commitments the resources which are available. I think I might be excused for repeating a saying of the former Premier of Queensland, a Scotsman who always said that you cannot get more than a pint out of a pint pot. That remark is true.
– Sometimes we do not get a pint.
– Not if some of it is spilled, and I am afraid that the Federal Government is spilling a bit while it is pouring. In criticising the Budget I do not want to engage in ridiculous criticism such as I read in the newspapers this morning and for which the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) in another place was responsible. He examined the Budget and then went on to talk about matters which I believe could scarcely be brought into the domain of federal politics. He showed an entire disregard of priorities. He talked about cities of Australia. He censured the Government for not doing more about city problems such as transport and sewerage. He said that the Commonwealth should help the States more in those fields rather than force them to impose their own taxes. He went on to speak about the 700.000 unsewered homes in Sydney and the 18.5% fall in the proportion of sewered homes in Melbourne. He carried this criticism to ridiculous length. He said that our third city, Brisbane, was running to a standstill because of a strike over its future public transport system.
There is a bus and tram strike in Brisbane which is now in its third week, but no-one, except an irresponsible person, would ask the Federal Government to aswer for that strike, nor would anyone ask the Federal Government to endeavour to settle the strike because it is not its responsibility or obligation to do so. In any case, there is a strike because of the conduct of an arrogant Australian Labor Party Lord Mayor of Brisbane who is not prepared to take the Tram and Bus Union into his confidence with regard to the future of the tramways. When the union repeatedly asked for a declaration of future policy of the Council he withheld the information until a new bridge had been commenced. The plans disclosed no provision for tram tracks on the bridge. Instead of phasing out employment for tramway employees who had given long service to the Tramways Department in Brisbane, he now finds that he is unable to meet the problems of redundancy because many of the employees, due to their age, cannot be trained to drive buses in the heavy traffic city streets. Nor is he able to solve the problem of those who are employed on what they call the offplatform jobs such as cleaning tramlines and small jobs about the depots. There are 54 men involved in this dispute, yet this alleged Labor man has had these men out on strike for a fortnight. He has absolutely refused to avail himself of the facilities of the industrial conciliation and arbitration legislation in that State.
– Does the honourable senator say that the workers are right in that case?
– I do. They have had justice on their side. If the Lord Mayor had been open with them and had phased out the employment he would not have run into the difficulty that he now has on his hands. The employees, who are members of the tramways union, are being blamed for commencing this strike during Brisbane’s Exhibition week.
– Not by Whitlam.
– No, but Whitlam is stupidly asking the Federal Government to settle the dispute.
– No, he was asking for grants for local governments.
– He was talking about the tram strike. There is no ambiguity about it.
– Does the honourable senator believe in aid for local government bodies from federal funds?
– Local government is in a better position with regard to loan money than are the State governments. State governments are required to go to the Australian Loan Council for their allocation of loan money whereas local government bodies- have the right to raise money themselves. State governments have no right to do this under the Commonwealth and State Financial Agreement.
– We cannot bleed the ratepayers white.
– Do not try to lead me away from this subject; I know the honourable senator dislikes my discussing it, but nevertheless what I have said is true.
– It is a question of whether the Budget or Whitlam is being criticised.
– 1 am criticising Whitlam for departing from the Budget and for drawing into the debate questions of responsibility which are not matters for the Federal Government.
– That is all right, so long as we know where we are going,.
– The Senate will always know where 1 am going and there will not be any withdrawal of my remarks.
– They want the Liberals to settle a dispute caused by a Labor Lord Mayor.
– That is right. As I have said, the strike coincided with Brisbane’s Exhibition and, naturally, the public was inclined to blame the workers who in this case were the tramway men. But the person responsible was this alleged Labor Lord Mayor. He provoked them. During the week before the Exhibition he started to tear up tramway tracks and to’ put buses on those routes without having settled the argument with the union. I shall say no more on the subject. I wanted merely to correct what had been said for the reason that it is not a Commonwealth matter. 1 refer now to sewering Melbourne or Sydney. Loan money could be raised for that purpose as has been done in other places. I am sure that the Commonwealth Treasurer will aid those who are prepared to aid themselves in the provision of public facilities such as this. 1 believe that the greatest problems facing Australia at present are of a defence nature rather than of a local government character. We see this disregard of priorities running through the approach made by the Leader of the Opposition in another place. The Australian Labor Party is concerned more with organisational problems than with ideological problems, yet it is the ideological question which is crippling the ALP. Sewerage problems might be great in certain shires and counties, but to my mind defence must be given a first priority.
On the question of pensions Senator Scott quoted figures and would have us believe that the Government has been playing Santa Claus with the pensioners since it has been in office. The thing that makes me think that there is going to be an election this year is that the pensioners received an increase. They receive increases only in election years.
– Do nol say that.
– I invite the honourable senator to check his figures; he will see that I am correct. It is all right for him to deny it; deny it once more and the cock will crow.
– We must have an election every year.
– The pensioners did not get an increase last year.
– He forgot that.
– I do not think that that is so.
– I will bet the honourable senator on it now.
– There- was an improvement.
– Anyway, an increase of $1 per week in the pension rate will not be of any real value. This increase will cover cost increases only since the last pension increase which was in 1966. Also, the increase in company tax is certain to have an effect on consumer goods purchased oy pensioners. So, the increase of $1 per week does nothing to improve the real position of pensioners. lt is time the Government looked hard and long at the position of people on pensions and fixed incomes. It is time the- Government did something real and positive in this connection. These piecemeal, small and insignificant money changes do not provide the real answer to the problem of catering for this section of our people. What we need is a new and revolutionary approach for, at the moment, we are only holding together an antiquated and unsuitable system. My suggestion, and the suggestion of the Party that I represent, is and has been that the Government should investigate the possibility of introducing a contributory national superannuation scheme. I will not go into the details of the proposal at this time. I- will deal with the subject in more detail when the estimates of the Department of Social Services are before us. Such a scheme would remove much of the inequality and unfairness present in the existing pensions and means test set-up.
We have advocated on several occasions, as honourable senators will remember, the establishment of a tribunal of competent people to determine social service payments for the purpose of taking this question out of the field of politics. This proposal was unacceptable to the majority of people in this Senate and in this Parliament. They are content to go along with this unsatisfactory system of handing out a dollar here and a dollar there.
Let us be realistic. Surely none of us goes about, with his eyes completely closed. There is not one of us, I am sure, who has not associated with people who are in receipt of pensions. Surely honourable senators interview people who are in receipt of pensions. I ask honourable senators to go to the trouble of finding out and seeing how these people live and what margin they have to spend on a little luxury or even a beer or two once in a while perhaps on pension day. See how they are clothed and to what extent they depend on their relatives to give them a little - as much as they can afford - because invariably the relatives have their own responsibilities in rearing a family. 1 say to honourable senators: Examine the position for yourselves and you could not be happy with the plight of the pensioner today.
Anyone who is content with the position of the pensioner today has little or no heart. 1 would say strongly that every Minister and everybody else who supports this Budget and who says that £7 per week in our old currency or $14 per week in our new currency is adequate as a pension on which a person must live, is blind with prejudice or has no heart, for those less fortunate than himself. I challenge any one of those persons to try to live on that amount. Give it a go. Come up with a report on how you go. We parliamentarians receive $12 for every night that we spend in Canberra. This is damn near as much as a pensioner gets each week. Yet, the Minister for Customs and Excise gets up here and tries to convince us that the pensioners are doing all right and that no cause exists for complaint. There is real cause for complaint.
One of the reasons why the pension rate is inadequate is that rents which are charged by landlords for rooms, tenement houses and serviced rooms are excessive. 1 was speaking to an old friend the other day. He was nothing more than skin and bone. He told me that every penny that he got in pension payments he used to pay for his room and bed, without any service and with no meals on Saturday or Sunday. Had he not been a little provident in his years of service, and saved a few dollars and had a few friends he would be less than skin and bone. But some honourable senators seem to think that such people are all right. Well, it is a very poor demonstration of brotherly love and humanitarianism. Yes 1 suggest to Senator Scott and his colleagues that they go into retreat and live for a while on S 14 a week perhaps for a month or 2 months and then let us see how they are after that period.
– What limit would the honourable senator put on the pension?
– I would pay pensioners - again this is the policy- of my Party - at least half of the real rate of wage that is being paid. 1 refer not to the basic wage but to the average wage that is being paid to the Australian worker.
– What would that amount to per week?
– It has varied a bit. It is going up. But the pension does not go up.
– How many millions would it put on the Budget?
– How many millions would it put on the Budget!
– I just want to know.
– Yes. Well, 1 cannot give the figure to the honourable senator offhand. But that is the regular and stable-
– They would not know.
– I beg the honourable senator’s pardon?
– They would not know. They never think of what the person down below gets.
– Would you just get to that pint pot?
– If we were dependent on Senator Wright for a contribution to it, we would not get very much in the pot. I have dealt frequently here with the man who is affected by the means test. No mention of his case is made in the Budget. A number of people on the borderline do not qualify for a pension. These are people who because of providence and foresight have made sacrifices to contribute to superannuation schemes. All they have done is to relieve the Federal Government of the responsibility to provide for them. They get no consideration whatsoever.
Again I say that in this Budget the family man is the forgotten person. This was so in last year’s Budget and the family man is the forgotten person again this year. No increase is provided in child endowment.’ The birthrate is not very encouraging. No parent who is attempting to raise and educate a family would have any cause to be happy with the present Budget. The family man remains among the lost legion.
– The Pill might have had as much effect on that as anything.
– It is a pity that the honourable senator’s people did not use the Pill. He would be the greatest argument in favour of it. Then I come to the field of education about which we hear so much. The Government represents itself as the great benefactor in this field. For a long time it said: That is not our domain at all; it is entirely that of the States’. But, under political pressure, in 1963 the Federal Government decided to give some direct aid to independent schools. Today Senator Wright threw out his chest - I think it was his chest; it could have been a bit lower down-
– The honourable senator is not shy about lower down, is he?
– My friend should take heed. An old friend of mine once said: ‘It is much better to be fat around the waist than around the ears’. Today Senator Wright was blowing his head off about the magnanimous financial assistance given in respect of science blocks. The money has been of some assistance, but there have been disadvantages also. I was speaking to the principal of a college not long before I came to Canberra. He said: ‘I am left with an interest debt of about $90,000 a year. I get the approval, but until the job starts and 1 receive some money from the Commonwealth I have to pay the interest on the money that I have borrowed from the bank in order to go on with the job’. So there is a bit of a catch in the aid for science blocks. I intend to take that matter up and to see whether I can iron it out, particularly if the Government is as magnanimous in the field of education as Senator Wright would have us believe it is. In this Budget there is nothing very much in the form of additional assistance in the education field. There is provision for a few million dollars for libraries. The more advanced colleges that have attended to this matter themselves will not receive any consideration at all. As the Parliamentary Librarian is in the gallery, I will have to be careful what I say about the value of libraries in schools and of books generally.
The maternity allowance has been ignored. Child endowment is unchanged. These are fields which warranted attention in this year’s Budget but which have been neglected. This unconcern of the Gorton Government for the needs of the family man will not go unnoticed. The family man is probably less publicly expressive of his complaints than are other groups in society, such as the pensioners and their organisations. But I am sure that his complaint will be registered quietly and effectively at the right time. The Government will feel the anger of those people who are battling to raise a family, trying to obtain a house and trying to meet accommodation and general living costs in their efforts to maintain themselves and those dependent upon them at a reasonable standard of living.
This is not the first occasion on which I have dealt with independent schools. I must say that today I was given a little hope by Senator Fitzgerald, who asked whether the Government was aware of the parlous position that independent schools are in at the present time because of the cost of maintaining them and because of the lack of finance. His question gave me hope that the private member’s Bill, which is on the notice paper and which I hope we will get to shortly will receive the support of the official Opposition. The library scheme to which I have referred sounds better than it actually is. It represents an expenditure of $27m, but that is for a 3-year period, and is to be shared by government and non-government schools and will not commence until 1969. The fact is that the needs of the independent schools are immediate and more basic than libraries. The Bill that I am sponsoring provides for a per capita payment of $50 for each child in an independent secondary school and $30 for each child in an independent primary school. Only by aid such as that can we continue to maintain the dual system of education that has functioned so successfully in Australia for very many years. Is the Government desirous of having the dual system of education continue or is it surreptitiously endeavouring to destroy the independent schools? Unless it recognises its responsibility to aid this section of our education system it will be faced with the complete responsibility for education.
Apart from the justice of the claims of the independent schools, as 1 have pointed out previously, the economics of the proposition should appeal to the Government. My proposition would cost $50 for each independent secondary school pupil and $30 for each independent primary school pupil, whereas each child who fails to obtain admission to an independent school and is required to go to a State school will cost the Government about $230. On the last survey we made, the cost was of that magnitude. In respect of each child who cannot gain admission to an independent school because of lack of accommodation or lack of teaching staff and who is sent away to a State school, some government - whether it be the Commonwealth Government or a State government - has to face up to that cost, whereas it could get away with a lesser bill by facing up to the facts, recognising justice and showing that it desires the continuation of the dual system of education.
The needs of independent schools are immediate and urgent. Many of them, particularly the church schools, are unable to to accept all children who apply for admission. They cannot embark on the building programmes that they require. They cannot pay their lay teaching staffs the salaries they deserve or pay the salaries that will attract lay teachers into the independent schools systems. They are extracting the maximum possible contribution from the parents of children already attending such schools. In short, they urgently need government assistance, in many cases just to provide basic essentials, such as the payment of building and other capital costs and staff salaries, not something secondary such as libraries. j95io/68- 5- 19)
The failure of the Government to recognise this need and to be forthcoming in the interests of the total education effort will be condemned by the parents of more than half a million children in independent schools, lt makes mc even more determined to force a showdown on my private member’s Bill in this connection, just to find out where honourable senators opposite stand on this important question.
– What would be the total cost of the proposal?
– It would be much less than if the children went to State schools.
– Yes, it would. I gave the figures before. 1 suggest that Senator Greenwood work out the answer to his question. I said that my Bill provides for the payment of $50 for an independent secondary school pupil and $30 for an independent primary school pupil. If he compares those figures with the $230 thai I mentioned he will find out how much cheaper our scheme is. Our scheme is the type of thing that a government concerned and interested in the preservation of the dual system of education would have provided for in its Budget. For the life of me, I cannot believe that any government could be so shortsighted as not to give in and do something about our proposal, lt is nothing new. In England governments over the years have been most generous. They have even gone into the field of capital expenditure. They even pay the external maintenance costs and the school authority meets the cost of internal repairs, etc.
I have just a few words on defence. The Treasurer claims that defence expenditure represents a 9% increase over 1967-68, but this is not a real increase. Nearly one-third of the $101 m increase will go in increased pay, salaries, and administrative expenses. The 9% overall increase also disguises such things as decreased naval construction, which is down by $4m; decreased purchases of naval aircraft, which are down by SI 5m; decreased defence and weapons research, which is down by $3m. The defence allocation is that of a government which will not face up to reality. It is time the Government realised that Australia must accept the goal of self-reliance in defence. That is what we must aim for, not the piecemeal approach apparent in Government thinking today.
The decrease in the allocation for naval construction is particularly disturbing. Australia requires a strong Navy to defend shipping lanes to Europe, Japan, and North America, to protect our 6,000 miles of coast - especially the fishing areas - and to protect our infantrymen if they are fighting overseas. The goal of self reliance in defence might entail some sacrifice, but it is a sacrifice worth making. The approach of the Government towards defence matters is completely at variance with the attitude of the Party which I lead. I feel that the Government is reverting to the Menzies days of unconcern and indifference about defence. If that is so the Democratic Labor Party will do everything in its power to reverse this unhealthy and unrealistic trend.
Of course, our responsibilities are greater and will be greater when Britain withdraws her forces from East of Suez. We will have two oceans, the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, to patrol. A big percentage of our imports comes to this country through the Indian Ocean, including the bulk of our oil supplies. We need more patrol boats to police the boundaries of Australia. However, I understand that the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairhall) and other Ministers are going into conclave to draw up a new defence policy. I hope that the Minister for Defence will not be retarded by the unrealistic doves in the Cabinet and that he will be supported by people who have a real and proper understanding of what we want for the defence and security of this country, which must come first at all times. 1 now come to external aid. Senator Scott puffed up a bit about this. He thought he was giving away a lot. What is the position? It we exclude New Guinea, the real increase in external aid is only about $7. 7m - a piffling amount in my book. When is the Government going to accept the principle of allocating 1% of the gross national product for economic aid? This is something that we have advocated for a long time.
– And the Australian Labor Party before you.
– That might be so, but that was before the white ants and the red ants got into the Party. We in the DLP feel that Australia is obligated by our developing economy and our presence in Asia to help our less developed neighbours. Apparently the Government is not similarly disposed, otherwise there would have been a significant increase in this Budget in the external aid allocation. The Budget contains no new plans or allocations for major development projects to replace those which are finishing. An imaginative Government would have, in this Budget and in earlier budgets, announced plans for a nuclear power project, for this is one area in which we are lagging. There is no doubt in my mind that Australia must try to develop nuclear power, for it might prove to be essential in the defence sphere, and undoubtedly it will be of assistance in major development tasks. It seems that once again the Government will be caught flatfooted and at some later date will embark on a crash programme which will be rushed and possibly unsuitable and generally unsatisfactory.
I now come to the rural position. 1 dare say that those in rural industries will not be unhappy with the Budget but I wonder whether some sense of proportion is missing. The increase in Commonwealth payments to industry is greater than the increase in payments for education, social services, defence or any other general item. A big share of the industry increase will go to rural industries, particularly the wheat industry. The attitude of the DLP towards the wheat industry’s dependence on the China market is well known. We have strongly called for the exploration of alternative markets but there is little evidence that anything very much has been done in this connection. What the present situation means is that the Australian taxpayer will be reimbursing the wheat farmers to the extent of $43m this year - $27. 5m more than in 1967-68. Yet the major market, Red China, is uncertain and fraught with political dangers. I fear that we are setting ourselves up for a humiliation or blackmail, such as that given out to the Japanese not so long ago. When a semi-official Japanese trade delegation visited Peking recently it was forced by the Chinese, after a month of haggling, to agree that trade and politics were inseparable. Would Australian negotiators be able to resist such blackmail when they knew that 40% to 50% of our wheat exports were dependent on the China market? This is my concern with regard to wheat. I am more concerned with the wheat grower on that score than for any other reason. I hate to see him caught up with these unsatisfactory negotiators.
Al the time of the VIP flight controversy last year I said that there was no warrant for ail of the aircraft in the fleet. I grant that there might be need for one or two of the aircraft to transport foreign heads of State and VIP visitors, but there is certainly no need for two HS748, three Mystere and two BACIII aircraft. I was interested to read in the Auditor-General’s Report the costs of running these aircraft. I note that the HS748 costs $256 a flying hour and the BAC1 1 1 $635 a flying hour. I shudder to think what Mr Whitlands bill would have been at the hourly rate of $256 when his itinerary for April 1967 was: Canberra, Sydney. Brisbane, Mackay, Mount Isa, Normanton, Weipa, Townsville, Ayr, Brisbane, Canberra.
– In what aircraft was he travelling?
– An HS748. I merely point out that the 6 months expenditure is nearly 3 times the 12 months expenditure planned for the new office to administer Aboriginal affairs. I say that only to put the matter in perspective and perhaps to answer the question asked by Senator Wright the other day. ‘Where are all these millions coming from?’ Let us have a little economy and we will get millions to meet some of these urgent and just claims. There are many fields in which economy could be practised with very good results.
I do not think there is any good reason for the imposition of a daily passenger flight service charge. If there were any possibility of selective implementation of this proposal I would be happy to see it examined. The Tasmanians have a reasonable argument when they say that it will hurt Tasmania more than it will the other States because Tasmania has no alternative service. Tasmanians cannot come to the mainland by road or rail; they must come either by ship or by air. In my State of Queensland, however, there is the problem of distance and the only practical means of passenger transportation from point A to point B very often is by air; otherwise it would take weeks to reach your destination. Thus there will be areas in Queensland, especially in the north and central west, which will be disturbed at this imposition. I would feel happier about it if some kind of compensatory payment could be devised or some system of selective application could be worked out.
Now I come to the increases proposed in relation to the Postmaster-General’s Department, the secondary department of taxation. Again the increases go on. Every year up go postal and telephone charges. Senator Scott referred to the increase that war widows will receive in their pension. Yes, they will receive an increase of $1 but they do not enjoy a rebate on their radio or television licence fees so they will receive $1 in one hand and will pay out an additional $3 for licences wilh the other hand. Is that a just increase? Is it just to impose an increased charge like that on widows?
– You would not be looking, would you, at one being an annual payment and the other being a weekly payment?
– Of course 1 am looking at it. The additional charge is $3 a year. I take it you are arguing in defence of it. You believe that the war widow about whom you cried so frequently in this chamber should be required to pay the additional $3 and is not entitled to an increase of any more than $1 in her pension. 1 am glad to have your acquiescence in government policy on this miserable lousy treatment of the widow of a soldier.
– And you are not pointing out that one is a weekly payment and the other is an annual payment.
– I have. In any case, what does it matter? The principle is there. The principle is the important thing.
– It is all right for the affluent legal man to cross his arms and accept it with complacency. Let him go into retreat and live on $14 a week and then let me know how he fares. There will be no mistaking then where his chest and his stomach are. T deplore the way in which the Postmaster-General’s Department has been turned into a tax gatherer for the Government. This trend developed in early 1967 and the Senate showed its feeling by revoking the unnecessary and surreptitious charges that were announced by the PostmasterGeneral (Mr Hulme). If. is amazing that the increases in postal charges proposed by this Budget have not received more attention. I sincerely hope that they will not go unchallenged. I hope that others will join in this criticism of and attack on this Department which evidently is being run inefficiently. I think perhaps a change of Minister would not do any harm.
At least the Government has adopted my suggestion of a year or more ago to pay the revenues of this Department, the largest department in the Commonwealth, into a trust account where formerly they went into Consolidated Revenue. Now let the Government adopt my other suggestion and turn the Department into a corporation and take it. out of the field of public servants. Then we might get a measure of improved efficiency. I am sure that the Minister is not helping the Department to get out of the morass in which it finds itself. With a statutory authority we might see some evidence of a creative administration. However. I will content myself at (his stage wilh those remarks about the Postmaster-General’s Department.
The Australian Democratic Labor Party cannot go along with the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition for the reason that it does not measure up to what we would like to see in an amendment. There is an absence of references to our overall principles and policies on defence. There are vague generalities in relation to social services. There is no reference to a national insurance plan. The reference to capital cities involves the conversion of capital to urban areas when the real need is decentralisation. There is no reference to the alleviation or removal of the means test. The amendment does not advert to the fact that the tax burden on the lower income group should be relieved. Although I must confess that Senator Murphy did refer to it in his speech, it is not in his proposed amendment. We believe that it is imperative that the incidence of taxation on the little man should be reduced. For those reasons we do not feel disposed to accept the proposed amendment but I foreshadow a further amendment which we will propose when the amendment before the Senate has been disposed of.
Let me say in conclusion that I am sure all decent citizens of Australia share the sorrow and disappointment I felt when 1 learned of Russia’s invasion of Czechoslovakia. Once again the world stands aghast at the naked aggression of Russia, a major power, in throwing its armed might agains a smaller and virtually defenceless country. Russia’s attack on Czechoslovakia recalls the aggression of Hitler against the very same nation 30 years ago. It is a repetition of the rape of Hungary by Russia 12 years ago. When Hungary was attacked by Russia in 1956 the effect and influence of world opinion was impaired by the concurrent intervention of France and the United Kingdom at Suez. Behind that shield the free nations sheltered and refused to become involved. In the very forefront in refusing to condemn Russia while pointing to the aggression in Egypt was the Australian Labor Party. Now the same party finds its refuge, and refrains from criticism of Russia by directing its criticism against the free nations, which must include Australia as well as the United States, because of their involvement in Vietnam. Aggression stalks abroad with all its terrifying threats. Vietnam and Czechoslovakia are victims of the same things. They are victims of aggressive Communism, lt merely means that the battle has been opened on an additional front.
– Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– I rise to support the Budget.
– -Order! 1 remind honourable senators that this is Senator Maunsell’s maiden speech.
– Thank you, Mr President. First I wish to congratulate the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) and the Government on presenting a Budget which will ensure the continued growth and prosperity of this nation while at the same time safeguarding the economic and social welfare of its people. As this is my first speech in this chamber, I am reminded of the great service given to the Senate by my predecessor, the Hon. Sir Walter Cooper. His contributions over the years have set a very high standard for me to endeavour to follow, and I wish him well in his retirement.
When considering a Budget it is only natural that certain sections of the community, such as pensioners and primary producers, might feel that they are not being particularly well looked after in certain directions. But we must remember that the money to meet all their needs has to come from somewhere. Whether it is raised by way of sales tax, excise* or other forms of taxation, the cost eventually gets back to the people. In other words, the money has got to come from us to the Government to be expended by it in the directions in which it thinks best. So we can say that the success or otherwise of a Budget should be judged not so much by what is contained in it but by its effect on the nation and the economy and growth of the nation. Over the years, this Government has brought down successive Budgets which have produced a very healthy state of affairs in this country.
Although we are a relatively young nation with very few people and a large area, mostly undeveloped, and although we have limited capital resources, we have been able to develop at a very high rate. We have also been able to absorb a high migrant intake and at the same time preserve the needs of the individual people. Our unemployment percentage is as low as that of any country in the world. We do not have the degree of poverty that exists even in wealthy nations like the United States of America. Opportunities for those who are prepared to take advantage of them abound here. For those reasons we can say that, overall, our Budgets have been successful. As this particular Budget falls into the same pattern we can expect it, too, to have a similar effect on our economy. 1 do not propose to deal with a great number of the items in the Budget, but I should like to mention a few with which I am particularly concerned. First, 1 am pleased to see additional money being provided for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This is a wonderful service for the people of the outback who otherwise would not be able to receive medical attention, for they live miles and miles away from doctors and their means of transport are very limited. The demands on the service are increasing every day and the maintenance and upkeep of the modern aircraft required is becoming a real burden. Of course, most of the finance for the service is subscribed voluntarily. I might add that the people in the outback areas are the ones who really dip into their pockets to do something about this great service. I repeat that I am very pleased to see the Government extending its support to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and I hope this will continue.
I should like to refer now to this new provision for drought bonds. This is something for which I have been pushing personally for years now. lt is greatly needed, particularly in the north western area of western Queensland, an area in which, because it is dependent on summer rainfall, droughts are fairly common. Climatic conditions there are such that it is not possible to grow fodder economically and preserve it, and distances from where fodder can be purchased at a reasonable price are so great that the landed cost on the properties out there is prohibitive.
One of the greatest difficulties with droughts is that we do not know how long they are going to last. If we knew that, we could probably do something to cope with them. Some areas of Queensland have not had a decent fall of rain for up to 3 years. In such cases, if one were to fully feed sheep in western Queensland for 12 months, one could put down their necks four times the value of not only the sheep but also the wool on their backs.
The main method of fighting drought out there is agistment, if you can get it. but that is not very easy. The second is to sell the sheep. This poses a very great problem because the first year of drought is usually the one in which the grazier’s income is greatest. Seventy percent of sheep in Queensland are shorn in the first 6 months of the financial year - from July to the end of December. As I have said, western Queensland is a summer rainfall area. If the summer rainfall fails and a drought starts, say in the early part of the next year, or the last part of the taxation year, the graziers have got to sell their sheep. As the book value of sheep is low. this means that the grazier has an increased income. This in turn means that taxation takes the cream off the income and then, when it comes to the next year, the year when the grazier has no income and he wants to endeavour to survive the drought by feeding the few sheep he has left, he finds he has no money to do the job.
The Government will not lose money under this scheme. It is purely a scheme for setting up the machinery whereby, in the good years, those who have some excess income - it will only be a certain amount - can contribute to these bonds. The interest from the bonds will not attract taxation, but once the money is brought back into use it will attract tax. One of the troubles we have in western Queensland today is that by the time the drought breaks and we come to a reasonably good season, the graziers are so short of funds that they are almost broke and refrain from using what little money they have. They try to breed up again, and it is frequently 4 years before they again become taxpayers. Under the drought bond proposals, I feel that there will be quite a few who will be in a position to go into business and become taxpayers as soon as the drought breaks. In fact, not only will they become taxpayers, but they will probably produce export income, which is even more important still.
I come now to television. Senator Gair was particularly vociferous about the proposed increase in the cost of television licences. Of course, this is an increased cost, only to those people who are fortunate enough to have a television service. The people about whom I am concerned are those who live in an area which, although it occupies 85% of the continent, does not enjoy television reception yet. I know this is not an easy problem and I know that the Government is extending the service as quickly as it can.
– They are not missing a lot. I can assure you.
– As 1 said, 85% of the continent does not have television. 1 do not suggest that television stations should be built in the Simpson Desert, on the Nullarbor Plain or in places such as that. Referring particularly to Queensland, the railway lines run directly west from the coast and towns are dotted along the lines. To give people in those towns television per medium of a coaxial cable would not cost a fortune. I hope that the Government when it has the funds available in the future will see fit to provide television for such areas. Today television is not a luxury that the privileged few may enjoy. It has become the right of all Australians. The Australian Broadcasting Commission screens some very fine educational programmes. Television would provide entertainment for people in the remote areas. It would entertain those people far more than it would the people in ‘ the cities who have other forms of entertainment available to them.
I know that the subject of northern development is bandied about at election time. Everyone hops on the band wagon and wants to do something about developing northern Australia. 1 have lived in this area all my life. From a national and from a defence point of view and to encourage the growth of the nation something has to be done about the development of northern Australia. The population north of the Tropic of Capricorn is about 420,000. Lack of population is the biggest problem in the north. The distance from Darwin to Sydney is 1,960 miles but from Darwin to Djakarta it is only 1,694 miles. The distance from Darwin to Melbourne is 2,399 miles but from Darwin to Singapore it is only 2,080 miles. The distance from Thursday Island to West Irian is only 130 miles. West Irian is a part of a country which, although foreign to us, is friendly to us now. Other nations that are not far away must be looking with hungry eyes at the underdeveloped areas of our country.
Let me point out what has happened in northern Australia to the present time. Apart from the south east corner of Queensland, to which I shall refer later, most of the State’s people live on the coast, which is the home of the flourishing sugar industry. Dairying takes place on the Atherton Tableland. The tourist industry is centred on the islands of the Great Barrier Reef. The rest of northern Australia, stretching across to Western Australia, is concerned mostly with the raising of cattle and, in the case of central and western Queensland, of sheep. The biggest problems, apart from the lack of population, are the lack of amenities, high freight rates and lack of markets. These problems follow automatically the lack of population. In the last few years the Government has done a good job in attempting to improve the position in northern Australia. 1 believe the Government’s role is not to go there and set up industries but to provide the climate for that to be done. It has done this by providing such facilities as beef roads and the new dams on the Ord and Nogoa Rivers. Another development has been the opening of the Army base at Townsville, which has enticed more people to the north. An Army base needs many people to service it. The big development has been the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s work in improving tropical pastures. These improved tropical pastures will revolutionise the beef industry in northern Australia.
Tonight the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) made some remarks about selling the north to people from the United States of America. I know most of the Americans who have settled in the Cape York Peninsula. They are individuals, not companies. Most of them want to settle here. One point that was not mentioned is that under the Queensland land laws those people have only a 30-year lease and 50% of the land that they are developing today can be resumed in 15 years time. Yet they are prepared to pour in money whereas Australian people and companies and British companies have not been prepared to do so in the past 100 or 150 years. We have to remember that once the land is developed and returned to us we do not lose it. If these people make some money in the meantime, good luck to them. They will develop the country and in 30 years time the Government will be able to offer blocks for closer settlement and Australians will be able to farm those blocks from then on.
The big development in northern Australia will be not the increase in primary industries such as the beef industry but the development of minerals. Three things can be done with these minerals. Firstly they can be left underground, as some people suggest, to be developed at our leisure. Now that they have been discovered and everyone knows that they are there, and now that we know the high potential of the area, envious eyes will look harder at it. These days, with new and developing countries emerging and with world opinion as it is, I can well imagine world opinion putting pressure on us, if we do not intend to do anything with these areas in northern Australia, to cede some of them to the overpopulated nations of Asia. We could not afford to have that happen. Secondly, mining can be continued in the way in which it is being carried on now by our own and overseas companies which are exporting minerals in their raw state. The Federal Government should give some consideration to providing assistance to help process these minerals to a more advanced state. I refer particularly to bauxite. The Queensland Treasurer has travelled to America and other countries to obtain finance to build a big power station at Gladstone because Comalco Industries Pty Ltd has said that if it can get cheaper power it will not only convert bauxite into alumina but will convert it into aluminium instead of doing so elsewhere. The growth of the mining industry will help to develop the north because it will bring about increased population, more towns and more markets for primary products.
The big problem in Queensland is that 72% of the people live in 8% of the area, right down in the south east corner. Naturally industry has developed there because that is where the markets are. The other 28% of the population send their produce down to the south east corner. Everything that is required to run their businesses and properties has to be sent back. This does not make sense to me or to anybody else. I appreciate that the State has a small population and that the State Government is short of finance. Although the present Government is endeavouring to decentralise, it is finding this very difficult to do. This is where 1 believe federal aid should be given. The development of the north is a national issue not only from the defence point of view but also from the point of view of the potential productivity of the north. 1 believe that the Federal Government could create the necessary climate and assist by introducing taxation concessions. The present zone allowances for individual taxpayers are quite unrealistic. The amounts are far too small and it is time that consideration was given to a redistribution of the boundaries. Incentives in the way of taxation allowances should be offered to people to enter the northern areas.
The best way to help industry in the north today is by payment of a freight subsidy. Freight charges are the big killer in the north. Only about 424,000 people live in the northern half of Australia and our main markets are in the south. A notable exception is the overseas market for the beef cattle industry. Most of the beef produced in northern areas is shipped to the United States of America. Our primary industries which produce our export income are facing problems. Reference has been made to the deficit in our balance of payments which persisted for some years until the effects of the capital inflow were felt. I am not opposed to overseas investment in
Australia. We must develop the nation and we do not have the money to do that ourselves. When Australia is developed we hope that it will still belong to us, but it will not if we sit down and do nothing towards its development.
Some dangers are involved in overseas investment in Australia. But for that capital inflow, however, our balance of payments deficit would force us to curtail imports and place a strain on the economy. Unemployment could result and a depression in wages could occur. While our export industries might thereby be assisted, we do not want to see that turn of events in this country. lt is therefore up to the nation to ensure that our export industries do not suffer through the inflationary trend brought about by the capital inflow and the boom in mineral development. The issue should be studied broadly. I do not suggest that a direct subsidy should be paid to the wool industry. There are other ways in which to give assistance; for example, through indirect subsidies such as a freight subsidy so that the people who gain our export income will be able to increase production and at the same time obtain for themselves a share of the profits that is considered to be normal in other industries.
The Leader of the Opposition in another place (Mr Whitlam) referred to sewerage and roads requirements in the big cities. I do not dispute that the big cities need help. I ask honourable senators to remember that 100 miles of bitumen road in a city serve great, numbers of people. I could not guess at those numbers. Honourable senators who live in the big cities may be able to assist me. In the western area of Queensland a stretch of 100 miles of road may serve only twenty-five people. In many outback towns the people have installed the sewerage themselves. One of the first actions taken by people moving to country towns is to install a septic sewerage system if no town sewerage system is operating. Local government authorities have been able to build many sewage works because the people have knuckled down to the job. I do not believe that the cost for installation of sewerage per head of population in a city is greater than in a remote country town where labour and development costs are high. I support the Budget and sincerely hope that it will receive the support of the Senate.
– I am sure that other honourable senators will join with me in commending Senator Maunsell on his maiden speech. We can look forward to hearing from him again, particularly on the subjects he covered in his speech tonight. In this debate on the Budget I wish to be associated with the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Murphy). During a skirmish this evening between Senator Gair and other honourable senators it became evident that the test comes in determining, in a time of great mineral expansion and big discoveries through off-shore oil exploration, how much of the resultant prosperity can be distributed throughout the community to the people who are unemployed or on relatively low wages. That issue has been referred to by previous speakers in this debate. Members of the Labor Party have argued that greater assistance should be given to urban development in the States, but that has not been intended in any way to mean that we ignore national problems. When Senator Gair was speaking one or two Ministers interjected to ask where the money is to come from. Members of the Opposition maintain that there are many ways in which changes in policy can produce considerable increases in revenue.
I have received a letter from Senator Henry Jackson of the United States Senate in which he refers to the enactment in 1953 by the United States Senate of the Land and Water Conservation Act. He points out that in that year there was a single package operation in relation to the Submerged Lands Act under which the United States Government turned over to the States control of lands within certain historical boundaries, but extending no more than 3 geographical miles off-shore. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act provided for full and complete jurisdiction and control by the Federal Government over mineral resources developed in that region. That meant in effect that the United States Government was able to move in at Federal level and obtain considerable revenue, whilst the States also received their share. 1 do not wish to weary honourable senators by citing percentages. The point 1 wish to make is that the dual Federal and State operation was enacted by the United States Senate back in 1953 as a means of considerably increasing government revenue. Recently the United States Government moved to increase further the royalties payable in respect of off-shore oil. Members of the Opposition have often referred to trade agreements negotiated in Australia. Senator Maunsell referred to development in northern Queensland. The plain fact of the matter seems to be that far too often big organisations that have invested capital in Australia have negotiated by saying: ‘If you do not meet our terms, we will go elsewhere’. Some overseas investors in this country have not adopted that method. We have welcomed overseas investment in Australia accompanied by technical knowhow, but we insist that it must be on just terms.
In South American countries that we regard as very small the governments, in negotiating the payment of royalties, have adopted a much harder line than the Commonwealth Treasurer (Mr McMahon) has. Had the Treasurer insisted on payment of higher royalties more revenue would have been available to him for use in the payment of additional social service benefits. Government supporters refer to the amounts paid to pensioners as a whole. I think we tend to overlook what are called fringe benefits, such as child endowment. Most honourable senators are aware of pockets of unemployment.
When people reach the age of 40 there arc no vacancies for them in industrial organisations as process workers or in semiskilled occupations. But in the society in which wc live people in that age group in rural areas are faced with the situation of receiving only a very limited unemployment benefit, and if they move from the country to the city they find that they are faced also with the major problem of housing, lt is quite apparent that the society in which we live is not geared to meet this situation. I do not propose to argue in detail on the unemployment situation or to cite figures because 1 know that Senators Cavanagh and Bishop, and others who have been close to industrial trends, will deal with this subject. They have waited in vain for specific information on what are likely to be the casualties of automation.
We have seen only a little effect of automation so far. One example was the celebrated case of the Federated Clerks Union of Australia whose members employed by the Golden Fleece Company became redundant as a result of the introduction of computers. I recall addressing a question on this subject to the Minister for Works (Senator Wright), who represents the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Bury) in this chamber. He said that a study group was in existence but that it would lake from 3 to 5 years before it could come up with any definite conclusion. In a period of 3 to 5 years we could find that 400 or 500 employees in a particular industry had become redundant. We have not received any indication of how these people can be placed in other employment, particularly when they reach middle age.
If I may take this subject a little further, Senator Gair in referring to the situation in Queensland distorted the Australian Labor Party’s attitude to urban assistance. When we use the term ‘urban assistance’ we have in mind that shire councils have their problems just as much as municipal councils. In the general concept of taxation most people, including senators, are wedded to the idea of the Commonwealth being the central tax gathering body. They argue that it is inevitable from time to time that the Commonwealth should assume certain responsibilities which formerly had been regarded as exclusively the domain of State governments or municipal bodies. Major municipal councils as well as the capital cities of Melbourne and Sydney, which were referred to by Senator Gair, now have all sorts of added imposts to meet and are looking much more closely to the Commonwealth for aid.
In dealing with the question of Commonwealth budgetship. for want of a heifer term, I was amazed by the Press release by the Treasurer on 11th August 1968 in which he referred to Commonwealth aid road grants. He presented a list which involved a considerable outlay, but he did not say how much the Commonweatlh receives from petrol tax or how much of that is diverted into general revenue, l! seems to be a psychological component of the Australian makeup, irrespective of an individual’s feelings on taxation, a subject which nobody regards very favourably, that a person does not want to be conned. If he sees the entire proceeds of any tax being spent in a particular field he can appreciate that, but if he believes that they are being diverted elsewhere he takes umbrage. I suggest to honourable senators that as they travel throughout the States and see examples of road construction they should think not only of highways and arterial roads but also of rural roads. A former trade union leader in the United States, Samuel Gompers, in reply to some professors who wanted to know the ultimate objectives of unions in the United States said: ‘More; we always want more’. I would apply that remark to Commonwealth aid for roads. I admit that some sections of highways have been completed with the help of Commonwealth funds, but I would say also, without any qualification whatever, that road justice will be denied until the entire proceeds of the petrol tax are made available for road construction. 1 think it is undoubted that from the lowest shire or municipality to the greatest city there will always be road work to be done. The amazing situation is that we see Commonwealth transport reports on road safety referring to human frailties. We know as we drive along a certain section of road that at a particular corner we are likely to meet a hazard, and as time goes on the authority responsible for that section of road finds the funds to make improvements at that corner, but we will nol see a reduction of road casualties until all these dangerous situations are eliminated. I suggest that the present policy of the Commonwealth Treasurer with regard to the petrol tax is completely wrong. Until the entire proceeds of this tax are made available to road constructing authorities we will not be acting in accordance with the original intention when the petrol tax was imposed.
Another interesting subject is immigration. Statements have been made by the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) about our massive drive for migrants. I am one of those who have always paid tribute to the Department of Immigration. I have always found its officers to be very efficient and dedicated to their work. However, I feel sometimes that the Minister for Immigration has to suffer because of the shortcomings in other departments. The magazine ‘Newsweek’ of 19th August 1968 deals with Italian guest workers leaving West
Germany and France and going back to Italy for holidays. The article refers to their working for the Volkswagen company and for other organisations in West Germany. After a short leave in Italy they go back to the factory and on the production line. I do not think that our present methods of attracting migrants are comparable with those of 10 or IS years ago.
I know that there has been much agitation to provide reasonable accommodation for migrants. Senators Poyser and Ormonde in particular have played a very prominent part with other senators in relation to migrant hostels. I know that when agitating for improvements it is necessary to be objective, but it is significant that with additional hostels our immigration programme improved. As someone said earlier in the debate, perhaps it is a matter of which comes first, the chicken or the egg. I feel that we must intensify our efforts to attract migrants to Australia. I know that at times some countries are not easy to negotiate with, but it is important to Australia that we encourage more people to come here, if only for the basic reason that the more taxpayers we bring into our work force the better our economy will be. I have referred to taxation anomalies. Sometimes we hear talk about the so-called great society, but nobody should go back and compare our present situation with the workhouse days of the 1930s, as Senator Scott did. It is not necessary to compare what happened then with what is happening now. There have been vast changes. Even in crime, people do not go about like Dick Turpin if they intend to embark on a bank robbery.
I am reminded by Senator Cavanagh that the current issue of the journal of the Building Workers Industrial Union in Sydney referred to a situation in which workers in the building trade had been unable to receive justice because of anomalies in the Bankruptcy Act. Where contractors and sub-contractors had got into financial difficulties and were unable to pay the workers, the men were expected merely to smile and be brave about the situation. The contractor was able to say: ‘I am sorry, but 1 am virtually bankrupt so no money is forthcoming’. Because of this situation there was industrial action on the job, as a result of which people who took over the liabilities of former sub-contractors had to pay the employees. I am not suggesting for one moment that amounts owing to other creditors should be ignored, but it is well to remember when talking about social justice that anomalies in the Bankruptcy Act and the Taxation Act have been, the cause of irritation.
Another matter on which I have negotiated with the Commonwealth Treasurer relates to a tax concession for clothing. I refer in particular to the New South Wales branch of the Shop Assistants Union and to the situation in major retail stores. I am pleased that Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin is in the chamber because as a woman she would appreciate the problem to which I now refer. We find that it is a condition of employment of girls engaged by large retail stores that they shall wear on the job a particular type of frock. Perhaps it is a black frock with white facings. In this new society in which wc live women with a modern dress sense would not wear such a frock to or from work for various reasons, including their fashion sense. Perhaps it is strange for me as a Socialist to bc arguing for a free enterprise system, but why should not fashions change? I do not cavil at that. I. suggest that the Treasurer should say that girls employed in this industry should receive a taxation concession in respect of the cost of frocks that they could not wear other than at work. At the moment the situation in respect of my representations to the Treasurer is rather like a yo yo. I made representations and 1 received a long letter about this matter from the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation. I appealed to the Treasurer who said that he would be very busily engaged on his Budget for the next 3 weeks. I accepted that. I thought: ‘Well, there will be some manna from Heaven.’ I expected this in the Budget. But there was nothing there. To my way of thinking, when we speak of a great society, a beautiful society or social justice - whatever tag we apply - these are the injustices and the anomalies for which this Budget does not provide. I do not know how much my suggestion would mean as a deduction to an individual. But I always apply my argument on the psychological side.
The point I am making is that this is a legitimate grievance by a section of the trade union movement. The grievance will continue to grow. What is the alternative?
If a trade union puts on a dispute and says, for instance, that the girls will not wear this uniform, the matter may come before a conciliation commissioner. He will say: Look, the employer has the right to impose certain terms of employment.’ 1 do not cavil at that. Honourable senators know that at times 1 can be full of wrath concerning certain conciliation commissioners, but tonight my target is not a conciliation commissioner but the Commonwealth Treasurer. I. do sincerely believe that it is not a question of a government considering in a Budget only the matter of social service grants. There are so many anomalies in our laws as a result of which sections of our community feel that they are being badly done by. I repeat that these are matters at which the Commonwealth Treasurer should have a good hard look, lt could be that 1 am building castles in the air. The Treasurer may say: There is no need for legislation. These matters can be handled by some administrative decision.’ Perhaps this is something that I can test at the end of this Budget debate. T will await with interest what the Minister for Supply (Senator Anderson) has to say when replying to this debate. I will see where I go from there.
Another aspect with which 1 wish to deal concerns defence and I shall quote from a publication which, if anything, I think leans to the Government. 1 am speaking of the Bulletin’, a Sydney publication. I refer to the issue of 8th August 1968 in which the question of the effective use of our defence forces is discussed. I know that Queensland senators in particular have in mind the effective patrolling of our long coastline. Reference has been made to twenty patrol boats which are to be provided for this purpose. I think that the ‘Bulletin’ is pretty right when it says:
At present the Navy has nine patrol craft. Under present plans, five will be stationed in Papua-New Guinea, two in Darwin, two in Melbourne, two in Jervis Bay, one each in Brisbane, Perth, and Westernport, and six in Sydney.
Obviously from that number we must subtract certain vessels which from time to time will require maintenance. Other vessels will be used for training of crews. I believe that consideration of the question of the integration of our defence forces is long overdue. Canada has taken certain action in this regard. I think that even Britain has done so. lt. has been a pretty big pill to swallow1. A number of the traditional regiments have had to be integrated and reduced in size. It is possible that the argument adopted by Mr McNamara has relevance. He proved in the United States that with certain modern methods a workforce could be reduced while maintaining the same output. Perhaps this could happen in the defence field.
What I am concerned about is this: I feel that the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairhall) should be able to bring the various Service Ministers together with a view to getting more effective use of the various arms of our defence Services for patrol duties whether these be in regard to fish poachers or kindred problems. On one occasion 1 was a member of a defence committee which was at Point Cook. I think that my colleague. Senator Drury, was with me. One of the flying instructors mentioned to me how boring training flights between Point Cook, Mount Gambier and returning to Point Cook could be. I believe that if Royal Australian Air Force trainees and pilots generally were used more in flights along our coastline this would be a certain deterrent not merely to foreign fish poachers but also to our own people as well. As I say. these are problems that we should have a close hard look at when considering the Budget.
One honourable senator referred to the subject of economy. Again, I am struck by another function of the United States Senate, the adoption of which may pay dividends in Australia. The United States Senate has had a number of sub-committees visiting South East Asia to see whether moneys which have been made available to countries there have been spent properly. I think all honourable senators take pride in the fact that with respect to grants to Asia, Australia has not adopted a Shylock attitude. Some honourable senators may have read a book entitled ‘Our Own Worst Enemy’ by William Lederer in which he refers to the efforts of the United States Senate sub-committee on corruption investigating certain goods which had gone to South Vietnam. I cannot help feeling that this is something which the Australian Government should consider. I do not care whether T-men, Treasury officers or some other Commonwealth body is used; but the Commonwealth could follow up some of the aid which we provide to those countries to see where it is going. 1 am not an isolationist. I do not say that if some anomaly is discovered aid in that respect should be cut off. I say that it should be diverted elsewhere. Honourable senators will know that at the moment 1 have particulary strong views about certain aid that I believe is being squandered in South Korea. Against that, I believe that were this aid given to Singapore we would get something for our money. I do suggest that the Treasurer should look at the functions of the Treasury in this connection or even consider the use of Commonwealth police in this matter. He should consider whether he might follow the progress of some of these cargoes to certain South East Asian ports and study the extent of some of the waterfront pilfering to see where our money goes.
Of course, in this respect, I may indict the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck). It may be that he would suggest that if food, for instance, were put under military guard in some of those countries until it was distributed, so bypassing certain merchants, we would get the same result. I know that I am probably on thin ice when 1 mention this matter. I have not had the opportunity to serve on the Public Accounts Committee. Honourable senators here who are members of that Committee might help me in this situation, in fact, they might carry out some of the duties of T-men. I do not know.
Having regard to what some of these United States Senate sub-committees have done respecting certain of the rackets, I feel that such investigations could help the taxpayers considerably. It is something for consideration anyhow. In fairness to all concerned, 1 should mention that I am waiting for an answer to question No. 353 on the notice paper. This answer may fill in some of the gaps. Perhaps, following an answer to that question, Senator Webster and some other honourable senators will be able to carry the ball on and reach a successful conclusion in this matter.
The members of the Opposition believe that with more effective negotiations with some of the big overseas organisations respecting the mineral discoveries and certain other natural advantages with which this Commonwealth is blessed we could do a lot better. As a matter of fact, I can portray this argument by referring to the fact that people like the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) have felt concern in this regard. On one occasion the Minister for Works was visibly worried, as were other honourable senators, at a display of a certain arrogance by some of those overseas organisations. 1. have in mind a question that arose concerning the Portland Cement Co. which is part of the big British Blue Circle outfit. I know that on one occasion Senator Wright, quite rightly as a Tasmanian senator, was concerned that some misguided people in New South Wales, wilh bleeding hearts, were talking about the Portland Cement Co. and how they were worried about where they were to get their limestone and what was going to happen if competition came from Tasmania or Victoria. But of course the matter went further than thai.
One of my friends was in London. I should inform honourable senators that he is of a different political persuasion from me. so the people concerned could not say that he was some Socialist trying to badger them. He visited the head office of this company in London. He was told: ‘Do not worry about this problem in New South Wales. We are used to dealing with colonials, whether it be in Africa or in Australia’. So, in some of these overseas board rooms, these arrogant attitudes are still adopted. 1 repeat that if the Treasurer suggested to some of these organisations that some form of economic sanctions might b? applied to them they would be brought to heel.
If honourable senators go through the records of discussions in the United States Senate they will find Senator Wayne Mors; and other senators preaching the same gospel about one or two organisations in the United States of America. This is not an ideological conflict. This is purely a matter of human frailties. We must look to the Commonwealth Treasurer from time to time to remove these social injustices.
Unfortunately members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party are absent from the chamber. I do not like making an attack on people when they are not present. But as the next Opposition speaker after Senator Gair I want to make a direct refutation of the allegation made by him in relation to the current happenings in Europe and ulterances on behalf of the Australian Labor Party in the years from 1956 to 1958. Sena tor Ormonde and I attended Federal Conferences of the Australian Labor Party in the period from 1956 to 1960. I do not think anyone will question the fact that Dr Evatt made many forthright statements about the invasion of Hungary. They are recorded in Hansard for anyone to look at. The statements that he made were paralleled by those of the then Leader of the British Labour Party, Hugh Gaitskell. Of course, Senator Gair, anticipating a certain reply, referred to the Suez expedition. Our argument was that the disunity between the Eisenhower Administration in the United States of America and the governments of Britain and France in relation to that ill fated expedition precluded any united front in relation to the Hungarian issue.
Some people who claim to be liberal in their general attitude talk about these convulsions in Europe and say that it would be all right if we went back to the situation that existed before World War II. But that is a completely erroneous attitude. When 1 say thai 1 am referring nol to members of the Government parties but lo members of the Democratic Labor Party. With reference to these conflicting ideologies, people have to be offered something better or something modern. 1 do not think anyone in his right mind would say that, whatever happened in Europe, the answer was to go back to the Hitlerism of Germany or the Fascism of Italy. When we are being rightfully critical of an invasion of a certain eastern European or central European country, it is a complete and deliberate distortion for Senator Gair to make the indictment that he made.
With regard to the Budget generally, wc members of the Labor Party believe that it is a case of too little too late. We apply that criticism to the increases in social service benefits. We believe that in a bountiful economy such as ours much more could be done. In reply to the question: ‘From where will the money come to do more?’, we say quite sincerely that there are other sources of revenue that could be tapped. In view of the fact that we are having health drives, physical training and so on, it was a retrograde step to increase the sales tax on sporting goods, lt might be argued that in some Slates various types of clubs are well endowed with revenue. But that is not (he position all over Australia. There are also organisations such as the little bush cricket club and the little swimming club. Let us not forget that parents like to give their children the best sporting equipment. Therefore this increase in sales tax could represent, a hardship for all concerned.
– What is the increase in the sales tax on sporting goods?
– I think the Government has increased the rate from 12£% to 15%. The effect of the increase in respect of cricket, football and other sporting equipment on the small clubs which are battling and which are not well endowed could be substantial, lt is on that basis that the Opposition submits its amendment.
– The Senate is discussing the Budget papers. As a member of the coalition Government parties, I have great pleasure in supporting the proposals that have been put before us by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon). I congratulate the officers of the Treasury and every other government department. At this lime each year they provide the Parliament with a set of figures which I suggest no major industrial undertaking in Australia or perhaps in any other country could provide so efficiently. Suffice it to say that at this time of the year we have not only the figures for the last financial year but also the complete proposals of the Government for the current year. Hearty congratulations are certainly due to the senior officers of the Treasury and the other government departments responsible for the presentation of the Budget papers.
No comment on the financial proposal of any nation today would be adequate if it did not make some reference to the calamity that is now occurring in Czechoslovakia. When we look at the expenditure proposals we realise how different they could be if today’s outbreak of Communist aggression escalated into a war throughout Europe.
– That is very unlikely.
– I am glad to hear a member of the Opposition say: ‘That is very unlikely’. I congratulate the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) on the comment which he made today and in which he abhorred this act of Communist aggression as an attempt to deny a small country its right to freedom. I only wish that his Party could in some way become united and adopt a similar attitude to our involvement in the effort to gain some freedom in South Vietnam. Perhaps that will come in due time.
I imagine that every sound thinking person in the community today considers that the Budget papers that have been presented reflect very sound thinking on the part of the Government. They are very sound documents. Indeed, there is every reason for them to be sound, because the present Government has been in charge of the financial affairs of this country for many years. It is fair to say that at this time members of the Government should have a recognition of what is required for the good running and development of the country.
I believe that at this moment we have something of which the government of any country would have sound reason to feel very proud. We have an unemployment situation which certainly must meet with the acclaim of both sides of this chamber. We have only about 1.2% of the work force unemployed. Surely that is grand in any terms. It is not grand that there is unemployment; but at no previous stage in the history of this country have we had fewer than 35,000 unemployable people. The number of people unemployed as at June this year was 65,251, compared with 68,491 as at June last year. That reflects great credit not only on the Government but also on the people in the private sector of the community who have sought to take advantage of the general climate of private administration and private initiative that is created by this anti-Socialist Government.
The speeches that have been delivered by members of the Opposition this evening have presented the claims that are usually made by an Opposition, namely that nothing is sufficient and that there are gaps that could be filled. Perhaps all of us would agree that no matter what provisions are made each section of the community feels that more could be done for it. For instance, I suggest that at the present time many sectors of primary industry, such as the dairying, wool, fat lamb and wheat sectors, which are all major income earners for this country, are in a somewhat difficult financial position and perhaps would wish to claim more.
The Treasurer, when- delivering his Budget Speech on the 13th of this month, po in led immediately to what the Government believes is the highlight of the Budget. He referred to the following statement that the Governor-General made in opening the Parliament earlier this month.
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 self-reliance.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullen) - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, 1 formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I seek the indulgence of the Senate for a few moments to refer lo a question on the subject of beach erosion which I directed some time ago to the Minister for Works (Senator Wright). I feel that subsequent events have vindicated my attitude that this is one of the number of problems wherein the Commonwealth Government has to assume greater responsibility. I am fortified by the fact that during a speech last night by Senator Sim, Senator Byrne, one of the new senators, interjected on the subject of beach erosion and from a subsequent conversation with him I understand thai he is equally concerned with this problem in its relation to certain sections of the Queensland coast. During the recess 1 made considerable inspections of the New South Wales coast and also had discussions on the matter with a Western Australian. lt is on this basis that I raise the matter again with the Minister.
Honourable senators will recall that in January, when 1 originally directed a question on the subject to the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) J was given a clear cut answer to the effect that this was primarily a State responsibility. Later on we had the Botany Bay episode, which involved substantial beach erosion, lt will be recalled that on 12th June, in reply lo a question by me, Senator Wright made it very clear that the aid given in the Botany Bay situation was a specific matter. During the recess a statement attributed to Senator Wright appeared in the Sydney ‘Daily Telegraph’. It was to the effect that if necessary the Minister would contact the Wallingford Hydraulics Research Station in England for assistance.
Appreciating the position on the New South Wales coastline around Kiama, Wollongong, and Byron Bay, I in turn made further inquiries in the United States because, as Senator Wright is aware, in my earlier submissions I referred to an article in ‘Time’ magazine of 24th April, in which it was accepted that beach erosion was becoming a mounting problem, obviously because of certain developments since the ice age resulting in the oceans getting larger and because of other problems, some of them man made. The removal of sand dunes and the erection of short jetties that upset currents contribute to the problem. In order to assist Senator Wright and the Government. I wrote to United States Senator Edward Kennedy, who represents a state on the Atlantic coastline. At this stage I shall cite only a few passages from the lengthy correspondence. The federal1 agency which operates from Washington is known as the United States Army Coastal Engineering Research Board. This extract is very illuminating:
The policy of federal assistance in construction of works for the restoration and protection of shores against erosion by waves and currents applies to shores of the United Stales, its territories and possessions, that are owned by States, municipalities, or other political subdivisions . . .
This is an important pronouncement:
Federal participation in the costs of a project for restoration and protection . . . may be, at the request of the Chief of Engineers, not more than 70% of the total cost . . .
In other cases it may be up to one-half of the total cost. I think it will be agreed that in the United States, which operates as we do under a federal system, this prob lem is growing and it is quite obvious that the day is not far distant when the Commonwealth will have to emulate the United States to some degree. In fairness to the Minister let me say that I would not expect him to come back now with a lengthy answer on this subject. With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate in Hansard a document dated 23rd April 1968, which includes a report on the operations and results during the 1965 fiscal year of the United States federal agency concerned with his problem.
THELIBRARY OF CONGRESS
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20540
LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE SERVICE
April 23, 1968
TO: Honorable Edward M. Kennedy
FROM: Natural Resources Division
SUBJECT: Beach Erosion Prevention and Control and President John F. Kennedy’s Advocacy of the Cape Code National Seashore
Rcsponse is made to your request of April 1, 1968, on behalf of a correspondent on the abovementioned subject.
U.S. Army Coastal Engineering Research Board 5201 Little Falls Road. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20016
Public Law 88-172 provided for abolishment of the Beach Erosion Board, the transfer of its responsibility for reviewing beach erosion control or shore protection survey reports to the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, and establishment of the Coastal Engineering Research Center and an advisory Board to carry on other functions of the former Beach Erosion Board. The new Research Center thus has basic research and development, in coastal engineering as its primary function. The reports on beach erosion control or shore protection studies have thereby been placed in the same review channels as reports on other phases of the Corps of Engineers water resources program.
The policy of Federal assistance in construction of works for the restoration and protection of shores against erosion by waves and currents applies to shores of the United States, its territories and possessions, that are owned by States, municipalities, or other political subdivisions, and also to shores other than public if there is a benefit such as that arising from public use or from the protection of nearby public property or if the benefits to those shores are incidental tothe project. The costs of restoration and protection of Federal properly arc borne fully by the Federal Government. Federal participation in the costs of a project for restoration and protection of State, county, and other publicly-owned shore parks and conservation areas may be. at the discretion of the Chief of Engineers, not more than 70 percent of the total cost exclusive of land costs, when such areas -
Federal participation in the costs of projects for other non-Federal publicly-owned shores is limited to a maximum of one-half of the total cost. No Federal contribution toward maintenance is authorized, but under certain conditions Federal contributions may be made toward periodic beach nourishment for a length of time specified by the Chief of Engineers in each case.
In addition to Federal participation in completed units of authorized projects, construction work by the Corps was initiated on Hampton Beach, N.H. Construction work continued at Imperial Beach, Calif., on coast of California, Carpentaria to Point Mugu (Ventura-Pierpont) and Caprillo Beach (Pt. Mugu-San Pedro) and at Fire Island Inlet, N.Y.
Organization mid functions. U.S. Army Coastal Engineering Research Center was established under authority of Public Law 172, 88th Congress, which abolished the former Beach Erosion Board (organized under authority of sec. 2, 1930River and Harbor Act, as amended(33 USC 426) and directed that its functions other than review of reports of investigations made concerning erosion and protection of shores of coastal and lake waters, be vested with Coastal Engineering Research Center. The report review function was transferred toBoard of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, putting reports on beach erosion control and shore protection studies under the same review procedures as reports in other phases of water resources study program of the Corps. The authorizing act also provided that the functions of Coastal Engineering Research Center be conducted with guidance and advice of a Coastal Engineering Research Board, to be constituted by the Chief of Engineers inthe same manner as the former Beach Erosion Board. . . . The Coastal Engineering Research Center is the principalresearch and development facility of the Corps in the field of coastal engineering. Its general functions are: (a) conceive, plan, and conduct research and development to provide better understanding of shore processes, winds, waves, tides, surges, and currents ast hey apply to navigation improvements, flood and storm protection, beach erosion control, and coastal engineering works; (b) furnish technical assistance as directed by the Chief of Engineers in the conduct of studies made by other elements of the Corps with the view of devising effective means of preventing erosion of shores of coastal and lake waters by waves and currents; and (c) publish information and data concerning coastal phenomena and research and development projects which are useful to the Corps and the public. Other functions assigned by the Chief of Engineers are: (a) assist the Chief of Engineers in planning and designing coastal works, including determination of probable effects of such works on adjacent shore lines, establishment of hurricane protection criteria, evaluation of effectiveness of proposed coastal navigation improvements; and in review for technical adequacy of studies, plans and specifications for beach erosion control and oilier coastal engineering works; (b) provide staff support to Coastal Engineering Research Board in conduct of its functions; (c) maintain liaison through appropriate Army and governmental agencies with domestic and foreign institutions which have the same interests in order to evaluate the effect of other efforts on the U.S. coastal research program; and (d) provide consulting services on coastal engineering problems to other elements of the Corps and other governmental agencies as directed.
Operations and results during 1965 fiscal year. staff of Coastal Engineering Research Center reviewed 28 reports for technical adequacy; of which 19 were navigation, 6 beach erosion control, i hurricane protection, and 2 combined beach erosion control-hurricane protection reports. In keeping with the responsibility for publishing information and data concerning coastal phenomena, eight technical reports by staff members were published during the year and seven others are currently in press. Five technical memoranda were issued by Coastal Engineering Research Center and eight more are in preparation to go to press. One technical manuscript was published in the “Miscellaneous Papers” series. Six technical papers prepared by the staff have been published in the technical press. Five other technical reports were presented before technical groups, but arc not planned for publication. Eight additional reports are in preparation. Preparation of a new edition of the coastal engineering manual. Technical Report No. 4 “Shore Protection Planning and Design” was practically completed. The staff worked on 12 major research or engineering projects and prepared 9 reports for various agencies: A number of lesser studies were made and reported on. A training course in coastal engineering was given lo a group of trainees from the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, invited lectures were given at two universities, and a number of descriptive presentations were made by staff members lo technical and non technical groups. Research to supplement staff activities was carried out at 10 universities under 13 contracts, and with 2 commercial concerns. Funds were also provided the Waterways Experiment Station lo assist in construction of the generalized tidal model basins. A major effort was involved in a geophysical and geological search for offshore bottom materials that would be suitable for beach use ulong the Atlantic Coast, and in a study of methods lo get this material onshore. At the end of the year, studies by the staff were in progress on: characteristics of ocean waves by actual measurement at a number of localities: methods of b> passing sand at inlets; sources of bud material; wave runup and overtopping of beach structures: propagation and effect of secondary waves: study of longshore currents; stability of rubblemound stiuctures; relation of littoral drift rale to incident waves; amount of suspended sand in the surf zone; model-scale effects; adaptations of the wave spectrum analyser to laboratory and full field use; use of radioactive and fluorescent tracers in beach studies; sand dune growth and stabilization by sand fences; beach deformation under wave action; use of offshore borrow material for beach fills; tests nf niprnp protection for earth dams: reexamination of completed shore protection projects: relation of edge waves and CUSP: breaker characteristics and wave set-up. Research work al Coastal Engineering Research Center or sponsored at universities is, in general, financed Dy Coastal Engineering Research and Development funds, general expense funds, and engineering studies funds. Appropriated and allotted funds in the three categories for fiscal year 1966 amounted to $1,100,000, $197,000 and $68,300 respectively, * total of $l,365:300. Reimbursable projects provided other funds amounting lo about $159,000.
The Minister will find, when he studies this concise document, that it provides food for thought. T am confident that in the next 6 or 8 months as more municipalities and more States agitate through their senators on this problem he will find himself able to convince his Cabinet colleagues of Commonwealth responsibility. The attitude of the Government in January was changed about July in relation to the Botany Bay episode and it will have to move a little more. I leave the submission with Senator Wright, confident that he will have a close look at this material on what, I feel, will be a growing urban problem.
– The honourable senator was good enough to indicate to me that he was to refer to this subject on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate. All 1 wish to say in regard to the reference he made to my statement in Sydney in June or July is that that was related lo specific erosion’ that occurred to Kurnell Beach on the south side of Botany Bay. What I then said was: 1 believe that there is very Mule, if any, evidence thai the foreshore damage at Kurnell can be attributed lo dredging work which has been dona by the Commonwealth in Botany Bay in the vicinity of Brighton-k-Sands as part of the development of Sydney Airport.
This view is confirmed by the senior officers of the Department who were also present at the inspection and i believe that the engineers of the Maritime Services Hoard also agree in general with them on this matter.
To place the question beyond any reasonable doubt, however, and to bc able to give you tuy final views on the matter, I have asked the Department of Works to obtain an opinion from Wallingford Hydraulics Research Station in England. This is one of the few recognised world authorities on such questions and it has, as you know, already done considerable investigations of conditions iti Botany Bay.
The subject was referred to Wallingford and I am able to inform the honourable senator that its opinion was to the effect that the erosion that we then inspected was not in any way caused by work that had been done by Commonwealth authorities in connection with Botany Bay.
I refer to that somewhat at length to give the honourable senator full information on a specific matter and to point up the view that the only concern that the Commonwealth had in beach erosion there was in the question whether or not the erosion had in some way or in some degree been caused or aggravated by work carried out by Commonwealth authorities. So it was a specific question of causation by Commonwealth activity. I would hardly think that the proposition that Senator Mulvihill is advancing could be accepted. I should think that the integrity of State boundaries - their foreshores - in the absence of any Commonwealth activity or work interfering with them was one of the things which was essentially the prerogative of the States and I. would expect that they would be so jealous of their jurisdiction in this field that they would resent our intervention in any way unless they asked us for financial assistance to enable them to repair a foreshore. That is the view that I give for the consideration of the honourable senator. Until he advanced the matter further on a more constructive basis, that is the view with which I would content myself.
– You will find a perusal of that document very illuminating.
-I will certainly peruse the document. The task of adding to my knowledge is never complete.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11.10 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 21 August 1968, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1968/19680821_senate_26_s38/>.