26th Parliament · 2nd Session
Hie PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMuIlin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator TOOHEY presented a petition from certain citizens of Canberra showing that the proposal to levy a sewerage charge in Canberra is unjust in that the people of Canberra already pay dearly for the services provided to them, in premiums on land, in land rental re-assessed every 20 years, and in payment of general rates.
The petitioners therefore pray that the House will disallow Ordinance No. 30 of 1968 and refrain from imposing a sewerage charge unless and until it can be shown that such a charge is justifiable and that it will bear justly on all people, and that before any such charge is imposed it can be fully justified and supported by a complete and accurate detailed set of accounts and balance sheet relating to the finances of the Australian Capital Territory.
Petition received and read.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Was a Mr G. Hoffmann recently charged by the Department of Customs and Excise with allegedly falsifying customs records? Was he found guilty and dismissed from the Public Service? Did Mr Hoffmann appeal against his dismissal and was such appeal disallowed? ls it a fact that within a few weeks he was reinstated in the Department, and if so on whose recommendation or advice was he so reinstated? Will the Minister table in the Senate a copy of the recommendation or advice so tendered? Did the Minister order his reinstatement, and if not, who did? Did his reinstatement have anything to do with pressure from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to cover up public exposure of espionage activities by officers of the said Security Service in the embassy in Canberra of a friendly nation?
– I shall answer the question. Part of the question was related to customs but nevertheless it is linked to the adjournment debate last night inasmuch as it relates to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. As I indicated last night. I will refer to the Attorney-General what was said by Senator Cavanagh and I would suggest that that is where it must remain. The honourable senator may not have been here during the adjournment debate last night, but if he looks at Hansard he will see that all of the points are covered.
– I seek leave to make a statement.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I want to say only that I agree with what the Leader of the Government said in regard to that portion of the question that is concerned with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, but I do not think his answer is a fair one in relation to the question of whether Mr Hoffmann was dismissed for certain misdemeanours and whether he was reinstated and by whom.
– Mr Hoffmann resigned from the Department of Customs and Excise, and I may also say that he was not reinstated.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. I refer to the epidemic of Hong Kong flu which faces Australia with the prospect of deaths, much suffering and great economic loss through absenteeism. From what the Minister said yesterday it seems there may be limited availabil’ity of the vaccine. Will the Minister tell us how this situation has arisen? Will the Minister tell us what steps have been taken to arrange for supplies of vaccine from overseas, especially to replace those which were sent from Australia when other countries were facing the same problem? Will the Government give an assurance that there will be enough vaccine in the country for everyone who wants it?
– In reply to the honourable senator on behalf of my colleague the Minister for Heal’th I would first of all refer to the reply
I gave to the question that was asked of me yesterday. We could not. of course, at this moment know the number who would receive injections because having an injection or not is a matter for a person’s own choice. I said following on from that, that if there should be a shortage at the time the vaccine would be made available where it was needed most urgently and I quoted the recommended order of priority. However, I feel quite certain, because of the very real concern the people feel about this and because of the advice given to the Minister by the committee which has been meeting on this question, that supplies will be adequate. If I have further information on this matter I shall make it available to the honourable senator.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister . for Primary Industry advise the Senate whether any progress has been made in negotiations with the States concerning the proposal for the Commonwealth to assist dairy farmers on small farms to leave the industry if they so wish?
– The honourable senator will recall that some 14 months ago the Commonwealth Government announced that it would provide $24m for the amalgamation of marginal dairy farms and that this money would be made available to those who wished to use it on very attractive conditions with regard to the term of the loan, the interest rate of the loan and the fact that an allowance would be made for writing off redundant improvements. The proposition was put to the States. Because of administrative difficulties and because the States could see themselves being involved in certain expenses, we have to negotiate with the States an arrangement whereby this scheme would not involve them in any additional expenditure. In the course of several months last year we felt that we had come to a conclusion that would be acceptable to all States.
The Prime Minister, on 30th September 1968, wrote to the various Premiers. The main purport of his message was that 50% of the money made available would be in the form of a grant to the States so that they could administer the scheme. Also, it was to write off redundant improvements by way of grant to the farmers concerned. Since that time the Minister has received communications from two States only. These were Western Australia and Tasmania which raised additional queries. 1 read in the Press, however, a. statement by the Premier of New South Wales, Mr Askin, in which he announced that certain State Ministers for Agriculture had met in Sydney on 26th January to discuss the proposals. He announced also that he would be bringing forward certain propositions to the Prime Minister with . . the hope of implementing the scheme as soon as possible.
-4 address a question to the Minister for Customs and Excise arising from a question asked by Senator Kennelly. Tn view of “the Ministers statement that Mr Hoffmann resigned from the Department of Customs and Excise and was not reinstated. will the Minister clarify these questions: Was Mr Hoffmann charged by his Department with an’ alleged malpractice? Was he dismissed as a result of this charge? Was he ‘ then reinstated ‘ on request or recommendation? Did he then resign with full superannuation rights? Will the Minister lay on the table of the Senate the documents relating to this case?
– I ask the honourable senator to put the question on notice so that I can give due consideration to his request.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Is the Government aware of the serious concern among wheat farmers over the future of the industry, particularly in view of the large surplus of unsold wheat from the last crop? Will the Minister report to Parliament at an early date on the wheat situation? Were the much acclaimed recent sales to Communist China made at sterling prices, which may mean further heavy losses to be recouped by the Reserve Bank if Britain devalues again this year, as is possible? Does the Australian Wheat Board still refuse to reveal the prices of these sales to Communist China, even to the Parliament, and, if so, why is the Parliament not permitted to have this information?
– I can assure the honourable senator that the Government is very well aware of the problems that are affecting the disposal of last year’s wheat crop. At the same time I want to deprecate the spirit of gloom that seems to exist throughout a large section of the community over the fact that we had such a record crop. This should be rather a matter for congratulation as it represents wealth to Australia, even if we do have difficulty in disposing of the wheat.
– The wheat farmers’ organisations do hot think so.
– Tt is wealth for Australia and we are very glad indeed to have it. I know which is better for Australia, to have a large crop and be faced with the possibility of having difficulty in disposing of tt at an early date or having crop failures. Which is worse for Australia, I ask? There will be difficulties but the farmers themselves are taking up this matter and are holding meetings throughout Australia to try to evolve a scheme whereby there will not be any great surplus of wheat in the future. 1 remind the honourable senator that we are not in the lap of the gods. To a large extent we are in the lap of the weather which controls the amount of wheat that we get in Australia.
– And you are hoping for a drought.
– No, we are not.
– That is the situation. You are hoping for a drought.
– If the honourable senator has finished I will continue. Turning to the other part of the question, which relates to wheat sales to China, it has never been the policy of the Australian Wheat Board to announce the prices that it receives for wheat. After all, competitors come into calculations in the matter of sales, as I think everyone would readily understand. That is the reason why the Wheat Board, not the Government, makes the sale, and that is why the prices that have been obtained have not been made public. The honourable senator asked whether the sales made to China have been in sterling currency. I do not think they have been.
– Yes, they have.
– All right, you know more than I do.
– That is not surprising.
– 1 do not know the answer to that part of the question but I will find out and inform the honourable senator.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Is it a fact that the Minister’s colleague has negotiated recently an agreement with the Japanese Government to ship goods to Australia on roll-on roll-off type ships rather than on the new container type ships? Can the Senate be supplied with a detailed report on this matter? In view of the difficulties that the South Australian economy has been experiencing of late and the need for the South Australian Government to have every incentive possible to attract industry to this country, will the Minister please undertake to ascertain whether South Australia will be included in the itinerary of the roll-on roll-off shipping coming to Australia?
– I know that agreement has been reached between the Minister for Shipping and Transport and the Japanese Government in relation to container shipping between Japan and Australia. I am not aware at present of any agreement in relation to roll-on roll-off shipping. In view of the importance to South Australia particularly, and to Australia as a whole, of having that type of vessel operating between the two countries I shall bring the honourable senator’s question to the notice of my colleague, the Minister for Shipping and Transport, and obtain for her a detailed reply.
– My question to the Minister representing the Minister for Health arises from complaints I have received from an aged people’s home with which I have a close connection, as well as from other sources. Has the Minister received any representations from people who claim that they are entitled to the intensive care subsidy but have not been able to obtain it? If so, and if there are a number of such representations, can a review of the situation be undertaken? Can anything be done about nursing homes which, by raising their charges, have denied their patients the advantage of the subsidy?
– The points raised by the honourable senator interest me very much and I am sure they will also interest the Minister for Health. The honourable senator referred to the intensive care benefit. This is part of the work being carried out by the Department of Health to help people who are in need of assistance. 1 do not know what complaints have been received by the Minister but I will personally pass on to him the comments made by the honourable senator. The Minister for Health has made available some very interesting figures concerning this matter. At 21st February last the intensive care benefit had been granted to 12.700 nursing home patients. Of all applications made for the benefit, 76% have been approved. This is well over 30% of the total of nursing home patients in Australia. The Minister expects the figure to rise to 40% of nursing home patients. J believe the figures illustrate the extent to which the benefit is being paid. f am concerned by the comment made by the honourable senator about increasing costs. I know that such factors are under constant consideration by the Minister for Health, but I. shall pass on the honourable senator’s comments to him.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Army whether a decision has been made on the location of an Army marine base on the coast of north Queensland. If not. will1 the Minister indicate when a decision is likely to be made?
– The position regarding a base for small patrol boats is that reconnaissance parties made a survey of some of the areas considered as possible suitable sites for a small boats base, with a view to transferring the existing base from. 1 think, Woolwich. I understand that at present quite a number of complex circumstances are connected with the setting up of a base. The position has not been resolved and it is not known now just when a decision can be made. It is hoped that the position will be resolved in the near future.
– I address my question to the Minister representing the Attorney-General. A few moments ago in reply to a question the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry said that it had not been possible to get the dairy amalgamation scheme off the ground because of lack of agreement of the six States, only two of which had replied and those two had raised queries. Is it possible to arrive at some reasonable means of administering this scheme solely under Commonwealth jurisdiction? I ask this question because, as the Minister representing the Attorney-General must be aware, if this difficulty of securing the agreement of the six States continues the scheme will fall to the ground.
– I am sure that the honourable senator will appreciate the difficulty of my making any worthwhile comment on such a question without time for consideration or even, some would say, with time for consideration. But in the circumstances 1 refer him to the fact that his question concerns, in the main, the acquisition or purchase of land and resettlement for agricultural purposes, both of which functions are peculiarly within the State jurisdiction. At the present time no peculiar Commonwealth power which we could use for the purpose of implementing this scheme without the concurrence of the States occurs to me.
– Can the Minister for Supply advise the Senate in detail of the terms of contracts offered to skilled aircraft tradesmen who were recruited in the United Kingdom for the Mirage programme? Were some of the contracts of a duration of 1 year, with no guarantee of further employment in the industry after that period, or were tradesmen recruited under the contracts advised verbally that continuity of employment in the industry would be available? Were other contracts of a duration of 2 years undertaken with skilled aircraft tradesmen from the United Kingdom, with a guarantee of return fares to that country on the completion of the contracts?
– The honourable senator has asked me to give in detail the circumstances in which operatives were recruited in the United Kingdom for the Mirage programme in our aircraft industry. I wilt set about getting the information in detail for him. Speaking at question time and without notice, I am confident that in no case in which an employee has been engaged on a contract basis has there been any breach of faith. As the honourable senator pointed out in his question, there may be some variations. For example, in certain circumstances people may have carried on, at their own discretion, after the conclusion of their contracts. In fairness to the question, in which I believe all honourable senators are interested, I will obtain a detailed reply for the honourable senator.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration. By way of preface, I refer to Department of Immigration news release 14/69, which announced the creation of an advisory committee to assess the relationship between professional qualifications obtained overseas and those obtained in Australia. My question refers to the second page of the bulletin, which states that the committee will examine the effects on State legislation of proposed amendments to the Nationality and Citizenship Act. I ask: Does this mean in effect that this legislation is to be delayed pending an inquiry by this new body?
– I cannot give the honourable senator a direct answer to the question he has raised, but he might be interested in some points concerning the new committee on overseas professional qualifications and its basic objectives. One of them will be to provide reliable information to be made available to those authorities whose responsibility is to pass judgment on whether applicants for entry into the professions measure up to our standards. It is hoped that in due course we will be in a better position to advise those who have obtained qualifications outside Australia on their prospects here. In order to allay fears that might still exist in some quarters I repeat that in reaching this decision all the Ministers agreed that a cardinal principle involved in any examination and recommendations that the committee might make would be the maintenance of existing professional standards in this country. The committee is to be essentially an advisory one. It will not have any executive authority or power to interfere with the responsibilities of statutory or professional bodies now responsible for the recognition of overseas qualifications, but it will indeed work in close co-operation with them. I have noted the other points made by the honourable senator and I will endeavour to obtain information on them.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Health, ls the Minister aware that yesterday the President of the United Graziers Association of Victoria released a Press statement strongly criticising the Commonwealth Government for failing to clarify its responsiblity in regard to the provision of garbage incinerators at outports throughout the Commonwealth, particularly in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia? Is it correct that the Commonwealth has agreed to pay half the cost of access roads and the full cost of incinerators and ancillary structures but not operating, maintenance and replacement costs? If quarantine is unquestionably a Commonwealth responsibility, who is to pay the operating, maintenance and replacement costs?
– I have not seen the statement to which the honourable senator refers. 1 well recall that on several occasions last year 1 was asked questions regarding this very important matter and I gave answers then. I think I should obtain the latest information from my colleague, the Minister for Health, and I shall give it to the honourable senator as soon as I can.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral. Has the Minister seen Press reports or decisions and recommendations made at this week’s conference in Canberra of the Australian Committee for Human Rights Year, calling for, amongst other things, the incorporation into the Australian Constitution of a bill of rights guaranteeing fundamental human rights and freedoms and for appropriate State legislation to make the guarantees more effective? In view of increasing support for such a bill of rights will the Minister say whether the Government has yet given active consideration to the proposal and, if so, whether the Government will indicate an attitude to it?
– I inform the honourable senator that I have been made acquainted with the proceedings of the recent conference in Canberra on the subject of human rights and I have seen, not for the first time, the view that a bill of rights should be incorporated in the Constitution. I remind the honourable senator that that was the subject of a comment by the Attorney-General. I think it would be proper to say that a cogent viewpoint to the contrary is that we best maintain the civilian individual rights that it is the purpose of this body to establish by vigilantly watching the particular occasions on which they are to be infringed or restricted, rather than by relying upon a general statement of principles such as is suggested. I suggest that the American experience underlines that viewpoint. The Government has not, since this conference in Canberra, had the matter before it specifically, but J have made reference to the viewpoint of the Attorney-General and I have stated my own view at the present time in answer to the honourable senator’s question.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Repatriation. I understand that national servicemen who have served in special areas are entitled to repatriation benefits. Can the Minister say how many young men are receiving benefits at present?
– I can give the honourable senator the figures for those who, as a result of casualties In Vietnam, are receiving benefits. I have not the figures for those who are receiving benefits as a result of being casualties in other theatres. There are 1,280 members receiving pensions after having served in Vietnam. There are 1,473 dependants of incapacitated servicemen and 186 dependants of deceased servicemen, giving a total of 2,939. The honourable senator will probably be interested to learn also that to date over 10,000 national servicemen have returned to civilian life. It is my belief that the community will benefit from the experience these boys have had.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I ask the Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the address given by the President of the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia, Mr R. N. Irwin, at the annual general meeting of the Association held in Adelaide on Tuesday, 21st January 1969, in which he said:
The continuing carnage on our roads is, as always, one of our gravest concerns. We are’ persistently active, but with disappointing results. We believe the Federal Government must bear a large share of the blame because of ita inadequate and out of date roads policy and its failure to initiate and foster research on a national level.
Has the Automobile Association of Australia suggested to the Government that a ministry for accident prevention be established? If so, what action has the Government taken to adopt such suggestion?
– I have not seen the report to which the honourable senator refers, but I can assure him that the Commonwealth Government is very concerned at the number of accidents happening on roads throughout Australia. Probably this is one of the reasons why the Government has made such large sums of money available to the States for the improvement of our road systems.
– You still kept $l2m back.
– The honourable senator interjects that we kept $12m back. All I can say is that the amount of money we are making available at present is ten times as great as that which was available when we came into office and the roads of Australia are ten times better today than they were when we came into office. 1 ask that the honourable senator put his question on notice so that I may obtain for him a detailed reply to this specific point he raises.
– It has been published in newspapers.
– As far as humanists are concerned?
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answers:
A schedule of ‘major’ mineral discoveries is tabulated below and explanatory material added where necessary. The level of additional reserves resulting from these discoveries are shown where known.
Under the schedule detailing petroleum discoveries, only those gas discoveries whose tested rates are greater than 1 million cubic feet per day are listed. The Bureau of Mineral Resources’ contribution to these discoveries is indicated, although, apart from physical and operational contributions, subsidy payments have also played a major role in the history of petroleum discoveries. Of the fiftyone discoveries listed, twenty-nine (57%) were assisted by the Petroleum Search Subsidy Act. The Bureau examined these subsidy applications and recommended them for Ministerial approval. The subsidised operations were subsequently overseen by the Bureau.
One of the Bureau’s main contributions in mineral discoveries has been by way of the provision of basic and detailed information through geological, geophysical and other scientific and technical surveys on which the exploring companies drew heavily in planning and executing their exploration and development programmes. Most, if not all, companies have discussed their exploration programmes with Bureau officers, and consulted the Bureau’s published and unpublished information on the areas in which they were interested.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
Senator WRIGHT - The Minister for Education and Science has provided the following replies to the honourable senator’s questions drawn from information he has received from the State Departments of Education:
Victoria - Dental treatment is limited to primary school children. In the country, priority is given to areas of scattered population remote from dental facilities, and these children are treated in mobile dental units. Limited numbers of metropolitan children are treated at school dental centres. Country and metropolitan children’s institutions are also visited. No child is treated unless parental consent has been previously given.
Queensland - The school dental service carries out dental inspections and gives treatment to primary school children where the written consent of the parents is given. Throughout the State, primary schools beyond a radius of 15 miles of a hospital dental clinic are visited by school dental cervices.
South Australia - The present policy of the South Australian school dental service provides a service for government primary school children (Grade 1-VII) in country areas where there are no resident dental practitioners. The range of treatment is generally confined to prophylaxis, fillings, extractions and minor orthodontic cases. The service also provides dental health education to children and mothers’ clubs. The children at six Social Welfare Department institutions in’ Adelaide are treated during the school vacations. An emergency service is offered to pre-school and secondary school children in regions visited.
Western Australia - Examination and treatment services are provided to selected children. The age group treated is generally under 9, but in small outlying schools all children are treated. In the north-west all children are treated free of cost.
Tasmania - All school children in Tasmania are treated irrespective of the schools they attend. At the present time comprehensive treatment for new patients is limited to the pre-school and grades I, II and III, but this is only until the situation is brought under control when it will then be the aim of the service to treat all children up to school leaving age.
Victoria - The cost is met by the Department of Health. No charges are made to parents.
Queensland - The school dental service b financed by the State Government. No charge is made.
South Australia - The service is financed by the State Government and the children receive free dental treatment.
Western Australia - The service is provided free of cost.
Tasmania - The service is provided free of cost
In Western Australia the cost from 1961 until 1968 varied between $90,000 and $100,000 per annum.
Victoria- On1 October 1968 the school dental service employed 32 dental officers, including 1 part-time.
Queensland- Twenty-one qualified . dentists were employed to carry out this service, and there were five vacancies last October.
South Australia - Twelve full-time dentists were employed full-time during 1968 and 3 part-time.
Western Australia - The service has an establishment of 14 qualified dentists.
Tasmania - During 1967-68, the service had an establishment of 24 full-time dental officers and 6 part-time.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for National Development has provided the following answers:
Australian Oil and Gas Corporation Ltd
Ampol Exploration (Qld) Pty Ltd
Tenneco Australia Inc.
Signal (Australia) Petroleum Company
Queensland, under its mining legislation has granted titles covering the exploration in certain offshore areas for other minerals such as phosphate, tin, manganese and so on to the following companies:
Planet Mining Company
Eastern Prospectors Pty Ltd
Offshore Drillers Pty Ltd
Metals Exploration N.L.
The areas so granted for other minerals are small and comparatively close to the mainland and do not extend very far seawards. The titles may include patches of reef, but do not extend to the outer Barrier.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT - The Ministerfor National Development has supplied the following answers:
The current estimate as at15th January 1969 of the cumulative reserves considered to be recoverable by primary methods are of the order of:
The two oil exploration licences Nos 20 and 21 in South Australia in which the natural gas fields of Gidgealpa and Moomba are located, are held by the Australian-owned Santos Ltd and Delhi Australian Petroleum Ltd, an American company which is the operator. The two titles are checkerboarded and inter-related. Recently the Australian company, VAM Ltd, acquired 20% of Delhi’s 50% interest in these two natural gas fields.
The gas fields and small oil accumulations in the Roma Rolleston area of Queensland are located in the Authority to Prospect (A.T.P.) No. 119P held by the ‘Associated’ group of companies as follows:
The last mentioned two companies are partowned by overseas interests. Two small farm-out areas in the A.T.P. 119P are jointly operated by the Associated Group and Amalgamated Petroleum N.L., which is Australian owned.
The oilfields of Moonie and Alton are located in the areas of Petroleum Licences Nos 1 and 2 respectively within A.T.P. No. 57P, issued by the Queensland State Government to Union Oil Development Corporation, an American company. The original exploration title-holder of A.T.P. 57P, which was the Australian-owned Australian Oil and Gas Corporation Ltd, has a 20% net interest in the production from these fields.
The Barrow Island oilfield in Western Australia is held under the title of Petroleum Lease Nos 1H and 2H granted to West Australian Petroleum Pty Ltd, which is owned in two-sevenths parts by Shell Development Australia Pty Ltd (British and Dutch owned), two-sevenths parts by Texaco Overseas Petroleum Co. (American-owned): twosevenths parts by Californian Asiatic Oil Co. (American-owned) and one-seventh part by Ampol Exploration Pty Ltd, which is Australian-owned.
Amerada Petroleum Corporation of Australia Ltd, U.S.A.-owned.
American Overseas Petroleum Ltd, U.S.A.owned.
Amoco Australia Exploration Company, U.S.A.-owned.
Anacapa Corporation, U.S.A.-owned.
Arco Ltd, U.S.A.-owned.
Australian Aquitaine Petroleum Pty Ltd, French-owned.
Australian-Cities Service Inc., U.S.A.-owned.
Australia Gulf Oil Company, U.S.A.-owned.
Australian Sun Oil Company Ltd, U.S.A.owned.
Australian Superior Oil Company Ltd, U.S.A.owned.
B.O.C. of Australia Ltd, U.K.-owned.
B.P. Petroleum Development Australia Pty Ltd, U.K.-owned.
B.P. Exploration Co. (Associated Holdings) Pty Ltd, U.K.-owned.
Calcana Oil Company Ltd, Canadian-owned.
California Asiatic Oil Company, U.S.A.owned.
Canadian Australian Petroleum N.L., Canadianowned.
Canadian Superior Oil (Australia) Pty Ltd, Canadian-owned.
Coastal Petroleum N.L., U.S.A.-owned.
Continental Oil Co. of Australia Ltd, U.S.A.owned.
Delhi Australian Petroleum Ltd, U.S.A.-owned.
Esso Exploration and Production Australia Inc., U.S.A.-owned.
Freeport of Australia Inc., U.S.A.-owned.
General Exploration Pty Ltd, U.S.A.-owned.
General Exploration Co. of Australia Ltd, U.S.A.-owned.
Genera] Exploration Co. of Australasia Ltd. U.S.A.-owned.
Gulf Interstate Overseas Ltd, U.S.A.-owned.
Japan Petroleum Exploration Company, Japanese-owned.
Kern County Land Company, U.S.A.-owned.
Marathon Petroleum Australia Ltd, U.S.A.owned.
Mobil Exploration Australia Pty Ltd, U.S.A.owned.
Murphy-Australia Oil Company, U.S.A.-owned.
Nakoro Petroleum Corporation Ltd, U.S.A.owned.
New Guinea-Cities Service Inc., U.S.A.owned.
North Australian Petroleum Company, U.S.A.owned.
North Star Oil of Australia Ltd, U.S.A.owned.
Outback Oil Company, U.S.A.-owned.
Pacific American Oil Company, U.S.A.-owned.
Phillips Australian Oil Company, U.S.A.owned.
Queensland American Oil Company, U.S.A.owned.
Seneca Oil Company, U.S.A.-owned.
Shell Development Australia Pty Ltd, U.K./ Dutch-owned.
Signal (Australia) Petroleum Company, U.S.A.owned.
Steeger, W. J., U.S.A.-owned.
Sterling Australian Oil Corp., U.S.A.-owned.
Sunray DX Oil Company, U.S.A.-owned.
Tenneco Australia Inc., U.S.A.-owned.
Texaco Overseas Petroleum Company, U.S.A.owned.
Total Exploration (Aust.) Pty Ltd, Frenchowned.
Union Oil Development Corporation, U.S.A.owned.
United Australian Oil Inc., U.S.A.-owned.
The petroleum prospecting and production titles held by these companies totally or in conjunction with the Australian companies are shown in detail in the ‘Petroleum Exploration and Development Titles’ map and key (as at 30 June 1968) copies of which are available in the Parliamentary Library.
The joint Australian-overseas companies holding petroleum titles are listed below. Details of these titles are given in the map and key just referred to in (4) above.
Australasian Petroleum Company Pty Ltd: 71% Oil Search Ltd (Aust.) 14% Mobil Oil Australia Ltd (U.S.A.) 15% B.P. Exploration Co. (Associated Holdings) Ltd and B.P. Oil Supplies Pty Ltd (U.K.)
Beach-General Exploration: 60% Beach Petroleum N.L. (Aust.) 40% General Exploration Pty Ltd (U.S.A.)
Frome-Broken Hill Company Pty Ltd: 331/3% B.P. Exploration Co. (Associated Holdings) Ltd (U.K.) 333% Mobil Oil Australia Ltd (U.S.A.) 334% Interstate Oil Ltd (U.K./Aust.)
Island Exporation Co. Pty Ltd: 71% Oil Search Ltd (Aust.) 14% Mobil Oil Australia Ltd (U.S.A.) 15% B.P. Exploration Co. (Associated Holdings) Ltd and B.P. Oil Supplies Pty Ltd (U.K.)
Magellan Petroleum Australia Limited: 88% Magellan Petroleum Corp. (U.S.A.) 12% Australian Shareholders (Aust.)
Magellan Petroleum (Qld) Pty Ltd: “80% Magellan Petroleum Australia Ltd (U.S.A./Aust.) 20% United Canso Oil and Gas Co. Ltd (Canada)
Magellan Petroleum (N.T.) Pty Ltd: 531/3% Magellan Petroleum Australia Ltd (U.S.A./Aust.) 30% United Canso Oil and Gas Co. Ltd (Canada) 161/3% Pantepec International Petroleum Ltd (U.S.A.)
Magellan Petroleum Southern Pty Ltd: 100% Magellan Petroleum Australia Ltd (U.S.A./Aust.)
United Canso Oil and Gas (NT.) Pty Ltd: 40% United Canso Oil and Gas Ltd (Canada) 262/3% Magellan Petroleum Australian Ltd (U.S.A/Aust.) 331/3%P’antepec International Petroleum Ltd (U.S.A.)
West Australian Petroleum Pty Ltd: 2/7th California Asiatic Oil Co. (U.S.A.) 2/7th Texaco Overseas Petroleum Co. (U.S.A.) 2/7th Shell Development Aust. Pty Ltd (U.K./ Dutch) 1/ 7th Ampol Exploration Ltd (Aust.)
Regarding parts 4 and 5 as far as minerals other than oil are concerned it is impossible to produce a meaningful answer.
Prospecting for minerals is carried out under a number of methods of holding ground which vary with the State or Territory concerned. In some cases, the tenements are known as authorities to prospect, in others as special mining leases, temporary reservations, exploration licences, etc. In still other cases, production tenements such as mineral claims are used to hold ground for prospecting. In Western Australia alone there are 800 temporary reserves, cither in existence or applied for.
Some of these tenements are held by individuals, others by syndicates or companies. In the case of individuals there is no record to show whether the individual is acting on behalf of a company or not. In the case of companies the State Mines Departments do not obtain any indication of whether they are overseas owned or are agents for or subsidiaries of overseas companies. It is also not unusual for options over such tenements to be given by individuals or companies to other companies, and this cannot be determined from the records kept by the States.
Moreover, information obtained in this field very quickly becomes out of date; the problems of producing accurate data are aggravated by the large number of tenements involved and the short term for which they are usually run.
asked the Minister rep resenting the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answers to the honourable senator’s questions: 1 and 2. It is not correct to say that the Government ignored the celebration of Australia Day in Canberra in 1968. It has been customary for some years past for my colleague the Minister for External Affairs, to hold a reception at Parliament House on a convenient day during the week in which 26 January falls, to which are invited Heads of Diplomatic Missions, the Ministry and representative citizens of Canberra and nearby areas. Such a reception was held on 25 January 1968.
I understand that it is the practice in most of the Australian States for private groups, such as the Australia Day Council, to initiate and undertake celebrations, with some assistance as necessary from the State Government or local government authority. This seems to me to be a very desirable approach as it more closely identifies the local community with the celebrations.I would be happy to support, through my Department, such an approach in Canberra should a group of representative citizens be formed for that purpose.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
Senator WRIGHT - The answers to the honourable senator’s questions are as follows:
Yes; the following amounts are made available for the purchase of books for departmental and independent schools;
It should be noted chat assistance for library books for ACT schools is in addition to the Commonwealth’s programme to assist in the improvement of libraries in both government and independent secondary schools throughout Australia. This programme provides funds for library buildings and equipment in addition to books. Assistance will be available to secondary school libraries in the ACT over a period of time in the same way as it will be available to secondary schools elsewhere in Australia under the secondary school libraries programme.’
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
In view of the great concern being expressed by country people, particularly those on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, regarding the proposed head tax, which will cost at least $2 extra per return trip, will the Minister consider not levying that tax on intrastate air travellers so that people living long distances from a city and who are dependent on an air service will not be penalised?
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following reply:
When it was considering a scheme of charges payable by passengers for the use of Commonwealth airports, the Government had regard for the position of intrastate travellers in all States. As announced when the relevant legislation was introduced into the Parliament, the Government decided to exempt the great majority of country aerodromes from the scheme of charges, and in South Australia the only airports where charges were to be payable were Adelaide, Kingscote and Port Lincoln.
It was not the intention of the Government to impose a tax on air travel, but to obtain a modest amount of revenue from air passengers for the use of costly facilities operated and maintained at considerable expense by the Commonwealth. The Government was prepared to grant some concessions or exemptions in the charging arrangements, but to go further than this would have meant that the shortfall in revenue would have to be met by the general taxpayer or by increasing the charges payable by other passengers.
As the honourable senator is aware, the relevant legislation was not passed by the Parliament.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answers:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
Senator WRIGHT- The Minister for Education and Science has supplied the following answers:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
Have any applications to mine coral reefs, for the purpose of cement manufacture, in the area north-west of Darwin been lodged and/or granted?
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:
Senator ANDERSON - The answers to the honourable senator’s questions are:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
Has the Government made any assessment of the value to the nation of building a standard gauge railway line from Darwin to Alice Springs, and from Alice Springs to Adelaide? If not, will the Government make such an assessment?
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for Shipping and Transport has supplied the following answer:
Although the question has been raised from time to time, no detailed consideration has been given to the possibility of a railway between Darwin and Alice Springs, since Sir Harold Clapp advised against it in 1945.
The Government is at present examining a report on the possibility of a standard gauge railway to Alice Springs, either from Marree or Tarcoola. It is also arranging for a feasibility study of proposals to connect Adelaide to the standard gauge system .
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answers:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice:
Will the Minister list the work which has been undertaken by the Snowy Mountains Authority in the field of engineering consulting to (a) Government and/or semi-government authorities, (b) others within Australia, (c) others outside Australia?
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answers:
Work undertaken for Government and semigovernment authorities -
Department of the Interior:
*Australian Capital Territory - Construction of various relief models of the territory and parts thereof.
Australian Capital Territory - Aerial photography and mapping of various parts of territory.
Department of National Development:
Queensland - Surveys for National Geodetic Survey.
Western Australia - Surveys for National Geodetic Survey.
Northern Territory - Surveys for National Geodetic Survey.
*New South Wales - Mapping to scale 1 : 100,000 of portions of the south eastern area.
*New South Wales - Mapping to scale 1 : 100,000 of the Riverina.
New South Wales - Advice on the design of Copeton Dam under the National Water Resources Development Programme.
Queensland - Advice on the estimates prepared for the construction of the Emerald Irrigation Scheme.
Tasmania - Assessment of the planning basis of cost estimates of the five year programme of the Hydro-electric Commission.
*Victoria - Advice on the design of dams on the Mitchell and King Rivers under the National Water Resources Development Programme.
Department of Works:
*Australian Capital Territory - Damsite investigation (including diamond drilling) for the Corin Dam and advice and selection of dam type and preparation of engineering cost estimate; also advice on maintenance on completion.
Australian Capital Territory - Diamond drilling, design and advice on outlet works for Scrivener Dam.
Australian Capital Territory - Diamond drilling at various locations for other proposed dam sites.
Northern Territory - Investigation of a damsite on the Darwin River.
*Northern Territory - Determination of economic alternatives for the transmission of power.
National Capital Development Commission:
Secretariat Building - Diamond drilling for foundation investigations.
National Library - Diamond drilling for foundation investigations.
Canberra Water Supply - Investigation and diamond drilling at various proposed dam sites for the augmentation of the Canberra Water Supply.
River Murray Commission:
Murray and Mitta Mitta Rivers - Investigation of various dam sites.
*Dartmouth Dam Site - Detailed site investigation and feasibility study.
Australian Water Resources Council:
*Small Rural Catchments - Co-ordination of research programmes on the hydrology of small rural catchments.
State Departments and Instrumentalities:
*Liddell Power Station - Investigation, design instrumentation and advice during construction of the Main Cooling Water Dam.
*Liddell Power Station - Investigation, design and advice during construction of the Pumping Station and Pipeline.
*Liddell Power Station - Investigation, design and advice during construction of the Fresh Water Supply Dam.
*Liddell Power Station - Consulting services on the design of the ash disposal dam.
Hunter District Water Board
*Newcastle Water Supply - Investigations into damsites for the augmentation of the water supply.
Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board
Nepean Catchment Area - Flood studies.
*Shoalhaven Development - Investigation, feasibility study then detailed design and preparation of specifications and contract documents for the augmentation of the water supply for Sydney and the South Coast.
Warragamba Dam - Flood studies.
Woronora Catchment Area - Flood studies.
*Eastern Suburbs Railway - Investigation, detailed design, preparation of specifications and contract documents and advice during construction for tunnels, stations and viaducts.
Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission
*Blowering Dam - Final investigation, detailed design and supervision of construction.
Irrigation and Water Supply Commission
*Barambah Creek - Damsite feasibility study.
Borumba Dam - Hydraulic model testing of spillway.
*Bowen River - Damsite feasibility studies.
*Broken River - Damsite feasibility studies.
*Burdekin River - Hydraulic model study to assist in the computation of basic streamflow records.
*Burnett River - Damsite feasibility studies.
Callide Dam - Hydraulic model testing of spillway.
Coolmunda Dam - Photoelastic model tests.
*Fairbairn Dam - Design of dam, outlet works and preparation of specifications.
*Farm Dams - Hydrological studies for small farm dams.
*Gregory River - Damsite feasibility studies.
*Kajarabie Dam - Design of spillway gates, bulkhead gate, gantry crane and hydraulic model testing of spillway.
Leslie Dam - Photoelastic model tests.
*Lockyer Valley Project - Damsite feasibility study.
McKenzie River - Mapping for damsite and storage.
*Ross River Project - Hydraulic model testing of spillway (to start later this year).
*Stream Gauging Stations - Reconnaissance survey, designs and specifications for gauging stations in North Queensland.
*Toowoonan Dam - Dydraulic model testing of spillway (to start later this year).
Upper Brisbane River - Damsite feasibility studies.
Upper Dawson River - Damsite feasibility studies.
Wuruma Dam - Hydraulic model testing of spillway.
Electricity Trust of South Australia
Pumped Storage Projects - Advice on cost estimates.
Torrens Island Power Station - Photoelastic model studies.
Engineering and Water Supply Department
Kangaroo Creek - Survey of Damsite and geological advice during the investigation and design stages.
Chowilla Dam - Review of design, specifications and cost estimates.
Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works
*Cardinia Creek Dam - Design of dam.
Greenvale Project - Geological advice.
State Rivers and Water Supply Commission
Bellfield Dam - Geological advice during construction.
Merrimu Tunnel - Geological advice during construction.
Gordon River Project - Geological assistance.
Department of Public Works
Fitzroy River - Seismic investigation.
Gascoyne River - Seismic investigation.
*Ord River Project - General consulting services on design, preparation of specification, cost estimates and advice during construction.
*Ord River Dam - Detailed design, preparation of specifications for inlet gates and outlet valves.
Stream Gauging Stations - Reconnaissance surveys, design and specifications.
Outside Australia Including Papua-New Guinea
Department of External Affairs
*Cambodia - Preparation of engineering designs, specifications, estimates and advice during construction for the Prek Thnot Project covering dams, a power station and a diversion weir.
*Malaya - Investigations and feasibility studies for the Pergau Hydro-electric Scheme.
Mekong River - Diamond drilling and geological interpretation of proposed damsites on the Mekong River in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.
*Sabah - Hydrological advice and training of hydrographers.
Sabah - Survey of the hydro-electric potential.
*Sabah - Design and construction In conjunction with the Malaysian Government of the Sandakan-Jesselton Road.
Samoa - Survey of the rehabilitation required on the road system in Western Samoa under the Australian-South Pacific Technical Aid Programme.
*Thailand - Construction in conjunction with the Thai Government of a feeder road system in North Eastern Thailand.
*Thailand - Construction in conjunction with the Thai Government of a highway from Tak to Mae Sod.
*Thailand - Construction in conjunction with the Thai Government of a highway from Lorn Sak-Chumpai.
Department of Works:
Laloki River - Hydrological studies.
Papua and New Guinea - Determination of the economic alternatives for the transmission of power from the Upper Ramu to Port Moresby or alternatively from Musa and Purari.
Port Moresby No. 2 Power Station - Rock stress measurements.
Ramu River Project - Diamond drilling of structure sites, review of hydrological assessment, feasibility of future hydroelectric development.
*Sirinumu Dam - Hydraulic model studies of spillway and hydrological studies of the river.
Sogeri Weir - Hydraulic model studies.
Yonki Weir - Hydraulic model studies.
Australian Coal Research Association - Photoelastic studies of stability problems in mines.
*Australian Welding Research Association - A joint project with the Authority into the welding of steels to Australian Standard AS A151.
*Cobar Mines - Photoelastic model studies in rock mechanics investigations.
Gold Mines of Kalgoorlie Ltd - On site rock stress measurements and laboratory testing.
*Gutteridge, Haskins & Davey - Model studies in connection with a salinity investigation for Chowilla Dam.
Lakeview & Star Ltd - Compression and torsion tests on rock cores.
*Mt Isa Mines - Rock stress measurements and photoelastic model studies.
Mt Lyell Mines - Assistance in rock mechanics.
New Broken Hill Consolidated - Photoelastic model studies for routine determination of stress concentration factors.
*Peko Mines - Photoelastic model studies in rock mechanics investigations.
North Broken Hill Pty Ltd- Rock mechanics investigations.
United Nations - Review of feasibility of the Chisapani Project, a hydro-electric project on the Karnali River in Nepal.
Bechtel Pacific Corporation- Rock mechanics tests, at Manapouri Power Station, New Zealand.
Binnie & Partners - Geological advice on the Plover Cove Scheme, Hong Kong.
Conzinc Riotinto - Bougainville Copper Project.
Location and construction of a road.
Advice on feasibility of a hydroelectric project.
Engineering Geological advice as and when requested on the project.
Soil testing as and when requested. Advice on disposal of mine waste.
Notes - (i) Projects marked with an asterisk are either currently being undertaken or will commence in the near future, (ii) In addition to the above listed work for organisations within Australia miscellaneous testing of concrete aggregates, cement, concrete, steel and other materials is carried out in the Engineering Laboratories, Cooma.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
Is the control and ownership of Coolangatta Airport passing from the Department of Civil Aviation? If so, what are the conditions of the transfer, and in whom will ownership be vested in the future?
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answers:
Some time ago the Gold Coast City Council agreed to take over the Coolangatta Airport from the Department of Civil Aviation under the terms of the aerodrome local ownership plan.
The transfer of the airport has not been effected due to various aspects since raised by the Council, although the Commonwealth has met its obligations to develop the airport to the appropriate standard.
The proposal is still under discussion between the Council and the Department of Civil Aviation, and it is hoped that finality will be reached in the near future.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT - The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answers:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT - The Minister for National Development has providedthe following answers:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following answers:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
Further to the answer to my question asked earlier this year that additional costs associated with finding suitable foundations for the Treasury buildings were $67,109 up to 30th June this year, is it a fact that the final additional costs involved in obtaining suitable foundations for this building will exceed $3,000,000?
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
No. The final additional costs involved in obtaining suitable foundations for the Treasury Offices will not exceed $3,000,000.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s questions:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT- The Ministerfor Shipping and Transport has supplied the following answers:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following answer:
asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT - I provide the following answer to the honourable senators questions:
The Commonwealth Statistician has advised that details of imports of tomato paste are not separately recorded. The accompanying tables, however, show imports of tomato pulp, puree, paste, powder, dehydrated tomato in flakes and the like for the years 1963-64 and 1964-65 and imports of tomato pulp, puree, or paste and tomato juice for the years 1965-66 to 1967-68.
I regret that details of categories of packaging are not available.
– Minister for Housing) - by leave -I wish to announce on behalf of the Minister for Health details of the Commonwealth’s offer to State governments directed to the development of a comprehensive programme for the care of the aged, particularly the frail aged, in their own homes. This home care programme will comprise a most important part of the comprehensive health and social welfare scheme that the Commonwealth is developing to assist the needy in our community. The overall welfare programme towards which the Government is working has stemmed from the Government’s belief, as expressed by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), that ‘no nation can be great unless it seeks not only materially to progress but also to take care of the weaker within it, the aged within it and the ill within it’. In bringing such a welfare programme into effect we have been seeking to identify those who are most in need so that we can provide them with the extra help they may require whether by way of direct financial assistance or by way of services.
The Government’s welfare programme was referred to by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) when introducing the Budget for this financial year. He referred to the fact that the Government is prepared to go beyond established fields of welfare assistance to areas where facilities are not at present available or are inadequate. Mention was made of the need to develop home care and related services, particularly but not exclusively for aged persons, and to discussions with the States that were to be held with the aim of working out a comprehensive and co-ordinated programme of home care.
The Commonwealth and State discussions towards achieving the joint programme of home care have been successful and general agreement has been reached on the desirable components of a home care programme for each State of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Government has now endorsed a programme submitted jointly by the States and the Prime Minister has made a formal offer of financial assistance to enable this programme to be achieved. The acceptance of the Commonwealth’s offer by the States is confidently anticipated. The Government recognises the respective constitutional responsibilities that exist between the Commonwealth and the States but has not permitted these differences to inhibit the development of a mutually agreed programme. The Prime Minister’s offer is based on proposals put forward by the States themselves; proposals which include the essential ingredients for a comprehensive and effective programme for the care of the aged, including the sick aged, in their own homes or where necessary in nursing homes. Some differences of approach do exist between States and between the States and the Commonwealth but these differences concern matters of detail and will not prevent progress towards achieving our aims.
The general approach contemplated by the Commonwealth in its offer to the States envisages Commonwealth expenditure of $1,250,000 a year on a matching doll’ar for dollar basis in relation to the home care programme. In addition to the assistance it is offering towards the home care programme, the Commonwealth is prepared to make available S5m over the next 5 years, on a matching basis, towards the capital cost of providing State nursing homes for the care of the frail aged with little means. Apart from home nursing services which the Commonwealth already subsidises, the major components of the home care programme are housekeeping and home help services, senior citizen centres and paramedical services. To assist the development of housekeeper and home help services the Commonwealth is offering $500,000 a year on a dollar for dollar matching basis with State expenditure, the total sum to be allocated between the States broadly in proportion to their populations. The existing Commonwealth payments to the States for housekeeper services will be absorbed in the proposed new grant.
The next component of the programme and one which the Government views as very important is the development of senior citizen centres. Senior citizen centres are regarded as central points in the community to which aged persons can turn not only for activities to relieve their loneliness and for services such as meals, laundry and chiropody but also as a centre for the coordination and in some cases the provision of a variety of domiciliary and other supportive services. The Commonwealth considers it essential that welfare officers be employed at senior citzen centres to ensure the development, co-ordination and continuing provision of the most appropriate welfare services to meet the needs of the aged in the areas served by the centres. I do not wish to imply that the centres will directly provide all services. On the contrary these may be provided by a variety of organisations, the stimulation and coordination of which will be a major part of the welfare officer’s activities.
To assist meet the costs of development and maintenance of senior citizen centres, the Commonwealth has offered to the States $500,000 a year. Firstly, this grant will be available towards approved capital expendi ture on senior citizen centres, the apportionment of the cost to be on the basis of one-third Commonwealth, one-third State and one-third local’ authority and/or community effort.
Secondly, for approved centres, assistance will be available to meet half the salary of the welfare officer who will be a qualified social worker or a person with equivalent qualifications or experience. Welfare officers will supervise the centres and their activities and will be key personnel in the overall organisation of the home care programme. Whilst the Commonwealth views the meals on wheels service as important in the home care programme, it is not offering a separate subsidy for this service. However, senior citizen centres will be expected to aid the development and operation ,of meals on wheels services and expenditure on equipment for such services may be included in the subsidy.
In regard to paramedical services provided to aged persons in their own homes, the Commonwealth is prepared to assist the States by up to $250,000 per annum on a dollar for dollar basis, allocated broadly in proportion to State populations. The paramedical services will include phsysiotherapy occupational therapy, speech therapy, chiropody and the associated social work services. I have already mentioned that the Commonwealth Government subsidises home nursing. In fact it is providing assistance of $885,000 in the current financial year.
The Government recognises the importance of community participation in the proposed home care programme and therefore wants to see the State governments play their rightful part, the municipalities play theirs, and perhaps most importantly of all, the voluntary agencies and groups bring their enthusiasm and experience into the programme. Institutional accommodation and treatment for the sick aged is also an important element in any complete plan. Therefore, as part of the overall programme for the care of the aged the Commonwealth is prepared to contribute up to $5m over the next 5 years on a dollar for dollar basis towards the provision of more State nursing home beds. This offer is made on the conditions that the additional beds so provided will be used only for the sick aged of little means in genuine need of nursing home care and that the States help significantly with the problem of ensuring that nursing home beds in State and other institutions are allocated to the best advantage.
– I have received from the House of Representatives the following resolution which was agreed to by the House of Representatives yesterday and in which it requests the concurrence of the Senate:
That the lime for bringing up the report of the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House on the matter of the site alternatives of Capital Hill and the Camp Hill area be extended until the end of April.
Motion (by Senator Anderson) agreed to:
– I have received from the House of Representatives the following resolution, which was agreed to by the House of Representatives yesterday and in which it requests the concurrence of the Senate:
That the Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate be added to the membership of the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House when the Committee is considering the matter of the site for the new building.
Motion (by Senator Anderson) proposed:
House when the Committee is considering tha matter of the site for the new building’.
Debate (on motion by Senator Murphy) adjourned.
– I have received from the House of Representatives the following resolution, which was agreed to by the House of Representatives yesterday and in which it requests the concurrence of the Senate:
That paragraph (8) of the resolution of appointment of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory be omitted and that the following paragraph be inserted in place thereof:
That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, to move from place to place, and to sit during any recess or adjournment of the Parliament and during the sittings of either House of the Parliament.’.
Motion (by Senator Anderson) agreed to:
That paragraph (8) of the resolution of appointment of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory be omitted and that the following paragraph be inserted in place thereof:
That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, to move from place to place, and to sit during any recess or adjournment of the Parliament and during tha sittings of either House of the Parliament.’.
– Mr President, I am in your hands. At what stage is this motion to be debated, or how can one seek information regarding it? Perhaps I could explain my position. If this motion is agreed to, the Australian Capital Territory Committee will be different from other committees - the Public Works Committee and the Public Accounts Committee - which have to seek leave to sit while the Parliament is sitting. This motion would give the Australian Capital Territory Committee power to sit while the Parliament was silting, thus making it entirely different from those statutory committees. As this Committee is now a paid committee and not a voluntary one, I believe that this matter should be considered. Therefore I ask you or the Leader of the Government (Senator Anderson: At what stage may I canvass this matter?
– I point out that I have already put the motion and that it has been agreed to.
– If the Senate agrees to the motion of recommittal, honourable senators will then be able to debate the original motion.
Motion (by Senator Anderson) agreed to:
Thai the moi ion be recommitted.
Senator ANDERSON (New South Wales - Minister for Supply) 1.4.15] - I will now speak to the original motion, lt is true that some other committees must obtain leave before they can sit during a sitting of the Parliament. In effect, the motion would achieve the same thing on a permanent basis in respect of the Australian Capital Territory Committee. As I recall, when the Public Works Committee had a special reason for completing a reference - for example, if it was coming to the end of a parliamentary session and it wanted to present its report to the Parliament - it sought leave to sit at times when the Parliament was sitting. This motion merely gives that leave on a broad basis, for reasons which no doubt are valid. The reasons include the Government’s anxiety to have the matter that the Committee is now considering brought to a conclusion and a desire to give the Committee a wider opportunity to function. The Senate is merely being asked to do by resolution what it normally does by leave in respect of a whole variety of other committees. I suggest that the good judgment of the Australian Capital Territory Committee can be relied upon, so that it will sit in such a way that it will not embarrass its members or the Administration at times when the Parliament is sitting.
– This resolution allows the Committee to travel.
– Yes. Nothing is added, in the light of the explanations given by myself and by Senator Murphy 1 think we might now pass the resolution.
– This resolution relates to the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory, which is a permanent committee, and not to the Joint Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House.
– Just to gather in the threads and if possible to make a garment of a speech I am now told that the Foreign Affairs Committee is not a statutory committee but it is constituted by the joint resolution of the two Houses for a session of Parliament. It is therefore a continuing committee and comes within the same principles that should apply to the statutory committees - Public Accounts and Public Works. The Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House has been set up as a special committee to consider the siting of the new parliament house.
– I am obliged because this has been thrown into the ring without anything being on the notice paper and therefore we pierce the darkness little by little. I understood that the committee referred to was the special committee that has been set up to consider the whole project of the new parliament house. Senator Branson has been good enough to provide me with a text of the resolution. It shows we are referring to the Joint Committee, which is a continuing committee, on affairs concerning the Australian Capital Territory. For my part, whilst I do not intend to vote against the resolution, I express my view that we should not accord to that Committee the right to sit during parliamentary sittings without the leave of the Houses of Parliament.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Minister for Housing) [4.27] - J move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The main purpose of this Bill is to revise the maximum penalties that may be imposed upon persons convicted of quarantine offences. In addition, the opportunity has been taken to include provisions designed to remove anomalies and to enable a smoother functioning of quarantine administration whilst causing less inconvenience to importers and travellers.
The revised penalties are the result of a careful review, which took into consideration the seriousness of each type of offence, its relationship to other offences, and, as far as practicable, comparable provisions in other legislation. Substantial increases are proposed to nearly all of the monetary penalties so as to restore the deterrent value, which in most cases is considerably less in these days of relatively high incomes than when the penalties were fixed. Breaches of quarantine legislation should be regarded as particularly serious. Great suffering or loss of life could occur through the introduction of diseases such as smallpox, plague, yellow fever or cholera, whilst the introduction and spread of certain diseases affecting plants or animals could have disastrous economic consequences. Honourable senators will be aware of the havoc foot and mouth disease caused to the English dairying industry only a short time ago. The introduction and spread of that disease would bring complete disruption of our livestock industry and an immediate and substantial fall in our export earnings. i do not intend to mention each individual penalty, but 1 would like to draw the attention of honourable senators to the proposed maximum penalty in respect of the offences against sub-section (1.) of section 67 of the Act. To knowingly bring into Australia any goods, animals, plants or disease agents that are prohibited under the quarantine legislation strikes at the very foundation of our quarantine barrier. It is proposed that the existing maximum penalty be increased from $1,000 to $2,000, and that an alternative penalty of 5 years’ imprisonment be added.
I turn now to the method of dealing with offences. Certain offences are to continue to be expressed to be indictable and thus could not be the subject of summary jurisdiction. Where an offence is nol expressly stated to be indictable, and the penalty provided exceeds imprisonment for 1 year, it will be possible to prosecute either summarily or upon indictment, but whilst a court of summary jurisdiction could commit the defendant for trial, it could not determine the proceedings without his consent. The defendant is thus able to insist upon trial by jury in such cases if he so wishes. Where the court of summary jurisdiction does determine the proceedings for an offence carrying a heavy penalty, the maximum fine it may impose will be $1,000 and the maximum prison sentence will be 1 year. Other more minor offences will continue to be dealt with summarily.
Apart from the changes in the penal provisions the Bill also introduces two other quarantine measures. Firstly, the Bill will amend section 26 of the Act which prohibits a vessel from crossing the quarantine line at the first port of entry in Australia for overseas vessels. An overseas surface vessel arriving in Australia is not permitted to enter a port that is not a first port of entry and any vessel subject to quarantine is not permitted to enter any part of the port within the quarantine line until quarantine pratique is given. It is now proposed that, where the circumstances justify it, a vessel be permitted to cross the quarantine line before pratique is granted for quarantine inspection of the vessel at some part of the port that is within the quarantine line.
The new procedure is required so as to overcome several problems associated with recent developments. Firstly, port traffic at some ports is becoming so congested that navigational hazards could be created by vessels standing at mooring grounds. In addition, new large tankers of over 75,000 tons are calling at Australian ports. These draw up to 50 feet of water and when stationary settle even further. In some ports they must be kept moving at sufficient speed to prevent settling, to ensure a safe passage across the floor of the harbour. Finally, at certain ports adjacent to mining areas rapidloading techniques have been installed. Orecarrying vessels specifically designed for operation at ports so equipped could be brought close to shore and commence loading before pratique has been granted, subject to other quarantine controls being maintained. The provisions to permit inspection for the granting of pratique to be carried out inside the quarantine line are contained in clauses 6 and 7 of the Bill.
Secondly, the Act at present provides that in general circumstances goods ordered into quarantine must either be detained on a vessel or removed to a quarantine station. However, experience has shown that goods ordered into quarantine could sometimes be kept without quarantine risk at premises other than a quarantine station. In addition, the best facilities for treatment of the goods are often in close proximity to the wharves. The Bill therefore contains provisions that are designed to permit quarantine officers to approve of goods ordered into quarantine being removed to some place other than a quarantine station. None of the modifications proposed by this Bill will in any way reduce the effectiveness of our quarantine controls.
Section 67 of the Act, to which I referred earlier, is to be amended so that it is quite clear that it is an offence to knowingly remove any goods from one part of the Commonwealth to another in contravention of a proclamation. Such proclamations are made to prevent the spread of a disease that has been introduced into one part of Australia but which does not exist in some other part. The opportunity has been taken to convert all monetary references to decimal currency terms. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Dittmer) adjourned.
-(South Australia) [4.34 - When debate on this motion was interrupted at 1.0.30 last night, I was discussing the attitude of the Liberal Government of South Australia towards the construction of the Chowilla Dam and what had been happening in Adelaide. On 6th May 1968 the Premier said he would go to Sydney and Melbourne for the purpose of having discussions with the Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria in an endeavour to ‘sell’ the Chowilla project to them.
– Mr Hall. Premier of South Australia. He said that he intended to discuss the project with the Premier of New South Wales, Mr Askin, and the Premier of Victoria, Sir Henry Bolte, and that he hoped to sway the opinion of the eastern States back in favour of Chowilla. Mr Hall said that he was convinced, after his visit to Canberra, that the eastern States were actively against the building of the dam. We do know that Sir Henry Bolte stated quite clearly last year in Victoria that Victoria would not be a party to the construction of Chowilla because of the increase in the estimated cost of the project. As I have said, Mr Hall visited the two Premiers and tried to persuade them to change their attitude towards the construction of this dam in South Australia.
On 6th June the Premier of South Australia held a public meeting at Berri. At that meeting be was supported by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Don Dunstan, and by Mr Geoffrey O’Halloran Giles. South Australian members of the Federal Parliament and members of the State Parliament were also invited to attend this meeting, the object of which was the taking of steps to have the dam built at Chowilla.
– I thank the honourable senator. It was Mr Hugh Hudson, M.P.. who was also present. On 20th November, the South Australian members of the Federal Parliament releived a letter from Mr Stott, Speaker of the House of Assembly, in which he said:
I wish to inform you of the following resolution passed by the House of Assembly in the Parliament of South Australia on 13th November 1968:
That this House considers that South Australia has a fundamental and legal right to the construction of the Chowilla Dam without delay and calls on South Australian members of both Houses of the Parliament of the Commonwealth to support South Australia’s case to the utmost.
This resolution represents the unanimous will of the House and therefore is fully representative of the wishes of the people of this State.
May I respectfully urge that you give your utmost support to the case for the construction of Chowilla in Parliament and by representation to the Cabinet and other senators and M’sHR in the other States–
– A tentative report was brought down in September 1968. That was the first report. This letter is dated 20th November.
– That was the second report. It was supplementary to the first report. Mr Stott’s letter continued:
If you require any further detailed information with reference to any question associated with the construction of the Chowilla Dam, please do not hesitate to let me know.
This proposal has become a major necessity for the welfare of the community in South Australia as well as our future industrial development. May I also add that the Chowilla Dam Committee, which is representative of all major organisations in South Australia, requested that the above resolution be placed before the South Australian Parliament. Please note the unanimous decision of the House.
He concludes the letter on that note.
Yet, on 4th February, after the supplementary report of the River Murray Commission in January, Mr Hall made a statement to the House of Assembly in Adelaide in which he said - andI quote from Hansard of the South Australian Parliament for that date:
I thank the House for its permission to make this statement concerning Chowilla. The River Murray Commission will meet next Thursday. February 6. It will discuss the future of water storage on the Murray River and must consider the reports of its technical committee in relation to findings on Chowilla and Dartmouth as alternatives for dam sites. If the commission does not come to a decision favourable to South Australia’s requirements, this Government will request a conference with the Premiers of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, and the Prime Minister.
The technical committee’s report is now available for study and indicates that Dartmouth will provide a greater yield to the river system than Chowilla.
Of course it will provide a greater yield to the States than Chowilla but there is no indication that it will provide any greater yield to South Australia. Mr Hall continued:
This Government has consistently said that any alternative must provide greater benefits to South Australia than Chowilla would provide.
He went on to state:
Because of Dartmouth’s ability to provide about 860,000 acre feet of additional water above that which Chowilla can provide in terms of average annual supply, the South Australian Government maintains that South Australia’s entitlement must be increased to share in this additional available supply.
On that day, the Leader of the Opposition in the State Parliament, Mr Dunstan, moved a motion of no confidence in the Government of South Australia. What happened regarding that motion is history now. It was defeated on the casting vote of the Speaker.
– In a statement that he made to the Press on the following day, the Speaker of the House of Assembly said” that he agreed wholeheartedly that Chowilla should be built. He said that he voted with the Government because he was voting on the motion of no confidence and not on a motion supporting the establishment of Chowilla. This is the reason that he gave for voting with the Government on that issue. He has made statements since that he still is in favour of the erection of the dam at Chowilla.
It is true, as the report of the Commission says, that an extra 860,000 acre feet will be available but this will be only in the years when the rainfall is up to standard and there is no indication that, when a dry season comes along. South Australia will get any extra water, although Mr Hall has said that he will press for 1.5 million acre feet instead of the 1.25 million acre feet now available to South Australia. If an agreement on that point is reached between this Government and South Australia - and there is no guarantee that it will be reached - that agreement could be broken in the same way that the agreement that was ratified in this Senate in 1963 was broken. South Australia has no guarantee that this water will be available to it.
It has been pointed out that the construction of the Chowilla Dam will not give South Australia any more water. What it will do is that it will make ready and available water at a time when South Australia requires that additional water. That water is required in the years when we have droughts and in other dry periods. It has been said before - I said this last evening - that unless the River Murray in South Australia is kept at a certain level the salinity danger becomes greater because the salt comes up if the river falls below a certain level. This is one of the reasons why the Chowilla Dam is so essential to South Australia.
We all remember the passage of the Bill dealing with the proposed Chowilla Dam. lt was acclaimed on all sides. The people of South Australia believed that the building of Chowilla would give their State an adequate supply of clean water. This is what we want. Heaven knows, the water in South Australia is not the best at any time. I have always said that I feel that the water in South Australia is worse than the water in any other State of the Commonwealth. One of the reasons why we want the Chowilla Dam is that it would help to keep the water in the River Murray clean. It could be used for irrigation and for industrial and domestic purposes. The purpose of the establishment of the dam was to store water that could be released in dry years so that the River Murray, as I said, could be kept at a certain level. The level of the Murray would be controlled so that the salinity level would be prevented from rising when the river fell below a safe level. Again I say that the dam was noi designed to give South Australia more water, lt was designed to save water which is being lost now to South Australia because that water is flowing into the sca. In my speech last night, I quoted from a statement by Sir Thomas Playford who referred to the amount of water that is lost each year to South Australia because there is no way of holding it back and preventing it from being wasted as it flows into the sea.
From answers given to questions asked by honourable senators on both sides of the Senate on the Chowilla Dam and from statements made by the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) that have appeared in the Press on this matter, it seems almost a certainty now that the Chowilla Dam will not be built. I believe that the weak Liberal Government of South Australia has aided and abetted this Federal Government in repudiating the agreement that was made in 1963. Again, no consideration has been given to the expenditure of almost $6m that has been incurred already on the initial investigations into Chowilla. Senator Toohey touched on this point in his speech last night. It is not necessary for me to continue on that point. South Australian members of the Federal Parliament have received a pamphlet from the office of the South Australian Premier. It contains 14 facts about Chowilla. I do not intend to read any of those now. Senator Ridley who will follow later in the debate will bring out the points that are contained in the pamphlet.
The reasons that have been given to the Senate for the cancellation of the building of the Chowilla Dam have been, firstly, that the cost of the project has increased from $28 m to almost $70m, secondly, that the salinity problem would be greater if Chowilla was built and, thirdly, that the evaporation problem is too high to warrant the building of the dam. I wish to give to the Senate figures that have been supplied by different reports that have been brought out regarding the cost of Chowilla, the salinity problem and the evaporation problem. These reports are in favour of Chowilla. I wish to refer first to the report by and resolutions of the River Murray Commission on Chowilla Dam, September 1961. This report quotes an assessment of the benefits of Chowilla. At the bottom of page 3 under the heading ‘(1) Without Chowilla’, the report states:
With the present storages only, viz. Hume Reservoir and Lake Victoria, there would be fourteen seasons of restricted supply during the 51- year period under the year 2000 development conditions and the estimated total deficiency (all States) during these seasons of restriction is 13,361,000 acre feet.
The most severe deficits would have occurred in the year 1914-15 (2,518,000 acre feet), 1938-39 (2,143,000 acre feet) and 1944-45 (2,537,000 acre feet). The total deficiency in these 3 years would be 7,198,000 acre feet, i.e. 54% of the total deficit in the fourteen seasons of shortage.
Therefore, without Chowilla there would be 3 years in which very drastic restrictions would be necessary, resulting in heavy loss of production and serious capital losses. The year 1944-45 is quoted as an example of the deficit suffered by each of the States. In this year, N.S.W. would have suffered a reduction of 1,110,000 acre feet and received only 22% of its normal requirements. The corresponding figures for Victoria are a reduction of 873,000 acre feet to 38% of normal requirements, and South Australia would have had a deficit of 554,000 acre feet, reducing the allocation to 56% of normal.
With Chowilla as a South Australian Storage.
With Chowilla operated as a South Australian storage, the total deficit over the 51-year period would be reduced to 6,310,000 acre feet and the deficits during the 3 years of severe drought would have been 1,243,000 acre feet, 875,000 acre feet, and 1,688,000 acre feet in 1914-15, 1938-39 and 1944-45 respectively.
For this report of September 1961 all the necessary investigations had been made by experts. They had examined the proposals for alternative sites in the upper reaches of the Murray and they had come to the conclusion at this particular time that the Chowilla Dam was the best prospect as far as South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales were concerned. This is the reason why the scheme was gone ahead with and the agreement was ratified in this place in 1963. The report goes on to say on page 6:
The Committee gave consideration to the possibility of constructing an additional storage or storages above Hume Reservoir as an alternative to the construction of Chowilla. This investigation showed conclusively that Chowilla as a River Murray Commission storage would provide much greater overall benefits for equal expenditure than the construction of storages above Hume Reservoir.
The latest report of the Committee refutes what was said in regard to cost in this report. It says that more benefits would derive from Dartmouth for the same cost as the cost of Chowilla but it does not definitely state that the benefits would go to South Australia. The report does not state what benefits would derive from the storages above the Hume Reservoir or what benefits would accrue to South Australia. It mentions only the benefits that would possibly accrue to New South Wales and Victoria and specifies the cusecs of water that must flow past Mildura to keep the river clean in that area.
Another report referred to by the Minister for Works in South Australia, headed River Murray Data’, was prepared to assist in an understanding of the importance of the River Murray for water supply purposes in South Australia. I believe Senator Bishop cited figures last night as to the number of people who were deriving benefits from the water taken out of the Murray, and the length of pipelines in South Australia. In 1958-59 a total of 9,506,622 acre feet flowed to South Australia but in 1967-68 the amount dropped to 1,278,831 acre feet. This has been the theme right through, although it is true that in 1964-65 the amount rose to a little above the 1958-59 level. The figure in that year was 9,830,222 acre feet. The report gives the amount of water taken out of the Murray at Morgan for the Morgan-Whyalla pipeline. These figures are very interesting. The quantity pumped at Morgan in 1958-59 was 8,629 acre feet and in 1967-68 it increased to 20,297 acre feet which goes to show the amount of water that has been taken out of the River Murray for domestic, industrial and irrigation purposes in South Australia.
As Senator Bishop and Senator Toohey said last night during this debate, Chowilla is a must for South Australia. We are not opposed to the building of a dam at Dartmouth. We feel that if it is necessary to build a dam there this should be done, but first priority should be given to the building of a dam at Chowilla. One of the reasons why the construction of the dam was stopped was that it would increase salinity in the River Murray. Under the heading General Conclusions’ which is found on page 6 of the ‘Reports to the River Murray Commission Relating to the Future Development of the Water Resources of the River Murray’, the following passage appears: 2. (a) A storage at Chowilla will have a smoothing’ effect on salinities, and except for a few occasions would maintain an average salinity below Lock 6 about 20 p.p.m. below the average that would pertain with a storage at Dartmouth.
I do not know whether the Committee took into consideration the cost that would be involved for those people who hold blocks along the River Murray and who are now using an overhead watering system. If they are obliged to change from this method of watering to what is known as low level watering they will find the change very expensive. During the drought in 1 967-68 many of the settlers went to the expense of putting in low level watering equipment. They did this at tremendous cost and have not been able to overcome the extra debt that they incurred in doing so. I do not see how this added burden can be forced on settlers if the only alternative to overhead watering is low level watering.
The people of South Australia want the Chowilla scheme to proceed. No substantial evidence has been presented to show why it should not continue. I have read the report of the River Murray Commission and I feel that it is loaded against South Australia. It is concerned only with what is happening upstream from South Australia. Although Mr Hall has claimed that he will not settle for anything less than a guarantee of an additional supply of water for South Australia, if there is a dry year I cannot see how South Australia will be able to obtain the additional amount of water required.
– That is so. If the agreement has been broken once there is no guarantee that it will not be broken again. I feel that South Australia has been sold out with regard to Chowilla. The people of South Australia want it, particularly those along the irrigation areas of the River Murray below Renmark. Each and every organisation representing settlers along the river has said that it would do all that it possibly could to have the project put into operation as quickly as possible. I feel that the Government of South Australia has let the people down. During the State election campaign in South Australia the present State Government promised that Chowilla would be built. The Federal Government should have regard for the motion moved by Senator Bishop and supported by South Australian senators. I hope that South Australian senators on the other side of the chamber will also give their support to the measure.
– The honourable senator’s remarks have not been on a very high level yet. I do not know when he is going to get to the subject.
– If the honourable senator will just keep quiet for a minute or two we may be able to get down to the points in which he would be interested. Senator Drury said that the present Premier of South Australia had done something to sell out his State, but I think it would be as well for honourable senators on the other side of the chamber to consider the proposition that when Chowilla was first deferred the decision was taken in the company of a Labor Premier.
– Let us consider the position at that time.
– Why not wait and hear what he has to say?
– That would be helpful.
– Senator Bishop claims to know the true position. I was anxious to put to him, and I thought you would be anxious to know, the first developments which led to this decision. I refer him to the proposals for further storage on the River Murray and remind him that the River Murray Commission resolved certain things at its meeting in August 1967.
– I remind the honourable senator that we listened with great respect while he made his exhortation on this matter. I point out to the Senate that the Chowilla scheme was deferred as a result of a decision by the River Murray Commission, which is composed of individuals representing the States, and that the deferment came at a time when Labor was in control in South Australia.
– It is a very different thing, and there are other matters that come to our notice in considering this issue. We have heard moans from Opposition senators who claim that in fairness they want to present the facts, but they did not tender this evidence. However, I hope they will not mind my saying that it was in April 1967 - honourable senators can work out who might have been the South Australian representative on the River Murray Commission at that time - that the Commission resolved:
Having regard to the changed relationship between costs and benefits of the Chowilla project since it was previously assessed in 1961, the River Murray Commission recommends to contracting governments that the project be deferred pending further investigations.
The resolution continued:
Further, in view of the fact that the South Australian constructing authority is holding tenders for the work, it be asked not to accept any tender currently held and arrange to reduce all expenditure on Chowilla, subject to a minimum, as rapidly as possible.
– At page 3. No matter who the South Australian representative on the Commission might have been at that time and no matter what political party he was associated with, it is fairly evident that it was a wise decision to take at that time. I have brought this matter to the attention of the Senate so that honourable senators opposite may reflect on the suggestion that the present Premier of South Australia is selling out his State. I hope they will reflect on my comments and reply to them later. I suggest that in 1967 a wise decision was made by respectable men who constituted the River Murray Commission. Their decision was taken on two important aspects which stand out in my mind. The first was the cost escalation. In spite of the cost escalation we have before us a ridiculous resolution which states that this project at Chowilla should proceed. But who is going to make it proceed at Chowilla?
Let me put this to you. Supposing two or three of us agreed that we would go into a commercial undertaking and we decided that we could undertake a project involving a cost of $28m. If we completed a study of the project and found that it would cost nearer S43m and, when we received the contract, we found that it would cost $68m. would we not be wise to stop and revise the project? Senator Drury quoted from a 1961 document. The figures referred to by him must make an odd comparison with the $68m which would have to be considered against the benefits which would flow from the project. We are all very anxious to see water storage in Australia. As a Victorian I am most anxious to see the development of the Murray Valley, lt has not been proved to my satisfaction that the Chowilla project will be lost for all time. I believe that the time will come when the construction of a dam at Chowilla will be a feasible proposition because of the necessity to retain water at that point. 1 believe that the reports we have indicate that that should happen. There is very little credit to the man who says: Disregard all the technical advice; disregard the advice of the River Murray Commission; disregard the comments of the experts on salinity. Go ahead with this project at Chowilla.’ It is noticeable that honourable senators on the Opposition side have not commented about the proposal to proceed with the construction of a dam at Dartmouth.
I support the attitude of my State of Victoria, as expressed by the Premier, that Chowilla is just not acceptable to Victoria at the present time. There are two problems. One relates to cost. I have already mentioned that aspect and surely honourable senators opposite will not argue about it. The other problem relates to salinity control. I am not completely satisfied with the reports before us relating to salinity.
– I agree that there is much work to be done in Victoria in the control of salinity. Do not suggest that I think otherwise. If honourable senators opposite read the reports correctly they will find reference to the great problems that will be created if Chowilla is proceeded with. If they had their way and a dam was constructed at Chowilla they would find that when water was needed in South Australia none would be available. They would have sold out the producers of the State because water would not be available when it was needed most.
– I am asked on whose authority I make that statement. I am amazed that honourable senators opposite have preferred to concentrate on the political aspects of this matter rather than take time to read the reports.
– We will get off them and see what the report has to say. I commenced my comments by saying that I was not completely satisfied with the reports on salinity.
– We will see what the report has to say.
– It does not come down in favour of Chowilla. Let us read from the third interim report by Gutteridge, Haskins and Davey titled “The Effects of Chowilla or Dartmouth Reservoirs on Salinity in the River Murray’. To be fair I must say that I am not convinced on all aspects of the control of salinity. Indeed the introduction to this report indicates that this study is by no means finished. This is a very important study. Senator Toohey mentioned the salinity problem in Victoria. Salinity surely is a most important problem to South Australia. I turn to page 5 of the report and item 5 which is headed Discussion of Computer Results’. I interpose here to point out that those honourable senators opposite who seek to disprove my comment about the vital time for the supply of water in South Australia will have some trouble. The report states:
Examination of the computer output from studies S19 and S20 shows that the average of the monthly salinities over the 61 year period of the studies is approximatley 20 p.p.m. less with Chowilla than with Dartmouth.
We can imagine what a large proportion 20 parts per million is when we find that the report itself states that 20.000 to 30.000 and up to 60,000 parts per million are produced. The report goes on:
The plots of the salinity show the ‘smoothing’ effect of Chowilla on the salinity peaks, but also show that for some periods the salinity of the outflow from Chowilla remained at a high level for considerable lengths of time.
We know that those lengths of time would be when the water flow was least. Let me proceed and let honourable senators opposite try to disprove the facts that 1 have mentioned.
– If you build Chowilla immediately that is what you will do, because you cannot pour on fresh water after you have produced a salt slug to their properties. The honourable senator can take up that point later. There is a great deal to be looked at from the point of view of South Australia. I haw mentioned the attitude of my State on the cost of the project. On the figures that have been produced for us by the technical experts - we hope that they are correct - one cannot with sense claim that a dam should be built anywhere other than at Dartmouth. Dartmouth appears to be the better proposition. Whist the general conclusions contained in the report do not indicate that a dam at Dartmouth will overcome the problem of salinity for South Australia by any means, they do point to the fact that there would be very little difference whether a dam was built at Chowilla or at Dartmouth.
– I have read the report thoroughly and I. have directed attention to one or two points with which Opposition senators have failed to come to grips. Now they are a little disturbed because this debate that they have initiated is being broadcast and is showing them in a very bad light to the producers in South Australia. Studies of Dartmouth have placed that project in a much better light than Chowilla. “There is no doubt that much more water will be available from Dartmouth. From the wording of the report it is likely - I believe it can be read into the report that this is advocated - that if the Dartmouth project proceeds South Australia will get concessions which would not be available to the State if the Chowilla Dam was built.
I have noticed many interesting points in my reading on this subject. I was most interested to learn of the great use that Australia made of computers last year and intends to make this year. Provided that the information fed into the computers is as correct as human beings can make it, we should be able to get quicker results than we have been able to get over the past years in relation to the development of storages on the River Murray. 1 agree with the remarks made by South Australian senators about the waste of time that has occurred over the years while studies and decisions have been made, and about the escalation in cost. On the basis of 34% or 4% depreciation in the value of money annually, we have lost about 30% of the value of our money by the work not being carried out some years ago. However, let us look at what South Australia perhaps could have done. 1 was very interested to hear honourable senators opposite quote from Warren Bonython’s excellent paper. They may be interested to learn certain other facts that he brought to light which were not mentioned. He made a most interesting comment about the availability of water in South Australia at the present time. Certain statements have appeared in the newspapers. A former Premier of South Australia has come out with all sorts of comments about this matter. As a citizen undoubtedly he has a right to do so, but I think he places himself, as a former Premier of South Australia, in the worst possible light when he makes comments such as he is making at present. This very day discussions are being held amongst State Premiers who are endeavouring to come to grips with the position. I have no doubt that each Premier has the full support of his own State in the decisions that he will make in endeavouring to obtain the best for his own State.
– Is he also irresponsible?
– Honourable senators opposite may ask questions but 1 wish to proceed with the point I was making. I think honourable senators will be interested to learn that South Australia, while under the influence of various political parties, perhaps has not attended to affairs within its own area sufficiently well. Warren Bonython sets out on the second page of his publication comments on surface and underground water. I hope that honourable senators will note the volumes of water referred to by Warren Bonython in terms of units. He wrote:
However, a recent tentative assessment of the potential of the largely unexplored south-east basins indicates that the safe extraction rate might possibly be as high as 400 or SOO units annually, or considerably more than South Australia’s Murray quota. Much investigational work needs to be done before this figure can be accepted.
Mr Bonython has prepared a table, shown as Table 2, headed ‘Future Water Needs and Availability Expressed in Units Per Annum’. The table covers the period to the year 2000. lt indicates that at present fifteen units are obtained annually from the Mount Lofty Ranges catchment area, but in short, by the year 2000, the amount obtained should be doubled and thirty units could be produced, lt is very interesting that in fact there is much to be done in South Australia in relation to the gathering of water within the State boundaries.
– I am simply quoting from a paper which has been referred to several times in this debate. If the honourable senator is not aware of the location. I suggest that he have a word with Warren Bonython, because it is referred to in his address. Mr Bonython’s address contains an interesting reference to drought. He wrote:
Perhaps a dam at Dartmouth will do some of these things. . . .
Mr Bonython is referring to the elimination of peak salinity problems and the improvement of downstream flows. He went on:
In the long run it is not a matter of whether a dam like that proposed for the Mitta Mitta at Dartmouth or one at Chowilla should be built. Dams in both places will be necessary for the proper development of the Murray system.
– I will. I do not make half statements, like honourable senators opposite. Mr Bonython went on:
But Chowilla has advantages that are most important to South Australia in the near future. If South Australia is to be denied these by the Dartmouth Dam gaining preference, then perhaps she may be compensated with an increased quota of Murray water, for there will be an increased water recovery efficiency in the system if either dam is built.
– Nobody denies that fact. 1 repeat that it is regrettable to see the years slip by while the decisions become effective. 1 refer now to the report of the Engineering and Water Supply Department of South Australia. A reasonable assessment can be made of the great cost to South Australia in endeavouring to provide some of the necessary services to the proposed Chowilla Dam site. The Department stated in its annual report for the year ended 30th June 1967:
This year’s work at Chowilla Dam site was concentrated on completing investigations and carrying out work preparatory to the requirements of the main contract for which tenders were invited on 14th October 1966. . . . Various studies were undertaken by the consultants, Soil Mechanics Limited, to determine the pattern of seepage water movement before and after dam construction.
A sealed road was constructed to the dam site from Paringa and the SA Railways completed the laying of a tramway from Paringa siding to the dam site. The laying of the 48” steel pipeline for the disposal of saline water was half completed. in December it was decided to locale employees’ houses and single men’s quarters at Paringa and at 30th June nineteen transportable houses had been erected there.
It is most regrettable that although studies made some years ago may have led us to believe that the construction of a dam at Chowilla was an economic proposition, we must now agree - and honourable senators opposite must agree - that on the facts presented to the Senate today it would be a most uneconomic proposition. On the question of finance, it is very interesting to note that the estimated cost of the storage at Dartmouth is S25m, or about $29m less than the net additional expenditure required to construct the Chowilla Dam to 3.5 million acre feet. When Dartmouth is finally built - and I am confident that it will be - it will be interesting to make a further comparison of figures.
– I am making the point that it will be interesting to note the escalation in cost. The conclusions I have quoted to the Senate are particularly important. The conclusions of the Technical Committee illustrate that it is vital to know that the most economical means of securing the existing irrigational requirements of South Australia and Victoria would be to construct at Dartmouth a storage of about 1.3 million acre feet. I am sure all honourable senators from South Australia will be interested to learn that if it is decided to construct Dartmouth to its presumed economic limit of about 3 million acre feet, consideration could be given to allocating part of the additional 0.86 million acre feet to increases in the South Australian entitlement.
I am very confident that South Australia will obtain more water. Senator Gair said a few minutes ago that he would like to know which dam would provide the most water.I assume that he was genuine in his inquiry. It is evident that the support of all honourable senators should be for a dam at Dartmouth, because it will provide more water for Victoria and New South Wales, and after discussions in the next few days decisions will be made, I am confident, so that more water will be provided for South Australia.
– If they are false, they would not contribute to the debate.
– They contributed only to the extent to which they gave me something to which to reply. The honourable senator claimed that a Labor Premier of South Australia had sold out in respect to Chowilla. because a Labor Government was in office in South Australia at the time.
– The honourable senator said that it was a Labor Premier who sold out on Chowilla.
– If the honourable senator did not say that in so many words, he implied it.
– The honourable senator implied it.
– The honourable senator mentioned the month of April and said that the Labor Government was in power at the time the decision was made to defer the construction of Chowilla and that it was as from that date that Chowilla was lost. The honourable senator implied that it was the Labor Premier of South Australia who lost Chowilla for the State. If that is not a fair summary of what he said, I will stand corrected.
– All right; but Hansard will prove otherwise. Listen to this quotation:
The South Australian Commissioner at the last River Murray Commission meeting accepted the move by the other parties for comparison between Chowilla and an alternative site rather than create a dispute which would have unduly delayed the project. We are determined to have this comparison made on the basis that South Australia must receive all of the advantages from any alternative that it would obtain from Chowilla.
This information is supplied because:
The South Australian Government still believes the Chowilla scheme is the best proposal.
In South Australia it is not just another irrigation scheme but is a lifeline for future development.
That is a quotation from the Premier of South Australia. Will Senator Webster deny that it is a statement of fact?
– The quotation is:
The South Australian Commissioner at the last River Murray Commission meeting accepted the move by the other parties for comparison between Chowilla and an alternative site rather than create a dispute which would have unduly delayed the project. We are determined to have this comparison made on the basis that South Australia must receive all of the advantages from any alternative that it would obtain from Chowilla.
– Premier Hall made that statement.
– Don Dunstan was Premier at that time. The statement I have read was made by Premier Hall. He said that the South Australian commissioner at the River Murray Commission meeting accepted the deferment. He gave the reasons for the commissioner doing so. One was that a dispute would have unduly delayed the project.
– I am disproving the honourable senator’s claim that because a Labor government was in power at the time of the deferment it was a Labor Premier who prejudiced Chowilla. If the honourable senator did not say that, I just am not here. The other reason why the commissioner accepted the deferment was his undoubted belief that any studies that were made would come out in favour of Chowilla. I quote the following from a report that the Director and Engineer-in-chief of the Engineering and Water Supply Department, Mr Beaney, made to the South Australian Parliament:
This programme does not make a study of river behaviour any more effectively than the former manual processes, but it enables studies to be made rapidly (7 minutes machine time against many hours formerly).
Referring to changed conditions, he said:
None of these are regarded by me as greatly affecting the benefits from Chowilla. . . .
He also said:
I am confident that a storage at Chowilla otters the greatest security. . . .
So Mr Beaney agreed to the deferment for two reasons. One was that time would have been wasted by referring the dispute to an arbitrator. Because only the price factor had come into the matter at that stage, the arbitrator undoubtedly would have deferred making his decision until such time as the new study had been made. So time would have been wasted. The second reason was Mr Beaney’s undoubted belief that any studies that were made would not come up with a different result in respect of the benefits of Chowilla to South Australia. I hope that any misunderstanding has been cleared up. Senator Webster is not the first one to have that misunderstanding. There is no doubt whatsoever that it is completely untrue to state that the deferment had anything to do with any lack of desire by the Labor Government to proceed with Chowilla.
Last night the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott), who represents the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) in this chamber, in making his contribution to the debate protested on a number of occasions that he did not desire to make any political capital out of the matter. J sympathise very much with him in his desire not to make any political capital out of it, for the simple reason that there is no political capital in it for him. Had he been in the chamber when Senator Webster was speaking, he would have heard nothing but party politics from the time Senator Webster stood up until the time he sat down. Be that as it may, I can assure any honourable senators who are here today, but who were not here in the years leading up to the decision in regard to Chowilla that we made in 1963, that politics were used then - and used considerably - by honourable senators opposite. Senator Laught was not the least backward in asking questions designed to produce answers as to what a great scheme the Chowilla scheme was; what a great man Sir Thomas Playford was; what a great government we had in South Australia; and what a great government we had in the Federal sphere, because it agreed to such a scheme.
It was impossible for us on this side of the chamber to combat the undoubted propaganda in those questions. In the first place, if someone had dared to suggest in this place at that time that another dam upstream from Chowilla might give South Australia what Chowilla would give it, he would have been howled out of the chamber. In the second place, we believed in the straightout common sense of building a dam at Chowilla. At that time no question of salinity was raised; that came into the matter later. At that time the proposition was a simple one. It was proposed to collect water in a dam on the borders of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. Water which otherwise would be flowing to waste was to be caught to be available for use by South Australia in years of drought. The benefit that was to accrue to the other two States which were signatories to the agreement was that South Australia’s ability to use water from Chowilla during drought years would lessen the demand that would have to be made on the water stored upriver - in the Hume Weir and elsewhere. That was the simple proposition that was accepted by the three State parliaments concerned and this Parliament. So we can reasonably ask whether that was not a commonsense project, when the investigations and recommendations leading up to it were made by engineers no less capable that those who made the recent ones. If we assume that both inquiries were conducted honestly and were carried out by honest men we can come to only one conclusion and that is that the study on the later occasion included something that was not known in 1963. I do not think that statement can be disputed in any way. Doubts started to creep into the minds of people in Victoria after the signing of the 1963 agreement. The escalation of costs– -
– No. The great increase in costs was foreseeable by anybody with any knowledge of projects of this kind. The great increase in costs provided the excuse and the basis upon which the request was made for another cost study to be carried out. That was the reason bandied around this place by members who should have been able to speak with some authority. They stated that it was costs plus the fact that the evaporation that would take place at Chowilla would bring about a salinity problem that would make the whole scheme impracticable. I do not know whether anyone can deny the truth of that statement, but it was made on more than one occasion both in this place and in another place. It was said that the evaporation problem associated with Chowilla would have created a salinity problem.
What happens when we come to the later report? It is based on something that was not mentioned in the previous report. Mildura wants a flow through of 900 cusecs. Those few words, not the increased cost, provide the reason for the decision not to proceed with Chowilla. Dartmouth will cost as much or probably more. That statement also explodes a view canvassed as late as yesterday in another place. Although the Minister representing the Minister for National Development last night indicated quite strongly that South Australia would receive support for its 1.5 million acre feet, a question asked in another place on that subject did not receive the same answer. The question asked of the Minister in the other place, as late as today, was in regard not to the cost structure but the possibility that Chowilla would be the next major project, having regard to the recommendation referred to by Senator Webster, that two dams should be built. The Premier of South Australia has gone on record as saying that he has no doubt that the next project involving the River Murray waters will be the building of a dam at Chowilla. Last night it was hinted a little that that would be the next project.
If Mildura wants 900 cusecs flow through today to keep the river flushed for the consumers in Victoria it will want 900 cusecs always. That means that the building of Chowilla would prevent the flow through of water. In other words, the gain that Victoria was to obtain from South Australia’s using Chowilla water rather than using upstream water would be lost by virtue of the fact that Victoria would have to use the water that it sends into South Australia now and which it has been sending into South Australia from time immemorial. The only difference is that the quality worsens each year. It has been stated by one authority that there is almost a mathematical progression of salinity down the River Murray.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Just before the suspension of the sitting, ] was dealing with the decision not to continue with the construction of the Chowilla Dam and the part that the salinity problem in the Murray played in the forming of that decision. I indicated that at the time when it was first announced to this Parliament that there was a possibility that the Chowilla project would not be proceeded with it was being freely stated that the reason for the discontinuance was the salinity problem that would develop at Chowilla because of the vast area that would be under water and the comparatively shallow depth of the water impounded.
I also pointed out that Senator Webster had staled that before this debate has ended South Australian Labor senators, and some South Australian Liberal senators, would come to realise that by advocating the construction of Chowilla they were actually doing a disservice to the people who use water from the Murray. When challenged to state his authority for making that statement and for asserting that Chowilla would lead to a worsening of the salinity problem for users in South Australia, Senator Webster quoted from a certain report. He gave us a lot of figures but steadfastly refrained from naming the person upon whom he relied for his assertion. 1 refer honourable senators to page 6 of the report submitted to the River Murray Commission by Messrs Gutteridge, Haskins and Davey in association with Hunting Technical Services Ltd. Paragraph 2 (a) on that page reads:
A storage at Chowilla will have a ‘smoothing’ effect on salinities, and except for a few occasions would maintain an average salinity below Lock 6 about 20 p.p. m. below the average that would pertain with a storage at Dartmouth.
How anyone can read into that any suggestion that the water that would be available to South Australia from Chowilla in a drought year would be worse than the water we get in a drought year under present conditions, especially in view of the drought experience we had the year before last, I do not know. 1 submit thai such a suggestion could come only from somebody who had no knowledge of the problems encountered by those people in South Australia who depend upon water from the Murray, lt intrigues me greatly to think that people in Victoria seem to be able to take unio themselves the ability to tell those people, whose livelihood has depended upon waters from the Murray River for years, how they would be better off with a dam at Dartmouth instead of at Chowilla.
Only last night we had the spectacle of the Minister representing the Minister for National Development (Senator Scott) endeavouring to advise them to that effect - and he. quite frankly, did not know the distances between the various towns in the area affected. Normally the distance between towns might nol be a very important consideration, but in the Murray basin there can be great variations in salinity within a distance of 100 miles.
I said earlier that mathematical calculations had been made as to the increase in salinity between point A and point B and between point B and point C in the irrigated areas along the Murray. The plain facts of the matter are that the South Australian users of water from the Murray would undoubtedly be better off if the Chowilla Dam project was proceeded with. How much better off they will be is only a matter of degree, and nobody can be absolutely certain about that. But the one thing that is certain is that South Australia would receive better water in drought years if the Chowilla Dam were completed.
– The honourable senator says it is not correct, but the experts upon whom he relies for his argument say that it is correct. Let me read again from their report. They say:
A storage at Chowilla will have a ‘smoothingeffect on salinities, and except for a few occasions would maintain an average .salinity below Lock 6 about 20 r.p.m. below the average that would pertain with a storage at Dartmouth.
If that does not mean that, on the average, Chowilla would provide better water than would a dam at Dartmouth, then no words can mean anything.
Let me mention another point. Earlier in the debate Senator Drury said that (he severity of the salinity problem wits governed by the amount of water flowing down the Murray. During drought years South Australia receives from Victoria water with a much higher saline content than the water which comes into South Australia in normal years. Anyone wilh an iota of perspective must realise that the reason why the people of Victoria do not want to see the Chowilla project completed is the increase in the salinity of the Murray waters in drought years. The position is not that the South Australians do not want Chowilla: it is thai the Victorians do not want Chowilla.
– lt is a perfectly true statement. I am doubtful whether anyone in this place other than those who come from Victoria would appreciate the true reason for the argument against continuing with the Chowilla project. I am not denying the suggestion that with iiic building of
Chowilla the salinity problem in Victoria will increase. But the Victorians are not advancing that as their reason for objecting to the project.
– But the point is that they agreed to it. If the true reason for their not wanting to honour the agreement is the salinity problem, why do they not say so? Has anyone here heard the Minister or anyone else from Victoria admitting that the main reason for their objection to the project is salinity? If this is their reason, why, then, instead of spending so much money initially on works which led us to believe that the Chowilla project was a foregone conclusion, did they not spend the money on investigating the salinity problem and discovering a cure for it? After all. it is purely a question of the economics of the proposition. This problem can be solved. I remind the Senate that a man named Pell pointed out that as well as being a carrier of water from its catchment area into the sea, the River Murray was also in effect a drain for sludge and salt in the area that it traversed as it meandered down to the sea. If only the good water from the point above where the river starts to collect the salt were taken, the problem could be coped with and there would be no argument about whether Dartmouth or Chowilla should be constructed. But that proposition was nol investigated. Instead, the South Australians are expected to accept a spurious argument. I can assure all honourable senators that not one South Australian will accept the suggestion that we will get better water and water in greater quantity from a dam at Darmouth than we would from the Chowilla project. The plain facts of the matter are that we will not. If we accept the broadest things that are offered to us or promised to us; if we accept this bogus fight in which the Premier of South Australia has engaged in trying to get 1.5 million acre feet of water instead of the present arrangement of 1.25 million acre feet of waler; even if we get that amount of water in a drought year - assuming that we do get it - it has been reliably stated-
– In a drought year we do not get 1.5 million acre feet. The honourable senator has not listened to her Premier.
– He said that he would get it every year and guaranteed that he would get it every year.
– The Premier of South Australia said that he would guarantee that he would get it. He said he would not accept anything less than 1.5 acre feet every year. He reiterated that. I am putting it to tha honourable senator that if that which she does not accept as being true did come about, if the water was as salty as the water that South Australia received during the last drought - and there is nothing in this report or any other document that indicates that the use of water from Dartmouth will decrease the salinity of the water from the Murray in drought years - much more water will have to be used in irrigation to cope with the increased salinity. It is an accepted fact that the more saline water is, the more water must be used in irrigation to flush that salinity away from the area that is being irrigated.
But let us accept that we will get the extra water as a result of this sham fight that is going on. The Premier of South Australia is fighting for something that he already knows he will be offered or promised. As to whether he gets it or not depends upon the fulfilment of the agreement. In the light of what has happened in regard to the other agreement, no-one can have any faith in this regard. I say to the Senate that what the Victorian members of the Senate are asking us to accept and what Sir Henry Bolte is asking us to accept with respect to South Australia is completely unreal.
-(Victoria); by leave - Mr President, it seems a remarkable thing that the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott), when he is asked a question concerning the matter under discussion, says that the man, Hoffmann, was never dismissed. He now more or less accuses those who compiled the ‘Commonwealth of Australia Gazette’ of either unwillingly or willingly making the mistake. In the Government ‘Gazette’ of the number and date stated, there is a dismissal notice in respect of the said person. One therefore is forced to this position: Either he accepts what the Minister for Customs and Excise says or he accepts the official document of the Commonwealth, the ‘Commonwealth of Australia Gazette’. With great respect to this Senate and with great respect to you, Mr President, I say that in these circumstances I am prepared to accept what the Government ‘Gazette’ says. 1 think it behoves the Minister for Customs and Excise to be a little more careful in future. I say to him: Do not try to brush people off with false information. If he does not know it, might I with respect give the Minister this little bit of advice. If he does not have the information, always ask that the question be put on notice, and submit the facts later. Then this House will proceed as a House of Parliament ought to proceed. Then it, and all of us, will be able to take the word of Ministers and one another. I believe that after 31 or nearly 32 years in the politics of this country the greatest asset any man has is his word. If he keeps that, he will go a long way and he will be respected. But I regret that I do not accept the explanation as has been tendered now.
– It is wrong for this reason-
– He has to seek leave if he wishes to make a statement.
- Senator Cavanagh, you are standing up. Why are you standing up?
– The honourable senator will need to obtain leave to move that motion.
– Is leave granted?
– Leave is not granted.
– Is leave granted?
– Leave is not granted.
– I move:
– You cannot move that Senator Cormack be not heard.
– The Senate has been engaged quite properly as a House of the States - which is part of its constitutional responsibility - to examine the complaints that have been made by the Parliament of South Australia and honourable members from South Australia in relation to the usage that should be made of the waters of the River Murray. A particular direction that the dam proposed at Chowilla in 1963 should be proceeded with is sought in the motion of Senator Bishop, of South Australia, who is supported by Senators Toohey, Ridley and Cavanagh, who also come from South Australia. This has engaged the attention of the Senate both yesterday and today. The matter has been pretty carefully canvassed, but
I suggest to honourable senators that all of the facts that relate to the problem presented by the proposed development of the Chowilla Dam have not beeen adequately canvassed by speakers on the other side. The second thing that I would like to say - and I say this without any prejudice - is that I am on record in the Senate as expressing a fairly deep understanding of the needs for South Australia as one of the driest States, if not the driest State in Australia, to have access to additional water so that its economic progress will not be hindered by the relatively small allocation of 1.254 million acre feet of water which historically it has obtained from the River Murray.
The debate has indicated in the strongest possible terms that there is extending across the whole of the Senate a substantial body of sympathy for South Australia in the situation in which it finds itself at the present time with a constant demand for more water. There exists a strong argument in favour of the proposition that South Australia should get some additional water out of the River Murray. I feel that this is necessary. Therefore, I am compelled by what I feel in relation to the State of South Australia - in which I spent my boyhood and which I know perhaps as intimately as do the South Australian senators - to move an amendment to the motion which is already being debated and supported by the senators from South Australia whom I have already named. I move - “Leave out all words after ‘Senate’, insert - realising the urgent need for additional supplies of water in the River Murray, urges the Commonwealth Government to take all necessary steps, in consultation with the Governments of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, to ensure that action is taken as soon as possible to provide such supplies; that all three States benefit therefrom; and, in particular, that South Australia’s quota of 1.254 million acre feet a year shall be substantially increased.’.”
I now speak to the amendment. I have indicated that I support an increased supply of water to the State of South Australia, but I revert to a statement that I made when the initial debate on Chowilla took place that the problem of South Australia was not to be confused with the matter of the Chowilla Dam. The problem of South Australia is to get water, and the validity of the statement that was then and still is being made that Chowilla is the only means by which this additional water can be obtained is dubious. Speaker after speaker from the other side have been in favour of Chowilla, and I can understand that they should speak in favour of Chowilla because in South Australia - I freely concede this - the question of Chowilla has become an emotional matter divorced from the realities of the problem of the additional water which is necessary for the existence of South Australia and which it must obtain from the River Murray. I say this with all due deference to my colleague Senator Laucke who sits on this side of the Senate and who has upheld the point of view that Chowilla must be built.
– The honourable senator suggests that it should be built as a practical measure. But 1 contend that the reports of the experts called in by the River Murray Commission show that Chowilla is not necessary for the provision of water for South Australia. The essence of the argument is whether Chowilla will provide the insurance and the guarantee by which South Australia will be able to get the fresh water that it needs in order to maintain its existing economic progress. This is a problem that is not confined solely to the interests of the South Australian senators. It is a problem that interests every senator. I am sure it will be conceded by the senators who represent the State of New South Wales who are involved with the problems of the River Murray valley and its tributaries that the State of South Australia will have to get some additional water. It is certainly conceded by myself, and I would hope that my Victorian colleagues would also concede, that some additional water should go to South Australia. I am sure that the senators from the other States of Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland - who have obviously become interested in this great problem - will also support the amendment which I have moved. As I have mentioned, the amendment seeks to urge the Commonwealth Government to use all the endeavours that, are available to it to increase the amount of water that is available to South Australia. 1 am aware that events have occurred in South Australia in the last 48 hours which have exacerbated the feelings of South Australians, both those who sit in this place and the electors of the State.
I do not intend to canvass what has been claimed in some areas - justly or unjustly, I do not know - that the reason for bringing up this whole question is political and involves partisan politics. I can afford to reject that because no partisan politics are concerned so far as I am concerned as a senator representing the State of Victoria. I was interested today to read a copy of the South Australian newspaper in which are set down a great number of allegations - I put them at no lower level than that - in support of the South Australian claim for a dam to be built at Chowilla. The report contains a series of condemnatory allegations against the River Murray Commission which recommended that Chowilla should not be proceeded with and that Dartmouth should be built. 1 refer to the speech made by Sir Thomas Playford and reported in South Australian newspapers. There is a two-column report of his speech. I presume that this is a reputable newspaper and that it has reported his speech accurately. The report of what Sir Thomas Playford said is a succinct series of arguments which have been canvassed by honourable senators opposite. I wish to deal with some of these matters because I think they will bring the whole problem of Chowilla versus Dartmouth and the effective use of the River Murray waters into a reasonable perspective. The heading of this newspaper report of Sir Thomas Playford’s speech is ‘Chowilla, or SA is doomed’. I think this is a little bit of political rhetoric. If this is what Sir Thomas Playford said it was one of the most damaging statements that he could ever have made in relation to the State of South Australia. Any industrialist who was contemplating the investment of money in the further development of South Australia would shy off if someone passed across his desk an article reporting that the ex-Premier of South Australia had claimed in public places in South Australia that the State was doomed. I think he does no service to South Australia by making a statement of that order and that nature. I say that with an enormous amount of regret because it has been my honour to know Sir Thomas Playford for over a quarter of a century as a man for whom I have a great persona] affection and, in his day. a high regard. But I take up the points that he raised because, in replying to them, I am in effect replying to the South Australian senators who have been making statements and speeches here for the last 2 days.
Sir Thomas Playford said that the project at Dartmouth would prejudice South Australia. This is doubly untrue because the whole of the activities of the River Murray Commission and the expert studies which have led to the recommendation of the site at Dartmouth as against Chowilla have been designed not to prejudice South Australia but to augment the amount of water available for South Australia.
– That is what Sir Thomas Playford said. He went on to say that the information was not right. The whole object of the exercise was to examine the facts and for the engineers to come to an expert conclusion. Those engineers are trained to examine the facts and they had available to them the resources of trained technologists, assistance which was not available when the original project was considered.
– Yes. Sir Thomas Playford said that he disagreed with the report of the experts ‘lock, stock and barrel’.
He went on to say: lt was a computerised report ted with a lot of irrelevant politically biased information rather than technical data.
I ask you, Mr President: What possibly could be the source of this information? Would it be the South Australian Engineer.inChief of the Engineering and Water Supply Department who is the South Australian representative on the River Murray Commission? If Sir Thomas Playford is making this allegation he is making it against the South Australian representative on the Commission. He has stated in the clearest terms, which 1 have just mentioned, that the Engineer-in-Chief for South Australia, who represents that State on the River Murray Commission, has been feeding the computer with politically biased information rather than technical data. All I can say is that I have never known engineer?, men of high professional integrity and competence, who have supplied wrong information for an analysis. But I ask honourable senators to bear in mind that two other men sit upon this Commission, that these men are supported by a great number of engineers and the water authorities in their States. I am not prepared to say that a whole series of wrong information could be fed into a computer in order to get an answer that would benefit people in other States of the Commonwealth or to benefit Victoria or New South Wales which have a common interest. This is a fantastic statement which 1 totally reject. The actualities of the situation will be seen from an examination of the report. In plates 3 and 4 of the report the curves are plotted to show a comparison of what Chowilla will do and what Dartmouth will do. I have heard no reference to these analyses.
– 1 have been listening all right. The Chowilla concept in the computer analysis was based not on 5 million acre feet; it was based on 3 million acre feet because studies indicated that was the most effective economic size. That is shown in plates 3 and 4 in the report.
– It is not a question of whether the decision was made for 5 million acre feet but what would be the most effective use of the area of Chowilla Dam to provide the best storage. The analysis showed that it was 3 million acre feet. If honourable senators look at the curves plotted on plates 3 and 4 they will find that the 5 million acre feet produced a bad result for South Australia. For this reason 3 million acre feet was taken as the base. In other words, Chowilla was considered on a basis of 3 million acre feet because this was the most effective way of getting the best possible result from Chowilla in comparison with any other project which might be considered. Sir Thomas Playford said:
The Chowilla site was for 5 million acre feet of water, but for the purpose of comparison thu technical committee decided that its si/e would be 3 million acre feet.
The inference is that this was done in order to denigrate and deprecate Chowilla in favour of Dartmouth. 1 reject that suggestion. 1 go on to consider some of the other matters that are reported in the Adelaide Advertiser’. It has been said during this debate that the figures in relation to the Hume Dam are wrong because that dam has filled only rarely in the last 10 years. 1 have heard this said in this place and I have read in this newspaper that it has filled 3 or 4 times only in the last 10 years. But the point about the Hume Dam is that it has not been allowed to fill. There have been many occasions in years of flood when, for the purpose of flushing out the River Murray or for some other reason, water has been released from the Hume Dam long before the filling period has arrived. This action has been taken in order to provide a flow of water down the river and in order to carry out work normally performed by the River Murray Commission, that is, to flush out the river. I have heard it said here and in other places that the Hume dam has not overflowed. The Hume dam having been raised to produce an additional .5 million acre feet, the gates were put in for the purpose of regulating the flow. The water comes out of the gates - I have seen it - and not over the spillway. So I want to nail that one.
– I have nailed it quite clearly.
– Yes I have. In an average year the Hume dam has had water entering it far in excess of its storage capacity and in the flow period water has been let out when the circumstances have necessitated that. That is the first thing. The second thing is that in the regulation of the River Murray the Hume dam has been overtaxed by over-committal of the water available in ordinary years rather than the water being allowed to run to waste. Finally, neither Sir Thomas Playford nor any honourable senator opposite has acknowledged that in the coming year water from the Snowy and from Jindabyne will flow into the Hume dam for the first time. The quantity of water expected to be available from the Snowy and Jindabyne to flow into the Hume Dam was fed into the computer to discover how much water would be available in the River Murray in periods which would have some relation, on the one hand, to Chowilla and, on the other hand, to the proposed dam at Dartmouth. So the parameters in this case were involved in a calculation, which the engineers properly made, that additional water would be flowing into the Hume dam this year from Jindabyne.
I go on to deal with another matter that was raised in the address at Adelaide, to which I have heard reference, when 400 people stood and applauded. I refer to the argument that the whole report is wrong because it is based on averages. The realities of this matter are that the engineers who were charged with the examination of this project and with making a comparison between Chowilla and another site were not involved in the problem of averages because dealing with averages in the Australian water run-off situation simply cannot be done. We are a country of great extremes. We are a land of drought and flood. Therefore the analysis that was made on the availability of water and which was fed into the computer was based on recordings of the tributaries to the River Murray system with gaugings taken over a period of 55 years downstream as far as Mildura, Lake Victoria and the proposed Chowilla Dam. In other words, the information fed into the computer was not an assessment based on averages. It was an assessment based on the gaugings of every tributary to the system over a period of 55 years. From the computer analysis of gaugings over 55 years the answer came out as to how much water would be available in one dam or the other. To illustrate the fallacy of using averages, as was done by Sir Thomas Playford for example, let me point out that in 1956 the River Murray run-off was 39 million acre feet. If that figure had been used it would have upset all the arguments that had been raised. The result would have been absurd.
I come to another point that has not been made by any honourable senator opposite. In the 1963 proposal relating to the Chowilla Dam South Australia was guaranteed 1.254 million acre feet of water per year. It was not guaranteed one single acre foot more than that. However, the computer analysis of the availability of water indicated that if a dam were put at
Dartmouth the amount of water available to South Australia would be substantially in excess of 1.254 million acre feet. According to their report, the Commissioners assumed that South Australia would get a quantity approaching 1.5 million acre feet. In other words, the Commissioners believed that by building a high dam in a non-evaporating area - that is, at Dartmouth - South Australia would receive an increased quantity of water but that, if the Chowilla Dam were built, all it would receive would be the allotment it has received since 1915.
– If you wish you may rise later and make another speech.
– I do not think it would be really. Another specious argument, characteristic of what has been said to date, relates to Lake Eucumbene. The former Premier of South Australia used Lake Eucumbene as an illustration. He is reported in the ‘Advertiser’ of Tuesday 25th February 1969 in this way:
He said Lake Eucumbene in the Snowy Mountains project was an example of a large dam built on a small watershed.
We were told it would hold as much water as Sydney Harbour’, he said, ‘lt has now been in operation for 10 years and the best it has ever dune is being 40% tilled’. if you will excuse the pun, that is a pretty damning kind of argument. I suppose most honourable senators have been to Lake Eucumbene. They will recall that it is not a spilling dam: it is an earth and rock fill dam with no spillway. It was built with no spillway because the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority never intended it to be filled, lt is a regulating dam to be used for the production of power with the water fed through various tunnels to other dams. When it is said that Lake Eucumbene is an example of a large dam built on a small watershed and which has never been filled in 10 years, it must be remembered that it was never designed to be filled. If arguments of that kind are swallowed we will not get anywhere.
Finally I come to the matter of the Mitta Mitta River How. Bearing in mind that the Hume dam has been raised to produce an additional .5 million acre feet, bearing in mind that this year water from Jindabyne will flow into the Hume dam for the first time, bearing in mind that the engineers who made this study were aware of those facts because they fed this parameter into the computer, one must agree, as is stated in the conclusions, that the proposed Dartmouth Dam will hold a storage of 3 million acre feet which will be available in a year of water shortage. Senators from South Australia have been arguing that a dam at Chowilla is necessary in order to preserve South Australia in a year of shortage. They do not seem to realise that a dam at Dartmouth holding 3 million acre feet of water with an annual evaporation of only 15,000 acre feet will be able to make water available to South Australia in the years which cause so much trouble. It is most unlikely that such an amount of water would be available to South Australia from Chowilla.
– The computer analysis, based on gaugings over 55 years, shows that 3 million acre feet of water will be available in a dry year. That is the basis of their recommendation. I have been at some pains to try to deal with some of the illusions that have been created and some of the wrong information that has been given to the Senate. I urge honourable senators as strongly as I possibly can to support the amendment of which I have given notice, in order that we may encourage the Commonwealth Government to act to the utmost within its resources to provide additional water for South Australia above the quantity of 1.254 million acre feet which Chowilla Dam would have provided.
– ls the amendment seconded?
– Or anything else.
– Possibly that is so, at least in the view of Senator Gair. But at least i was honest on the point, unlike a person who is not an authority but does not admit it. As I said on that occasion, I had received a 14-point programme from the Premier of South Australia with an invitation to seek further information. Over a period of 6 months I had sought further information but had not received it. I have since received the information from the Premier of South Australia. His attitude is that the construction of Chowilla Dam is essential to the development of South Australia. In reply to a letter 1 wrote to the Premier he forwarded me on 21st November last further information to support the claim that the Chowilla Dam would be for the benefit of South Australia.
Throughout the debate in the Senate and in articles appearing in South Australian newspapers 1 have been asked my opinion on whether South Australia needs Chowilla Dam. In reply I have said that it is a question for experts to report on. We now have a report by experts before us. I think we have all agreed in discussions that the results of inquiries made indicate that there is no worthwhile saving to be achieved by using an alternative dam site. Last night Senator Scott said that there may be a saving of Sim or so. The figures which have been cited make no allowance for any further cost after the construction of the dam on the Mitta Mitta River and the modifications to be effected at Lake Victoria. We have come to the conclusion that the reasons influencing the proposal to build a dam on an alternative site are cost and salinity. But there is no real difference in the cost and the report points out that should the Chowilla Dam be constructed the amount of salinity received by South Australia would be lessened. No-one disagrees with that proposition.
The experts have shown by their reports that for approximately the same price as the estimated cost of construction of Chowilla Dam a bigger storage can be built on the Mitta Mitta River and more water will therefore be available for the other States. The authorities had to decide whether to accept the reports of the committees that have examined the proposals or to allow a challenge to go before a judge of the Supreme Court of Tasmania, acting as an adjudicator on this issue. At this point politics entered into the matter. The whole situation is very much pregnant with politics, and always has been. 1 think it can fairly be said that it has been agreed that when the Dunstan Government of South Australia was prepared to permit an investigation to be conducted, the aim was to determine whether an alternative site was available. No decision was made as to acceptance of an alternative site and at that time there was no question of selling out Chowilla.
To be fair to Mr Steele Hall, Premier of South Australia, we should acknowledge that he is faced with the difficulty of opposition from other States. He will not get additional water. There is no possibility that the construction of Chowilla Dam will be approved by the River Murray Commission. He cannot expect to obtain a unanimous decision from the River Murray Commission and submit it to arbitration. I believe he is prepared to demand additional water from the Murray River area. Today the Commonwealth Government announced that it is prepared to give South Australia an additional $6m to build a pipeline from Tailem Bend to Keith, a new area for development. Possibly that was a factor in inducing the Premier of South Australia to say in effect: ‘We are prepared to go no further, to sell out on this issue’. In those circumstances the Premier is obliged to offer an apology to the electors, to whom he said: ‘Dunstan permitted a committee to conduct inquiries. If we are returned, we will build Chowilla.’ That promise was used to help win the last election. However, the man who won the election on a promise to build the Chowilla Dam will certainly not build that dam and can get no support for its construction. Now he makes the claim: We will accept this agreement only if we are guaranteed additional water to the extent of 1.5 million acre feet in any year, under new arrangements.’ It is generally thought that agreement on those terms will be reached.
Tonight Senator Scott has come to the assistance of the Premier of South Australia and Liberal senators from South Australia, other than Senator Laucke, who have not participated in this debate. Possibly the Minister was attempting to justify their nonparticipation in a debate on a matter that is really a live issue in South Australia where it is supported by responsible people of all political parties. Senator Scott referred to the attitude of Sir Thomas Playford and said that he is one of the keenest supporters of the scheme. In today’s Press, reports have appeared that Mr Stott, the Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly, is again preparing a plea for Chowilla Dam.
The next State election in South Australia will be won or lost on the issue. The Federal Government, which won three marginal seats in South Australia at the last election, is somewhat concerned at the continued agitation in Adelaide for the building of the Chowilla Dam, because of the refusal of the Federal Government and other State governments to agree to its construction.
Another matter that has to be considered is that at the time of the commencement of the Snowy Mountains scheme South Australia gave up certain of its rights to water. The Snowy Mountains scheme involved the transfer of certain headwaters of the Murray, in which South Australia had a share, to the Murrumbidgee, in which South Australia had no share. This was so important that Sir Thomas Playford took out a High Court writ against the Federal Government over its action in connection with the Snowy Mountains scheme. One of the conditions of his withdrawal of that writ was a promise to construct the Chowilla Dam. So Chowilla is more than a matter of the water that it will provide; it is recompense for South Australia for forgoing some of the rights that it had prior to the commencement of the Snowy Mountains scheme.
Today’s Adelaide ‘Advertiser’ quotes a statement by the ex-Premier of South Australia, Sir Thomas Playford. Possibly he would have a better knowledge of the history of this scheme than would any other man in Federal or State politics today. The newspaper report states:
Sir Thomas Playford said the problem over Chowilla began when a former Minister for Development, the late Senator Spooner, went out of his way to prevent South Australia being connected with the Snowy Mounts project. i-Ic refused even to show South Australia a copy of the agreement,’ he said.
So South Australia was refused the right to become a partner in the Snowy Mountains scheme, which would have given it some rights in the allocation of water. The report continues:
South Australia issued a writ on the Commonwealth to stop the project because it would lose water over which it had rights.
But the project was accomplished. South Australia did not share its benefits but shared its cost, paying some $80m towards the $800m bill.
So South Australia contributed to the Snowy Mountains scheme during a period when it was receiving from the scheme no water additional to that which it received under the River Murray scheme. In fact it gave away water to which it had a right. Over the years, we South Australians have been paying, to the extent of about $4 a year for each person in the State, towards the cost of the Snowy Mountains scheme and have received no benefit from it. But that was the agreement that was reached between the Commonwealth and South Australia in return for arrangements for the building of the Chowilla Dam. Mention has been made during this debate of the occasion on which Sir William Spooner, in a second reading speech, told of the value of this very project not only to South Australia but also to the other States concerned.
Senator Ridley touched on a very important point that needs consideration, namely, the saline content of the River Murray, which is increasing at the present time. This situation was brought home dramatically in the irrigation areas of South Australia last year, when we experienced drought conditions and when the level of the river was low. There is some disagreement about whether the amount of water that has to flow past Mildura for the purpose of keeping the water up to the quality required for irrigation in Victoria is 900 or 600 cusecs. But whatever the amount may be, it is not difficult to imagine that, as water is used and as the amount of water in the river as it comes closer to the sea becomes less and less, the saline content increases.
Although we talk about (he damming of the river, it is essential to waste water by allowing it to flow into the sea for the purpose of purifying the water that we use. Last year the low level of the river showed that some drastic action was necessary and that we have to have a great supply of water not only to use but also to wash other water away. In some areas in which overhead sprinkling was used it was found that the saline content of the water rotted the leaves of the citrus trees and necessitated the complete replanting of trees. While the fruit growers agree that it is possible to survive one year of salty water, they say that a second such year is disastrous. The salinity is caused by evaporation and the drainage of water from the land.
In an article published in the Adelaide Sunday Mail’, Professor Holmes of Flinders University points out that at some time in the future we may have to consider curtailing the use of River Murray water for purposes of irrigation. He states that although we may see the desert bloom it may be as well to leave it as a desert so that we can use the remaining waters of the Murray. If, as the recent report states, increased water supplies are to be available to the upstream States of Victoria and New South Wales, which obviously will use the water for irrigation, the salinity of the River Murray will be increased and that will necessitate the use of the greater flow that Senator Cormack suggests we can get to maintain the same degree of purity of water that we have at present.
The question is not one of providing a greater supply of water. We would have sufficient water in the Murray if we could use every drop in it and keep it pure. With the extension from Tailem Bend to Keith and the bigger drain on the water of the Murray, with a reduction of its purity, maintaining its purity will be very difficult in the future. The time must come when we will have to consider the whole question. It is necessary to have the flow past
Mildura, whatever the allocation to South Australia in drought years is. Victoria takes the attitude that it is necessary to have a certain allocation flowing through Victorian rivers during drought years for the purpose of purifying the water for irrigation in Victoria, no matter what happens when the water reaches Renmark. If South Australia’s supply in drought years were stored within or adjacent to South Australia, the State would not be supplied by a flow; the water could be used in Victoria while we had our requirements stored on our doorstep. But that would create increased salinity in Victoria.
We have noted that, apart from Senator Scott, who is from Western Australia and who, as a responsible Minister, had to support the attitude of the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn), with two exceptions the other speakers in the debate have all been South Australians and they have all supported the Chowilla project. The only two speakers who have objected to Chowilla have been Victorians. By interjection somebody said: ‘Can you expect Victoria to supply cash for the Chowilla project when it will not receive any additional benefits? We must get back to the fact that the question of South Australia’s right to this water has arisen only since the agreement was reached in the time of the former Minister for National Development, the late Sir William Spooner. Does this mean nothing to the Commonwealth?
I think the legal position is that in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Commonwealth legislation has been passed whereby each has agreed to pay onequarter of the cost of building a dam at Chowilla, the constructing contractor to be the South Australian Engineering and Water Supply Department. This is binding law in three States and in the Commonwealth. The only weakness in the legislation is as to the time of construction. The present proposal is to build a dam 1,200 miles up the river from South Australia. The only benefit is that more water will be stored. This is not beneficial to South Australia unless it is guaranteed an additional quota. Amendments may be moved to permit Liberal senators from South Australia to vote against giving the Chowilla Dam to South Australia, although the Premier of South Australia is arguing for it. The Premier has stated that saline slugs developed in the river last year. Under existing conditions it is possible for slugs of highly saline water to travel down the river. While these can be partly disposed of by regulating the inflow and outflow of Lake Victoria they can have serious consequences if they arrive opposite an irrigated area during irrigation. By mixing with the better quality water stored in the Chowilla reservoir these slugs would be absorbed and the released water would be of more uniform quality while still suitable for irrigation. One of the serious threats to South Australian irrigation is these slugs that develop. This was very noticeable last year.
– Wherever the, came from, they were in the water in South Australia. The Premier said that if they are there at a time when an area is to be irrigated they can cause considerable damage. They can be washed further afield where there is no irrigation, but how can this be achieved when we have to rely on a reserve of water which takes 6 weeks to reach a particular area? Our citrus trees would be dead by that time. By storing the water close at hand the slugs can be dissolved and passed into the stream. The water is released as a smooth flow. It could wel’l be that the salinity content or the slugs that form in the water that we get in drought years will make further irrigation impossible. The method we used on previous occasions or any method to wash away the slugs would be impossible if the water took 6 weeks to travel from the area of release to the area where salinity had to bc dissolved. One can see the importance - possibly more so to South Australia than to the other two States - of good quality Murray water. The other two States use it. for irrigation mostly, but today South Australia is relying on Murray water because it has very few other sources of supply. The whole of its population in the metropolitan area of Adelaide, Whyalla and the West Coast and the whole industrial complex in South Australia are dependent on Murray water. Unless the continued quality of water is guaranteed to South Australia no further development can take place.
While this issue is a vital’ one in the community’s thinking in South Australia at present, no State Premier - although, the Premier says he is forced into the position of accepting it - would dare accept with satisfaction the building of a dam at Mitta Mitta. I have not been sidetracked by the statements that South Australia will get more water. While supporting the motion I think the Commonwealth should look at the whole question and establish a planning authority to plan the future development of the Murray, its purity and its water. Whatever the cost of the dam the expenditure would not be wasted because of the water shortage in Australia at present. Accordingly I support the motion.
– The estimates of yield do not agree with that.
– I can quite understand Senator Bishop’s concern. Over the last 2 days we have been invited to attempt to discover the technical differences in this and that. To try to form an honest technical judgment and to challenge the facts on which certain conclusions rest and the implications to be drawn from them is beyond my ability, and I think it is beyond the competence of most honourable senators present. I have regard for Senator Bishop’s ability to bring his mind clearly and closely to a solution of the problem, but I doubt whether he would claim ability to join issue with the technical opinions as they are embodied in the report.
On the question of quantity of water it is apparent that Dartmouth will provide 0.86 million acre feet more than Chowilla and South Australia must therefore be assured of a certain additional proportion of this. If it gets that, then, with apparently a flow of 1.5 million acre feet as against 1.25 million acre feet Dartmouth could avoid much of the salinity problem by providing that level of necessary dilution which could substantially ameliorate if not remove almost totally the saline problem. That appears to be the conclusion which is reached after close and protracted technical investigation and I do think the Senate might be required, looking at this matter objectively, to rest upon such conclusions.
The question of quality of water naturally is a matter of grave concern to South Australians. I was distressed myself, when evidence was given, to hear of the fall in production in some areas of agriculture in South Australia, particularly in the citrus areas which are very sensitive to salinity in water used for irrigation, and of the economic cost that has been imposed on growers through the necessity to use alternative methods of irrigation and alternative types of irrigation plants, and to engage in rotation of crops, the leaching of the soil and the construction of drains for taking the water back from the effluent channels. These are all very serious difficulties. Anything that adds to the cost of our primary production is especially serious when we have to compete on the world’s markets, apart from the stress on the individual grower. They are also serious from the point of view of the demands that are consequentially imposed upon the Commonwealth revenue in one way and another to support farming programmes and to support industries that might be wilting under the pressure of fall in productivity in the area. Therefore I understand the concern that South Australians have about this matter.
Water is not one of the major problems we encounter in Queensland, although I must say that a great deal of the water in Queensland is not being conserved in spite of the efforts that have been made over the years. When Senator Gair was Premier of Queensland he did a great deal with the construction of the Tinaroo Falls Dam and others for the conservation of much of the waters of North Queensland, but there are still vast quantities of water which are not being conserved there. Nevertheless, as a problem, water does not loom as largely in
Queensland as it does in other States. It is a very great problem in South Australia. Therefore I feel that if, after participating in the deliberations for 2 days, the Senate should decide that, of these two schemes, Dartmouth is the more acceptable, the one which in the long run will provide more benefit to South Australia; but nevertheless South Australia required our assurance that its water demands are going to be continually under scrutiny and are going to receive continuous consideration by the participating States and by the Commonwealth, we should by supporting Senator Cormack’s amendment, indicate the continuing solicitude we feel. We should not merely say that this problem, having being solved in part, is now to be shelved never to be resurrected and never to be discussed again. The South Australian position must continue to remain the concern of this Parliament as it must continue to remain the concern of the Australian nation. Speaking then on behalf of the Australian Democratic Labor Party and speaking also on behalf of the four senators representing that Party in this Senate, none of whom comes from one of the States concerned, South Australia, I say that we see this as a national problem. We assure the State of South Australia that we shall continue to accept the problem as such and approach it as such. From time to time, as we may be able to do, we shall attempt to seek a better and, we hope, a final solution to this very difficult problem in a State which is so seriously short of something which is essential to its economic development.
– Will the honourable senator agree that it depends on what the computer is being asked to do?
– I shall deal with this later. There is a point here. 1 can appreciate the concern of Senator Bishop in this matter, but I accept that there was no sidewinding in this issue. At the outset too, let me say very clearly that, as a South Australian, firstly I want to do all that I can in the best interests of my State. Also as a South Australian and as a Senator, I want also to do what I consider is in the best interests of South Australia and the nation as a whole.
So, I look to this great problem of water. Water conservaiton is one of the great needs of this very dry land of ours and my very dry State in particular. So, at the beginning, I must say quite honestly that I was, as Senator Bishop said when he was speaking yesterday, a strong Chowilla supporter. I do not deny it. I was. But I will say also that certain matters and certain factors have altered my views. I might say also that there are countless other persons besides myself who also have altered their views.
Much has been said today. Much was said yesterday. Many points have been elaborated. I suggest that we go back to the beginning of the history of Chowilla. In 1961. the River Murray Commission recommended that a dam be built at Chowilla. The Commission considered at that stage - and I repeat that at this stage thirteen studies had been made - that that dam would be the most economic and effective means of regulating the river system and of giving security to New South
Wales.. Victoria and South Australia regarding those waters. This recommendation was agreed to by the River Murray Commission which, as honourable senators know, was established, if I am correct in my thinking, back in 1915. This Commission represents the States of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia and also the Commonwealth Government. This Commission is one in which any decision that is made must be a unanimous decision. This is a very important point to remember.
We have heard it said tonight that South Australia should do this and that South Australia should do that. We have heard it said tonight that the Federal Parliament should do this and that the Federal Parliament should do that. But I think that all the people who have made this comment have overlooked the fact that there are four partners in the River Murray Commission and that any of its decisions must be unanimous. Therefore, the complete agreement of all the partners is required on any decision. Agreement was reached for the building of the dam at Chowilla with a capacity of some 5.06 million acre feet. The total estimated cost of the dam was approximately $28m. Following the acceptance of this project, the representatives of the Commission decided that further detailed studies should be made.
Looking further at the results of these detailed studies, we find that the cost of Chowilla then escalated from the original amount of approximately $28m to an estimated figure of approximately $43m. If we go further than this, we find that tenders were called in October 1966 and that when they closed in April 1967 the most favourable one had a cost factor of some $68m. As has been said, quite rightly and fairly so too, this was when doubts were raised with regard to the cost factor and also the salinity aspect. So, in August of 1967, as Senator Cavanagh quite correctly pointed out tonight, South Australia which was then under a Labor government - a government of a different political colour from that which it has at the present time - agreed through its representative on the Commission that a technical committee of the Commission should be set up to look into further aspects of the project, make further studies of it and report on these studies to the Commission before any further progress was made with the Chowilla project.
Might I say here that there is no condemnation of that procedure. I repeat that there are four partners in this Commission. Let us face the fact. This is actually what did happen. Then, on 10th October, the Commission decided when it heard the initial report - again with the agreement of the South Australian representative who was working under the instructions of the then Dunstan Government - that further studies should be made. A combination of the following matters for study was proposed. Here is where I want to reply to the query raised earlier by Senator Bishop. The studies were made by the technical committee. It was asked to consider whether the Menindee Lakes should operate as a River Murray storage or as a New South Wales storage. It was asked to consider whether there should be sharing restrictions, minimum supplies to South Australia and minimum supplies to the other States, New South Wales and Victoria. The next item is a very important one. It was to consider whether there should be a minimum flow into the Murray River system upstream and the Darling junction.
A number of queries have been raised with regard to whether or not this flow aspect should have been brought into the Murray in the computations and exercises that were done in these investigations. The State representative who, I repeat in all fairness, was under the instructions of the Dunstan Government at that time, agreed to all of these aspects being studied. I agree that this was the right and proper thing to do. But included within these aspects was the flow of the Murray upstream, which takes in this aspect of flow-
– It is stated here that included in those matters that were to be looked at was this aspect on which Senator Bishop last night raised the question of whether this assumption should be used.
They looked into the use of selected capacities of the Upper Murray or Mitta storages, Murray Gates, Dartmouth or Gibbo. We have all hear the name Dartmouth a lot in the last few months. So all of these aspects were included for investigation. There was a unanimous agreement that they should be looked at by a technical committee. There were no criticisms and comments as to whether or not these things should have been allowed, and it was agreed that these things should be investigated now. Why the criticism? Did anybody raise his voice in opposition during this period? Did anybody criticise the various aspects which were to be considered and researched by this technical committee which was to make a report for decision by the River Murray Commission? To my knowledge nobody criticised either the technical committee or the aspects which it was to investigate. I want to repeat that this study was agreed to by the River Murray Commission, which comprises representatives of the South Australian, New South Wales, Victorian and Commonwealth Governments. So it is from all of these studies that we see certain recommendations being made at the present time.
All of us have received our reports and drawn certain conclusions from the conclusions of the experts - this was a report based on expertise and on some 260 studies that were made, which is a very important aspect to remember - do not anyone try to convince any reasonable person that the experts have not made a thorough investigation of all of the aspects which we all agreed at that time they should look at. But what have these studies shown? In South Australia we have had a base flow of some 750 cusecs to counter salinity. The studies showed that it was necessary to have a base flow at Mildura. Here 1 refer to ‘Proposals for the Further Storage on the River Murray’ - this was in August 1967 - which stated:
In addition to the substantial increase in the estimated cost the other significant factors which had emerged during the interim period were:
Salinity in the Murray had been causing increasing concern. This problem was accentuated during the 1967-68 drought when a flow of 900 cusecs below Mildura was required during the greater part of the irrigation season to keep salinity within reasonable limits for irrigation in that area. Doubts had arisen as lo what effect Chowilla might have on salinity. At the present lime this question is being further studied.
Evaporation at Chowilla turned out to be greater than was previously thought. Here again. 1 refer to the same report which stated at page 3:
Allowances for evaporation loss from Chowilla have increased since those adopted for the study in 1961, when the annual loss was estimated at 600.000 acre feet. The later studies by the technical committee indicate that average annual evaporation losses under various assumed conditions could vary from 820,000 acre feet to 920,000 acre feel!
– These are things which are stated in this report. They are there for the honourable senator to read and I will hand them to him afterwards.
– They are in tha interim report. These things were taken into consideration and studied. I have quoted from the report, giving the page number, and if the honourable senator does not believe me I shall table it. With a storage of some 5.06 million acre feet Chowilla would not provide adequate additional water to secure the present requirements of New South Wales and Victoria which jointly have some 2.7 million acre feet annually. The report states that a storage at Dartmouth of some 0.35 million acre feet - I think these figures are very interesting - based on a 900 cusecs flow at Mildura will provide equal benefits to the upper States. A storage of 0.35 million acre feet capacity at Dartmouth would be equivalent in yield to a dam of 3.5 million to 5.06 million acre feet at Chowilla. Queries have been raised tonight as to why it should be brought down at Chowilla to a 3.5 million acre feet dam. It has been shown in exercises, using the method of operation at present adopted as the basis for studies of the development of the River Murray that a 3.5 million acre feet dam at Chowilla would, after securing South Australia’s entitlement, make available an additional supply of about 170,000 acre feet per annum. This is a very important point: increasing the storage to 5 million acre feet would add only another 10,000 acre feet of water. So here is the reason why they would go from 5.06 million acre feet down to 3.5 million acre feet.
Perhaps yield has not been considered in its true aspect. As we all know, yield is made up of input and output, and such things as evaporation come into calculation. Perhaps the easiest way to give a simple explanation of what yield really means is to take as an example _two tanks of equal size, one coupled to the roof of a big house and one coupled to the roof of a car shed. All of us would agree that we will get more water out of the tank that is coupled to the house than we will get out of the one attached to the car shed, because the intake is far greater even though they both are of the same size. T think that is about the easiest way in which to give an example of yield.
The cost of an 0.35 million acre feet storage at Dartmouth is estimated at some $25m, some $28m less than the cost of building a 3.5 million acre feet dam at Chowilla which would cost $53m. A 5.06 million acre feet dam at Chowilla would cost S57.2m. But, as I said, yield is not dependent upon capacity alone. So there is very little gain in yield between a 3.5 million acre feet capacity dam and a 5.06 million acre feet capacity dam. Investigations have also shown that with the 3 million acre feet dam at Dartmouth there would be an additional annual average supply of some 860,000 acre feet. This is over and above the requirement of South Australia, which is 1.254 million acre feet per annum, and the guarantee of 2.7 million acre feet per annum that would be needed for both Victoria and New South Wales. Incidentally, this was the entitlement in 1905 and it is still South Australia’s entitlement today. The entitlement of South Australia was exactly the same under the Chowilla proposal as it has been since the year 1905. In 1905 it was 1.254 million acre feet and under the Chowilla agreement it was still 1.254 million acre feet. No doubt the gains were there in added security - let me make that clear - but the entitlement was exactly the same. I might add also that these investigations, which included computer exercises, showed that in that 55 to 60 years study of yield based on the input and output of the whole river system, the extra yield of some 860,000 acre feet was available. It is all very well to say that this extra amount of water will not be there, but figures have been kept for 55 or 60 years and they show conclusively that the water is there. I am prepared to accept the opinion of experts based on their expertise and study.
The figures show also that wilh South Australia receiving its entitlement of Ii million acre feet from Chowilla, since 1905 there would have been 3 years of restrictions. If Dartmouth was in use and South Australia was receiving its entitlement of li million acre feet of water, since 1905 there would have been only I year of restrictions. This information comes from figures which have been taken. I have mentioned that a study of the whole river system has been made over a period of 55 to 60 years, but figures have been kept on the history, and the flow of the Mitta Mitta River since 1885. So let us get away from the idea that these figures are only recent or have been taken only in recent years.
– In the year of the drought South Australia received its entitlement.
– It received its share of three-thirteenths. Do not let us get away from what the situation was when Chowilla was first proposed. Putting it briefly, the investigations show that both the Chowilla Dam and the Dartmouth Dam would be comparable in cost. Dartmouth would cost about $57.5m and the additional expenditure to complete Chowilla would be about $54m, so basically the cost would be comparable. On the salinity aspect, one must be quite honest and say that the reports for Chowilla are favourable, although in August 1967 some queries were raised on this aspect. Investigations have shown that the salinity aspect of Chowilla is very favourable and they indicate that the construction of Chowilla would improve the salinity of the water by some 20 parts per million. But let us look further at the question of salinity. Much has been said about Dartmouth being 6 weeks away from South Australia, but nobody has bothered to mention the existence of Lake Victoria. Nobody has told us that Lake Victoria sits right within the confluence where Chowilla would have been, that it is slam, bang in the area of the Chowilla and would have been flooded under the Chowilla Dam. Nor has anyone mentioned that Lake Victoria has a capacity of 400,000 to 500,000 acre feet and has the capacity to be used as a flushing system. Further, it is located just over the border and could be used to flush the South Australian river system if that were desired. All I can say to those honourable senators who have kept harping about Dartmouth being 6 weeks away from South Australia is that we might just as well stop talking about this because, so far as I am concerned, the argument does not hold water whereas Lake Victoria does.
There has been much talk about Chowilla being on South Australia’s border and being South Australia’s dam. Let us be realists and be honest with ourselves and with people whom we are trying to convince, one way or the other. If Chowilla is built it will not be South Australia’s dam. I hope that one day it will be built, but when it is built it will not belong to South Australia - it will belong to the River Murray Commission. South Australia will not determine when to turn the taps on or off; the River Murray Commission will decide when the taps will be turned on or off at Chowilla. So let us get away from the idea that Chowilla will be South Australia’s dam. It would be part of the whole river system and would be under the control of the River Murray Commission.
I come back to the investigations which show that there would be an additional 860,000 acre feet of water available if we continue with the Dartmouth project. This could be of great benefit to all States. I hasten to add that I have not condemned Chowilla tonight, that I have never condemned Chowilla and that 1 shall never condemn Chowilla. I am saying that there is greater ability to supply more water to South Australia from Dartmouth, according to the results of study and expertise, than Chowilla would be able to provide. So far as we as a State are concerned, and so far as the other States are concerned, greater gains are to be had from the concept of Dartmouth as against Chowilla. Hence I feel that we must look to gains and get away from names. We must get down to realities and consider where we can get the greatest amount of water.
Mention has been made of South Australia’s need for water. It has been pointed out that South Australia is a dry State. I admit that South Australia’s needs are very great. However, I must remind the Senate that South Australia’s’ entitlement at the present time is, and its entitlement under Chowilla would be, H million acre feet of water. If Mr Hall, the Premier, is able to negotiate and get a guarantee for H million acre feet, South Australia will have a far greater entitlement. Do not let it be said that he may not be able to get that guarantee. There is provision for it in the agreement, which states at page 8:
If it is decided to construct Dartmouth to its approximate economic limit - to about 3 million acre feet, consideration could be given to allocating part of the additional .86 million acre feet per annum to an increase in the South Australian entitlement.
So it is stated in black and white in the technical report which, as I have said before, is based on expertise. To go further with this point of li million acre feet compared with li million acre feet, it should be understood that the divertible component - that is, the usable water - that South Australia gets from its entitlement of li million acre feet is not the whole of that quantity because 564,000 acre feet of this entitlement is dilution water and is wasted because of evaporation or dilution and used to flush out the river system. So there is a loss of 564,000 acre feet. But wilh the extra i million acre feet which could be obtained from a quota of li million acre feet, which is. being sought by the South Australian Premier at present, in reality there will be a 35% increase in South Australia’s divertible component or usable water. Let us hope that the Premier is able to negotiate this increase. We support him to the utmost in this. If he is successful there will be an increase of 35% in the amount of water that we as a State can use. This is no small amount of water; it is a great amount. How anybody can say that we should go for a name and overlook a gain of 35% I do not know. It is time that they had a good look at the situation and reconsidered their judgment on this issue. If South Australia can increase its entitlement it will be a very lucky State to receive an actual increase of 35%.
In summing up one could say that whether a dam is built at Chowilla or Dartmouth. South Australia will get its entitlement of li million acre feet, but investigations have shown that there is extra water to be had from a storage at Dartmouth. Investigations have shown that an additional 860,000 acre feet of water will be available for everybody, including South Australia, and that this could increase South Australia’s entitlement of usable water by 35% each year. If South Australia receives this additional water one can only emphasise again that it would be a gain for the State. As the driest State in the Commonwealth, South Australia should be looking for all that it can get to improve its position and seek maximum gains.
– They will be conserved eventually.
– That proposition is implicit in Senator Bishop’s motion. He proposed:
That the Senate considers that the construction of Chowilla Dam should proceed without delay.
Did not Senator Young ask the Minister whether the water that is flowing into the sea should not be conserved without delay? Can he argue against that case? If he does, he will be betraying the people of South Australia, the driest State in the Commonwealth. This bargaining and haggling about acre feet and cusecs is a blind and an attempt lo pull the wool over the eyes of the people. Of course the honourable senator wants Dartmouth, but he wants Chowilla too.
– That is true, but arguments have been put up against Chowilla by Senator Webster and Senator Cormack, both Victorians, who have a vested interest in Victoria getting a first cut out of the Snowy Mountains water. 1 remind honourable senators that the Snowy Mountains scheme was accepted under sufferance by honourable senators on the Government side who tried to oppose the concept in its original form. They even had the discourtesy to refuse the invitation to attend the opening and boycotted it. showing their contempt for this magnificent national water conservation scheme. Now the vultures from Victoria and New South Wales are plucking the carrion at the expense of
South Australia. That has been stressed during this debate. Four parties are involved in this. Do not forget that South Australia is a party and that it is the responsibility of every senator from that State to press for South Australia’s full and fair share. To hear Senator Young advocate a preference and a priority makes one think that South Australia is being sold up the river, not down the river.
I can quite understand the dilemma of the River Murray Commission because of the parsimonious attitude of the Commonwealth Treasurer (Mr McMahon) who likes to gather money from wherever he can as easily as he can, from both taxpayers and other sources. He is receiving annually $40m clear profits from the Snowy Mountains scheme. Where is that money going. Tt is going into Consolidated Revenue despite the fact that the whole concept was to conserve water, to generate electricity and to divert inland the water that previously flowed wastefully into the sea and flooded the town of Orbost regularly during the past century, to water the arid areas of Australia and make them take their rightful place in our economy. They are now either producing or showing promise of producing. Those things have been forgotten.
Let me now refer to Senator Davidson. On the outside Senator Davidson is a normal fellow with whom one could very nearly become friendly but inside that calm and handsome exterior there is a certain amount of venom.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman) - Order! A senator must not tend to disparage another senator.
– I am praising him faintly. During a debate in the Senate on 22nd August 1967 on the Chowilla Dam project, which had been raised as a definite matter of public importance, Senator Davidson said:
This is a vehicle which is being used just as a kind of political gimmick to try to justify certain sweeping statements which the South Australian Premier has made upon this matter as if to draw attention away from a general downturn in the economy and in employment, and from the other things that are wrong in the present situation in South Australia.
He was blaming those things on the River Murray, the Chowilla Dam. and all sorts of other things, but he was not being political. He went on: lt is an attempt to divert attention away from the real troubles in South Australia that are due to the mismanagement of the South Australian Government, to try to associate them with a dry year, a shortage of water down the Murray, and this wicked Commonwealth Government’s shelving of the Chowilla Dam, when in every official comment it is stated that there is no intention whatsoever to shelve the Chowilla Dam.
– That was on 22nd August 1967. The honourable senator said: There is no intention whatsoever lo shelve the Chowilla Dam’. At that time Senator Davidson claimed that the raising of this matter was what he described as a political gimmick because, to use his own words, there was no intention whatsoever to shelve the Chowilla Dam. Now let me return to Senator Young’s reference to the great gains that will flow to South Australia. As justification he said that it is in the agreement. But what about the provisions of the agreement in 1963? Are we to believe that nothing was contained in that agreement? Of course not. The agreement has been completely bypassed and a completely different set of circumstances operates today.
To illustrate how easily Senator Young can be fobbed off, . I remind honourable senators that the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott), who represents in this chamber the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn), said, mixed in with a lot of verbiage, that the River Murray Commission was making a survey of the proposed dam sites at Dartmouth on the Mitta Mitta River and at Chowilla. He said that all factors would be taken into consideration, including, the flow of water into the Dartmouth area - not into the sea, about which Senator Young asked. He did not refer to the tremendous challenge facing this nation to conserve all the water that can be saved or the need to trap the fresh water that flows into the Mumimbidgee and Darling Rivers after the winter rains and also reduces the amount of salinity in the lower Murray. There was no mention of taking those factors into consideration. He made only the statement that the Commission was making a survey of the two dam sites. He said that there was a certain amount of delay and that the Commission was anxious to get to South Australia the greatest quantity of the purest water that the State could get at a reasonable cost. He failed to answer Senator Young’s question, as he so often fails to answer questions that are a little controversial. Nevertheless, it illustrates that Senator Young can be easily fobbed off and can very quickly lose sight of points with which he expressed his agreement only a few months before. Because of the circumstances operating at present he is able to put a completely opposite view.
– I hope he will. T am looking forward to hearing from all South Australian senators opposite. 1 do not know whether there is glue on their seats, but they have been very static throughout the day. We have not seen much movement over there. Senator Young has become leader for the South Australian senators opposite. He is the first to take part in this debate.
– That was another day, at another time. I am talking about today. The man who had the most to say, the man speaking with the most sincerity, did not speak at a time when proceedings in the Senate were broadcast. Senator Young has led the list. Senator Laught’s name is now on the list of speakers. Over the years he has been a great protagonist of South Australian water conservation. Senator Buttfield sometimes has difficulty in sorting out her ideology and philosophy. I have been told that she made great pleas on behalf of equal pay for the sexes, but when she has had a chance to vote that way in the Senate, she has voted against it. She has one story for South Australia and another story for the Senate.
To sum up, some South Australian senators opposite have run to water today and it has not been in the Chowilla Dam. I entered this debate tonight mainly to draw attention to the overall problem that we are facing. As has already been said, Australia is the world’s driest continent. Not only is our rainfall low, but it is also intermittent. We have periods of floods, but more frequently we have periods of drought. If we are not prepared to tackle water conservation on a national level we will prove ourselves unworthy of holding this continent. Other countries with different economic systems have been able to find solutions to this problem. I remind honourable senators of the Tennessee Valley scheme in the United States of America, of which the Snowy Mountains scheme is perhaps the Australian counterpart. Throughout the Commonwealth we are faced with the same problem of water shortages. If we cannot finance essential water conservation plans, not only are we showing ourselves up as a nation of shortsighted people but also we do not deserve to retain this bountiful country.
There should be no argument about whether a dam should be built at Chowilla or Dartmouth. The whole length of the Murray, Mumimbidgee and Darling Rivers eventually will have to be dammed and locks provided. This proposed dam will be only the forerunner of an imaginative scheme which will make us worthy of holding this country. Sixteen surveys have been conducted in relation to the Chowilla Dam. I think that was the figure mentioned by Senator Young. Senator Bishop and Senator Toohey referred to work done at Chowilla costing about $6m. Yet responsible senators opposite are saying that there is another dam site that is more advantageous. Any nation that claims to be progressive and farsighted should be doing more than studying these things. The scheme should be under way and we should be out looking for more.
At present the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority is in the process of disintegration. That organisation was built up under Sir William Hudson’s authority by sheer application and dedication to duty. This body of great engineers, scientists and other research men from throughout the Commonwealth and other parts of the world is available to us to embark on water conservation schemes. How can those men gain inspiration from the Commonwealth Parliament when they hear debates about whether there should be one dam at one place or an alternative dam at another place, whether we are to obtain less than 1 million acre feet, or to use a pipeline or other methods?
– Of course it is. One thing puzzles me about the attitude of South Australian senators opposite. Victoria and New South Wales have been very well served. They get first cut from this concept of water diversion and conservation through the Snowy Mountains scheme. At the tail end of the scheme one of the equal partners is still wanting a share in the plan. In my view a South Australian dam should be built at Chowilla. I do not think it could properly be described as anything other than a South Australian dam.
– It should be. lt is a matter of the placement of this dam. From the point of view of storage capacity, ground work and services, Chowilla is a suitable site. Reports that have been submitted, particularly the January 1969 report of the River Murray Commission, have been most favourable to the Chowilla site. Even Senator Davidson was impressed by reports of the River Murray Commission that Chowilla would be a most desirable storage area. Bickering has been engaged in on details relating to evaporation. It is a fact of life that we have a high evaporation rate in Australia. Some areas are more badly affected than others. At Broken Hill it is necessary to cope with an evaporation rate of 35%. That problem must be faced wherever a dam is constructed. It has to be dealt with by engineers. The way to overcome it is to aim for the maximum amount of water conserved in relation to the amount of evaporation. I agree that this is a problem.
Another matter that we have heard bandied around the place is salination. But people have been pumping water out of the Murray River in South Australia for the last 100 years and I have not noticed that any of the South Australians have appeared saltier or have looked like salted peanuts as a result of drinking this salinated water. As a matter of fact, Senator Buttfield, who is interjecting, looks the most healthy of specimens. So the problem of salination can be highly exaggerated. The experts talk about slicks of salt coming down the river. My view is that the more water that is captured by damming when rain water is coming down the tributaries of the Darling, Murrumbidgee and Murray rivers, the less will be the proportion of salt deposited in the Murray.
– That is true, but there are such things as ‘ trace elements, which can neutralise the effects of things such as salt in the soil. I do not know how much research has been done in this field.
– Even. salt, has its uses. The point I make is that salination is a problem which is. ip. doubt even in the report itself. The committee .speaks of the results of its investigations as being vague. I believe that we have people wilh sufficient capacity to tackle this problem of salination and desalination. We are in the nuclear age. If a ship can come from another part of the world to fish in the waters of northern Australia and can create its own fresh water as it sails along fishing for king prawns, there is no reason why that idea cannot be adopted to the’ land and put into effect in the treatment’ of water that has a higher salt content than is suitable for irrigation purposes. But the scientist is the man who should grapple with this problem. We have to look to the future. Desalination is a subject which is being investigated and on which research is being done in various parts ; of the world. I believe that the time will come when the slight difficulty of salination of the Murray River will not be a problem and the scientists will be solving the problem of converting the saltiest of sea water into water that is drinkable and suitable for irrigation.
I refer now to a remark that was made by Sir Will’iam Hudson : in relation to the whole problem of water conservation. He said that Australia’s need for a national water conservation policy was desperate. This Government has been in charge of the treasury bench for long enough to be able to give this matter the highest priority. The Government is able to create money. It is able to embark upon immoral overseas ventures, such as in Vietnam, and to find the capita!’ to finance those ventures. But, when it comes to a matter of the wellbeing of Australians and the challenge of irrigating the millions of arid acres that are ready and waiting for irrigation, we find miserable bickering as to whether one dam should be built before another or whether one should be excluded from the programme and the other one proceeded with. This is not good enough. People who have studied this problem have pointed out that the need for a national conservation scheme is desperate. I heed the warning of a man who has made such a great contribution along these lines in the implementation of the Snowy Mountains scheme.
I put it to members of the Government Parties that it is all very fine for them to try to reduce this debate to a level at which they can seek to discredit members of the Opposition; but Senators Bishop, Toohey, Drury, Ridley and Cavanagh have, with great sincerity, put up a strong case for Chowilla.
– And Senator Laucke, too. I do not know what his popularity rating among his colleagues is at the present time, but we believe that he has been sincere on this matter. He has tried to put the case that he believes is in the best interests of South Australia. I am disappointed in the reticent senators - Senators Buttfield, Laught and Davidson. 1 hope that before it is too late their Liberal Party colleagues and their constitutents in South Australia will get a chance to hear them.
They are hoping that by making interjections they can extend the length of my speech so that they will not have to give an account of their stewardship here, including their influence on the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) in relation to finding the necessary funds in conjunction with the States. At this time the States are on their knees trying to obtain more funds because of the Commonwealth’s parsimonious policy towards them. They know very well that water conservation is a great challenge to them. Because of the need to carry out aW sorts of new development projects and provide the roads, schools, hospitals and all the other things that are needed to provide for the flow of migrants to the respective States under the Commonwealth immigration programme, they are finding it extremely diffi cult to meet costs such as those involved in big water conservation schemes. The Commonwealth is shirking its responsibility. It is asking the States to match its contributions in many fields. The States find that when they embark on these schemes they have to rob Peter to pay Paul.
I believe that there should be unanimity on this subject throughout the whole of the Parliament, because the people of Australia are looking to us to make for those who are to follow us a country which they will be proud to inhabit and to which the people of surrounding countries in South East Asia and the rest of the Asian sphere will look as the producer of food for the starving millions. For us in this chamber to be bickering as to whether there should be a dam at Dartmouth or at Chowilla-
– If we followed the policy of the honourable senator’s Party we would have many millions more on our hands. I have often wondered why the Democratic Labor Party does not change its policy and try sending poisoned wheat to help win the war against the alleged aggressors. That would be one way of solving the problem. Wheat is sold to purchasers overseas on one hand and those purchasers are condemned on the other. Does the honourable senator know where he stands on this matter? The wheat authorities are striking the best bargains they can. When money talks, many of these sentiments go out the door. We have to learn to sell our goods wherever we can. The sooner we wake up to the fact that 800 million mouths need food, flour and other by-products of wheat, and the sooner we realise that they are a potential market for us, the better it will be for our economy. We also need many other products from the land.
The farmer in Australia today does not know where he stands. The escalation of costs and the inflation in the economy have him so worried that he believes that the game is scarcely worth while. He needs an incentive. He needs the injection of a new spirit into him. This could be done by giving him an opportunity to increase the productive power of his land by irrigation. This is the type of inspiration that the Government should be giving to the man on the land in this country. But instead the Government wants to reduce an important national debate such as this to the lowest possible level. I have made it quite clear where I stand on this matter. I believe that Chowilla is a tried and tested project. 1 admit that the matter is one of priorities. Both the Dartmouth and the Chowilla Dams are desirable parts in the whole pattern of water conservation throughout Australia. Let us stop the bickering and get on with the job. The sooner we see both Dartmouth and Chowilla constructed and the sooner we get on with the rest of the job that is before us the better it will be for this nation.
– That is what Mr Dunstan is arguing against.
– Mr Dunstan was Premier of the day when it was said: ‘Let’s see if we can put a dam somewhere else.’ I shall not argue with that, but 1 do draw a line because this has been thrown up to us as a kind of political expediency. I now want to refer to one or two other background facts in this matter. A number of reports have been made. I put the question to the Senate whether one is interested in the quantity of water or the quality of water. I think some honourable senators have put this proposition purely and simply on the basis that they are interested in the prestige value of proximity to water storage. I know enough about proximity to water storage to know that it is an attractive proposition when on a small scale. On one’s own land, one’s farm or one’s property proximity to a water storage certainly commends itself. When the storage is full it is not only useful but also provides for drier periods.
This is all very well. One gets satisfaction from such a situation because, as the owner, one controls the stream and is in charge of the improvements, the irrigation and the other facilities. All this is contingent on the fact that one owns it. The owner decides what he will do when he is in charge of the stream. But when one is not in charge of the waters that flow and of the total water storage, other factors come into being. If one is a member of a group of people connected with a water storage and an irrigation system and if the group makes a decision in the light of other determinations it might well be, if it can be proved that the storage in another place will provide more and better water, that for the time being and in the immediate future this is the kind of thing which one may have to accept and agree on. In the present discussion we are faced with just this factor.
There is not a South Australian either in the State itself or here in this place who does not want to see before too long a large water storage system adjacent to our State borders, if not within them. So the possibility of a storage such as Chowilla presented in the first instance a very attractive picture indeed. As have other honourable senators, I have been to the Chowilla site more than once. We look forward to the day when the dam will be there and when it will service and minister to the various and growing needs of South Australia. I know perfectly well that the South Australian community, in addition to the people in the irrigation areas of the Upper Murray, depends very much on River Murray water. This means that the agricultural areas throughout South Australia, the industrial complex of Whyalla, the establishment at Woomera and the metropolitan area all have more than a passing interest not only in a water storage scheme but in the River Murray and the quantity of water that flows down it. Therefore Chowilla, in its initial planning in 1961, laid its emphasis very heavily and substantially on quantity.
This scheme was going to provide a greatly increased quantity of water which would flow into the South Australian water system and South Australia would stand to gain tremendously as a result of the increased quantity of water so supplied.
On the hydrological aspects the River Murray Commission said in its report of 1961 that the technical committee had submitted a report giving details of its findings following an investigation of the present and likely future water resources of the River Murray system, and that the report related these resources to the Chowilla proposal and set out in tabular and graphical form the anticipated benefits of Chowilla storage under various methods of control and water usage. It stated that the committee considered two sets of circumstances - those which will exist in the 1970 stage of development and those which may exist in the year 2000. It goes on to say - and this is not without its significance - that it was faced with a difficult task in attempting to assess these factors, particularly for the year 2000, and at its meeting on 12th April 1961 the Commission laid down what it considered to be a reasonable and realistic basis. It stated that evaporation losses would have an important bearing upon the behaviour of Chowilla storage, and that the committee had made an assessment of these losses with the aid of all available relevant data.
A great deal has been done in the whole matter of assessment in the last few years. There has been great advancement in what that report describes as available relevant data. It has become a matter of very considerable regret and disappointment to all South Australians that, as a result of the additional studies that have been made, the Chowilla programme has been deferred. But it has been deferred as a result of, I understand, something like 260 additional studies. These studies have been made since Sir Thomas Playford was in office. In his day they worked on about 13 studies. That is the difference between the 1961 period and the present time. This makes a great deal of difference. No doubt a tremendous amount of water has flowed under the bridge since then and there has been great advancement in the use of computers, in the development of technical methods and in scientific research.
As I have indicated right from the beginning, South Australia has been interested, as it was in 1961 when the Chowilla Dam project was first brought forward, in a guaranteed continuing increase in water supply and an improvement in water quality. As I have said before, it is true that it is not possible for South Australia to determine where the site of the dam may be on the River Murray, or what it can do with the water that flows in the river. These are all matters for the River Murray Commission. For my authority, I refer the Senate to the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) who, when speaking in another place yesterday, said:
We are now undertaking deliberations to ascertain how this additional water can be divided. So far as any future building of the Chowilla Dam is concerned, particularly by one individual State. . . 1 would point out that under the River Murray Agreement which has been in operation for more than 50 years, all the water in the River Murray is owned by the Commission. Therefore it does not matter whether an individual State builds a dam. It still would not be entitled to the water. The water would be owned by the River Murray Commission.
This means that decisions on dams and the distribution of water come from the River Murray Commission, of which the Commonwealth and the States of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia are members.
I turn now to a statement made by Mr Beaney who is the South Australian representative on the River Murray Commission. He made these observations in a television discussion that took place not very long ago. He said that the concept of Chowilla came from South Australia, that it was proposed to the Commission and that it was thoroughly investigated by the Commission on certain assumptions that were made back in the beginning of this decade, and it was definitely shown that not only South Australia but the two States of New South Wales and Victoria could win considerable advantage with the operation of this storage. He said that tenders were called and the price escalated to a rather high level and that this fact made the other States query the advantages that may be had to themselves from this storage of water. He then went on to refer to the quality of water because there had been some experiences with rather poor river conditions. He then highlighted certain of the operational procedures which had been introduced in the earlier days and which were, he said, no longer tenable. He stated that the Commission instructed that further studies be made. He said - I emphasise that this was in a public statement made in Adelaide - that these studies showed that the storage at Dartmouth would benefit the system by something like 860,000 acre feet more water than could be taken out of the Chowilla scheme and that each State was in a position to share in this water.
The Minister, following this up, pointed out that there had been a change in circumstances and that because of this new investigations had taken place. He also pointed out that the returns from the research undertaken indicated that the additional water to be obtained from the Dartmouth scheme was about four times greater than that which would result from the proposed Chowilla Dam. The Minister was at pains recently to stand by his technical advisers because they had been under some criticism both in this Parliament and elsewhere. He pointed out in a statement a few days ago that technical studies which were before the River Murray Commission had been undertaken by responsible and competent engineers. He went on to add that South Australia was represented during the conduct of these studies. He said that there is no point whatsoever in such men risking their professional reputations by manipulating figures.
I accept what the Minister has put forward as a result of the technical committee’s report and the decision of the River Murray Commission, on which the States concerned are represented. The Minister asserted - I accept his word for it - that Chowilla Dam has been reassessed, using modern computer techniques and that the new assessment shows that the Chowilla Dam of today simply would not provide the benefits that were expected of it in 1961. He said that changed circumstances in river regulation since the original Chowilla study have altered the pattern and amount of inflows into Chowilla. He said that this alteration has been brought about by the necessity to maintain minimum flows beyond Mildura to ease the salinity problem. He stated that the conclusion that Chowilla would not provide the benefits expected in 1961 is the result of over 200 computer studies of river flows over 50 years. So I think we can be satisfied that the maximum amount of research and intense study have been put into this whole proposition and that it has been proved beyond any shadow of doubt that, for the time being, the most economical scheme and the one that would provide the greatest amount of water and the best quality of water’ at this point of time is Dartmouth.
During the debate we talk about evaporation. I do not think any of us would dismiss this problem lightly in any circumstances whatsoever. During- the course of his remarks Senator Young referred to the significant factor qf yield, a, matter which has not received a great deal. of detailed discussion. Yield is the end product of a combination of certain factors which move their way around the pattern of the amount of inflow. A significant .factor in the yield which any water, storage may give ;is evaporation. The annual evaporation at Chowilla has varied from 820,000 acre feet to 920,000 acre feet and on one occasion rose to 1,290,000. acre, feet whereas Dartmouth, being a deep storage in the mountains, has evaporation , of .only 15,000 acre feet per annum. So evaporation at Chowilla is approximately fifty times greater than the evaporation at’ Dartmouth. These factors, when we are taking into account a considerable amount of money, must be considered and must’ be believed if wc are to spend the money of the people with any degree of common sense and responsibility.
The final thing 1 want to do is to draw to the attention of the Senate the situation which will exist if the Dartmouth scheme is built and the Chowilla scheme is postponed - only for the. time being, I hope - but will be. -a reality in due course. This is the bargaining position in which South Australia is placed in terms of not only the quantity of water but also other water storage plans and developments. It has been proved since the beginning of this decade when this matter was first mooted that there has been a vast increase in knowledge, planning and engineering ability to take advantage of and control waters in main streams.’ I speak from a little bit of experience gained in recent weeks as the chairman of one of the Senate select committees and from the material which has been put before it. So, I was more than interested to read in this report of the Technical Committee Relating to the Future Development of Water Resources on the River Murray that:
Other factors should also be taken into account when considering the Chowilla reservoir; firstly, the building of Chowilla precludes the adoption of the channel scheme as proposed by Mr Pels’s scheme. This scheme has not been investigated in great detail to date but it has considerable merit in certain circumstances and should not be discarded lightly.
– If the Dartmouth scheme is built first, at least it allows for an investigation in a practical manner of the scheme of Mr Pels which, as most honourable senators know, provides for certain channeling of waters, or better waters and superior waters, allowing for the actual river bed itself to act as irrigation, drainage and a floodway. The costs of such a scheme as this have yet to receive attention but have been severally put forward as being extremely expensive whilst later information that 1 have indicates that they are well within economic possibility. But if a major water storage is placed at this point in time at greatly increased cost, say, at the Chowilla area, it does preclude certain scientific developments concerning the handling and controlling of water upstream, whereas as in other parts of the world schemes of this kind have been employed and have been used alongside waterways or in conjunction with waterways and in climatic conditions not unlike the Murray Valley. So, if the present proposal for the Dartmouth scheme is constructed, at least this provides for a further investigation of other schemes which will provide in my view a greater quantity of purer quality water for South Australia.
This will come back to the beginning of my argument where it was pointed out that we are interested in, first and foremost, require and need urgently an increased quantity of water. The facts that have been brought to the Department of National Development, brought te the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) and brought into this place by his representative indicate that in the present price structure and circumstances the Dartmouth scheme has advantages in presenting to South Australia a greatly increased quantity of water.
I would have some concern - and I have expressed this before - about the distance between the South Australian border and the dam itself. I would hope that in the dry years this will not mean that South Australia will suffer. At the same time, if a severe drought occurs all sorts of unforeseen circumstances relating to the Chowilla scheme could arise.
I hope that the Government will continue its researches into all forms of water storage, water control, water handling and water distribution because not only does South Australia need as much water as it can get but also water is a very real problem for the whole of Australia, for its agricultural production, its industrial development and its whole domestic community life. So. I look forward, with my colleagues on this side of the Senate, to the day when Chowilla will take its place alongside Dartmouth which, for the present, will provide South Australia with an increased water supply.
– 1 know someone has to explain it for the Minister.
– We on this side are unusual; we want to support those who lead us. This all started off when Senator Kennelly said, concerning a reply to a question he asked:
Senator Scott replied:
May I say thai Mr Hoffmann resigned from the Department of Customs and Excise, and may I also say that he was not reinstated.
This, according to Hansard, is what Senator SCOtt said. Suppose we depart from emotion and look at a few facts. 1 have a series of dates here and perhaps if I speak somewhat slower honourable senators will write down the dates and write against them what happened on those dates. We need to go back to 17th September 1968, on which date Mr Hoffmann was suspended by the Department of Customs and Excise. On 20th September 1968 a charge was laid by the Department against Mr Hoffmann and Mr Hoffmann was notified what the charge was.
– I do not think that that is material. 1 am stating facts and I realise that honourable senators opposite do not like facts. On 27th September 1968 Mr Hoffmann replied to the charge and pleaded not guilty, as a result of which he was entitled to have the charge heard by a board presided over by a stipendiary magistrate. On 2nd October 1968 the board was advised that Mr Hoffmann had appealed against the charge. On 23rd and 24th October 196S the board sat and heard Mr
Hoffmann’s appeal. On the latter date, 24th October, the board dismissed Mr Hoffmann’s appeal. Honourable senators opposite would do well to discover what are the departmental procedures laid down by the Public Service Act in this matter before becoming excited. On 30th October 1968 the Public Service Board issued an authority to the Department of Customs and Excise permitting that Department to dismiss Mr Hoffmann. The dismissal was to take effect as from the expiration of 15th November 1968. Notification of that was published in the Government ‘Gazette’ of 7th November 1968. On 14th November 1968, 1 day before the notice expired, Mr Hoffmann resigned. Therefore, he was never dismissed. He was under notice of dismissal. He was never reinstated. What Senator Scott has said in this chamber has been the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
– These are simply the facts. I realise that the honourable senator does not like to have the facts put before him. When Senator Murphy talks about the Hoffmann affair, the serious charges and special treatment, he is a victim of his own imagination. The great tragedy of this is that Senator Murphy and his colleagues, who allege to the electorate that they are here to protect the workers, have done their utmost in the last 2 days to crucify Mr Hoffmann. This is not much to their credit. In their attempt to attack my colleague and very good friend Senator Scott they have crucified Mr Hoffmann.
– This is not the point. In view of the facts which I have stated and which are not in dispute, one would imagine that Senator Kennelly and his colleagues would be men enough to withdraw the allegations that they have made against Senator Scott. My only regret is that sitting over your head, Mr President, there is not the old-fashioned British coat of arms wilh the well known motto which fits the position tonight: Honi Soit qui mal y pense. This fits the whole case made out by the Opposition. I think it is deplorable that the Senate’s time should be taken up with such a matter and that a senator should take a newspaper report and blow it up into an issue which never existed. I only hope that having heard the facts as I have ascertained them as to the time table and the machinery, honourable senators will realise that Senator Scott has been completely in the clear and is completely exonerated. I ask honourable senators opposite to realise that Senator Scott’s Department is not responsible for notifying dismissals in the Government ‘Gazette’, that that is a function of the Public Service Board. I trust that honourable senators opposite will be manly enough to stand up and completely withdraw their allegations against Senator Scott.
– He was suspended.
– I am saying what my statement was.
– For the edificaof Senator Cormack - this was not stated last evening - my information is that they were documents which permitted the importation into Australia of products at a lower duty than that required by the regulations. That is the information I have obtained. That was not mentioned last night, although it was stated that documents had been falsified and that dismissal was justified. 1 stated also that the man was dismissed but through the intervention of Brigadier Sir Charles Spry the man was reinstated and permitted to resign. Those facts were presented as proof. If someone has so much power over the Government that lends credence to the report that there was a plant in a particular embassy. Is it not justification for disclosure of all the facts of the case?
Senator Kennelly regarded this as a matter of such gravity that this morning he directed a series of questions to the Minister for Customs and Excise: Was the man employed? Was the man dismissed? Was the man reinstated? Did he receive his entitlements of long service leave, etc? Was the Minister approached to reinstate the man? Why was the man reinstated? Despite what Hansard may say, the Minister said that the man was never dismissed.
– Let us take it a bit further.
- Mr President, I seek your protection because I am attempting to get to the facts of the matter. I respect the attitude of those on the other side who say that the Minister did not say that. In the first place, you know that members have the right of correcting Hansard.
– Members have the right of correcting Hansard. It was clearly heard on this side, or the interpretation in the minds of honourable senators on this side was that the man was dismissed.
– Just a minute. That opinion was formed clearly in the mind of the Leader of the Government (Senator Anderson), because the answer he gave to my question-:-
– When I referred to the reply that the Minister gave to Senator Kennelly and when Senator Kennelly, addressing the President, cast suspicion on the Minister’s truthfulness, you rose to justify what the Minister had said in the full belief - or at least you did not rise to deny that the Minister had said it. You rose knowing that there was a grave suspicion. The Minister for Customs and Excise was firmly of the opinion that he had made the statement, when he promised to make a further statement. The whole series of questions that we asked subsequently showed clearly, irrespective of whether it was said, that it was in the minds of at least two prominent Government senators that the man had not been dismissed. That was the trend of the Minister’s answer. Honourable senators may quibble, they may deny. Let us consider the question of whether some privileged treatment was given to this individual. Let us see whether or not he was dismissed. The procedure set down in section 55 of the Act shows that the matter has to go before the appeals board and so on. Senator Withers told us that he would give us the figures that he obtained from the Minister. We find that finally, on 30th October 1968, the Public Service Board issued an authority dismissing Mr Hoffmann.
– I am quoting from a statement which was submitted or at any rate accepted. On 30th October the Public Service Board issued an authority to dismiss Mr Hoffmann as from the expiration of duty on 15th November 1968.
Before that date, in fact on 14th November - the day before - Mr Hoffmann submitted his resignation.
Let us look at this whole matter which, it has been said, has been blown up out of proportion. Does anyone realise the gravity oF falsifying documents of the Department of Customs and Excise? ls this a minor offence? It was sufficiently grave for a charge to be laid against a trusted officer who was alleged to have falsified documents. After all the machinery of appeal available to him had been exhausted the Public Service Board on 30th October said: ‘Finish up in a fortnight’s time’. It issued the authority to finish up in a fortnight’s time. These dates are very convenient.
– When it was stated this morning that there was no dismissal Senator Kennelly produced the Commonwealth Gazette of 14th April. Now we find that this man submitted his resignation the day before the Board issued an authority for his service to be terminated. He submitted his resignation on 14th November 1968. If we look al the regulations - and I am indebted to Senator McClelland for these-
– It is regulation 3/D/4 paragraph (a) which says:
If an officer (other than a probationer - see Order No. 1 /D/2 (b)), having been suspected of and possibly charged wilh committing an offence warranting action under section 55, 56 or 62, submits his resignation before the disciplinary procedure has been finalised, the resignation should be forwarded to the Public Service Inspector for transmission to the Board.
It gives the officer suspected or possibly charged the alternative of submitting his resignation, but only before the procedure has been finalised - and was not the procedure finalised when the Board made a decision on 30th October?
– It is 3/D/4, and relates to the resignation of an officer who may have committed an offence.
– I understand that it is a regulation.
– If it is found to be a regulation which is applicable to this particular case, I take it that the honourable senator’s resentment at our using it is a clear indication that he would not continue his objections in those circumstances. The whole point is this: The Senate is to rise tomorrow evening until next month. A grave charge has been made. Mr Hoffman’s position is a secondary consideration in the matter. There are now two serious charges, the first of which concerns actions of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation in Canberra. The Prime Minister was given a fortnight to reply. The Leader of the Government in the Senate, when I directed a question on this matter to him yesterday, said, I think with justification, that as a matter of security was involved he would refer it to the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen). On such a grave matter, for how long must we wait for a statement in this House? Is it to be placed on the notice paper and never dealt with? Must we keep at this? Cannot the Minister see the gravity of it? I submit in all sincerity - and what I say is supported by a whole series of questions - that whatever Hansard may show, the Minister first gave false information today and should be called to book for it.
– I know that I cannot convince the honourable senator, because his mind is so fair that one could see right through it. The Minister should be brought to book. The second point is that the Minister’s statement is not sufficient to show that what we are dealing with is not part of a more serious situation. The full details concerning the charge and all other conditions of employment of Mr Hoffmann must be submitted to the Senate for our perusal. If there is no truth in the accusations made, this will be for the Minister’s benefit.
– ls it always infallible?
– I am not saying it is always infallible. What I am saying is’ that if there is to be an attack launched it ought to have something more substantial to it than what Senator Cavanagh, Senator McClelland and Senator. Murphy have used on this occasion. I am prepared, as I believe the Australian people are prepared, to accept what Senator Scott has said as to the facts of this case. Although Senator Withers has stated what the facts were, let me run through some of the salient features again. Mr Hoffman was found guilty of an offence under section 55 of the Public Service Act. It was not the Minister who made the finding; it was the chief officer. There is a right of appeal, and Mr Hoffmann exercised his right of appeal. Such an appeal is heard by an appeal board constituted by a magistrate, and if the magistrate finds that the appeal should not be upheld he recommends the dismissal to the Public Service Board. In this case the Public Service Board ordered the dismissal of Mr Hoffmann, as stated in the ‘Gazette’ to which Senator Kennelly referred, from 15th November.
– This is the fact. If anyone on the Opposition side is prepared to do his homework he will find that the procedure is strictly in accordance with section 55 of the Public Service Act. The Minister has no part whatsoever in it. There is a practice which is recognised in what I suspect Senator Cavanagh referred to as a general order which the Public Service operates, whereby resignations are permitted. Resignation may be permitted - resignations have been permitted on occasions in the past - where a person is in the position in which Mr Hoffmann was. No special or singular treatment was given to him. No treatment different from that given to other people, and permitted to be given to other people when they have sought to resign, was given to him.
– lt might have been more useful, if honourable senators opposite were concerned with eliciting the facts of this case, had they made inquiries like that before they decided that the truth was to be found in a newspaper article and that Senator Scott was in some way not worthy of their approval.
The facts, as I see them, are as follows - and they are quite clear for anybody who wants to inquire about them to see: A man who wishes to resign and tenders his resignation does so of his own volition. Senator Cavanagh might ponder about this and 1 would be grateful to hear his answer if he can give one: In those circumstances where is there opportunity for pressure to be brought to bear on a person or the Commonwealth to permit a man, of his own volition, to put in his resignation? lt just does not square. AH of this is part of the attempt of a somewhat frustrated and bankrupt Opposition to pick on any argument that it can see and use it for all its worth. Facts, truth and objectivity have nothing to do with the case that members of the Opposition put up. Nothing has demonstrated that more clearly than this red herring which Senator Cavanagh raised last night and which willy nilly all members of the Opposition, including the Leader (Senator
Murphy), engaged in discussing today. Senator Scott has given the facts. Those facts are clear. They are supportable. I cannot see why anybody should assume, unless he has ulterior motives, that those facts are untrue.
– No-one has suggested that they are offered the alternative of resigning.
– The honourable senator said that it was common practice. I cannot accept the Minister’s statement as being a reasonable explanation; nor can anyone else on this side of the chamber. 1 certainly believe that the strong inference is that undue pressure has been brought to bear on someone to allow this man to resign rather than to be dismissed. I accuse the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation of deliberately interfering in the administrative activities of the Commonwealth Public Service to induce the Public Service Board to allow this man to resign rather than to be dismissed so that someone would not squeal on activities in which they were engaging in the embassy of a friendly country. I go further and venture that after Mr Hoffmann’s wife had left the employ of the friendly embassy to which Senator Cavanagh referred last night she was in fact approached by the security organisation to take up an appointment in the embassy of another friendly country and a near neighbour of ours, lt is not the security of this nation that is involved in this case; it is the liberty of the Australian people, especially those who are engaged in the Commonwealth Public Service. I certainly do not accept the naive statement tendered to us by the Minister this evening.
– Hansard has been put on trial too, according to what Senator Cavanagh said.
– The Leader of the Government (Senator Anderson) has just reminded me that Hansard too has been put on trial tonight. 1 will come to that in a minute. If any member of the Opposition wishes to make charges of a serious nature, I do not think it is too much to expect in all fairness that he produce at least some evidence to back up these allegations. They are no more than reckless, unsubstantiated allegations made against the security organisation. This man Hoffmann is being pilloried by the Australian Labor Party tonight because it wants to attack the security organisation, for which some Labor senators have a paranoic hatred. This is the whole reason for this attack. It is not an attack on the Minister or the Government. Honourable senators opposite are pillorying a man who, after resigning from the public service, has obtained another well paid position. He is being put on trial and being pilloried by the Opposition before the people of Australia. This is a most despicable action on behalf of the Opposition, which stands before us and says it protects the worker. What regard do they have for the worker? All they do is attack the Australian Govern.ment, the Minister or an organisation.
– I am glad the honourable senator raised that. I will come to that. I will give the facts again. I come now to Senator Cavanagh. He started off by saying that the Minister said that Hoffman was never dismissed. Now, of course, this is denied. The Hansard record is that he did not say any such thing. Let me quote what the Minister said. If the honourable senators opposite can prove that this is wrong, let them get up and so so. The Minister said:
May I say Mr Hoffman resigned from the Department of Customs and Excise. T also say he was not reinstated.
This is very interesting, because there are inferences that he had been reinstated for some reason, as the result of blackmail or something else. This is knocked on the head. He was not reinstated. There is one falsehood nailed to start with. When my colleagues, Senator Withers and Senator Greenwood denied that the Minister had said this, Senator Cavanagh said that the Hansard proofs had been corrected. In other words, he was accusing someone of improper conduct. But he offers no proof. He attacked the integrity of Hansard, he attacked the integrity of the Public Service Board and he tried to attack the Minister. But he has dropped the Minister now. He is on Hansard and the Public Service Board. He found himself on very slippery ground and he referred to inferences that were drawn. Well, well1, well. Are we not becoming pathetic? He made an allegation but could not substantiate it. He attacked the integrity of Hansard, indeed, he attacked the integrity of the Minister because he said that the report could have been altered. But he cannot prove these things so he said: ‘The inference was drawn by this side’. Well, well, well. That is all I can say. That statement alone destroys that part of his charge. It is not destroyed by me but by the accuser. Senator Cavanagh has destroyed his own case.
Let me come to some other interesting points.- It is said, that because of Mr Hoffmann’s wife, pressures were brought to bear. This is the allegation that is made. What proof is there to support it? We had quoted to us articles which appeared in various newspapers around Australia, but no evidence was given to support this allegation. Indeed, in a moment of great recklessness and because he was really struggling, Senator Cavanagh said that these were damaging accusations ‘ against the Government and the Government should deny them. Apparently every time a newspaper publishes a damaging allegation against the Government the Government has to deny it. This is an extraordinary situation, particularly When the allegations are made without any evidence to support them. Indeed, I am reminded that some years ago the Opposition waxed eloquent and spoke with great heat oh the question of onus of proof, supporting the principle that the prosecution must prove that the accused is guilty. But here we find members of the Opposition either quoting newspaper comments or making reckless allegations themselves and, when’ we- say: ‘Produce your proof, they say: ‘You deny it’.
– Senator Mulvihill is obviously dreaming. Undoubtedly he is uncomfortable. I say. to him:: ‘Do not interject like that because you are not helping your case. I will come to Mr Hoffmann. Do not get excited’.
– 1 have mentioned his name about five times now.
– I will come to Mr Hoffmann. Do not get excited. An allegation was made about Hoffmann’s wife. Remain patient. I will mention it again because I think it is worth repeating. The allegation is that pressure was brought to bear on the Minister and on the Government but the facts are that the Minister had nothing to do with Mr Hoffmann’s dismissal, resignation or anything else. That is a matter for the Public Service Board.
– I am afraid that honourable senators opposite realise that they are on a bum steer. They should not blame the Minister because they fell for this. It is their own fault that they fell for this, not the Minister’s fault.
Now I want to come to Mr Hoffmann, because Senator Mulvihill is rather concerned about Mr Hoffmann. I think it is worth restating the position because obviously what happened has not got through to the Opposition. Mr Hoffmann was accused of an offence. On 17th September 1968 he was suspended without pay. On 20th September a charge was laid against him. On 27th September Mt Hoffmann replied to the charge and he pleaded not guilty. On 2nd October the Public Service Board was informed that Mr Hoffmann had appealed against a recommendation for his dismissal from the Department - not from the Minister; it had nothing to do with the Minister. On 23rd and 24th October a properly constituted appeal board heard the appeal and dismissed it. On 24th October the Public Service Board was notified of the dismissal of the appeal. On 30th October the Board issued an authority of dismissal to take effect from 15th November. There is some mystery here. The Opposition, in its mood from reading James Bond, sees something mysterious here. It so happened that on the 14th the dismissal was notified in the Commonwealth ‘Gazette’.
– Yes. This had nothing whatever to do with the Minister or the Department. They had followed the procedures. From the lime when Mr Hoffmann was suspended and when the Public Service Board was notified, this was a matter not for the Minister or for the Department! it was a matter for the Public Service Board. Obviously, the Opposition is seeing mysterious things all over the place in an attempt to try to substantiate its reckless allegations. It is not attacking the Minister or the Government; it is attacking the integrity of the Public Service Board. That is what honourable senators opposite are attacking. Let them get up and say this, because these are the facts. If they accuse the Minister of bringing improper pressure to bear on the Public Service Board, not only are they improperly accusing him but they are challenging the integrity of the Public Service Board. Whatever honourable members opposite do they cannot get out of it. This is an attack, not on the Government, not on the Minister, but on the Public Service Board.
This whole episode has arisen because of grave charges brought tonight by Senator Cavanagh, who spoke with grave seriousness. Those charges have fallen down simply because the Opposition, in its desire to attack the Security Service and the Government, has grabbed at every straw like a drowning man. It hopes to build up some case to save itself from its own folly.
– What has that to do with it?
– I want answers from the Minister. Did not the Minister state last year that evidence existed of a widespread conspiracy to evade customs duty involving Japanese firms?
– She tried to get her husband out. She was giving to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation copies of documents that she was typing for the Japanese. The security organisation was involved. When Mrs Hoffmann found that her husband was in trouble with the Department of Customs and Excise, she said to ASIO: ‘Here 1 am helping you to get this sort of thing. My husband is in trouble. What are you going to do about it?’ The Minister came to her rescue.
– The point is that she was able to get her husband enough time lo resign, to be able to get his full superannuation benefits and for it to appear, even though the ‘Gazette’ was able to say that he was dismissed, that there was sufficient time between the Public Service Board inquiry and the time of his dismissal for him to resign. He was 2 weeks in the Department, still on the payroll, under dismissal. But by the time his dismissal was due, he had been allowed to resign with all his superannuation. I ask the Minister these two simple questions: Was Mrs Hoffmann employed in the Japanese Embassy? Was the Minister given information of a widespread conspiracy involving Japanese firms to defeat the Department of Customs and Excise and evade customs duty?
– Anyway. he continued the allegation and it became more specific with regard to the re-employment of. or the actions which were taken by the Government Department concerned with regard to the husband of the woman who is involved in this matter. These are matters with which I do not want to deal other than to say that if there is some sort of obsession, as is alleged by speakers on the Government side, amongst members on this side of the Senate about the operations of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, apparently it is an obsession which is shared by Mr Maxwell Newton, a very close associate of the Treasurer of the Commonwealth (Mr McMahon) and shared also by the publishers of the Murdoch Press for whom Mr Eric Walsh reports. So, apparently we are not alone in this obsession because this allegation has been made at least in both of the organs I have mentioned.
However, what I want to refer to is a specific matter. Senator Greenwood made some effort to present a sort of quasi-legal case which I could not altogether follow. This may well have been my fault. But there are matters which I believe have to be explained by somebody and which have not been explained so far. If one refers to the Commonwealth ‘Gazette’ of 14th November 1968, one will notice under the heading ‘Dismissals - Department of Customs and Excise - Australian Capital Territory’ the entry:
Section 55 - Gerard Charles Hoffmann, Cleric Class 8, as from the expiration of 15th November 1968.
That is a very clear statement. It indicated on 14th November 1968 that as from the following day Mr Gerard Charles Hoffmann would be dismissed. Earlier, I listened with great patience to Senator Greenwood, who is now interjecting. I would prefer not to have to listen to him twice in the one night. The Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott) has now informed the Senate that before the dismissal in fact caine into effect Mr Hoffmann tendered his resignation, which was accepted. This gives rise to two questions that I believe should be answered. The first is: Why was an incorrect statement in the Commonwealth ‘Gazette’ not corrected? The Commonwealth ‘Gazette’ refers to the dismissal of Mr Gerard Charles Hoffmann but at no subsequent stage does it contain any statement to the effect that the dismissal was withdrawn and Mr Hoffmann was allowed to resign. Earlier in the debate Senator Sim said that allegations had been made to the effect that Mr Hoffmann had been reinstated. Clearly, if he were to resign after being dismissed he must have been reinstated first. In order for him to resign, he must have been a member of the staff. If he had been dismissed he would not have been in a position to resign because he would no longer have been a member of the Public Service. If the enthusiastic lawyers on the other side of the chamber and the enthusiastic laity on this side of the chamber will restrain themselves for a moment, I will refer to the General Orders under the Public Service Act and Regulations and particularly to the one dealing with dismissals. General Order 3/D/4 (a) states:
If an officer (other than a probationer - see Order No. l/D/2 (b)). having been suspected of and possibly charged with, committing an offence warranting action under sections 55, 56 or 62, submits his resignation before the disciplinary procedure has been finalised, the resignation should be forwarded to the Public Service Inspector for transmission lo the Board.
No evidence of this having occurred has been given. In fact, all the Government said was that the disciplinary procedure had been finalised and that after it had been finalised Mr Hoffmann was allowed to submit his resignation. I believe we have to establish how there was a breach of the General Orders of the Commonwealth Public Service in that after the disciplinary procedure had been complied with-
– 1 suggest to Senator Little that he seek counsel’s opinion from Senator Byrne, who is sitting beside him.
– May I ask for your protection, Mr President?
The PRESIDENT- Order! There are far too many interjections.
– Thank you, Mr President. Senator Greenwood told us that this is common practice and that everybody knows that the General Orders are being broken all the time. He implied that the Act and the Regulations were quite meaningless. Why, according to him, people in this sort of position are often allowed to resign. 1 do not know what he means by this sort of position. Does he mean that people in the position of being on a serious charge are often allowed to resign or does he mean people in the position of Clerk Class 8? Is that the position that he had in mind? As Senator Greenwood has asked other people to be specific, perhaps he could tell us, with all this erudition which he gives the air of having, how many people in the position of Clerk Class 8 who have been dismissed and have had their appeals not allowed have been allowed to resign. He cannot tell us but he has already told us earlier this evening that it is a common procedure. Yet, as Senator McClelland has read from the report of the Commonwealth Public Service Board, apparently there was none last year.
- Senator Wright, I take it, is not being autobiographical when he says that. Senator Wright says that it is regarded as the exercise of an ordinary right that when a man is found guilty of what the Minister for Customs and Excise himself has said was a most grave charge - in fact it was so grave that when he appealed his appeal was rejected - he be allowed to resign and collect his superannuation. If Mr Hoffmann had this ordinary right why did not the other people who are cited in the report of the Public Service Board also have the same ordinary right? I believe that if Mr Hoffmann was allowed this ordinary right then all Commonwealth public servants should be allowed the same ordinary right.
– The general order gives the right to resign only before the disciplinary proceedings have been completed. I defy anybody to say that the disciplinary procedures were not completed. I can only say that it is a very strange interpretation to say that disciplinary proceedings have not been completed when a man has been dismissed, has appealed against his dismissal, has had his appeal rejected, and has had his dismissal notified in the Commonwealth ‘Gazette’. It is now suggested to us that that is not the end of the disciplinary proceedings. If that is not the end of the disciplinary proceedings all I can say is that they must be everlasting; they must go on forever. I believe that the Government should tell us this: If these special conditions were allowed for Mr Hoffmann, why were these same facilities not made available to all of the other people who have been dismissed from the Commonwealth Public Service, and why will not these same facilities be made available to all members of the Commonwealth Public Service in the future?
What were the special qualities of Mr Hoffmann which allowed him to resign from the Commonwealth Public Service after what can only be regarded as the completion of disciplinary proceedings, in defiance of the General Order, when other members of the Commonwealth Public Service are not allowed the same right?
– Of course he did.
– Just a minute. I am going to be very brief but quite definite. Senator O’Byrne made use of an expression leading the Senate to believe that thereby this officer retained his ordinary superannuation rights. He did not. On submitting his resignation he became entitled to a refund of his own contributions.
– What is this? I say that on submitting his resignation he had an entitlement to a return of his own superannuation contributions and some payment in connection with furlough. The people who have been so scrupulous in putting forward these contemptuous allegations involving grave charges against a Minister of the Crown are not even willing to listen, but the fact is that on dismissal he would be entitled to exactly the same rights - the return of his contributions to superannuation and to furlough rights - as on submission of his resignation, so that on all grounds the imputation that Senator Scott made a misstatement is completely refuted. There is not an iota of basis for the imputation that by this man’s submission of his resignation he was given some special privilege. The claim that by submitting his resignation, as distinct from dismissal, he thereby acquired superannuation advantages or other monetary advantages is completely baseless.
Surely there is enough honour in the Opposition for it to recognise that it has been purusing a scandalous hare at the instance of Senator Cavanagh who takes up a scurrilous article in the Press knowing that it has been the invariable practice of this Parliament since the days when the practice was instituted by Prime Minister Chifley neither to controvert nor to confirm allegations made against the security service. Knowing of that practice, Senator Cavanagh has espoused a piece of scandal to suggest that there has been some impropriety. He has. carried it on even to the extent of imputing misstatements to Senator Scott. These are the circumstances in which the Opposition, every man Jack of them who takes refuge behind a leader who has put forward some of these allegations and others who have repeated them, should feel thoroughly ashamed. So far as we are concerned,- if honourable senators opposite carry on the debate I should think that honourable senators on this side of the chamber will show sufficient determination and capacity to carry it on until they are thoroughly ashamed and drubbed into the darkness.
– The honourable senator can laugh. When I hear interjections from those senators who belong to the corner party-
– If I were to try to explain them the honourable senator would not have the intelligence to understand so I shall not do so.
– The honourable senator has never been a trade union man in his life. The point is that Senator Cavanagh wanted to clear the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott) of the accusations which had been’ published in the Adelaide ‘News’, which is allegedly a responsible newspaper. Senator Cavanagh simply asked questions, but hé wai given no reply. He wanted the Minister to . do the right thing by the Department that he represents in this Parliament and to contradict the suggestion that, illegal practices had taken place. But the Minister was not prepared to do that; he was prepared to evade doing so. When the question was put last night on the adjournment motion the Leader of the Government (Senator Anderson), after consulting with the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) and others, ensured that the. Minister for Customs and Excise was not in the chamber. Had the Minister been prepared then to stand up to what I believe he is prepared to stand up for tonight - I hope that he will reply to what has been said - he would have told us last night that there was no truth in the statement which appeared in, the Adelaide ‘News’. He would have told us that he refuted all of those statements and was prepared to answer them immediately. .
– He has read them. My word he has. During quest or time today honourable senators on ‘ this side of the chamber tried to clarify the position, but what was the’ Minister’s attitude?
– It is all right for those grinning boys over there who are not prepared to protect the rights of tha people. We are dealing with only one aspect at lnc moment and honourable senators should not forget that.
– I am not skating on any ice. I remind the Senate that this debate will not be the finish of this case. We on this side of the chamber arc not prepared to be hoodwinked by people who merely apologise for what is happening. I do not know the facts of this case and I do not think any honourable senator - not even Senator Sim or Senator Greenwood - knows them.
– No, he does not, and neither does Senator Sim.
– If there was ever an opportunity for me to become a minister in this place and I found it necessary to apologise and get someone like Senator Sim to come to my defence I would resign from my position as a Cabinet Minister because I would not have a bar of him. If the accusations in the newspaper are wrong, should not something be done about the newspaper? Should we allow the Press to malign the great democratic organisation that we uphold in this Parliament?
– If it tells lies, no; if it tells the truth, yes. If Senator Marriott believes in the freedom of the Press, he should believe in what we are trying to do tonight. We are trying to get Senator Scott, the Minister for Trade and Customs, to explain to the Parliament that the article is incorrect. That is all we are asking him to do.
– Then let him prove it is true. Digressing a little, I want to say that I have been very agitated by articles I have read in the Press. Senator McManus may laugh, but he has never been in the position I was in.
– Senator McManus was never in my position in 1915, when I was playing the big game overseas and he was loafing at home. I was a soldier.
– Senator McManus was not 10 years old; he was old enough to go. At that time I read reports in the Press that told the people in Australia that we had had great successes in certain parts of the line in France, but in fact we were never there. We were in some other sector of the front.
– Never mind about interjections. I believe in the freedom of the Press. I believe in all freedoms. But when the Press makes an attack on a Minister who is in this chamber, I believe that this is the right place for us to argue that the Press is wrong. I do not want to take any notice of Senator Withers, who is now interjecting. He was reared on the threepences and sixpences of the workers of Western Australia.
– He is no credit to his father. His father was a Labourite.
The PRESIDENT- Order!
- Mr President, I think I am entitled to answer interruptions that are made when I am trying to explain some point. If Senator Withers cannot take it, he should not interject. If I were in his position, I would not have Senator McManus appearing for me; I would leave him out altogether. Senator Scott can rely on the statement I am about to make. Although he may be able to make a statement here tonight that will camouflage the situation, he will not be able to cover the fact that some injustice has been done to a person in the Public Service. I know something about the Public Service.
I have the regulations here, but 1 do not want to read them again. If this man has been victimised, he should be given some compensation. When I started to speak tonight I said that he had received his superannuation. Senator Little asked: ‘Was he not entitled to the money he put in?’ Of course he was not. If a man commits a misdemeanour in the Public Service he must pay for it and he is dismissed without any refund of his superannuation moneys.
– Senator Wright can say what he likes. All the man gets is what he puts into the fund.
– The public servant does not receive what he is entitled to receive unless he retires from the service. The Government and its supporters in the corner on my left are very agitated about this; otherwise they would not continue interjecting. I do not have many opportunities to speak in this chamber but 1 was very concerned-
– I probably do not have the ability that you fellows have. I have been in this chamber for a long time and I do not abuse my voice by using it here but I feel very keenly about this issue because our way of life is being deprecated every day by the Press of this country. The Press writes down our way of life. I have been in many countries of the world and I can say that there is no system better than ours and the day that we allow ourselves to be governed by the Press or by anyone outside the Parliament will be a sorry day for Australia. I appeal to the Minister to tell the House that the accusations made in the article in the newspaper are not correct. If he does that I think the Opposition will be satisfied.
– That is good.
– I am talking to the butcher, not the block. The Opposition has the right to question the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. That right exists in any democracy. We of the Labor Party do not apologise for having established the Organisation when the late Mr Chifley was Prime Minister but we do say that the guidelines that were set down are being ignored. That is the matter which concerns up most. Senator Sim mentioned altitudes to Commonwealth security. During the debate on the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department each year many of us suggest that the position would be so much better if we could emulate the United States Senate where the leaders of the two major parties have a kind of loose association with the numerous security organisations as to the broad guidelines to be followed. No-one is talking about producing dossiers but we are discussing how security measures can be prostituted. Many honourable senators know the numerous occasions on which naturalisation is refused but when a protest is lodged and evidence is produced to refute the allegations that are made against an immigrant one gets a favourable decision. In fairness to Senator Wright let me say that he knows the circumstances of a case that I transmitted to him relating to a person on the south coast of New South Wales. He took the information to the powers that be. Certain people were masquerading under the guise of security. Eventually the injustice was rectified and 1 give him credit for that.
The Opposition will not be silenced by the Government creating the idea that ASIO is a sacred cow. I have no quarrel with the Minister or with Hoffmann but I do not accept that we of the Opposition in this democracy should never question anything that comes within the ambit of Commonwealth security. Within the next 12 months a more effective system should be devised to replace the present cloistered atmosphere. After all, the operations in Australian security, from the top to the bottom, all have their human frailties. Over the past couple of years, perhaps through over-enthusiasm or for some other reason, there has been a tendency to destroy the role and prestige of the Security Service by using it on these wild goose chases. Honourable senators opposite will say that J am exaggerating but we have suggested for 3 years that the whole thing should be placed on a rational basis and that there should be a far better approach to the matter. In New Zealand - it could never happen here - the Director-General of Security went on television on one occasion following an upset over student unrest and laid down the guidelines on which he operated. As far as 1 know, New Zealand security is no better or no worse than is ours. So at this late hour I say very seriously that the Government will not intimidate the Opposition by implying that the Security Service is infallible. In fairness to Senator Greenwood, at whom I threw an interjection, I say that I interpret his reply as meaning that he was not implying this. But Senator Sim was suggesting it. I do not think Senator Wright suggested it. I conclude on this note: 1 think there is a lesson that we in this chamber, and the Government in particular, could learn. The Government would create a better image of the Commonwealth Security Service if it took clown some of the shutters and explained the way in which the Service was created and how it operates.
– I table the document.
– Obviously you did not listen to Senator Cavanagh, Senator McClelland and almost everybody else.
– I do hot’ intend to be put off. I want to deal with the Government’s case as I understand it. We are interested in what the Minister said this afternoon. The Leader of the Government has attempted to divert us by introducing a red herring, if what the Minister says is correct, this is an ordinary case of a man charged With falsifying documents. The Minister for Works (Senator Wright) spoke eloquently about a man exercising his right to resign before the disciplinary procedures had been completed, or some such expression. Are we (6 understand that in this case an officer was guilty of extremely serious charges of falsifying customs documents; that his dismissal was recommended; that his appeal was dismissed; that he was then allowed to resign and go away without receiving any punishment for what he had done; that you can get out. of it, under this Government,’ by just saying T resign’, instead of accepting dismissal. There is something very odd and peculiar about the case. It is of no use for the Minister to throw up a smoke screen by Saying: ‘We tlo not answer questions relating to security’. If what the Minister has said so far is correct then no question of security arises. What I want to know is: In what circumstance did this man come to offer his resignation, and in what circumstance was it accepted? When did the Minister first know about this case? Was it this afternoon or was it at some stage during the course of the disciplinary proceedings? Did the Minister know about it at all? Did he have any personal connection with it? Did he make any decision about it at any stage? Surely these arc reasonable questions and there is no need for seven of his colleagues to get up and tell us that he has acted with great propriety and that it is a dastardly thing to attack the security service or some of its operations. We do not know what the Minister has to say about whether it is a fact that Mrs Hoffmann was employed by the Japanese Embassy. We do not know whether the Minister was ever aware of that. We do not know whether he is aware of any connection between her employment and what was done in regard to her husband. It defies the credulity of ordinary people to say that there is not something very odd about this case.
– The honourable senator walked all around the Senate chamber tonight, verbally at any rate, and did not tell us anything.
– I say this quite deliberately: In the absence of some reasonable and rational explanation from the Minister as to how this man came to resign on the day on which the notice of his dismissal appeared in the Government Gazette to take effect as from the expiration of the next day, what the circumstances were, who told him to resign, who he discussed the matter with, how he came to offer his resignation and how it was accepted, one would have to do a lot better than either the Minister or his ministerial colleague or any of his backbench colleagues. In the absence of a reasonable explanation I do not see why the suggestion made by Senator Cavanagh should not be the correct one, because it is much more probable in the circumstances that we know about this case than anything that has so far come from the Minister. The Minister for Works (Senator Wright) can laugh, but this is a serious matter. If what we have been told is correct it makes a complete farce of the disciplinary procedures in the Commonwealth Public Service. It is a gross imputation against the integrity of other Commonwealth public servants and of the Public Service Board to say that they can live under a system such as this in which a person can be found guilty of offences sufficiently serious to warrant dismissal and then can say: ‘Well, in the circumstances I will resign’. At no stage during this debate has any member of the Ministry denied what Senator Cavanagh has said. Senator Cavanagh has made certain accusations or allegations based upon-
– When we get around to dealing with a matter on this basis one can almost say that one has had it. No Minister has come forward and denied the substance of the allegations. If Senator Scott can accept the challenge, we will all be very interested to hear him.
– We have been waiting for 2 hours and he has had six of his colleagues stand up. If we go on for much longer, the number looks like being seven before we hear from him. The challenge is perfectly clear. We want to know the full facts of the case. We want to know how it came to be that this man offered to resign and how it came to be that his offer was accepted. We want to know what knowledge the Minister had of this case and what relationship there was between the circumstances in which Mr Hoffmann’s resignation was accepted and the facts about the employment by the Security Service of the woman in the Japanese Embassy, as suggested by Senator Cavanagh.
– No, I have not.
– The honourable senator has. He said that this was not a security matter.
– Even if the honourable senator did not mean to say it, he said it. All I propose to do is to suggest that we have a brief adjournment to allow members of the Opposition to have a caucus meeting and make up their minds.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 1.2 a.m. (Thursday).
Motion (by Senator Anderson) agreed to:
That intervening business be postponed until after the consideration of General Business Order of the Day No. 21.
– lt could be canvassed by debating the motion forthwith or by moving for the adjournment of the debate, as was clone in respect of an earlier motion, and debating it on another day. My inclination would be to proceed with the matter forthwith.
– I could move for recommittal of the motion, if that would make Senator Branson happier.
– I raise this matter only in the hope that we can have some uniformity in respect of committees. We now have two com- mittees - the Public Works Committee and the Public Accounts Committee - which, as the Leader of the Government (Senator Anderson) rightly says, can sit while the Parliament is sitting only if the Senate and/ or the House of Representatives grant permission for them to do so. It seems strange to me that a third committee, which is appointed on the same basis as the other two, should operate under a different set of rules. If this motion is passed the Australian Capital Territory Committee will be able to sit during the sittings of either House of the Parliament. So I raise the matter in the interests of uniformity. Why should we have two committees that have to go through the whole process of seeking leave when there is some urgency about a matter, and a third committee which does not have to seek leave but which, if this motion is carried, will automatically be able to sit during the sittings of either House of the Parliament?
– I may be able to throw a little light on this matter. I have not the relevant statutes with me, but the two committees that Senator Branson has mentioned - the Public Works Committee and the Public Accounts Committee - are set up under statute. If we gave those committees a power in the same terms as are contained in this motion, that would be a power given by the Parliament - not by the two Houses, but by the Parliament itself, which consists of three parts, namely, the two Houses and the Queen or her representative. Once that power was given, not even the House of Representatives could take it away, because the right to sit would come from the Parliament and not from the Houses. The Australian Capital Territory Committee is set up by the Houses. If we give it the power to sit during sittings of the Houses, it is still subject to the control of the Houses. For instance, if the Senate wanted the senators who were members of the Australian Capital Territory Committee to attend the Senate’s sittings, by an appropriate resolution it could say to them: Notwithstanding what we agreed to before, you will be present in the Senate during the sittings of the Senate’. Certainly if both Houses wished to take that course they could amend this resolution.
In other words the Committee is simply under the control of both Houses and the members are under the control of each House independently, so we are not really giving away anything except to say that the leave is given now. Unless we have another resolution about the matter the leave to sit is given by this resolution. We can still control the Committee or each House can control its members of the Committee. That may be the reason why this motion was moved and why in relation to the two statutory committees it is provided that the House must give the leave. In that way we maintain control over what is a statutory committee. I think that may be the reason. I have not had a chance to study the Acts. That seems to me the original approach to it and that is why no doubt the resolution is drafted in its present terms. If we wanted it to achieve what Senator Branson said, if we wanted to make it necessary for the Committee to obtain permission each time, it would have been proper to insert the words ‘unless otherwise ordered during the sittings of either House of Parliament’. If they were inserted the Committee could sit during the sittings of the Parliament. I think that, from a practical point of view, no difficulty will arise. If a problem should arise all that would need to be done would be for a member to raise the matter in either House and J am sure that the House would solve the problem.
– I have a question to ask the Minister for Supply (Senator Anderson). It is suggested that paragraph 8 of the resolution of appointment be omitted. We have no information about what is at present contained in paragraph 8. Therefore honourable senators - or at least those of us who are new here - are not aware of what we are altering. We are aware of what is to be substituted in place of the paragraph, but is there any other matter in paragraph 8?
– in reply - T add, by way of explanation to the Senate, that this is not an unprecedented situation. The same resolution is carried in respect of the Foreign Affairs Committee and it has the same power as we wish to give the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory. We are not doing something unprecedented in our committee practices. Senator
Little’s point is valid. The original paragraph 8 states:
That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, and to sit during any recess or adjournment of the Parliament and during the sittings of either House of Parliament.
– by leave - I rise only because I would like to clarify the matter for my own purposes. I should have thought that since the two statutory committees referred to - the Public Accounts Committee and the Public Works Committee - are continuing committees established for the session, it would be recognised as quite proper that the parliamentary session should always take priority over their sittings and that they should meet only by leave when Parliament is sitting. I am surprised to hear that the Foreign Affairs Committee, being also a joint statutory committee, has the unrestricted right to meet during parliamentary sittings. That comes to me for the first lime as a matter of surprise. I disagree with the principle of that provision. 1 should think that the question of whether it is appropriate to agree with the provision in regard to the Joint Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House could be justified only on the basis that it is an ad hoc specific project committee.
– No, the honourable senator is referring to the wrong committee.
Message received from the House of Representatives acquainting the Senate that, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Accounts Committee Act 1951-66. Mr Jessop, a member of the House of Representatives, had been appointed a member of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts in place of Mr Fox, discharged.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Marne Annabelle Rankin) read a first time.
Debate resumed from 25 February (vide page 59), on motion by Senator Bishop:
That the Senate considers that the construction of Chowilla Dam should proceed without delay and that, pending its completion1, parties to the River Murray Waters Agreement should ensure that adequate water is available to the State of South Australia.
Further that the Commonwealth Government in discussions with the States concerned accept a greater share of the cost of constructing the dam.
– Which Premier?
– I should like to correct the honourable senator, if I may. Mr Hugh Hudson, M.P., was also there.
– That was prior to the disclosure of the River Murray Commission’s report.
– I am referring to the January report.
– He said that he agreed with it.
– There is certainly no guarantee.
– Whenever the Senate is debating a matter related to water storage or water quality we are debating an issue which is of prime national importance. It is regrettable in this instance that Opposition senators have sought to bring forward and to have the Senate debate the motion which we are discussing this afternoon. The wording of the motion is of a parochial character. The wording is such that it attempts to gain some political advantage for the Opposition over the present government in South Australia. With due respect to Senator Drury, when his last remarks are read in Hansard they will show that the basis of his discussion was mainly a reflection on the present Premier of South Australia and on the decisions which the real government of South Australia is making at the present time.
– It was not.
– The honourable senator knows nothing about it. The situation was certainly not as he has stated.
– He has taken wrong advice.
– The honourable senator said that it was deferred by a Labor government, lt was not.
– That is a different thing.
– Where does this appear?
– Victoria cannot control its own salinity and is contributing to the salinity in South Australia.
– On whose authority do you make that statement?
– Well, get off them.
– Of course, the part that you do not want to agree with you do not agree with.
– Just because it comes down in favour of Chowilla you do not agree with it.
– You said that we would be selling producers in South Australia down the drain.
– Are you saying that the conclusions are not favourable to Chowilla? You should read the report.
– What would the honourable senator say about the Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly if he were saying the same thing?
– Would the honourable senator indicate the area in which increases are expected?
– Read on.
– Nobody denies that.
– Keep going. What about Lake Victoria?
– We have listened for about half an hour to Senator Webster. In that time I think he made only two statements that contributed in any way whatsoever to the debate, but both of them are false.
– That is not what I said. If the honourable senator reads Hansard tomorrow he will learn whatI said.
– I did not. The honourable senator will have to apologise tomorrow, when he reads Hansard.
– Did I imply it or did I say it?
– I said that the Labor Premier was on the Commission when the decision was made.
– Well, the honourable senator stands corrected.
– I am afraid that I was not listening to the honourable senator. He will have to repeat the quotation.
– Who was Premier at the time of that statement?
– Who was Premier when the decision was made to defer the construction of Chowilla?
– 1 do not know what the honourable senator is trying to prove.
– The great increase in costs was the main thing.
– That is not correct.
– That is a very harsh statement.
– One can appreciate their objection if they are asked to spend $12m and it is going to be detrimental to their own water.
– South Australia does not get it in a drought year, lt has its equalisation scheme in a drought year.
– Yes, I have.
– South Australia will be less likely to get it in a year of restrictions.
- Mr President, 1 have been interested in this Parliament in the subject of River Murray water, as the Senate will realise, and the problem presented by the abandonment of the Chowilla Dam scheme since this matter was first raised in the Senate some years ago. ‘
I have followed the debate with a great deal of interest and would have looked forward at this time to following my colleague from South Australia, Senator Ridley. But as some matters arose in the Senate this afternoon and last night that impugn the integrity of my colleague, the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott), who is sitting on the front bench, I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later hour this day.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Senator SCOTT (Western AustraliaMinister for Customs and Excise) - by leave - Mr President, during question time today 1 notified the Senate that Mr Hoffmann, former clerk of the Department of Customs and Excise, resigned from the Public Service and had never been reinstated. This was correct. 1 would now like to give the Senate the background. On 20th September 1968 Mr Hoffmann was charged and subsequently found guilty of an offence under section 55 of the Public Service Act. Because of the gravity of the offence, the Department recommended to the Public Service Board that he should be dismissed. Mr Hoffmann then exercised his right under the Public Service Act and appealed against this recommendation. In accordance with that Act, the Public Service Board set up an Appeal Board which, after hearing all evidence submitted, rejected the appeal. On 30lh October 1968 the Public Service Board issued an authority dismissing Mr Hoffmann as from the expiration of 15th November 1968. Before this date, and in fact on 14th November 1968, Mr Hoffmann resigned from the Public Service, that is, before the dismissal decision had become effective. Notwithstanding this, the notice of the dismissal decision appeared in ‘Gazette’ No. 95 of 14th November 1968. Mr Hoffmann has not been re-instated.
– Well, where is it wrong?
– Mr President-
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) - Order! Senator Kennelly had finished. I will call Senator Cavanagh.
– Mr President, the Minister has made-
– Mr President, I seek to move that the Senate take note of the statement that the Minister has made.
– Mr President, I ask for leave to move that the Senate take note of the paper.
– I now ask for leave to make a statement.
Debate resumed (vide page 114).
– I am grateful to the Senate for allowing me to continue.
This is on the score that the ordinary resumption of business has not been made or asked for.
The PRESIDENT- Senator Kennelly, your motion is not in order.
– I raise a point of order. Have I the power to move that Senator Cormack be not heard? One must voice a protest in some manner and I regret taking this action against Senator Cormack.
– As a practical measure.
– That is if their information was right.
– Has any money been spent on Chowilla?
– The honourable senator has not been listening.
– The decision was made to build to 5 million acre feet.
– You have not.
– You have not.
– If those figures are correct, the whole report-
– Which would be better than the one you are making.
– How long would it take to fill?
– I second the amendment.
– I join with other Labor senators from South Australia in participating in this debate and I am pleased to associate myself with the expressions of support of Senator Laucke, from South Australia. We are responding to a request unanimously carried by the South Australian Parliament and conveyed to all South Australian senators by Mr Stott, the Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly. The request asked all senators from South Australia to support the proposal for the construction of Chowilla Dam. Obviously the dam should be constructed because it would be beneficial to South Australia.
I think it can fairly be said at this stage of the debate that almost everything relating to the merits of the Chowilla and Mitta Mitta dams has already been said. Honourable senators will recall that last year during the debate on the Estimates I told honourable senators of my dilemma. I said that I was not an authority on dams or the storage of water.
– They came from Victoria.
– According to the recitation by a previous speaker of those who have participated in the debate, I think I am, apart from Senator Scott, who represents the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn*, the only member of the Senate not a South Australian or a Victorian to participate in the debate as yet. Perhaps that is not not altogether unexpected because this matter particularly concerns those two States and, to a slightly less extent. New South Wales. It would be quite incorrect for this matter to be considered purely as a matter lying within the sphere of interest of the States of Victoria and South Australia. After all, as great sums of revenue are involved and as there will be a charge on the Consolidated Revenue for very vast amounts, this involves the consideration of the national Parliament and therefore involves the interest and the participation of all the States of the Federation. Quite apart from that and on a more local note I understand that, while it might be thought that the waters that flow into South Australia from the River Murray come from Victoria and New South Wales, I am informed that it is to a great extent the Queensland river system, particularly in the flush coming down the western streams - the Paroo and the Condamine - into the Darling system that finally finds its way into the Murray and into South Australia. So Queensland, apart from the matter of any national concern, has an interest as a participant in the supply of this very precious water. Therefore if any additional reason were required for our participation it may rest there.
But this matter concerns not only those two States primarily interested; it concerns Australia because we are dealing with one of our most precious commodities, In a continent of this size there are some things that are very precious. Our population is very precious - the number of our people. Water certainly is one of the most precious and. unfortunately, one of the scarcest commodities in this great country. Therefore every ounce of water has to be conserved both in quantity and in quality. Any matter involving our greatest river and the use of its waters is a matter that must attract our immediate and our very close scrutiny and concern. After all, the economy, particularly of the Slate of South Australia, is greatly affected. South Australia lies in the difficult position of being the driest State in the driest country in the world. Unfortunately ils only possibilities of indigenous and local catchment are extremely limited. The metropolitan catchment area is limited. Recently, in Adelaide, I had the opportunity, while serving as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution, to hear evidence which taught me a great deal about the limits of the available water in South Australia, the limits of the metropolitan supply catchment area, the possibilities of further development of catchment in the south east corner of the State and, in the main, the dependence of the Stale upon the waters of the River Murray both for agricultural purposes and for industrial uses. We also learned with very great concern of the salinity problem which is occupying the minds of and causing very grave concern to the growers of various types of agricultural products along the Murray with the assistance of irrigation. These are very serious problems for South Australia and we can understand the concern of the South Australian senators when this matter comes before us. Water is so vital to this State that it naturally occupies a position of prime consideration in the minds of its political representatives. Therefore, for some time, the question of the supply of water from the Murray, the question of quality of water from the Murray and the question of the catchment of water along the Murray has been occupying the attention of the Govern ments of the contiguous States - New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia - and the Commonwealth Government, and there has been a tremendous amount of disputation.
The difficulty that faces the Senate is that as the participants in this debate have largely been advocates of one side or the other it is not easy for us to attempt to establish a position of neutrality. In other words, it is not easy for us to attempt to decide where the facts really lie. We have had a series of submissions from one side or the other as to the validity of the conclusions arrived at in various technical investigations, as to the validity of the data on which those conclusions rested, the implications to be drawn from them, and the steps to be taken to implement them or to refuse to implement them. 1 do not know that the Senate is in a proper position to make a judgment in a technical matter such as this against the technically advised opinions of those who have given this matter tremendous attention.
This is not an easy matter. One has only to read the final report of the River Murray Commission and the references to the various interim reports that have been presented to realise the mass of technical data that has been accumulated and the tremendous technical knowledge which has been applied attempting to discover the facts. In view of this and in view of the time which has elapsed and the infinite care which has gone into the conclusions which are now presented in this report it seems to me almost impossible for us to sit in judgment as a court of appeal on the technical decisions thus arrived at and attempt lightly to lay them aside. Therefore, on behalf of the Australian Democratic Labor Party I say that in those circumstances, in view of all the disputation, in view of the report finally presented and the conclusions which are embodied in it, we feel that this report should be supported and that the motion which is before the Senate should not be agreed to, and we support the amendment to that motion which has been proposed by Senator Cormack.
Having said that, we wish to make our position clear, so far as we can, with relation to the relative merits of the two projects. We rest on the technical advice which has been given that on balance, the advantage is with Dartmouth as against Chowilla. That is not to say that we are not solicitous for the position of the South Australians and their regard for the continuance and final acceptance of the Chowilla project. Obviously Chowilla is a project which, in their opinion, is one which would add substantially to the solution of their problem. The technicians seem to think otherwise.
There are three questions involved in this matter. The first is the provision of water in the best and greatest available quantity. The second is the continued preservation of the available water at the best possible standard commensurate with the economics of such a conservation project. The third question may be rather lightly dismissed because apparently the schemes have almost total equality in financial demand. The Chowilla Dam is only slightly more expensive than the Dartmouth scheme, give Sim one way or the other. I understand the difference is not substantial.
On the question of quantity and quality of water, apparently the position is that the Dartmouth scheme will provide 0.86 million acre feet more than will1 the Chowilla scheme and it will ensure that the periods of constriction over a projected period of years based on hindsight of a similar period-
– Mr Acting Deputy President, the facts concerning a storage on the River Murray system, which are based on expertise and the findings based on a great number of studies that have gone on over a long period, should be clear for anybody to see. Questions, queries and doubts have been raised tonight and were raised yesterday in this debate with regard to the accuracy of the data and the assumptions that were used in these exercises in coming to this final result or decision. But these findings are based on some 260 studies, which included computer exercises, compared with 13 studies which were made for the original Chowilla concept. 1 want to repeat those facts. Some 260 studies have been made on the Dartmouth proposal and all the other alternatives to Chowilla. The report that we have before us on the recent investigation is the result of all of those studies. The initial Chowilla concept, as 1 said, were based on some thirteen studies.
Last night, Senator Bishop raised doubts -he questioned Senator Byrne when he was speaking on this subject tonight - as to the validity of the exercise that was carried out. I think that the results should speak for themselves. We must accept that these results are factual. Later I shall try to show to the Senate that they were very, very fair also.
– Did the committee look into the aspect that the honourable senator asked the Minister to look into and investigate, namely, the passage of the waters to the sea? That is what the honourable senator asked about.
– What were those assumed conditions?
– They are not in the report.
– Has South Australia received its amount of water each year?
– How much?
– If this debate has done nothing else it has brought South Australian senators on the Government side to their feet. This debate started at 8.25 p.m. last night and Senator Young, seeing that the time allotted for the debate is drawing to a close, has tried to state the Government’s weak case. I must compliment him on being the first South Australian on the Government side to rise to his feet in this debate. in my view the motion before the Chair should have the fullest support of every South Australian senator in this chamber. Senator Young has said that South Australia is the driest Slate in the Commonwealth and has referred lo the great gains that will flow to that State, but he has illustrated the poverty of outlook on the Government side by his attempt to support a case for a dam at Dartmouth at the expense of Chowilla. He has tried his best to cover up for his colleagues. He is on record in the Hansard of 12th September last year as having asked a question of the Minister representing the Minister for National Development in the following terms:
In the current investigations being undertaken regarding Dan mouth on the Mitta Mitta as an alternative site lo Chowilla, can the Minister say whether at the same time investigations arc being made of the volume of water flowing out to sea from the River Murray? Are calculations being made as to the total amount of water that will go lo sca during the current winter? ls investigation being made of the quality of water flowing lo waste at the present lime, taking into account that much of il comes from the Darling and Mumimbidgee Rivers, which could only bc conserved by a dam at Chowilla.
Some people have very short memories. It is a matter of only 4 or 5 months since we heard the honourable senator putting that very reasonable proposition to the Minister about the amount of water that is flowing to waste into the sea. A few short months ago the honourable senator referred to the great need of the driest State in the Commonwealth and put forward a most convincing case for the building of the Chowilla Dam. I remind honourable senators that Senator Young said that much of the water that runs to waste into the sea comes from the Darling and Murrumbidgee rivers and can be conserved only by a dam at Chowilla. What will the Dartmouth dam do with the waters of the Darling and Murrumbidgee rivers?
– Yes, I do, eventually.
– When was that?
– Do you think Senator Davidson will explain his viewpoint?
– Senator Laucke has spoken.
– That is just a smokescreen.
– The honourable senator was saying a moment ago that the problem should be dealt with on a national basis.
– The more water is used for irrigation the more salination occurs.
– I suggest that the honourable senator come to the Murray Valley and see what the salt has done.
– And Senator Laucke.
– We have a few hundred million bushels of wheat on our hands at the moment. The honourable senator does not know where we could sell it, does he?
– I listened with a great deal of interest to Senator O’Byrne. We have enjoyed the entertaining half an hour that we have had from him. On very few occasions did he refer to the motion which relates to the construction of the Chowilla Dam without delay. He did not refer to the amendment. I am grateful for the personal confidence to which he referred and I am complimented by the fact that he took the trouble to read one of my speeches. Unfortunately he did not go far enough into this. He may or may not remember that I have made more than one speech on Chowilla Dam since my arrival in the Senate. I remind him and Senator Bishop that, like Senator Byrne and Senator Young, I too look forward to the day when Dartmouth and Chowilla are both established water storages.
I respond very quickly and very sharply to being described as the reticent senator. Let me remind members of the Opposition that, while five Labor Senators from South Australia have spoken on this motion, from this side of the House we have had the support of the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott) who represents the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn). Naturally that took up a period of the time allocated for the debate. We have had two Victorian senators who have spoken in support of the Government on this matter. The matter is one for the River Murray Commission, which is made up of representatives from a number of States. Indeed the Victorian senators on the Government side of the House have become fully aware of the fact that Victoria has a representative on the River Murray Commission and what it means, but not one Victorian Labor senator has come to the aid in this regard. Very significantly they have not shown the colours. They are the reticent senators, not the Liberal senators from South Australia. Let me remind the Senate that there is no reticence on the part of Liberal senators in South Australia about this matter. Wait till we have had our turn. We are as much in favour of the Dartmouth and Chowilla schemes eventually being placed on the River Murray system as anybody else.
I support my remarks by referring to an occasion that Labor senators may well remember with a little more pain than we do. I speak of the great debate which took place in South Australia not very long ago when Mr Steele Hall, the Premier of South Australia, made it very certain that he was in command of the situation. Indeed his representative on the River Murray Commission, Mr Beaney, when asked in that very debate as to whether there might be a Chowilla scheme in addition to the Dartmouth scheme, made it very plain when he said:
Further storages will be necessary. We realise that this will not be the final development in the Murray and l think there is a very high likelihood that Chowilla will be the most valuable storage to follow Dartmouth.
I draw attention to the unreasonable terms of the motion. How on earth can the Senate give an opinion that the Chowilla Dam should proceed without delay? The Senate knows perfectly well that the matter, on the one hand, has been the subject of an increased price factor. The Senate knows perfectly well, on the other hand, that the matter has been the subject of a considerable amount of extra investigation. Indeed if I wanted to quote further evidence on this I would draw the attention of honourable senators opposite to a statement, reported in the Adelaide ‘Advertiser’, by no less a person than Mr D. A. Dunstan. I quote from the script, which has not been denied, of the big debate which took place on television in South Australia not so long ago. Mr Hall was referring to Mr Dunstan’s involvement in this. Mr Hall said:
Chowilla died as a first storage on the River Murray system when Mr Dunstan hawked a letter, or a statement of intent, through to the other Premiers and the Commonwealth of Australia. When he reported this to the newspapers, it was printed in the ‘Advertiser’ on 15th November 1967.
This is what the letter said:
The present studies being carried out by the River Murray Commission are for the purpose of exploring the maximum use that can be made of the waters of the River Murray. It has been indicated earlier that by the construction of the Chowilla Dam South Australia would gain considerable relief from periodic restriction of supply and the upstream States would also benefit. The decision to defer construction of the Chowilla Dam arose from factors not previously established.
For 2 days here we have heard references to the effect that we have changed our tactics to suit political reasons. In fact, factors have changed. No less a person than the Leader of the Opposition in the South Australian Parliament, who was Premier at the time, said that the decision arose from factors not previously established. The letter continued:
Current investigations are aimed al developing an economic plan to sustain the advantages mentioned.
We have heard a great deal about Sir Thomas Playford. He has been quoted to us with a great deal of repetition. Indeed, yesterday and the day before he made quite remarkable speeches in Adelaide. In the speech that he made to the Commonwealth Club yesterday he referred to the fact - and I quote from the Adelaide ‘Advertiser’ - that the agreement, which was solemnly entered into and ratified by the States, was repudiated when it was found that the cost of Chowilla had risen substantially. Sir Thomas continued:
Instead of meeting to see how they could finance the additional cost they had said: ‘Let’s see if we can put a dam somewhere else.’
– The honourable senator is in favour of Dartmouth now?
– Mr President, I rise tonight to speak in support of the proposition so ably developed by Senator Bishop in this assembly last night. It may seem strange that a Queenslander should support a proposition which is essentially that of another State. But I know just how 1 would feel if Queensland had been guaranteed something in 1961, had that guarantee confirmed in 1963 and then, in 1969, had that thing taken away from it. The situation is this: In 1961 the Federal Government and four States of the Commonwealth agreed upon the Chowilla proposition. In 1963, this agreement was ratified by the Commonwealth Government. Now, it has been repudiated. 1 suggest that every Government member who is in favour of such repudiation, with the exception of Senator Laucke, should hang his head in shame.
We heard the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) today extol the virtues of integrity. He said in effect that the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott) had acted in good faith and had not misled the Senate. Now, they are admirable virtues. But I would suggest that the national Parliament also has a very heavy responsibility to the people of Australia not to repudiate agreements. With respect, I suggest that that is what has happened on this occasion. K the proposition was not sound in 1961 and 1963, we should never have embarked on such a proposal and had it ratified by the Commonwealth Government. If it were sound in 1961 and 1963, it is equally sound today, notwithstanding the fact that other people have advanced arguments against it.
Mr President, I say that the Federal Government today has abdicated its position by insisting that agreements entered into by the Federal Government should not be honoured. Why it has done so is for the Federal Government to determine. 1 can only suggest that it is because of political pressures put on it by some States that have said to the Federal Government: ‘Well, South Australia can go by the board. It is not of such great consquence in the Commonwealth of Australia. Victoria and New South Wales are the States which we must take into consideration.’ 1 do not want to take this into the realm of States. The situation is that this is a national issue. It should be treated as such. But, with respect, Mr President. 1 suggest that if all the factors are examined we must arrive at the conclusion that there has been repudiation in this matter.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) - In conformity with the sessional1 order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– Today a number of questions were asked of the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott) about the Hoffmann affair which concerned the Minister and his Department. The Minister undertook to make a full and frank statement to the Senate. This evening he made a statement which was in no sense a full and frank statement. The Opposition in the Senate is not satisfied and will not accept the Minister’s statement. The Hoffmann affair covers charges of a most serious nature made against the Government, publicised in a newspaper on 13th February, raised in the Senate last night and raised again in the Senate today, and the Government has not yet seen fit to answer the grave charges which have been made. There is no doubt that Mr Hoffmann has been given special treatment. He was suspended and then dismissed because of grave charges. The Minister admits that he was dismissed because of an offence which the Minister concedes was so grave that the Department recommended to the Public Service Board that he should be dismissed. We understand that the charge was that of falsifying a by-law. He appealed, his appeal was rejected and then he was allowed to resign, therefore preserving rights of which he would have been otherwise deprived. Here is, no doubt, special treatment and. the Minister’s endeavours to obscure the position today have not succeeded. The allegation has been made publicly that Mr Hoffmann was given special treatment . because pressure was brought upon the Government by his wife that she would reveal that, the Government had been concerned in the theft of commercial documents from the embassy of a friendly country. That is a very serious matter, and in the interests not only of the Parliament but of the. other friendly countries which have embassies here and are entitled to have them inviolate the answer should have been given already.
Mr President, we want to know what the background of this matter is. We want to know whether the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation has been used for purposes which are outside its charter or whether there is in the country some organisation, other than ASIO which is engaged in this kind of activity without any authority being given to it by this Parliament. We want to know from the Minister for Customs and Excise, who gave the special treatment to Mr Hoffmann, what kind of pressure was applied and what kind of representations were made in order that the special treatment be given and why the special treatment was given. The Opposition in the Senate would Pike a full and frank statement by the Minister as to all the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter of Mr Hoffmann - the reasons for his dismissal, the communication with the other man in the Department of Trade and Industry and the reasons why this extraordinary sequence of events took place. We will press in the Senate until the truth is obtained from the Minister and the Government.
– I rise to speak on this matter because I feel that the whole subject is getting out of proportion. It started with an allegation in certain newspapers and this allegation has been taken up by senators opposite. One would have thought that those making the allegations might have inquired from the Minister, as I have done, as to what was the situation.
– Tell us what it was.
– Who authorised this statement?
– Does the honourable senator want Mr Hoffmann reinstated?
– I am compelled to enter this debate because when the statement was made on this question today by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott) I did not take the opportunity to speak to the statement. In order to do so I would have been required under the Standing Orders to seek leave to make a statement and an objection by any honourable senator would have deprived me of the right to speak. Consequently, I sought leave to move that the Senate take note of the statement, a course which would enable a full discussion of the question to proceed in this chamber. The Government saw fit not to give leave, it did not want to have this matter debated. It did not want honourable senators on this side to participate in a debate and it exercised its right to refuse leave, lt needs only one person to refuse to give leave and the request is not granted. In the past there has been some co-operation, but the action today will not be forgotten on future occasions when the Leader of the Government (Senator Anderson) at the commencement of the day seeks leave to move a motion relating to the ordinary running of the Parliament.
I am concerned about the speech just made by Senator Withers. His only significant statement was that this matter is now out of all proportion. When he made that remark, honourable senators opposite said: Hear, hear!’ Let us look at the way that Hoffmann comes into this matter. When I spoke last night I referred to accusations in newspapers that an agent in the Japanese Embassy was, at the instigation of some go vernment department, making extra copies of commercial papers, bringing them out of the embassy and supplying them to the government department. As I said last night, that is only the accusation that I read. Could a more grave charge be laid against the Government? Let ‘ us accept for the moment that it is true. Can any honourable senator say that a government could take more serious action than that? Friendly powers are invited to establish embassies here, but the Government has an agent in the embassy of a friendly, power to supply it with commercial information. The ramifications of this action can be seen. Other countries will be frightened to establish an embassy in Canberra. Whatever may be said by Government supporters now, in a show of bravado, I do not think that anyone would say that that action did not call for an explanation.
I said last night that this, was only an accusation. Most of our : statements are based on allegations. But this accusation was published in the ‘Daily Mirror’ in Sydney, the ‘News’ in Adelaide and the ‘Truth’ in Brisbane. They are not insignificant newspapers. They are leading newspapers in three capital cities. An accusation against the Government has been published in three newspapers with a wide circulation in three States. Does that not call for a reply from the Government? If there is.no truth in the accusation, should the Government not say so? I stated that I sent a .telegram to the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) on 14th February telling him that I proposed to ask for a reply to the accusation when Parliament resumed yesterday, but the Leader of the Government said he knew nothing of the telegram and had no reply to give. Apparently the Prime Minister’s view is that the accusation does not deserve a reply. Are we to believe that the Government as a matter of course has people planted in embassies and so does not consider that the accusation deserves a reply?
During the debate last night I was asked what proof I had. No-one denied the accusation. It was said that this was only a statement and I was asked what proof I had. I submitted the proof of the blackmail case. We discovered by questions this morning that a man named Hoffmann was involved. He was dismissed from the
Department of Customs and Excise on the grave charge of having falsified documents.
– What were the documents?
– That is not so.
– Look at the Hansard record.
– Not altering Hansard.
– lt is a different story now.
– 1 do not get the inference. Will you repeat it?
– The honourable senator is wrong.
– What do you mean by that?
– What regulation are you reading from?
– Would the honourable senator be more specific about the regulation he has quoted from?
– Is that a regulation or an order?
– lt is certainly not made under the Act.
– You have not proved it yet.
– I think that there is far more to what has been raised by the Opposition in the Senate than might be suggested by the plaintive cry of Senator Cavanagh that there should be a full statement. I ask honourable senators to cast their minds back to what was said last night, what was said in question time in the Senate today, what was stated by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott) this evening, and what was said by Senator Kennelly. What has occurred is that allegations of a serious character have been accepted as truth. They are still sustained by the Opposition, notwithstanding what the Minister has said. Newspaper articles have been used by Senator Cavanagh and other Labor senators, firstly to blacken the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and secondly to blacken the name of a Minister. There is absolutely no foundation in anything which has been put before the Senate to support the contents of the newspaper articles.
Furthermore, there has been in response to questions by Opposition senators a full statement by Senator Scott which, because it does not meet the preconceived ideas of Opposition senators, is claimed by them to be incorrect. This is the vice, if I may say so, in what Senator Murphy has said. When be rose to speak at lt o’clock this evening he proceeded on an assumption to say that the Minister had not given what he had been asked to give - a full and frank statement. He did not raiSe one argument. He did not elicit one fact. He did not suggest one consideration as to why it was not a full and frank statement. He said: ‘The Opposition will not accept it’.
One might be pardoned for supposing that the people of Australia will not accept the Australian Labor Party just because the Labor Party in what it has said and done tonight has illustrated that it is not worthy of the support of Australians who expect people in public, office to be responsible in their offices. Senator Murphy also stated that Mr Hoffmann had been given special treatment. Not one argument, not one fact, not one consideration was advanced as to how or why Mr Hoffmann had been given special consideration. Senator Murphy further said - I mention this only to illustrate that this is a matter on which he has come in at the last moment without doing his homework - that the Minister had recommended that Mr Hoffmann be dismissed. If he had read the Act he would know that the Minister has no part at all in any of the disciplinary procedures or dismissal procedures of the Public Service Act. He further stated that the Minister’s efforts to obscure had not succeeded. Again I say that not one argument, not one fact, not one consideration has been advanced to justify that sweeping allegation.
Senator Murphy further said that pressure had been brought . to bear by Mr Hoffmann’s wife. But again not one fact, not one argument, not one consideration was presented to justify that statement. Out of all this there has .been built up an allegation that Senator Scott, in some way, has been lacking in his responsibility as a Minister. Why had these matters not been raised by the Opposition? I think that in words which are striking and which I hope will be remembered the Leader of the Government gave the answer in this place last night. He said that there are some people who think they see a security agent under every bed. If some Labor senators are willing - as they are - to blacken the name of the Security Service, then in that pursuit truth. or objectivity has no meaning to them.
– How can he resign after that?
– We will put questions about that on the notice paper, too.
– If Senator Withers, who was the first to speak on this matter from the Government side this evening, was supposed to be citing facts chronologically from departmental records, then I suggest to both him and the Department of Customs and Excise that they check their records. According to the rundown of the dates as he gave them to us, the dismissal of Mr Hoffmann was to take effect from the expiration of 15th November; that was published in the Commonwealth ‘Gazette’ of 7th November 1968; before the notice expired Mr Hoffmann had resigned; and therefore he was never in fact dismissed. But the date of publication of the ‘Gazette’ was not 7th November; it was 14th November - the very day on which the Government claims Mr Hoffmann tendered his resignation. Let the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott), Senator Withers and the Department deny that the date of publication was 14th November. At page 6490 of the ‘Gazette’ the Commonwealth told the world at large and the Australian people, in its own publication, that Gerard Charles Hoffmann, a Clerk Class 8, was dismissed from the Department of Customs and Excise in the Australian Capital Territory as from the expiration of 1 5th November 1 968.
Let me reiterate for the record some of the events that transpired today. Firstly, at question time this afternoon Senator Kennelly asked a series of questions - it was the first question that was asked - about a Mr Hoffmann, a man who had been employed in the Commonwealth Public Service since June 1957, I think it was, leaving the Commonwealth Public Service. Senator Kennelly asked whether Mr Hoffmann had been dismissed; whether he had appealed against the dismissal; whether the appeal had been disallowed; whether he had been reinstated; whether he had resigned; and also whether any pressure had been brought to bear upon the Department or anyone else by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to enable
Mr Hoffmann to resign in order to cover up for some espionage activities in which they were allegedly engaged. The Minister said - I am prepared to accept the Government’s statement for the purposes of my case - that Mr Hoffmann had resigned and had not been reinstated.I asked the Minister whether he could say why the gazettal of Mr Hoffmann’s dismissal was published in the ‘Commonwealth of Australia Gazette’. The Minister asked that the question be placed on the notice paper. But later a copy of the ‘Gazette’ was brought into the Senate by Senator Kennelly. It was only after this had been done that the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott) said that he would make a report to his Leader. Then another honourable senator from this side asked the Minister whether he would make the report to the Senate, and the Minister agreed to do so. But it was not until the issue of the ‘Gazette’ publishing the dismissal had been produced in the Senate that Senator Scott offered to make any statement to the Senate.
At about 8.30 this evening the Minister made a statement to this Senate whichI find quite incredible and which I cannot accept. If the statement is correct it certainly indicates shocking maladministration of a government department and, indeed, of the Public Service. This Parliament would be recreant to its trust if it allowed this type of thing to go unchallenged. Let us examine the Minister’s statement. He admitted that Mr Hoffmann had been charged with a grave offence. He said that because of the gravity of the offence the Department had recommended to the Public Service Board that Mr Hoffmann be dismissed. That recommendation was made on 20th September. We have not yet been told what the offence was. but it must have been pretty serious or grave, to use the Minister’s term. The Public Service Act provides a number of alternative punishments which a department or the Public Service Board may impose upon a person guilty of an offence under the Act. Section 55 (3.) (d) provides that where an officer is found guilty of a grave charge - not a minor charge - the chief officer may:
fine the officer any sum not exceeding Forty dollars; or
So on three occasions we have the Department recommending his dismissal, the appeals tribunal recommending his dismissal and the Public Service Board ordering his dismissal. Yet we are told by the Minister and other honourable senators opposite that within 24 hours of the dismissal being effected someone in the Department decided to accept Mr Hoffmann’s resignation. This was done despite the Department’s recommendation to the Public Service Board that he be dismissed, despite the appeal tribunal’s recommendation to the Board that he be dismissed and despite the Board’s confirmation of the dismissal. Suddenly, on the eve of dismissal, Mr Hoffmann tendered his resignation and somebody in the Department accepted it. I would like to know why it was accepted. If the charge was of a grave nature, to use the Minister’s term, and having regard to the alternative forms of punishment available, why was no alternative punishment imposed instead of accepting Mr Hoffmann’s resignation? The Minister told us that Mr Hoffmann tendered his resignation on 14th November and resigned before his dismissal by the Public Service Board became effective.
I find the Minister’s statements incredible. I want to know who decided to accept Mr Hoffmann’s resignation after he had been found guilty by the Department, after his appeal had been dismissed and after his punishment of dismissal had been confirmed by the Public Service Board. The question is not only how was the resignation accepted but what were the processes by which it came to be accepted. Was the resignation accepted by a senior officer or by someone in the Public Service Board and why. after 6 weeks of accusation and litigation evolving in and around the Department, the Appeal Board and the Public Service Board, did it take 6 weeks for someone to tell him, after he had been found guilty on each occasion: ‘Look, you can tender your resignation. Despite the fact that your dismissal has been published in the Gazeite you can still tender your resignation’?
Will the Minister also explain why in no Gazette since the one published on 14th February has there been any revocation of the notice of dismissal? Why does the Government let that stand in the public record of the Commonwealth? Whoever accepted the resignation certainly acted very quickly, because within 4 days Mr Hoffmann was able to obtain a refund of his superannuation payments. As Senator Wilkinson, a former public servant, will tell you and as I, a former public servant, will tell you, the process normally takes at least some weeks. Within 4 days this man was able to obtain a cheque amounting to nearly $2,000 from the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund in order to get him away from the scene as quickly as possible. He having resigned, I challenge the Minister or the Government to show in any Gazette published since then any revocation of the publication of Mr Hoffmann’s dismissal and the publication of his resignation being accepted.
I now deal with Senator Greenwood’s statement that other officers have been charged under section 55 of the Act and that this kind of privileged treatment which we allege was extended to Mr Hoffmann has been accorded to others. Page 125 of the latest Commonwealth Public Service Report contains figures on the subject of discipline, lt shows that 418 people were charged under section 55 of the Act; 27 were dismissed, 23 were reduced in salary and status, 1 was transferred and 367 were fined. Not one was offered the alternative of resigning before being dealt with by the Public Service Board.
– Mr President, honourable senators opposite have been interjecting during Senator Withers’ speech and obviously wonder why senators on this side rise to defend one of their leaders. 1 can well understand how mystified they are by this because they spend most of their time stabbing their leaders in the back. They are in some wonderment. As this debate continues, it sounds more and more like a James Bond story. We are being treated to wild and reckless allegations, unsubstantiated by the slightest evidence. I was sorry to hear Senator McClelland finish up by saying that he accused the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation of interfering with the Public Service Board. This is a grave allegation against any organisation and it is a grave allegation against the integrity of the Public Service Board, because the Public Service Board, not the Minister, is being put on trial tonight.
– Why did he resign?
– According to your argument this is all mythical, there was no such thing as termination of a public servant’s service. That is what you are trying to tell us.
– He does exist, then?
– But you are suggesting this is all mythical.
– He was not game to say that.
– It is notified that the dismissal was to take effect from the 15th.
Thursday, 27 February 1969
– We have heard a rather emotional speech from Senator Sim who has tried to cover up a very serious situation. It will not cloud the issue as far as T am concerned because I am going to ask the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott) some further questions. Senator Sim referred to the Opposition seeing mysterious things all over the place. In November of last year the Minister rose in this chamber and spoke of very grave allegations that were made against the importers of Japanese cars. All sorts of strange things were coming in in the backs of cars. 1 would like to know certain things. I would like an answer to my questions. The Minister for Customs and Excise is engaged in conversation. I wish to go on record as asking him these questions and I want an answer. Was Mrs Hoffmann employed in the Japanese Embassy? Was she employed in typing documents relating to Japanese economic problems?
– ls the honourable senator suggesting that the wife put the husband in?
– Did she get her husband out of it?
– Mr President, the matter which is being discussed tonight results from allegations which have been made for some time by various organs of the Press,- none of which can be accused of being particularly sympathetic to the Australian Labor Party. Some months ago the allegation appeared in one of the Maxwell Newton publications, ‘Incentive’, that a scandal had developed which was well known to members of the Public Service concerning activities by the Australian
Security Intelligence Organisation in the obtaining of economic information from a certain friendly foreign embassy in Canberra. As to the truth of this, I cannot comment; I can merely say that the statement was made and that subsequently a further statement has appeared in the Sydney ‘Daily Mirror’ and, I believe, in various other newspapers. That statement was written by Mr Eric Walsh. In that statement Mr Walsh has followed up the allegation by specifying that it is the
Senator Cavanagh - No.
– It does not say that he will be allowed to do it afterwards; it only says that if he does it before it must go to to the Board.
– I would rather seek it from him than from the honourable senator, because the honourable senator’s mind is not clear on it. If the honourable senator reads it again he will come to the same conclusion.
– It is regarded as the exercise of an ordinary right.
– You read out the general order which gives the right to resign.
– I rise because I think that at this stage of the debate it is necessary to clarify and state simply one or two propositions. I propose to do so but briefly. The first thing is that the question of what Senator Scott said this afternoon in answer to a question is in controversy. The record of the Senate shows that what Senator Scott said this afternoon was that this officer had resigned and had not been reinstated. For Senator Cavanagh and his colleagues to invoke their imagination to contradict that shows a distortion of mental honesty. That is the first proposition that I want lo make. The second thing is that the proposition was advanced during the eventing’s debate that some special privilege had been accorded this person before the dismissal took effect, lt was Senator Cavanagh, who was handed an order by Senator McClelland, who first informed the Senate that pursuant to the order of the Public Service Board a resignation may be submitted before disciplinary procedures are finalised. We can argue as to the interpretation of the expression ‘disciplinary procedures finalised’ but I am in a position to inform the Senate that the uniform interpretation of that phrase in Public Service circles is: ‘before the disciplinary procedure takes effect’. Therefore that order quoted by Senator Cavanagh is an express authority for saying that this man whose dismissal was to take effect the following day had, as a matter of ordinary right, the opportunity of submitting his resignation on 14th November because he was still a servant and officer of the Commonwealth whose dismissal would take effect only on the expiration of 15th November. Then it was insinuated, and in some quarters asserted, that by resigning he acquired some special advantage.
– Now you are splitting straws.
– I had not intended to take part in this debate. I listened very intently last night and again this morning to a proposition put before the Senate by Senator Cavanagh to defend the rights of ministers. Senator Cavanagh was astounded and ashamed to think that a responsible daily newspaper in Adelaide, the ‘News’, was prepared to print such a scathing article-
– Tell us about the Public Service and superannuation. Let us hear a new version of that.
– Tell us why the trade union officials or ex-trade union officials are persecuting a man who has lost his job.
– He had not read the article so how could he refute the suggestions?
– That was yesterday.
– The honourable senator is skating on pretty thin ice.
– Senator Cavanagh does not know the facts, either.
– Don’t 1?
– The honourable senator will have to prove that.
– Do you not believe in the freedom of the Press?
– Why does not the article prove itself true? Why put the onus on the Minister?
– What position was that?
– I was about 10 years old.
– Do you not believe the Press?
– Leave his father out of it.
– That is not what Senator Wright said.
– That is what 1 said he would get. That is the very point I made, that he gets his own money back.
– Who stops you?
– I shall not delay the Senate unduly but I want to reply specifically to Senator Sim and to Senator Wright who represent the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen).
– I intrude into this debate very briefly because in truth a statement that I made last night in the debate on the motion for the adjournment dealt with this matter of the Security Service. I clearly indicated that whenever questions were asked in this place relating to the Security Service it was not in my responsibility to give answers but that I would refer them to the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen). I also indicated, as Senator Wright has very properly pointed out tonight, that the Security Service was in fact established by the Chifley Government and that Mr Chifley, as Prime Minister, laid down a code which made it abundantly clear that the Government would not be questioned on matters which in its judgment were questions of security.
I was very careful today to intercede when Senator Kennelly asked a question. He took it on board that I said the question could not be answered because it referred to matters that Senator Cavanagh in particular had referred to last night as relating to the Security Service. Senator Kennelly subsequently directed to the Minister of Customs and Excise (Senator Scott) a ques tion in which he omitted any reference to the Security Service. The Minister for Customs and Excise gave a reply. 1 will come back to the reply because I want to put something to Senator Cavanagh in a moment. Tonight the Minister made a frank statement which set out the dates clearly. They are not in dispute. Indeed, some Opposition speakers, after the debate had gone on for a long time, came to accept the situation that in fact the dates and the statement that was made by the Minister for Customs and Excise were completely accurate.
I am concerned at what Senator Cavanagh said earlier in relation to the statement that was made by the Minister for Customs and Excise this afternoon. I am concerned, as I ant sure everyone must be concerned, that Senator Cavanagh suggested by implication that the Minister’s statement had been interfered with in relation to what he said and what is in Hansard. I would like to give this personally to Senator Cavanagh because I am involved in this. I have here my copy. In the Hansard pull is the answer that I gave to Senator Kennelly, and then the repeat question. On the bottom of the pull happens to bc the reply that was given by the Minister for Customs and Excise. This is the straight pull document and 1 will bc perfectly happy to table it. The Hansard pull states:
Mr Hoffmann resigned from the Department of Customs and Excise. 1 might also say that he was not reinstated.
Scott said and it matches completely what Senator Scott tonight claimed to have said at question time.
I wish to repeat that I accept the responsibility to take questions concerning the Security Service. I will not give answers to those questions. All I will ever commit myself to doing is to refer them to the Attorney-General. That has always been the practice. The Attorney-General will not acknowledge or deny allegations, or make any contribution on any matter relating to the Security Service when he believes that it comes within the terms of responsibility of the Security Service. If honourable members opposite wish, we can use the forms of the Senate to have a debate on that subject. That is the current position. The whole argument has to be separated into two fields. As to the Security Service and the secrecy of its operations, 1 accept the responsibility in respect of questions asked. As to the Department of Customs and Excise, Senator Scott has made a statement that is accurate. I am certain that he has nothing to answer for. I repeal what I said this afternoon, that imputations should never have been made in relation to his integrity.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman) - Is the Minister tabling the Hansard document, or simply offering to table it?
^-1 do not want to speak at length. This debate has been proceeding for almost 2 hours, and the further it proceeds the more disturbed I become about the implications of this case. On behalf of the Opposition Senator Murphy opened up a discussion on what we had heard from the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott) during the afternoon and how that squared against what had been alleged by Senator Cavanagh and other speakers in the course of the debate. I had not originally intended to speak in this debate but I find it extraordinary that about half a dozen honourable senators opposite have told us of what they say are the facts of the case - when they can have got their information only from the Minister who is under criticism - while we arc waiting to hear the Minister amplify his statement by answering the specific questions we have put to him.
We have been treated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) to a very interesting disquisition on the propriety of asking questions about the Security Service, and of answering those questions. We are all aware of the practice in these matters, but as I understand this case it does not involve security, if what the Minister has told us is .correct. It is a case pf an officer of the Department of Customs and Excise being charged with an offence.
– Well, tell us what it is.
– I did not have to.
– Let’ us hear him.
– After 2 hours we have now reached a most remarkable situation. Senator Cavanagh and many of his colleagues said that they brought this matter up as an important Security Service matter. Senator Cohen has now informed us that this is not a security matter.
– I did not say that at all. I said that on the Government’s case it was not a security matter.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 26 February 1969, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1969/19690226_senate_26_s40/>.