26th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 1 1 a.m., and read prayers.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. In view of the mounting number of major road fatalities involving semi-trailers, has the Department of Shipping and Transport undertaken any recent examination of semitrailer designs and road performance, etc., and in conjunction with State authorities has it sought to curb the excessive hours worked by non-union owner-drivers of semi-trailers?
– The Minister is very conscious of the increase in the accident rate throughout Australia, which no doubt is caused largely by an increase in the number of motor vehicles operating on the roads. I ask the honourable senator to place on the notice paper that part of the question in which he refers to semi-trailers so that I may obtain an answer for him.
– Is the Minister for Works aware that there are now no Labor governments in Australia? Is this fact related to the demonstration of irresponsibility by the Opposition in supporting industrial lawlessness?
– It is with a great deal of pleasure that I and other honourable senators received the news that the last Labor government in Australia had disappeared from office with the advent of the Liberal-Centre Party coalition government in Tasmania. I should think it would be a fair comment to make upon the history of Labor governments in their fading significance that the Labor Government continued in Tasmania longer than elsewhere because it was able to dissociate itself from industrial unrest with much more wisdom than was exerted by its mainland counterparts. It is satisfying to know that on a general basis, including its choice of government, Tasmania has seen the light and has given itself the advantage of a Liberal government.
(Senator Ormonde having directed a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate)
– Order! If the honourable senator turns over the blue sheet that he has in front of him he will see that it is not in order to ask for comment. I rule the question out of order.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport assure the Parliament that the cost of the cellular container ship recently purchased by the Australian National Line to operate with Associated Container Transportation (Aust.) Ltd will not exceed $Sim - the figure quoted by the Minister for Shipping and Transport? As the ship was ordered by United Kingdom shipping companies and more recently purchased by the Australian National Line, does the Australian Government receive the 20% United Kingdom subsidy for the ship, which has already been launched? Will the Government receive any United Kingdom subsidy for the similar ships to be ordered by ACT for the ANL to operate between Australia and North America?
– I have to advise the honourable senator that the total cost of the ship, which is not yet completed, cannot yet be determined precisely; but I am assured that it will be of the order of $8±m. The answer to the second part of his question is no. The answer to the third part of his question is that the investment grant is available only in respect of vessels registered in the United Kingdom.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for National Development been drawn to Press reports of a symposium which was held in Canberra yesterday and at which strong critical reference was made to the dangers of erosion and the possible relegation to dust bowl conditions of large areas of our arid lands? Is it a fact that deterioration has affected up to 70% of Australia’s arid areas - equivalent to 1.4 million square miles? Are sufficient funds being made available to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization’s new rangelands research group to ensure adequate research into this national problem? If not, will urgent consideration be given to rectifying this deficiency?
– In answer to the honourable senator’s question I have to advise that I have seen the Press reports to the effect that a symposium has been held recently on this question which is a very vital one to Australia. T also have to advise that the Commonwealth Government and State governments have been conscious of the fact that the waste lands or arid lands in Australia have deteriorated over a number of years. When we look back to the early days we find that sheep stations that once carried in excess of 20,000 sheep are now denuded of their pastures to such an extent that they have been sold or have been abandoned completely because of their inability to carry stock. The position is indeed serious.
I advise the honourable senator that two stations in the north-west of Western Australia - one known as ‘Abydos’ and the other as ‘Woodstock’ and owned or taken over by the Western Australian Government - have had offices of State departments and the CSIRO established there, firstly, to find out the problems in controlling the kangaroo, which is denuding the areas of pastures-
– Vesteys denuded them.
– I said ‘the kangaroo’. The second objective has been to find a method of improving the pastures in these low rainfall areas by fencing and railing so that the pastures which were once abundant can be rehabilitated.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science. Has the Minister seen a statement by Dr G. F. Sidhu, a research scientist of the Division of Food Preservation, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, who said that Australia could feed a third of the world’s population from untapped sources of protein in Antarctica? Has the Minister read the doctor’s statement that if Australia did not take advantage of these resources, which are reported to be building up, Russia and Japan would? Can the Minister indicate whether any urgent study or plan is in hand to take advantage of the presence of this protein substance so that Australia can make a greater contribution to the world’s food supply?
– I wish to inform the honourable senator that I did read the statement to which he refers. I have asked for comment on it from the CSIRO. No trials have been made of this material for human diet but there seems to be no reason to expect that the material could not be processed into a form acceptable to humans and capable of meeting the need for animal protein in the human diet. I would like to add that newspaper reports on the impact that this material might make as a source of protein throughout the world have been exaggerated. Dr Sidhu estimated that 70 million tons of krill, 10% of which is protein, might be available annually from the whole of the Antarctic waters. However, its successful harvesting would be a major engineering feat and the economic aspects of its harvesting and processing have not yet been considered. It is unlikely that this material will become a practical and economic source of protein in the immediate future. If it does, it is thought most likely to have an application for stock feed.
– 1 raise a point of order. Mr President. A few moments ago you ruled that a question seeking comment could not be asked. Is not the Minister giving an answer to a question which one could say sought comment?
– I take a point of order. Mr President, I submit that this is not the kind of question that is permissible during question time. I submit that although the question is frivolous it still comes within the purview of the domestic affairs of a political party. I think you have ruled before, and I think the Senate has acted on the view, that questions that relate to the internal political affairs of the various parties are not proper subject matters to be raised at question time, and are outside the responsibility of the Minister to whom they are addressed. Notwithstanding the frivolity of this particular question, 1 ask that you rule it out of order.
– Last night we had just as many on our side as you had on yours.
– Will you vouch for the accuracy of the report?
– Large penalties were introduced.
asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for National Development, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for National Development has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Some brief notes on domestic reserves of the more important minerals follow:
Measured and indicated reserves of bauxite probably exceed 2,500 million tons and inferred reserves 1,500 million tons.
Measured and indicated reserves total some 4,400 million tons of which some 3,000 million tons are located in New South Wales and more than 1,200 million tons are in Queensland.
Victorian reserves have been quoted at 54,700 million tons measured and indicated, and 43,000 million tons inferred. Measured and indicated reserves of lignite in South Australia have been quoted at 530 million tons but no production has been recorded to date.
A current estimate of total reserves is not available. While estimates of the immense reserves in the Pilbara area show a wide variation, an average ‘estimate’ in the region of 20,000 million tons of ore provides an indication of their extent.
Total reserves on Groote Eylandt have not been estimated but the BHP leases were reported in 1968 to contain about 50 million tons of ore of which only a proportion was of marketable quality. Manganese is also mined in the Pilbara area where one deposit had measured reserves of about 1 million tons in 1967.
Copper (metal content)
Mineral data on reserves released by the main producers amount to some 2.2 million tons.
Minimal reserves published by the main producers total 1.3 million ounces of gold in copper ores and 34 million ounces of gold in gold ores.
Silver-Lead-Zinc (Metal content)
Minimal reserves published by the main producers total more than 290 million ounces of silver, 5 million tons of lead and 5.5 million tons of zinc. Additional reserves at McArthur River of 8 million tons of lead and 18 milion tons of zinc have also been reported.
Nickel (Metal content)
Reserves at Kambalda and Scotia in Western Australia have been quoted at 0.5 million tons with 1.5 million tons of nickel in the lateritic deposits at Greenvale, Queensland, and Wingellina, Western Australia.
Known domestic reserves of uranium exceed 15,000 short tons of recoverable U3O5 with a further 2.000 tons at Mount Painter, South Australia.
Tungsten (WO: content)
Minimal domestic reserves amount to 19,000 tons.
Tin (Metal content)
Estimated recoverable tin from known reserves total about 1 12,000 tons.
Rutile - Reserves of recoverable rutile are estimated at 6 million tons.
Zircon - Reserves of recoverable zircon are estimated at 7.5 million tons.
Ilmenite - Reserves of recoverable ilmenite are estimated at 15 million tons.
Phosphate-rock deposits of medium grade in north-west Queensland have been reported. to contain reserves of some 1.350 million tons. The development of these deposits is under consideration.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for National Development has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
On 16th March, to ensure continuity of supply, a third vessel, the ‘Haeremai Star’, was chartered and kept in service until after the ‘Missouri’ returned to service;
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
– The Postmaster-General has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question: 1 and 2. A licence for a commercial television station at Mount lsa cannot be granted until applications have been invited by the Minister and a public inquiry into such applications has been held by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. The Board is at present examining the economic capacity of a number of areas of relatively small population, including Mount Isa, to support commercial television stations and will, in due course, make a report to me on the matter. Until I have received this report I am not able to make any decision as to the invitation of applications.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:
Senator WRIGHT- The , AttorneyGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question: 1 and 2. My comments were directed to the growing responsibilities of the Commonwealth Police Force in anti-crime work in the Federal sphere, in association with the Police Forces of the States. Adjustments are made within the structure of the Commonwealth Police Force and will be so made from time to time to enable the Force to carry out its additional responsibilities in this field.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice:
Senator SCOTT- The Minister for National Development has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question: 1 and 2. Discussions have taken place between the Minister for the Interior and the Minister for National Development relating to the transfer of certain functions in the Northern Territory from the Department of National Development to the Department of the Interior. However, some details still remain to be worked out before a final decision can be taken.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
What was the amount given to Queensland for school libraries? What were the amounts given to each school?
Senator WRIGHT - The Minister for Education and Science has provided the following reply to the honourable senator’s question:
The State Grants (Secondary Schools Libraries) Act 1968 made available to Queensland a total of $3,944,700 over the 3-year period commencing 1st January 1969 for libraries in Queensland government and independent secondary schools. Of this amount $2,931,300 is for government secondary schools, $663 600 for Roman Catholic secondary schools and $349,800 for other independent secondary schools, i These allocations have Deen determined on the basis of secondary school enrolments.
A sum of $300,000 has already been advanced to the Queensland State Treasury. The particular State secondary schools to be assisted with these funds will be selected by the Queensland Department of Education. I am not able at this stage to give you the names of these schools but the schools assisted in each year of the programme will be listed in the statement which the Minister for Education and Science is required by the Act to lay before both Houses of Parliament annually. No payments have as yet been made to independent secondary schools. The two committees which will advise the Minister on priorities among Queensland Roman Catholic and other independent secondary schools respectively are at present considering the initial allocations among their schools. Details of payments to these schools under the libraries programme will also be included in the Minister’s annual statement
– On 27th March I answered a question on notice (Question No. 568) asked of the Minister representing the Treasurer by Senator Cohen. The Treasurer has received additional information from the Commonwealth Statistician amending some of the data included in answer to parts 1 and 2 of the honourable senator’s question. The Treasurer has provided the following revised answer incorporating the amendments to parts 1 and 2. The Commonwealth Statistician has supplied the following information:
At the same point of time there were 1801 Australian subsidiaries of overseas companies. In these statistics an Australian subsidiary is a company in which there is direct investment from overseas, i.e., a company in which 25% or more of the ordinary shares (or voting stock.) is held by one company or a group of companies incorporated in one overseas country, or 50% or more of the ordinary shares (or voting stock) is held by individuals or companies in one overseas country. The degree of direct overseas equity in these subsidiaries is as follows:
-(New South Wales) - As Vice-chairman I present the following reports of the Public Accounts Committee:
One hundred and eighth Report-Treasury Minutes on Thirty-fourth Report.
One hundred and ninth Report- Australian Egg Board and War Service Homes Insurance Trust Account - Supplementary Report of the Auditor-General for 1967-68.
I seek leave to make a short statement.
The PRESIDENT - There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The one hundred and eighth report contains the Treasury minute on your Committee’s thirtyfourth report which relates to the Trust Fund, which was tabled in the Parliament in 1957. In considering this unusual period of time during which the report was under consideration your Committee noted that it contains conclusions of a far reaching nature and included, in particular, important matters relating to the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve Trust Account. The issues involved in these aspects of the report are recognised as involving complex policy and accounting issues which are difficult to resolve. In presenting this Treasury minute your Committee would take the opportunity to express its satisfaction at the considerable improvement that has occurred since March 1964 in the submission of Treasury minutes arising from its reports.
The one hundred and ninth report relates to the Australian Egg Board and the War Service Homes Insurance Trust Account, in respect of matters arising from the supplementary report of the Auditor-General for 1967-68. Our inquiry into the Australian Egg Board arose from the failure of the Board to” complete its financial statements in time for their inclusion in the Auditor-General’s supplementary report. Over many years your Committee has taken a serious view of such failures and has often found that they have arisen from administrative defects in the authority concerned.
The evidence shows that the failure of the Egg Board to complete its financial statements in time for their inclusion inthe Auditor-General’s supplementary report arose mainly from an expansion of the work of the Board without additional staff; staff changes that occurred in the managerial levels of the Board; resignations of overseas staff; staff illness and problems arising from currency devaluation. Your Committee believes that the Egg Board should have examined its staff structure critically before entering into certain increased work commitments in 1967-68 and that the authorities concerned should have ensured that staff transfers at the managerial level were effected quickly and smoothly.
Based on the evidence relating to resignations of overseas staff that occurred, your Committee believes that the Egg Board should examine critically the nature of its overseas representation. While it is clear that problems associated with devaluation that confronted the Board were wholly beyond its control, your Committee believes that the Department of Primary Industry could, with advantage, review the criteria relating to post-devaluation payments, with a view to assisting the Egg Board as far as possible with its problems in this area. Your Committe would, however, commend the Egg Board for the action it has taken recently to increase the efficiency of its staff. This action should, in the long term, provide the board with greater staff flexibility to meet its problems in the future.
In the case of the War Services Homes Insurance Trust Account your Committee’s attention was drawn to the fact that the balance of the account had declined between 30th June 1967 and 1968 while the value of houses insured under the scheme had increased. The evidence shows that in recent years a number of events have resulted in substantial increases ‘ in war service homes insurance claims which have contributed to reductions in the balance of the Trust Account. In particular, heavy claims were made followingbush fires in Tasmania, hail and tempest storms in Queensland and earthquakes in Western Australia. Action has been taken recently, however, to introduce a new premium rating system for war service homes insurance. Concurrently the opportunity has been taken to include in the new premiums an additional loading designed to provide for a gradual re-establishment of the reserve fund to a level considered adequate by the Commonwealth Actuary. Your Committee believes that the Director of War Service Homes should continue to consult the Commonwealth Actuary, on a regular basis, in relation to the adequacy of the reserve fund. In view of the importance of this matter your Committee will note the variations that have occurred in the balance of the Trust Account as shown by the Auditor-General in his reports to the Parliament.
While interest will in future be credited to the War Service Homes Insurance Trust Account, your Committee believes, on the basis of the evidence, that action in respect of this matter should have been taken sooner. Finally, while insurance companies are required to contribute to the costs of fire fighting services in the States, evidently no contribution is required to be made towards the cost of fire fighting services in the Australian Capital Territory. Your Committee believes that this matter should be examined carefully by the authorities concerned. 1 commend the reports to honourable senators.
Ordered that the reports be printed.
– The President of the Law Council of Australia has presented to the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth a draft criminal code for the Australian Territories together with an explanatory memorandum of the Committee of the Law Council responsible for the drafting of the code on the approach the Committee has taken to the various branches of the criminal law for the preparation of the code.
This project commenced in 1964 following discussions between a former AttorneyGeneral of the Commonwealth. Sir Garfield Barwick, and the Executive Committee of the Law Council.’ As a result of these discussions, Sir Garfield asked the Law
Council for assistance in the drafting of a criminal code that might be adopted at least in the internal Territories of the Commonwealth and in those cases where the Commonwealth needs a general criminal law, for example, on ships and aircraft and for use in the defence forces. Sir Garfield acknowledged the very considerable task which this would involve and the large amount of detailed work which members of the legal profession who undertook to help in the preparation of the draft would be called upon to exercise.
The Executive of the Law ‘Council agreed to undertake the task and decided that as Queensland had had the longest experience in operating under a criminal code a coordinating committee to undertake general supervision of the task should be set up in that State whilst committees in other States should undertake specific areas- of research into the present law in Australia and report to the Queensland’ committee.
The first chairman of the Queensland committee was Sir Roslyn Philp who was then the Senior Puisne Judge of the Queensland Supreme Court and a Judge of great experience in the operation of the criminal code of his State. The project was not long under way when Sir Roslyn died and his place as chairman was taken by Mr Justice J. A. Douglas. Other members of the committee were Judge Carter of the District Court of Queensland and the author of the well-known work on the Queensland code, Mr F. G. Brennan, O.C., Mr D. Casey, and Mr J. M. Geraghty of the Queensland Bar Association. Mr Sholto Douglas of the Queensland Law Society and Mr J. M. Morris, Reader in Law at the Queensland University. Mr K. S. Edmunds of the Attorney-General’s Department sat with the committee from its inception and be was later joined by Mr Halliday also of the Attorney-General’s Department. Unfortunately after several years work on the committee, pressure of duties caused Mr Justice Douglas and Judge Carter both to resign from the co-ordinating committee and Mr Brennan undertook the role of chairman. It has been under his term as chairman that the draft code has taken its final form.
The report which is being tabled is the synthesis of the committee’s work. The working reports on the various branches of the criminal law were prepared by the committees set up in the States and by the Queensland committee and occupied approximately 500 pages. Many of these working reports were circulated and comments were received upon them.
The Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) has. expressed, on behalf of the Commonwealth, appreciation of the many hours of voluntary service, which various members of the legal profession have given to the preparation of the draft code. A special tribute has been paid by the Attorney-General to the Queensland co-ordinating committee for its work. The work of Mr Acting Justice Zelling of the South Australian Supreme Court, has especially been acknowledged by the Attorney-General. He was President of the Law Council when much of the work on the draft code was undertaken. He served on the South Australian committee in the preparation of reports from that State and he undertook the heavy task of preparing the reports and draft proposals on the projects allocated to the New South Wales committee, when that committee found it could not proceed with its assignment.
The draft code which is tabled is not the first criminal code prepared in Australia. In fact one of the great criminal codes of the English speaking world was the Queensland code drafted by Sir Samuel Griffith, in the 1890s while Chief Justice of the Queensland Supreme Court. Sir Samuel was, of course, afterwards the first Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. This code was adopted by Western Australia. In Tasmania in 1916 Mr Justice Ewing undertook the preparation of a criminal code for that State. Before presenting his code to the AttorneyGeneral of that State in 1918 he submitted his draft to several Justices of the High Court and also sought the collaboration of Mr Justice Cussen of the Victorian Supreme. Court. This draft code was introduced into the Tasmanian Parliament and passed into law in 1924. It is no doubt the scholarship which the Queensland and Tasmanian codes exhibit that caused the Law Council committee to acknowledge them as its principal sources from which drafting recommendations are taken. In addition, the committee acknowledges the assistance it gained from the Model Penal Code of the American
Law Institute and the codes of Singapore, Nigeria, Illinois and New York, as well as work being done in England on reform of the criminal law.
In acknowledging these sources the committee is not indicating the depth of the research which led to the draft it has presented. It made a study of the work of those engaged in research in the English speaking world into the criminal law and text books written on the subject as well as codes from places as far apart as Korea and Italy. The Attorney-General had some opportunity of appreciating the thought which has gone into the preparation of the draft, as he attended joint meetings in Canberra and Melbourne of the Queensland co-ordinating committee and the State committees.
It is interesting to consider earlier work done in the drafting of criminal codes before Sir Samuel Griffith commenced work on the Queensland code which has left its mark on the present draft. Perhaps the earliest worker in the field, who could be said to have had an influence, was Jeremy Bentham in the 18th and early 19th centuries in England. Other early works were Edward Livingstone’s draft for the State of Louisiana in the 1820s, Lord Macaulay’s Indian draft code of the 1830s, the work undertaken by the commissions in England in the middle of last century and other works leading to Stephen’s Code. It was Stephen’s Code which Sir Samuel Griffith kept closely in mind, although he did have a great respect for the Italian code of 1888 and Field’s New York Code of 1882.
It should be made clear that the codification of the law does not mean that all legal problems in the area of law which is codified are automatically solved. The words of Sir Alexander Cockburn, Lord Chief Justice of England in commenting upon the criminal code which was introduced into the Commons in 1880 illustrated this point:
In the first place it must be observed that codification merely means the reduction of the existing law to an orderly system freed from the needless technicalities, obscurities, and other defects, which, the experience of its administration has disclosed. The process must be gradual. Not only must particular branches of the- law be dealt with separately, but each separate measure intended to codify any particular branch must of necessity be more or less incomplete. No one great department of law is absolutely unconnected with any other. For instance, bigamy is a crime, but in order to know whether a person has committed bigamy it is necessary to know whether his first marriage was valid. The definition of theft, again, involves a knowledge of the law relating to property, and this connects itself with the law of contract and many other subjects.
It is, however, easy to exaggerate the extent of this incompleteness. Practically, the great leading branches of the law are to a great extent distinct from each other, and there is probably no branch which is so nearly complete in itself as the Criminal Law . . .
There are several controversial areas which the Law Council has not attempted to encroach upon or has encroached upon to a very limited extent. These areas cover offences of homosexuality and abortion. The view expressed by the Council is that it should not attempt to answer problems raised by these controversies, the answer to which must depend upon a Government appreciation of social conditions in the widest sense. In relation to abortion, where the law previously allowed the termination of a pregnancy but where the termination was perhaps lawful only by surgical procedures the Council has proposed an extension in respect of the termination by medical procedures other than surgical. In the case of suicide it has not recommended the inclusion of any offence of attempted suicide but has proposed the adoption of the recent Victorian provisions relating to suicide pacts.
I have mentioned the recourse which the committee had to earlier codes. To leave the subject there would be to ignore the survey which was made of the common law. Despite the fact that all of the earlier codes paid tribute to the common law and in great measure were based upon it, the Council has made a further review of the common law situation in Australia and has lent heavily upon the common law decisions of the courts.
The question which will be asked is what does the Government propose to do with the report, which has entailed so many thousands of hours of voluntary labour. Let me say that it is not proposed merely to table it and let history take care of it. The Attorney-General has already taken steps to detach from his normal duties a First Assistant Secretary of his Department who has a knowledge of the draft code and whose duties include matters relating to the criminal law to prepare a statement setting out the present position of the law in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Terri tory and what changes are involved if the Law Council’s recommendations are adopted. Arrangements have been made for him to have the assistance of a principal legal officer. There is no statement of the criminal law as it applies in these Territories and the task that has been set these officers will take some time to accomplish. There are decisions, too, to be made as to the approach the Government should make to the subjects proposed in the report as to criminal responsibility and other matters.
The draft code does not include recommendation as to penalties as these rightly fall into the area of Government policy. Whilst it is appreciated that it is not possible to balance crime against crime, for example, should a conviction for housebreaking weigh more heavily as a social evil than an indecent assault on a young girl, it should be possible to devise a more orderly system of penalties than those at present existing in so much of our criminal law. The AttorneyGenera! hopes to work to that end.
The work that has been accomplished in the report is, in itself, a milestone in legal history in Australia. It is a tribute to the legal profession for the work they have devoted to the task. It is an illustration of what can be achieved in the field of law reform and how code thinking and common law thinking can be reconciled, if the subject is painstakingly prepared and then fully debated.
-(New South Wales - Minister for Supply) - by leave - I move:
– Minister for Housing) [12.37] - I move:
– Who would refuse that? Surely, the present Chief J ustice, when at the bar, was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in Victoria?
- Senator Murphy has just come into the chamber, and as soon as he takes his seat he seeks to interrupt.
– We were considering a cold matter of law and practice, as applies to his and my profession. 1 was trying to interest the’ Senate in the claims the public have to the employment of members of the profession of their own choosing. In the relationship between counsel and client, personal confidence is often a very precious element; quite often people who. would feel an enormous confidence when defended by Mr X are much less confident if they have to choose their defender from members of the legal profession who had accepted admission as a barrister and solicitor of the Australian Capital Territory bar. Of course, as a member of the Tasmanian bar, I offer nothing but compliments to the Australian. Capital Territory bar; indeed, I recognise the value of the prestige of its members. But an individual member of the public has his own ideas in regard to the counsel he wishes to retain.
My point is that it is quite wrong to preclude a man who has litigation in the Canberra courts from employing a barrister from Sydney or from Queensland if he so wishes. Experience has shown that the Canberra litigants frequently wish to avail themselves of the services of Sydney barristers. Obviously Canberra is close to a bar of great eminence and great resources. Sydney is the closest of the metropolitan bars that could be availed of here. In one case recently - I think it was a will case - involving many different interests to be represented, about ten or twelve Sydney barristers were retained. That shows the degree to which this is a factual consideration for the public of Canberra.
I suggest that the next thing to be considered is that if we were to have a requirement such as Senator Murphy offers we would get away from the principle that I referred to last night, which he and I insisted upon in 1966, whereby the purpose of the admission to the Canberra court was to admit as of right in their own capacities, their own special branches of the profession, practitioners who had been admitted in the States in those capacities.
– I shall come to that. Honourable senators will remember that last night Senator Murphy was good enough to suggest that if the structure of this Ordinance remained for the three-level admission, it would be unique..
– Yes. I want to draw the attention of the Senate pointedly to the Act passed in 1966 which expressly refers to entitlement to practice in any Federal court as a barrister or a solicitor or as both. In section 55c (2.) there is a reference to the entitlement to be enrolled in the High Court registry. There the reference is ‘to practice as a barrister or solicitor or as both’. The Senate should be informed that in the realm of the High Court is the second requirement that when one’s name is enrolled there, the capacity in which one is entitled to practice is entered in the roll. The section provides:
So we have in our own High Court’ a register which is by’ statute and iti fact a’ record of the three-fold capacity. So that if we want to entitle’ the growing national capital in its litigation to have the services of all practitioners from the States- as I submit we ought to enforce - we should permit barristers to be admitted here as barristers, solicitors to be admitted here as- solicitors, and barristers and solicitors to be admitted as both, according to their wish.
Not all the practitioners from the other States will be willing to be admitted in the form of an amalgam, particularly because they have some interest, shall I say, in their own branch of their profession. I think that the form of control of the solicitors’ profession is not apt for the control of the barristers’ profession.
– No; I do not think that is the principle at all. I think it is because of the different nature of the practice in each branch that it has become traditional1 for the branch to have its own form of control which I think has operated to enforce a good degree of prestige, discipline and propriety of conduct in each branch. Senator Poyser referred to the attitude of the Canberra Bar Association. I want to make it clear that on my instructions’ the local Bar believes that the admittees in the profession should be admitted as amalgams. That is to say, it supports the view of Senator Murphy. I think there must be some doubt as to that, but that was my information. There is apparently some doubt whether my information is correct after what I have heard in the precincts of the chamber. If the Bar Association of Canberra opposes this disallowance, this is a material factor but if it agrees with it I should say that it is not so much the view of the small Bar in Canberra that should prevail but the Senate opinion of the right of the public to have available the members of the wider Bars of Sydney and Brisbane in addition to the members of the Canberra, Victorian and other Bars who might be prepared to be admitted as amalgams.
The next point, and one which obviously concerns us all, is the question of the costs of the profession in the administration of justice. It has been suggested that a system where everyone is both barrister and solicitor is a cheaper system of legal representation. So far as that is concerned, the Ordinance in its present form permits anyone who wishes to practise law here, to practise and be admitted as a barrister and solicitor if he wishes, so that he can make himself readily available on that basis if he wishes. If it is a cheaper system, it is quite obvious that those who are amalgams will get the increasing business here and soon force the specialists at the Bar who have the two-level system out of business. The unhappy fact is that in the United States of America where they have never known anything other than the amalgam system-
– My friend is versed to the circumstances relating to a few States of America, is it few or many?
– Then in 1930 they had ‘ an’ amalgamated profession, but America has the most expensive system in the world. The division of the profession and its value are not in issue. The question is whether or not those people who have been admitted as barristers in other fields can gain admission on terms acceptable to them and therefore qualify for employment by the Canberra public.
I go on from that to make one or two final remarks. Senator Murphy has said that he is challening the whole Ordinance. It is competent for him to move for disallowance as to parts. He will realise the predicament into which he will throw the profession if he seeks the disallowance of the whole Ordinance. It is most inadvisable to delay any longer the proper constitution of the profession, the Law Society, the Admission Board, the Disciplinary Board and especially the compulsory fidelity fund. Provisions of that sort that have been in force in the States for many years. It is a reproach to Canberra that they have not before this time been established. In the growing community it is particularly important that we do not tend to attract the more dubious members of the profession who would wish to quit the metropolitan complexities that they have engendered in their own practices so that here they might find a temporary haven of freedom from anxiety.
These things are very important. If the Senate were attracted to Senator Murphy’s central proposition, I suggest that it ask him to confine his disallowance to the provision relating to admissions only.
– I shall continue. As the debate proceeds, if anything important is raised, I shall engage myself in discussion on such matters. It is obvious that it is most undesirable to disallow this regulation in its entirety, which would throw the profession into an undisciplined and disorganised state, when in the Territory at present there are problems of commercial and legal complexity. We know that the present law in the States enables the branches of the profession to practise separately, and that a considerable body of the profession of whom the Canberra public may wish to avail themselves have refused to accept an amalgam admission and therefore will not be available. Therefore, for the reasons I have advanced I would urge firstly that we ought not to deny the services of those members of the profession to the Canberra public. Secondly, in requiring the three level admission we are spelling out the terms of the 1966 Statute. It has no unique and specific feature such as Senator Murphy mentioned last night. Thirdly, if the Senate is attracted to the idea that instead of a three level admission we should insist that everybody become an amalgam admission, I suggest we should confine our disapproval to the admission provisions only and not destroy the whole Ordinance.
As I have only one opportunity to speak in this debate, I cannot let this opportunity go without saying that, if a new ordinance which provided only for admission in the Territory as amalgams were introduced, I venture humbly to suggest that it would lead to an anomalous situation whereby section 55D (5.) would not be complied with in its entirety and therefore section 5SA would be displaced only as to amalgams and still leave barristers in the States with a right, which would continue to exist under section S5A, to practise here notwithstanding the ordinance.
– On that view, it would not.
– I rather tentatively put it forward, but I could not let the opportunity go without saying that a foolish and complex system would result because section 5SD requires a law of a certain character and it is only if a law of that character is passed in the Territory that subsection (1.) is displaced. I ask the Senate to give the matter its earnest consideration because it is one of great importance.
– The honourable senator should have been here for the debate on standing order 448.
– Yes. Therefore, it is not altogether inappropriate that perhaps this discussion should- follow the one of yesterday but in a much quieter context. This matter, on the face of it, appears to concern the Australian Capital Territory only and to concern the practice of the law and the practitioners in the Territory. 1 think it must be in the general concept of all that the significance of the matter goes far beyond the practice of law in the Territory because this is the Australian Capital. Territory and what is done here could very well act as some kind of a model or some kind of a guide and provide guidelines as to what may ultimately happen to the legal profession in Australia.
The suggestion has been made that the interests of the legal practitioners, which were ventilated in one way or another, may be the predominant factor in determining the attitude Of this chamber to the motion. I was concerned that Senator Murphy’s argument on the motion for disallowance rested upon such narrow ground. I do not think that that ground alone - certainly not to my way of thinking - would justify the destruction of this Ordinance. While 1 might be and would be solicitous for the welfare of the practitioners in the Territory and for their approach to this whole problem, I could not regard that as the final determinant because of the particular significance of the area and because much wider considerations are involved. The fact that at least on the information available to us the attitude that the Democratic Labor Party proposes to take coincides with the expressed views of members of the Law Society in the Australian Capital Territory is fortuitous and pleasant, but if the expressed views of those members were otherwise, another attitude would not necessarily have been taken. 1 agree wilh Senator Wright that perhaps their expression of opinion on this matter has not been disclosed completely. I think the views of the Law Society have been made obvious over a long period of time. To what extent the opinion of the small, independent Bar has been expressed, Senator Wright suggested, may be a matter of speculation. Certainly there have been no formal presentations or approaches by that unit of practitioners as such, to my knowledge.
– That may be so, but it may be due to reticence on the part of the Bar which is not normally in a position to organise and to make representations. That is not the nature of the body. The members act in individual and selective senses. Therefore perhaps the opinion of the total profession in Canberra is not known, but we must act on such advice as has been tendered insofar as that advice will affect our opinion. What concerns me about this matter, if I am correctly informed, is that the widest possible advice has not been given because it was not canvassed. I refer to advice from the Law Council of Australia. The components of that body are representatives of the various Law Societies in the States where Law Societies exist - I. think that would be all States - and in the Territories and representatives of the Bar Associations where Bar Associations exist. There are three Bar Associations as such which are components of the Law Council of Australia - the Victorian Bar, the Queensland Bar and the New South Wales Bar. I understand that on occasions this matter has been on the agenda for meetings of the Law Council of Australia but within the constitution of that body there is a provision that any component member may determine that a matter is of vital interest to itself and that may disentitle the Law Council to discuss the item appearing on the agenda. If I am correctly advised, that is within the constitution of the Law Council. I understand that this matter has been on the agenda but has not been discussed.
– Senator Wheeldon confirms that it was vetoed by the Victorian Bar. To my mind, that would be a most serious matter, particularly if the basis upon which the veto was exercised is one of what I will call the interests of the Victorian Bar.
– Yes. It would seem to me to be a matter of very great presumption and arrogance that the Victorian Bar should attempt to interest itself in the affairs of the legal profession in the Australian Capital Territory to the point of determining what should be the form of practice to operate there, as arising from the interests of the Victorian Bar. I think that would be unconscionable and if the information is correct that that was done, I should regret it. It would be highly regrettable. The fact is that the Government and the Senate have been deprived of a consensus of a most responsible and representative body of practitioners to which the government or the Senate should resort in order to obtain an opinion. That is something which is not to the credit of anybody who may have been responsible for the disentitlement of the Government or Parliament to such an opinion.
The Democratic Labor Party looks beyond the mere interests of the profession in the ACT and its attitude is determined by the public good, by what is in the interests of the public in the ACT as they may be affected by what happens and by the form that the profession may take in the Territory generally. Applying those canons and adopting that basis we find ourselves in disagreement with the ordinance as presented and we support the motion for disallowance. Whether some parts of the ordinance are, in a drafting sense, at this stage easily severable is a matter that the Minister may be able to discuss and advise upon during the course of the debate, anticipating as he now will with the disclosure of the position of the DLP that the ordinance is most likely to be disallowed. Therefore, the Minister at this stage must face the possibility of retrieving such parts which at present are still workable, should be applied promptly and should not be disallowed. That is a matter that might occupy the mind of the Minister from now on.
In the Australian legal profession, as the Minister has said, the mode of practice and admission varies from State to State. In New South Wales and Queensland there are separate Bars by statute. In Victoria there is the amalgam. In other words, a person is admitted as both a barrister and a solicitor but signs a separate roll. It is rather extraordinary that apparently no steps have been taken in Victoria to formalise by law the separation that occurs in fact by people electing to practise in one capacity or another. It is all the more strange that it should be Victoria that has found no necessity since 1891 to formalise the law in respect of the de facto separation, but seems to insist upon the formalising by ordinance of the separation in the ACT. That is a most extraordinary and anomalous position. However, in Victoria there is an amalgamation by law and a separation in practice, as a matter of fact.
In South Australia there is the amalgam as a matter of law and there is a developing separation in fact with the emergence of a small Bar whose members practise exclusively as advocates. They are not in great numbers and at this stage not very strong. In Western Australia the position is the same. In Tasmania the position is as Senator Wright said. There is the amalgam by law but in fact practitioners elect, not as a matter of formal election to a court but in their own decision, what form their practice will take. We note that these factors and the considerations of the Australian federation create and provide certain problems because of the professional approach in the various branches of the profession.
I imagine that counsel from Victoria resort to Tasmanian courts with considerable frequency. They could be presented with the position there that they would take an indigenous resident junior who would be a barrister and solicitor. Therefore it would be a case of a Victorian barrister - perhaps one who has taken silk, a senior member of the Bar - accepting an amalgam junior. I think I am correct in saying that in order to avoid that position an amendment was made to the statute, ls that correct. Senator Wright?
– As barristers, to overcome that particular position. Senator Wright has suggested that in the event that this ordinance is disallowed and there is resort to the Federal courts in Canberra of counsel from, say? Queensland, the Bar there would not be prepared to accept as a junior a practitioner who was admitted in a State or Territory which provided for admission in the amalgam. As a result of that there would be a denial to a litigant of the particular services of a Queensland or New South Wales counsel because of the failure to comply with conditions precedent. He would have only an exclusive Bar junior. Undoubtedly that would be standing on a point of professional punctilio, to insist on that practice. I do not know whether that has been the practice in Queensland in respect of counsel who have resorted to this place in more recent years. I am advised that on occasions a Queen’s Counsel may come from another State and accept a junior who is admitted in the amalgam in Canberra. I do not know the cases, but according to my informant there has been at least one such case. I have no doubt that that happens and has happened with Victorian and New South Wales counsel attending cases in the Australian Capital Territory, that they have accepted an indigenous resident junior.
Perhaps the expression ‘point of professional punctilio’ is unfairly used. A point of punctilio is one that is taken without warrant and with undue sensitivity. That would not be fair to the Bar because it is not taken as a point of punctilio in that sense. It is taken as a matter of professional practice and even of professional . ethics.
– 1 understood you to say that it was likely that practitioners would not come to the ACT and take admission under the amalgam.
– That again is standing on what I call professional sensitivity that will in the development of the profession have to be laid aside. If there is an area which provides for this type of admission, something which in the wisdom of the authorities concerned provides this as the only form of legal practice, I do nol know that standing on a point of professional sensitivity elsewhere a person should be prepared to deny his services by failure or refusal to conform to what is accepted as the current practice.
– Of course I would.
– That may be the position.
– The point I am making is that that may well be the practice, but is that a salutary practice thai should be allowed to continue once this system is formalised in Canberra? Should not other professional associations in other States where they have separation be prepared in certain circumstances to allow the practice of amalgamation in the Territory because of the designation here?
– Not to revolutionise the profession in Canberra, but I do think that perhaps some of our approaches to professional separation may well have to be looked at again in the light of the development of modern practices in the law and modern practices in commerce.
– I was going to make that point. One of our counsel in Queensland was recently admitted as a barrister and solicitor in Victoria. He may have been required to. sign a separate roll as a matter of practice, but the fact is that he was admitted as a barrister and solicitor. Is that any different from being admitted in Canberra as a barrister and solicitor but electing to practise separately?
– I do not know whether the profession is able to insist on it to the point of defiance. I imagine that a practitioner in Victoria who had elected to practise as one or the other would have disciplinary action taken against him if he practised in both fields. Is the honourable senator able to tell me that there is no practitioner in Victoria who is practising in amalgam? I do not know, but there may well be practitioners in Victoria who are practising in -amalgam.
– There are some practising in amalgam in Victoria, so obviously the requirement to sign a separate roll is not a total obligation. In those circumstances a Queensland counsel may go down to Victoria and be admitted as a barrister and solicitor and he may then elect within that roll to practise as a barrister.
– Do you call Victoria a truly amalgam State?
– Well, it is an amalgam State in the formal sense - in the sense in which you would create in Canberra a separation in the formal sense. It is formal in that sense and it is an amalgam in that sense. I know, as I said, of a Queensland counsel who was admitted in Victoria. The point that concerns me is the whole future of the Bar in the context of modern society, and what happens in Canberra could go far beyond the mere practise of the law in the Australian Capital Territory. All of us who are associated with the practise of the law know that there has been a tremendous movement in more recent years in the practice of the Bar. We know, for example, that in the field of taxation the real skill now is not necessarily confined to the Bar or is associated in a major sense with the Bar. We know that there are specialist practitioners, some of whom may be in the accountancy field, and that so far as this field has a legal association it lies within the field of solicitors.
In commercial law, that is in company law and in the ramifications of company law, possibly there would be much more expertise in the other branch of the profession than among members of the Bar. In other words, there is a constriction of the area of professional opportunity of the Bar today that did not exist before. In addition, we find a constriction of matters involving equity and determinations generally in Australian courts. Then there is a further constriction of the work of the Australian Bar with which counsel are very familiar, that is, the extent of reliance and dependence upon the Bar in regard to common law matters involving master and servant and negligence on the roads. We all know that those matters constitute a large section of the practise of certain sections of the Bar. We know also that there are big social moves to have the determination of claims lifted right out of the area of litigation - to establish a common fund or national insurance for motor car accidents and negligence matters, the determination of damages to rest upon professional boards before which there may or may not be professional representation.
Taking all these trends together, there may be a complete change in the future of the Bar and one that does not portend well for the Bar. But we in this place and everywhere else must protest the extraordinary importance of preserving independent legal practitioners in whose hands finally may rest the challenge to the authority of the state, the authority of power or the authority of totalitarianism. If the economic future of the independent Bar is to be jeopardised, it is a matter of very serious import to this community. Where then may the salvation of the independent Bar finally lie? It might well lie in some sort of marriage between the two branches of the profession. That may well be the future of the Bar. In Canberra particularly, where there is a smallish community which at this stage is not able to support a large independent Bar and possibly is not able to support a Bar with any seniors, or a great number of seniors, senior counsel are brought from other States. It could well be that the development of a Bar of some significance may be denied to the Australian Capital Territory in the absence of some other means of economic support.
The amalgam of the two branches in the Australian Capital Territory could well provide the type of sustenance which would enable senior practitioners, with their identification with the other branch of the profession to concentrate ultimately on advocacy and gradually to give this Bar the status and strength of bars in areas where there has been an independent Bar and more opportunities for very many years. These are considerations that must affect the minds of honourable senators as they approach this matter. We know that within the profession in cases such as this there are strongly held views and that some hold extremely determined and emotive attitudes. I come from a State, as does Senator Murphy, where there is a clear and defined separation. There are those who come from a State where there is a complete amalgam and others in whose State there is an elective separation. All these systems have their firm advocates and firm defenders. Within this morass of different views, different backgrounds and different traditions, we must try to do what we think is best not only for the Australian Capital Territory but also beyond that, because what happens here may well be the pattern on which the profession will develop in Australia. It would not be the first time that matters which have had their initiation in the Australian Capital Territory have found acceptance in State law and in national application. It may well be that this is the real significance of the ordinance that we are discussing today.
I have no doubt that in the light of what I am saying it would not be a good thing at this stage to take any definite stand which might have the effect of disturbing the status quo. If this ordinance is rejected the profession will continue to operate here as it has operated in the past, that is, from the point of view of admission to and division of practice, subject to such disciplines as the Minister, by an amended ordinance, may still be able to impose and which I think should be imposed. But the profession will go on as it was until perhaps in time there will be a resolution of the whole profession throughout Australia. At this stage, particularly, there should not be a redefining, one way or the other, of the nature and form of the profession in the Australian Capital Territory and the direction which it should take. There are matters under consideration throughout the profession as to the form and content of the profession in the future. These matters are constantly under scrutiny and review, and until there is some general reaffirmation of principle it would be wise to maintain the disciplinary safeguards and preserve the position as it rests at the moment.
– There is no suggestion that any alternative ordinance would deny the opportunities for formal admission which do not now exist. The suggestion is that the formalisation of admission should be on the lines of admission as a barrister and solicitor. No-one is suggesting that there should not be a formal method of admission. We think that it is wise, that there should be discipline and that it would be appropriate, but that it should take the form I have suggested and not the form proposed in the ordinance.
– I suppose that the motive behind the ordinance is that it has become of some moment that there should be a formalisation of the ‘practising of the profession and a writing in of the necessary discipline. Senator Wright, in supporting the ordinance, suggests that admission should be in. one form. We say that it should be in another.
– That is right. There is a great body of agreement as to the necessity for discipline within the forms provided and as to the discipline that is proposed in the ordinance. We agree with Senator Wright and with the ordinance in that respect. But the fact that this ordinance was disallowed would be no justification or warrant for the Minister or the Government taking no further action to handle the profession in Canberra. That would be totally indefensible and totally unjustified. I should hope that that would not be the attitude that would be taken - that in a fit of pique and, waiting for another day when the matter might be re-presented, nothing at all would be done. The only thing is that there would be a recognition of the existing forms of admission and practice. They would be given formal expression. There would be nothing in regard to the discipline appropriate to them. The profession would go along until the whole profession was looked at and, perhaps, a common form of admission and practice was adopted.
This is another example of the tremendous difficulties that lie in the way of federation. We have had all sorts of problems in regard to a closed Bar, In Queensland we have a totally open Bar and members of the profession from the bigger States are able to intrude into the practices of the resident counsel. In Australia, where we practise a common system of law and where each day there are developments in the field of integrated and complementary statute law - State and Commonwealth - surely there is an invitation to the profession to standardise itself on acceptable professional practices and on an acceptable professional code of admission.
– I do not think the profession would consider it presumptuous. If it is not beyond the capacity of various units of this society to attempt to obtain some uniformity of practice, I cannot see why it should be beyond the ingenuity of a lawyer to devise a formula. Usually it is not beyond the ingenuity of a lawyer to devise a formula for something or other.
– Of course, I am not suggesting that this Parliament should do that. I am surprised that the Minister’ would even conceive of my propounding such a proposition. I was saying that it should be possible for the professional associations in the various States to work out a common system which, when presented to the appropriate State legislatures and this legislature, would make a uniform code of practice and admission available to the whole of Australia. Of course it would be not only presumptuous but consistutionally impossible for this Parliament to do that. I am surprised that the Minister was prepared to think for one moment that I would propound such a proposition. I believe that this is an important matter. It is a matter of which, perhaps, we have not seen the end. This may be only one step forward towards the attainment of those things to which I have drawn attention and which I should like to see achieved.
On behalf of the Democratic Labor Party, I have indicated that we support the motion for disallowance. We appeal to the Minister not to take this as a complete disavowal of the many good principles in the ordinance, but, pro tanto, to redraft the ordinance to provide discipline within the profession as an amalgam. I conclude on this note: Recently we had a situation in respect of the ban on the export of merino rams in which we believed that this Parliament unfortunately had not been provided with the information that might have better guided its deliberations. It is to be regretted that in this instance also we do not seem to have at our hand the information that I believe should have been available to us on a matter of such import. However, within the area of knowledge and appreciation that we have, we believe that the preservation of the status quo in Canberra, with the necessary safeguards, is the best solution to what is at any time quite a difficult problem.
; - Why is that?
– Because it will take some time to prepare and to reach an agreement upon, presumably, a new form. I would prefer to see some attempt made to adjourn this debate to see whether any agreement could be reached about severing the offensive provisions so that at least the useful provisions may remain. I do not make any movement in that direction; I simply advocate that consideration be given to that suggestion.
– Singular or triangular?
– Triangular, as Senator Byrne corrects me. It is both singular and triangular, if that is possible. This ordinance provides that in the Australian Capital Territory not only will there be barristers or solicitors but there will ako be people who may practise as barristers and solicitors. So there will be three sorts of lawyers practising within the Territory. I can well imagine, in view of the fact that in some States there are, either by law or by practice, divided professions and in other States there are amalgamated professions, that some provision could be made - I am not advocating this - for the admission to practice within the Territory of practitioners from the different States which would coincide in some way with the form of practice in which they were engaged in their own State.
But this ordinance goes further than that. It provides also for the admission of legal practitioners within the Australian Capital Territory. People who have had their entire legal training within the Australian Capital Territory are to be admitted as barristers or solicitors or as barristers and solicitors. It seems to me that whatever virtues there are in having a divided profession and whatever virtues there are in having an amalgamated profession, they are completely destroyed by having this three-tier system of legal practice which the Government is putting forward for the Australian Capital Territory in this ordinance. If it is to be argued that the great virtue of having a separate roll of barristers, as opposed to those lawyers who are engaged solely as solicitors is that it will preserve their independence, then we do have the situation of people who are barristers and solicitors who will be practising here and who. presumably, will not have this independence. It seems to me to be a rather confusing state of affairs that the Government should say that it is necessary, in accordance with the requirements of New South Wales, Queensland and, I suppose, Victoria, that there should be a divided profession in order to preserve the independence of the bar, and at the same time it shoul’d say that there will be other individuals practising law who will not be so independent.
Whatever objections members of the New South Wales, Queensland or Victorian bars have to practising with members of amalgamated professions, they will find themselves in that situation in any case under the terms of this ordinance, because there will be practitioners who are both barristers and solicitors who will be able to practise in the superior courts of the Australian Capital Territory with whom they will have to be associated. They will not be practising within the framework of a purely independent Bar. I would not suggest that the members of any profession or trade should be the only people to determine what regulations ought to be made about the conduct of that profession or trade. But I do suggest that certainly the views of the members of a profession should be taken very seriously into consideration as to what regulations should be made about the practice of that profession.
It certainly is perfectly clear that the members of the Australian Capital Territory Law Society have set out very clearly their opposition to the proposals contained in this ordinance. Not only have they done so; so also have the members of law societies of many of the States of the Commonwealth. I received a letter - as I understand Senator Withers did - from Mr Wallace, the President of the Law Society of Western Australia, urging that this ordinance be disallowed by the Senate. In it he said that he was continuing the same attitude expressed by Mr Dewar, his predecessor President of the Law Society of Western Australia. Mr Wallace enclosed a letter which Mr Dewar had received, at the time he was president of that society, from Mr O’Leary, the President of the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory. I am afraid that my attendance at meetings of the Law Society of Western Australia is not very frequent, but as I understand the position, at least in principle, the Law Society of Western Australia appears to be in support of the position taken by the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory. One paragraph in Mr 0’Leary’s letter to Mr Dewar is as follows:
As you are no doubt aware, a motion was subsequently moved-
This is following a proposal by the Government to introduce this ordinance - at an Executive meeting of the Law Council of Australia that that Council support the views of my Society in relation to the Ordinance, and it was clear from the discussion that ensued that, had the question been put to a vote, it would have been carried by a 7 to 3 majority (the three dissenting members being the representatives of the New South Wales, Queensland and Victorian Bars). However, the question was vetoed by the representative of the Victorian Bar and, therefore, could not be put to a vote.
If it can be said that the members of a particular profession in a particular place are not the only people who are entitled to hold an opinion on how their profession shoul’d be ordered within the community in which they live, I think it certainly could be argued even more strongly that the members of a profession practising in another place have even less right to say in which way their practice should be ordered. If one could say that one could not place complete reliance on what the Law Society of the Australian Capital! Territory said - I do not know whether one could say that, but if one could say it - one would have to consider other factors, namely, that the Society was not entitled to be the sole determinant. I must say one would have to say that the Victorian Bar Association has even less right to say what should happen in the ACT than has the Law Society of the ACT.
I could understand the intervention of the Victorian Bar Association if this ordinance referred only to the right of practitioners from other States to practise within the Territory. I think it would be entitled to express its strong opinions on this subject because I believe that as these are federal courts steps should be taken to preserve the rights of barristers and solicitors from the various States to practise here. In fact the Association goes much further because there are not only practitioners from other
States entering the ACT in order to appear before the courts or to practise as solicitors; there are also a number of residents of the ACT itself who are engaged solely in practice within this Territory. Their views, so far as proceedings of the Law Council of Australia are concerned, have been overruled by the vetoeing action of the Victorian Bar Association. It would seem that in view of the growing population of Canberra, in due course a sufficiently large legal profession could arise here so that the number of counsel coming from other States to appear before the courts would reduce progressively. I think it would not be beyond one’s imagination to foresee that in the relatively near future Canberra, like Washington, will be a city of sufficient size to maintain its own intact legal profession with very few visits from practitioners from other States.
– I agree with Senator Wright that the next 20 years are important but I believe that this still should relate only to the right of practitioners from other States to practise within the Territory. This ordinance goes much further. It affects the right of legal practitioners to practise within the Territory because the division here will be into barristers, solicitors and barristers and solicitors whether they come from other States or whether they are here all the time.
– I agree with that. I am not saying that he does not have a complete option but, forgetting for the moment the practitioners who come from Sydney, Melbourne or wherever else they come from, I cannot follow why the legal profession should be in this strange position of having barristers, solicitors and barristers and solicitors. As I mentioned earlier whatever advantages there are in having an amalgamated profession, and whatever advantages there are in having a divided profession, would be completely destroyed by this mixture of barristers, solicitors and barristers and solicitors. You no longer would have a totally independent body. You would have a certain number of barristerswho could be described as independent and you would have other barristers who could not be described as independent because they would be practising as both barristers and solicitors.
– Yes, I suppose it is but it is only by practise in Victoria. I agree with Senator Byrne. I do not think the Victorian situation is really the most sensible. As it happens, there are relatively few practitioners who are practising as both barristers and solicitors because I understand that it is regarded as being somewhat unethical - perhaps that is too strong a word - at any rate, not highly commendable to practise as both barrister and solicitor, and it is not encouraged. But certainly if there were a large number of practitioners in Victoria practising as barristers and solicitors, the position in Victoria also would become quite absurd.
The Law Society of Western Australia, for example, has expressed its views on this. When I say the Law Society of Western Australia, in fact the past two presidents have expressed a view and I think they were acting with the concurrence, at any rate, of their Society. I do not want to misrepresent the position by saying that a resolution was carried by the Law Society of Western Australia but certainly the present president and his predecessor have expressed their opposition to the current ordinance and I think they would be acting with the concurrence of the Society, reports presumably having been given to the Society. I gather that meetings of the Australian Law Council must be endorsed either implicitly or explicitly by the Society. Certainly members of the Law Society of Western Australia would have scarcely any, if any, vested interest in what was happening in the ACT because it is hardly likely that there will be hordes of Western Australian barristers or barristers and solicitors descending on. the ACT in order to practise in the territorial court.
It would seem to me that the overwhelming mass of legal opinion throughout Australia, particularly that coming from those lawyers who have no vested interest whatever in what happens inside this Territory, is one of opposition to the ordinance. Senator Wright has said - I do not dispute it - hut if the ordinance is totally rejected then for as long as it is totally rejected we have no rules governing the disciplining of the profession within the Territory other than what the courts themselves can do. That is unfortunate, but I feel that a short delay is better than having something undesirable incorporated for what well could be many years as far as the practise of the law in Canberra is concerned.
In any event, Senator Byrne has brought to my attention another aspect which will have to be taken care of in this ordinance. It is on a somewhat different subject. Section 12. (1.) of the ordinance refers to the various people who can be admitted to practise here. Section 12(l.)(c) refers to a person who is a British subject. As Senator Byrne has pointed out to me, in accordance with recent amendments to the Nationality and Citizenship Act this is an aspect which will have to be dealt with because the present situation, regarding nationality and citizenship in Australia no longer makes provision for Australian citizens being British subjects. It may well be that there are other matters in the ordinance which require some tidying up. Even if we accept completely what the Government is urging -with regard to legal practise in the ACT we strike that very-
– I would not wish to debate it. I merely point out that a difficulty is involved which should be taken care of. I would not have raised it if Senator Byrne had not referred it to me. I think it shows a certain inadequacy in the ordinance which should have been tidied up. I do not want to speak in general terms about the desirability or otherwise of having a divided profession but I will say that for approximately a year some years ago I worked in a solicitor’s office in London after I had qualified in Australia. There is a divided profession in London. My own experiences there, I am afraid, do not lead me to the conclusion that any great advantages are to be obtained from having a divided profession. The solicitors had the right of audience in courts of petty sessions and county courts in England, and I think in courts as high as quarter sessions. I do not think the attitude of the bench in any courts was that in some way what was being said by solicitors appearing there should be regarded with a rather more quizzical gaze than what was being said by barristers. After, all the barristers were independent and the solicitors were not. I found many strange anomalies there. The principal of the firm in which I was working was a solicitor and his usual procedure, if he had two cases set down at the same time in inferior courts - one hard one and one easy one - was to take the hard one himself and brief a member of the senior branch of the profession - the Bar - to take the easy one. There were other strange anomalies. I remember one gentleman with whom I was acquainted there who practised as a solicitor in commercial law. He was regarded as a eminent authority on one branch of the law of contract, on which he had written a textbook. He lectured on this aspect of the law of contract at one of the constituent colleges of the University of London. He had the rather distressing experience as a solicitor of having to seek advice from counsel on various matters referred to him. Generally, as he practised within a very narrow field, the advice he received from counsel was to refer him to one page or another of the textbook he had written himself. This is one of the traditions when seeking advice from counsel1.
Also, what I believe is a very serious disability to the divided profession is the certain measure of class distinction which seems to develop between the senior branch of the profession - the barristers - and the junior branch - the solicitors. If I might be anecdotal, I remember one occasion when the solicitors for whom I was working briefed a barrister to appear at the Old Bailey. I was at the Old Bailey with this barrister who, apparently having a keen ear for accents, had drawn the conclusion that I was an Australian. He had been talking to me for some time and apparently thought that I was a solicitor. He was quite courteous, but did not introduce me to the other counsel who were present; he referred to me as ‘Mr Wheeldon’. After a while he said to me: ‘I see you are an Australian, Mr Wheeldon. What do you do?’ As I came from an amalgamated profession, I thought that I might as well specify the senior rather than the junior branch of the profession, and I said: ‘I am an Australian barrister over here for a while.’ He immediately promoted me and said: ‘Are you really, Wheeldon?’, and proceeded to introduce me to all the other members of the bar. I think most people who are familiar with the divided profession are only too well aware of this.
Senator Wright has made some reference, to the fact that there is no divided profession in the United States. I do not know how many States had a divided profession, but certainly some did. I remember several years ago that the then President of the American Bar Association, who was in Australia, said that he had come from the State of New Jersey, which was the last State in the United States to have a divided profession, where apparently there were advocates and attorneys. He said that in New Jersey the profession had been amalgamated, and he, as President of the American Bar Association had not noticed any terrible decline in the practice of law in his State since he had left it. Whatever one might think of the determinations of Olivier Wendell Holmes, Mr Justice Douglas, or Chief Justice Earl Warren, I do not think anyone could say seriously that, because they came from an amalgamated profession, they were, somehow, inadequate as judges. This could not be said of the many distinguished men who sit on the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States. It could not be said that they were lacking in some legal capacity, that if they had had the good fortune to come from Townsville,- where the profession is divided, their findings would have to be of superior quality. I say that without any disrespect to the Townsville bar; I say it to show that to say that it is only through having a divided profession that one gets independence is complete nonsense.
All sorts of arguments can be used as to how the profession should be maintained. In certain European countries one adopted principle that, in order to have an independent judiciary, it is improper to appoint people who have ever practised as private lawyers - that having once appeared as counsel or legal advisers to clients, this in itself has limited their independence. In Germany, and I think in other European countries, they have a completely separate judicial service, which one enters first, presumably, as the counterpart of our clerk of Petty Sessions, then progresses to being a magistrate, and then ultimately on to being what is the counterpart of the chief justice of our Supreme Court. In those countries a judicial officer never practises as a lawyer because it is argued that a man loses his independence if he appears as an advocate, that it is necessary that one should always engage in the judicial service, completely untainted by any form of private practice. I am not advocating this, but I do not doubt that very powerful arguments could be put forward for the system by people who practise the law in the countries where this system obtains - in the same way as powerful arguments can be advanced here for a divided profession or for an amalgamated profession. I think Senator Byrne is correct when he says that it is a completely wrong approach to suggest that we should overlook the fact that barristers from certain States, on a point of punctilio are going to refuse to practise in the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory. After all the barristers concerned would be only visiting the Australian Capital Territory; they would not be consistently earning their livelihood here.
This ordinance should be rejected by the Senate, in view of the overwhelming opinion of the legal profession, and in view of the complete lack of strong arguments put forward as to why we should now have this additional sort of amalgam lawyer, hopping around on two legs, with his two one-legged colleagues. Why should we have this new strange system introduced into the Australian Capital Territory? So far, no-one who did not want to be convinced seems to have been convinced, and I submit that the ordinance should be rejected.
– What year was that?
– That was 1965. As a result of the Law Council’s promptings, I understand the Law Society’s constitution was recast and not only all those persons actually practising in the Territory but teachers of law in the universities and persons employed in the many
Government departments as legal officers were admitted to its ranks. Some of these persons were entitled to hold practising certificates in their home State and some were not. I understand, from conversation with members of the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory, that this was a step which had recognised benefits. The fact that under this Ordinance membership of the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory is limited to members of the profession but does not include those who did not wish to practise law but who nevertheless had legal qualifications is a matter for some regret. The next step after the Law Council of Australia admitted the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory, with the voice of the Law Council of Australia thereupon being added to the voice of the local Society in pressing for finality with regard to the Ordinance, was the step which I mentioned previously - the amendments which occurred in 1966. Since 1966 the only matter which has been really in abeyance is the form which this Ordinance should take and, in particular, the form of admission to practise which should be provided for in the Ordinance.
My view is that the Ordinance provisions relating to the admission to practise represent a retrograde step which is not in the best interests of either the legal profession or of the contribution which the legal profession can make to the public - a contribution which, as a profession, the lawyers of Australia are in existence to make. For my part I am prepared to and will vote for the disallowance of this Ordinance. I think that in a matter such as this the Commonwealth should be prepared to take the initiative and to indicate that it recognises the need for an Australia-wide profession aware of and prepared to keep abreast of the demands of a somewhat different society to that in which many lawyers were brought up and of which they naturally think. I do not think this ideal or this objective is served by perpetuating what is a division rooted in our history. In many respects I regret that the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) has not taken the opportunity to cast aside the traditional words ‘barrister’ and ‘solicitor’ and to adopt some comprehensive word, even if it be the traditional but not very honoured word ‘lawyer’. If that word were not used why could not the term ‘legal practitioner’ be used?
In what Senator Byrne said I sense much with which I agree. I think the legal profession in Australia has before it a constant obligation to assess its activity in terms of whether or not it is providing the most efficient, the most useful and the most economic service to the people it is serving. I do not share Senator Byrne’s pessimism that an independent Bar .cannot survive for many years. I think that, provided the independent Bar stresses the specialisation which training and advocacy can give, and emphasises its specialist role, which may be a somewhat different role from that of the Bar has played through the centuries, it will provide a greater service than the admitted service it has provided over the years. In that context it may have quite a substantial future.
– I quite agree that the profession ought to be regarded as one profession. In Victoria, where I received my training and where 1 have had some little experience, the training which barristers and solicitors receive is, up to the point at which they are admitted to practice, the same. The decision as to whether a person will be a barrister or a solicitor is made after he has been admitted to practice.
– In response to Senator Ormonde, I understand that the position is essentially the same. I think the desirable scheme is to have one profession and to have it as an Australia-wide profession as far as the limitations of our federalism and the strictures which State boundaries impose on local legislatures and local courts will permit. The extent to which practitioners in one State may appear in the courts and practise in another State is based essentially on what reciprocity of admission is available to barristers and solicitors throughout Australia. If a client in Queensland recognised that the acknowledged leader of the Bar in a particular field was in Victoria or in Western Australia he would be unable, in the ordinary course, to have that barrister appear for him in a suit heard in Queensland. The reason why he is unable to achieve that is because the requirements of admission in Queensland are so rigid that a barrister in Melbourne or in Perth is not entitled to be admitted in Queensland unless he resides in Queensland for a certain period of time. I do not suggest that Queensland is the lone State in Australia which imposes such restrictions. Western Australia imposes such restrictions. My impression is that similar restrictions apply in South Australia. I think the lawyers of Australia ought to be studying this problem because I do not think it is consistent with what Australians ought to be able to expect from the legal profession in this day and age.
Lest it be thought that I am straying a little from the purposes of this Ordinance, I think this type of objective was contemplated when the Judiciary Act was amended in 1966, as a result of which amendments this Ordinance became possible. I refer to what Senator Gorton said when he introduced the Judiciary Bill on 31st March 1966, recorded at page 381 of Hansard. He said:
If legal practice in the Territories is to achieve full recognition throughout Australia so that persons admitted to practice in the Territories can be readily admitted to practice also in the States, it seems necessary that the Territories should be in a position to direct their policy in the matter towards reciprocity with the States. The Bill will enable them to do so. It is not intended to be used for the purpose of closing Territory practice against State practitioners, but will enable the Territories to control legal practice within their boundaries in the same way as the States are able to do, and will enable the Territories to move towards a proper basis of reciprocity in these matters. With the growing importance of the Territories, and particularly in that regard of the Australian Capital Territory, which has within its boundaries the Australian National University - a university of high standing in legal education - it is necessary not only to have regard for the conditions on which practitioners from the States are admitted to practice in the Territories, but also for the conditions on which practitioners from the Territories are admitted to practice in the States. This Bill leaves the position quite flexible for this future development, and this seems the proper course for what I have already described as something of a constitutional document in this area.
I have indicated my view that this concept of reciprocity of admission is something which ought to be to the forefront in the minds of Australians concerned with these matters. Recognising that reciprocity of admission depends upon broadly similar qualifications in the States and broadly similar methods of admission, I think it is imposing a bar and impediment on the prospects of an eventual Australia wide reciprocity of admission for the distinctions which are existing only in two States at present to be perpetuated in the ACT. I feel that this is an important matter which, in regard to the Australian Capital Territory, ought to be regarded by the Commonwealth as an opportunity to take the lead and to promote the objective by example.
Senator Wright has purported to raise an argument. I am not sure of the weight he intended should be given to the points be raised, insofar as they were relied upon as argument. His argument as I understand it, was to the effect that the Judiciary Act requires that an ordinance ought to provide for the three types of admission provided for in the ordinance. I respectfully suggest to the honourable senator that a perusal of the provisions of the ordinance reveals precisely the opposite. I would go so far as to say that a respectable argument could be raised that unless the ordinance provided for the admission of barristers and solicitors, any other ordinance would not be such as would overcome the ordinary provisions of the Act. Of course I am aware that it is intended that an ordinance will be provided in due course to supersede the provisons of the Judiciary Act.
I ask the Minister to consider, in the light of the argument be raised earlier, the various sub-sections of section 55d. Subsection (1.) indicates that a person whose marne is on the role of the High Court or a Supreme Court in the capacity of barrister or solicitor, or of barrister and solicitor is entitled to practise as ‘a barrister and solicitor in any Territory.’ I suggest to the honourable senator that the reference to the rolls of barristers, solicitors or barristers and solicitors is a reference descriptive of a group of people and it is not in any way designed to anticipate or suggest that an ordinance of the Territory ought to cover those three categories.
– I appreciate that the Minister did not say precisely what I have just attributed to him. I think his -words were that a reading of this sub-section and other sub-sections shows that they anticipate that there should be some such form of admission as the ordinance in fact provides.
– I am coming to it. Sub-section (3.) of the same section provides power to the Supreme Court of a Territory to strike off or suspend a person’s right to practise as a barrister and solicitor in the Territory. Similarly, the right which is given by sub-section (4.) is a right to practise in a court of the Territory as a barrister and solicitor. Now I come to subsection (5.).
– I am indebted to the Minister for confirming my interpretation. Sub-section (5.) provides that if there is any ordinance which provides for the admission by the Supreme Court of the Territory of persons to practise as barristers, or as barristers and solicitors, or as solicitors, in those circumstances that ordinance will override the earlier sub-sections of section 55D to which I have referred.
– I am again indebted to the Minister because I appreciate that in these matters exactitude is important and I sense that exactitude, if it is engaged in, does not demonstrate the point I thought the Minister raised yesterday and which 1 am now concerned to demonstrate is not so shown. It is sub-section (6.) which in fact permits the ordinance to be made. Under that sub-section any ordinance, to which sub-section (5.) refers, must be made. The type of ordinance which may be made under sub-section (6.) is that which requires admission to practise as a barrister and solicitor. It states:
– Is not that a provision in other Bars where there is a division?
Senator GREENWOOD- Not unless there is a provision similar to that in New South Wales. That is certainly not the case in Victoria.
– Thank you. It means that what is proposed for the Australian Capital Territory is comparable, if not identical, with the position in New South Wales and Queensland, but this is not the position which prevails in Victoria and, I suspect without knowing, the position which prevails in other States.
– I appreciate what Senator Wright says. Persons in Victoria are admitted as barristers and solicitors and then, by choice, they may become a barrister or a solicitor. If they change their mind they can move from being a barrister to being a solicitor, or vice versa, and there is no requirement to apply to the court and to risk the possibility that they might not have their application granted or to burden themselves with the costs and the uncertainty of such an application. I think it is a burdensome and unnecessary restriction which does not add to the interests of the profession or of those people whom the profession exists to serve. I consider, therefore, that this ordinance is a retrograde measure insofar as its provisions provide for these three categories of admission.
I think that as far as possible there should be an Australia-wide profession in which litigants should have unrestricted access to the best legal brains in Australia, and that that entitlement should not be limited by State boundaries. At the present time, State boundaries preclude that, and there are also some professional barriers which have been erected by the Bar Association whereby a barrister from one State, although he has been admitted to practise in another State, cannot take a junior from that State who happens to be a solicitor. I feel that that is the sort of provision which the profession should not be perpetuating at this stage. I hope that, whilst we may suspect that there will be a continuing State control of the admission of practitioners and the way in which they are admitted as practitioners of the court, in the future there will be increasing recognition of the need for reciprocity. Victoria has accepted this need for reciprocity, since 1949 I think it was. The provision to which I refer is section 105 of the Legal Profession Practice Act. This is a simple section which could be reproduced in the statutes of other States. It provides:
Any person now or hereafter duly admitted and at the time of his application entitled to practise as an attorney, solicitor or barrister of the Supreme Court of any State of the Commonwealth of Australia shall on proof being made of such admission be entitled to be admitted by the Supreme Court of Victoria to practise as a barrister and solicitor in accordance with rules made or to be made by the Council of Legal Education.
– It is certainly an open door policy and I sense that if every State adopted a similar open door policy requiring only that a person be of good faith and character and be prepared to pay a relatively small admission fee he could practise in each State. That is a desirable objective for which we should be striving.
– I submit with all respect that it does not. It provides that there shall be three categories of admission. With the passage of time the divisions between those three categories will become more rigid. I note that the ordinance provides that barristers shall be persons who have graduated at a university and that they may simply apply to be admitted. There is no requirement for a barrister to undertake any practical training whatsoever. Whilst it may be said that a barrister is theoretical in his approach, that he is academic in his outlook and that all he requires is his training at the university, I sense that it is a retrograde step to deny to him the practical experience of seeing how a solicitor works. I feel that the system which prevails in the southern States, whereby a person before he is admitted has his university training and also has some practical experience, is more likely to fit him for practise in whatever field he goes to, be it at the Bar or as a solicitor, than the situation which is provided here.
I note that Senator Wright said that one justification for the present provision is that persons who are barristers in Queensland or New South Wales will not be admitted to practise in the Australian Capital Territory because they will not be prepared to be admitted as barristers and solicitors. He thereby raised the argument that people in the Australian Capital! Territory who desire the services of a barrister from Queensland or from New South Wales would be denied that person’s services. Of course he concedes, as I knew he would, that he would be denied that person’s services if that person refused to be admitted as a solicitor; but I do not believe that there would be barristers who would take that limited view. I know that the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth, a barrister of standing in New South Wales, has been admitted as a barrister and solicitor in Victoria, and yet I think he feels strongly about the rights and privileges of a barrister. I believe, although I cannot confirm it, that the Leader of the Opposition in this Senate (Senator Murphy) likewise is a barrister in New South Wales who has been admitted as a barrister and solicitor in Victoria. One might only say in respect of this argument that it did not demean Sir Owen Dixon or Sir Garfield Barwick that they should be described as barristers and solicitors.
I fee!1 that the designation of barrister and solicitor and the obligation to be admitted as a barrister and solicitor is something which should not be regarded by the barristers of New South Wales or Queensland as something below their dignity. I trust that 1 have not used hard words in this, but 1 do sense that in the type of admission which is being proposed’ here there is some feeling - indeed, in logic, it could be the only reason for it - that in some way the position of barristers of New South Wales and Queensland ought to be protected. Certainty having regard to the arguments raised by Senator Wright I see no justification for that suggestion.
I conclude with apologies for taking so much time of the Senate. I have done so in the hope that when, as I believe will be the case, this ordinance is disallowed there will be a recognition of the tremendous value and the tremendous worth of its other provisions. I trust that every effort will be made to have these provisions recast as soon as possible in order that the people in the Australian Capital Territory will not be denied that to which I believe they are entitled and that which they ought to be given, namely, the protection of solicitors’ fidelity funds, auditing of trust accounts and the other provisions which are part and parcel of a solicitor’s life in the States of the Commonwealth.
-(Queensland) - by leave - Although I have already spoken, I desire to add a few words in regard to this matter but not going to the merits of it. I am indebted to honourable senators for giving me leave to do so. I had intended, when I was speaking before, to refer to the unfortunate and sudden death of Mr Brian Meagher. I had met him only in the last few weeks, when he presented his firmly held views on this matter in the course of properly making representations to those who would have the authority to pass or to disallow this ordinance. I was taken by his dedication to and enthusiasm for what he thought would be best in the interests of the profession and in the interests of the practitioners of Canberra.
He was here last night. I spoke to him. He sat in the President’s gallery to hear
Senator Wright defending the ordinance. I think he left on the adjournment of the Senate, unfortunately to die suddenly. Honourable senators will be indebted to him for the work he has done on behalf of the profession. With him feeling as intensely as he did about this ordinance, should it finally be disallowed it will be ironic that he will not have the personal satisfaction of seeing his work produce the result for which he hoped. On behalf of the Australian Democratic Labor Party, I express to Mrs Meagher and the members of the family our deep sympathy in his death. I only hope that his work on this matter will be remembered.
Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria)- by leave - I wish to identify myself entirely with the remarks that have been made by Senator Byrne. I intended to refer to the late Mr Meagher, and I omitted to do so. I knew him in his capacity as a very active member of the Law Council Executive in the days when I was the Law Council Secretary. I know that he worked hard for the principles that have been expressed by those who have opposed this ordinance. I am sure that he would have been gratified to know that his labours look like producing a reconsideration of the form of admission in the Australian Capital Territory. It is a matter for regret that he was not able to see that day. I share the expressions that have been made by Senator Byrne.
– The Council resigned of its own volition.
– The Leader of the Government reminds me that members of the Council lost their offices of their own volition. That is true. That was not the first time in history that men resigned from offices. A number of men resigned their offices in protest. It was their only way of vindicating their position. A lot of the people of the Territory, and the people of Australia, know that they were not satisfied with the imposition upon them of measures which they would not tolerate. I do not include in those measures the one that we are debating. I do not know whether this ordinance was a material matter in the decision they came to.I do not suggest that it was.
I should correct something that was said last night. I said that I understood that the Australian Capital Territory Bar Association was supporting this motion to disallow the ordinance. I am given to understand, not officially or in any event not formally, that that is not so but that the Association is not opposed to the ordinance and would prefer to see it become law in its present form. Though that may be so, I have expressed what I understand to be the viewpoint of the Australian Capital! Territory Law Society which, I know, represents both branches of the profession here and of the people of the Territory. The other argument put forward by the Minister suggested, in a sense - I may not be doing him justice - that it was mandatory to have this kind of ordinance. I do not know whether that is a summation of his argument.
– Well, let me say that so far as we could ascertain what the
Minister’s argument was about the merits of this ordinance, as based on the Judiciary Act and so on, in all the correspondence between the Australian Capital Territory Law Society and the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) I found no suggestion that the Attorney-General was relying on any such foundation as advanced by the Minister. I therefore commend the motion to the Senate and ask that the Senate disallow the ordinance.
-(Tasmania) - I would like to take this opportunity to add my own tribute to the work of the late Mr Meagher whose death unfortunately took place last evening. He was a highly respected member of the legal profession in the Australian Capital Territory. I had the pleasure of dining with him not long ago in order to discuss this matter. I was very sorry to hear of his passing and would like to pay my own tribute to the work he did in pursuance of the views taken by his Society.
That the motion (Senator Murphy’s) be agreed to.
– This matter which ultimately will be the subject of a free vote has some mechanics to it and I ask for leave of the Senate to speak in terms of the procedures that have to be looked at first. I will keep away from the substantive motion and will not reflect upon it. At the same time, I do not want to deny myself the right to speak and to put the matter as a substantive issue after I have explained the mechanics. In asking for leave I want the Senate to understand that this is not the speech that eventually I will be required to make.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
Senator ANDERSON (New South Wales - Minister for Supply) - I thank the Senate for its co-operation. On a previous occasion we had a free vote upon the question whether the new and permanent parliament house should be on Capital Hill or at the lakeside. After that free vote which followed a very good debate the Senate chose the Capital Hill site. Subsequently I brought forward a motion in which I asked the Senate, without prejudice to that vote, whether it would support a reference to the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House to enable that body to examine the pros and cons of the matter and to consider the Camp Hill site or the Capital Hill site for the new and permanent parliament house, the lakeside site having been rejected and no longer being in our consideration. That was done. The President now has put down a report and recommendation from the Joint Select
Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House, but before we can debate and come to a decision on the substantive issue we have two problems to overcome. The first is that standing order 134 which prevents the moving of a rescission motion without 7 days notice needs to be suspended. We cannot do anything until we get rid of the rescission motion relating to our decision for the Capital Hill site. Until I get leave I cannot even get to the point of discussing the rescission motion without 7 days notice.
Having said that, I want to put to the Senate in a completely non-partisan way - I should like the Senate to grasp this because if we do not understand the mechanics I shall have no hope of getting somewhere along the road - that before we can get to the substantive motion I will have to get the leave of the Senate, in a pro forma way, to move the rescission motion and to deal with it. I want it to be clearly and absolutely understood that by agreeing to the rescission motion the Senate will in no way commit itself to the substantive motion, but the decks would be cleared and we could have a simple debate on a free vote basis on the recommendation of the Committee. If the Senate rejects the recommendation of the Committee, it still will be for the Capital Hill site. That is one way in which we can get to the substance. But if I do not get leave to move for rescission I will have to wait 7 days.
– That is right. Secondly, if we do not get rid of the rescission motion we cannot debate the substantive motion. In fact, if we do not get rid of the rescission motion we really cannot bring the recommendation of the Committee into the debate because the recommendation is in conflict with it. Let me go through the matter again quickly. Without prejudice to whatever views anyone may hold, the simple way to get to this debate is to give . me leave on the voices and then to carry the rescission motion. Then I will move the substantive motion and the Senate, in a free vote, will either accept it or reject it. I hope that we will be able to do that quickly and then we will be in a position to go ahead. That is my proposition.
Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Opposition) - by leave - The Minister for Supply (Senator Anderson) has outlined what he wants to do. The first step is to ask for leave to do what he has suggested, and although this is an entirely free vole 1 think he should have leave. The reason is that the only thing he is seeking to avoid is giving the 7 days’ notice. He spoke to me a few days ago on this matter; we were dealing with the arrangement of business and so on. We had these urgency motions and so forth which were entering into the altering of the ordinary course of affairs. But for that, this Parliament House site matter might have come on. I indicated to him then that so far as I could see - and. of course, this is a free matter entirely - he should be given the leave. This is without prejudice to what anyone would do on the matter of the rescission. What he is asking for us to do - and I put it now - is that, instead of having to wait for 7 days to move the motion, we take this course.
– 1 think he should be given leave to move the motion in relation to this. Then there would be nothing to slop Senator Kennelly moving some amendment to his motion. But all the Leader of the Government is saying is that, because there is a rescission involved, normally it would be necessary to give 7 days’ notice. 1 do not think anyone will be prejudiced by the fact that Senator Anderson moves his motion now, instead of giving 7 days’ notice. So far as I am aware, all the members of my own Party were aware of the fact that this matter would be coming on. There would be no real prejudice to anyone in the Senate if leave were given. In fact, as this is a free matter, if he does not get leave to move it, I would support a motion to suspend Standing Orders to enable him to do it. As a fair thing, he should be able to put his motion to us. What we do with it is another matter. AH he is asking as a first step is: ‘Will you permit me to move this way?’ I think it is fair that he should be able to do it.
– That is so. We should not slop him, as a matter of leave. He is asking only the right to put up his motion; he is not asking for anything else. He simply asks us to hear what he has to say on this motion. I suggest we give him the leave and let him have his way. If he does not receive leave, there is the other step. Being a free matter-
– He has asked for leave to move a motion. If he does not get the leave - and any senator can refuse it - all he has to do is to move a motion for the suspension of Standing Orders. I do not think we should have to go through that. I join him in asking for the leave.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake- Brockman) - Is leave granted for Senator Anderson to move his motion? There being no objection, I call Senator Anderson.
Senator ANDERSON (New South Wales - Minister for Supply) - by leave - As 1 interpret the expression in this atmosphere of sweet harmony, we are confronted here with a position on which Senator Murphy went only half the way with me; he kept up his options in respect of the second part. There is still a little of the mechanics that I want to put to the Senate; 1 still have not come to the matter of substance. We still have the rescission motion. I have been given leave to move it. I can move it and we could have a debate on the rescission motion. If the rescission motion does not succeed-
– On 2nd August 1968 the Senate moved for the new and permanent parliament house to be situated on Capital Hill. Before we can do anything, we have to deal with that one.
– Let me explain. I have many helpers at the moment; 1 hope that we have them when we come to the substantive issue. The position is that I want to have only one debate. Do all honourable senators understand that? I do not want to have a debate on the rescission motion and then, if it is rejected, to have another debate on the question of Capital Hill and Camp Hill. If you are not prepared, in a pro forma way, to move the rescission motion, I shall make my case on the rescission motion. If you reject it and if you reject the rescission motion, you have Capital Hill. But that is a bit unfair, in a way. Are honourable senators clear on that?
– Let me finish, then. It does not allow a proper projection of the subsequent report which was tabled by the Presiding Officer. I think we should still keep to the mechanics for a moment. I suggest that, in a pro forma way, completely without prejudice to the ultimate vote, we should put the rescission motion out of the way. I shall then move, in accordance with the recommendation, for the adoption of the report. You can then move amendments or reject it. At about 8 o’clock tonight I think we shall be in a position to have a completely free, uninhibited vote, without any trouble. Without going to the substance, can honourable senators bring their minds to the question of getting a pro forma removal of the rescission motion?
Senator BYRNE (Queensland) - by leave -May I ask the Minister whether he will give to the Senate the terms of the motion we are now asked to receive?
– That is the motion you want rescinded?
– What you want is that the previous resolution be rescinded?
– If you move it pro forma, you might create a precedent.
-(Victoria); by leave - I suggest with great respect that we should clear the decks, as we say in other spheres.
– Therefore, we intend to move that the resolution that was carried by the Senate on a certain date in August be rescinded. If that is carried, I take it that the Leader of the Senate will then move that the Senate believes that the new parliament house should be on X spot - whatever spot he wants.
– If that is done, we can go to it. I do not know whether we should have a full debate on the motion for the rescission.
– We can leave the debate until we discuss the substantive motion.
– Therefore, could I say with great respect that, if you move the rescission motion and if it is carried, we get on to the one that counts.
Senator BYRNE (Victoria)- by leaveCould I inquire by what form Order of the Day No. 1 came on the business paper. That item is: ‘New and Permanent Parliament House - Joint Select Committee - Report on Alternative Sites; Consideration’. Is it for the matter to be considered, or for the report to be adopted? What is precisely before the Senate? If there is a motion before the Senate the Minister could not move an additional motion.
Senator ANDERSON (New South Wales - Minister for Supply) - by leave - When the President put it down, 1 moved as Leader of the Government that consideration of the report be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting. That is how it gets in under Government business. What Senator Kennelly says is first class but it is a terrible risk that the Leader of the Senate has to take. If we do what Senator Kennelly suggests - and 1 should be delighted to do so - and then my proposal is rejected, what will happen? We then will have the situation where I cannot move my subsequent motion and will not have spoken to this one. What 1 want is a spirit of understanding to enable us to get to the substance of the matter - to clear the decks as Senator Kennelly said - so that we can have debate on the main issue. So far we have done delightfully because no-one has spoken to the motion. If 1 am assured that the motion for rescission will be carried I shall move the second motion.
Senator WILLESEE (Western Australia) - by leave - All this comes about because the Government has been caught fast asleep. All that is required is that 7 days notice be given. This matter has been on the notice paper since 30th April and the Government has had plenty of time to give notice but has not done so. Now it has waffled itself into this position and wants to go about things in this complicated way. If we do what the Leader of the Government (Senator Anderson) and Senator Kennelly suggest we will have a Gilbertian situation. Senator Anderson wants to rescind the motton and then for us to go ahead and possibly carry again the motion that was carried previously. If we have debate on the rescission motion - and I do not think honourable senators will want to discuss this matter twice - the whole of the substantive debate will take place on the rescission motion. Obviously if the majority of honourable senators want to alter the situation that we have decided upon, the rescission motion will be carried. If the rescission motion is defeated, surely that will mean that the majority of people want the new parliament house to be on the Capital Hill site.
– Of course. It will be left open. We cannot have it both ways.
– I suggest that if Senator Anderson had done what the Standing Orders provide and had given 7 days notice this would never have arisen.
– Because we have given leave the Leader of the Government should not take kindness for weakness.
– What about listening to me for a while? I suggest, Mr Deputy President - if I may offer guidance on this matter - that if we debate the rescission motion and it is carried, obviously a majority of people will be looking for someone to move that the site should be Camp Hill.
Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Opposition) - by leave - Out of consideration of my new-found friend, Senator Anderson,’ I should like to say a few words in his defence. I do not think that what was said about him was quite right. The requirement to give 7 days notice is not causing the difficulty, lt is apparent that we are in exactly the same position at this instant as if we had been given the 7 days notice. We have given leave, which is equivalent to the 7 days notice.
– No. lt would have saved the application for leave. We have had the application . for leave and we are in exactly the same position as if the Minister had given 7 days notice. There is no problem about that. Senator Willesee’s logic is completely irresistible. The Minister can succeed in his endeavour only if there is no real opposition to the rescission motion. The moment there is any area of opposition we are forced into the situation where there ought to be full debate, on the rescission motion. I think that the Minister is really agreeing with this. The sensible thing would be to have the full debate on the rescission motion on the understanding that if the rescission motion were carried then a simple motion would be put and there would be no need to debate that. If this is rescinded we will understand that those who are voting for the rescission motion do not want Capital Hill. There would be no sense in voting otherwise. Those who vote for the rescision motion presumably - although not as a matter of logic - would support Camp Hill. The suggestion by Senator Willesee ought to be adopted. I think that we ought to have the whole debate on the rescission motion and resolve the matter in that way.
– It went further than that; it was without prejudice.
– My understanding is that Senator Murphy and I agreed that it was without prejudice to our previous decision. I am distressed that my notes are not complete. The entry in the Journals of the Senate read:
The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) moved an amendment, viz:
Before the word ‘concurs’, insert ‘whilst adhering to the opinion expressed in its resolution of 22nd August 1968, “That the Senate is of the opinion that the new and permanent Parliament should be situated on Capital Hill”,’.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted - put and passed.
Main Question, as amended, agreed to,
I express again my deep regret that my notes were not accurate. The consideration of the matter then went to the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House, of which the President, Sir Alister McMullin; was the Chairman and Mr Speaker was the Deputy Chairman. Members of the Committee were the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Whitlam, Senators Devitt, DrakeBrockman, McClelland and Dame Ivy Wedgwood and Messrs Barnard, Birrell, Bryant, Drury, Duthie, Erwin, Fox, Giles and Luchetti. Senators Murphy, Gair and myself were added, as honourable senators will recall. The President tabled the report of the Committee. That is how we come to be debating the matter now. In the event of the rescission motion being carried I would move that the report of the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House on the alternative sites of Capital Hill and the Camp Hill area be adopted.
– lt is a majority report. I would move that the report be adopted. That is the procedure. The Committee’s recommendations were:
The Committee, having inquired into the matter of the alternative sites, recommends:
That the new and permanent parliament house be situation on Camp Hill.
The Committee considers that the foregoing recommendation should not stand in isolation but should be supported by the following supplementary recommendations:
That the summit of Capital Hill, the geometric termination of the avenues, bs reserved for an architectural shaft or other feature of a symbolic nature which would not compete by reason of its mass, its form or its significance with the parliament building but, if possible, complement and enhance the building’s appearance.
Copies of the report have been circulated to honourable senators. The recommendations continued:
– Not at this point of time. I shall refer to that in a moment. The recommendations continued:
The course of the Committee’s inquiry and the reasons supporting its recommendations now follow.
The report then gives a history of the course of the inquiry I do not think I need canvass that, because I think we all know it. The basis for this simple proposal is a report which is fundamentally concerned with the siting of the new and permanent parliament house but which is not concerned with the design of the building or when it is to be built. We are not arguing what the ultimate design of the building will be or when that building will be built.
– The report contains a reference to the area.
– Yes, 1 shall bring that out during the course of my speech. The Camp Hill site has been chosen as the site - as Walter Burley Griffin chose it - but the alternative site has not been left for any haphazard development. The report recommends that the summit of Capital Hill be reserved for an architectural shaft or other symbolic feature . which would not in any way be in competition with the new. parliament house. The vertical element would be in gardens and would enhance the setting of the parliament on Camp Hill. A supporting recommendation was the demolition of this present, provisional House. There is much history in the walls of this place and there would bc some regret in seeing it go. It has always been regarded as temporary. Already it is inadequate for the purposes of today’s Parliament and will be the more so as the nation grows and the parliamentary representation increases - all this in addition to the fact that the maintenance costs of the present, provisional House are mounting heavily every year.
Fundamentally the new parliament house is the reason for Canberra’s existence. Canberra is a capital city. Today it is a national capital well in the foreground of world capitals. Parliament House is the key piece. Until it is known where the new house is to be sited it will not be possible to establish firm sites for other important buildings of national significance such as the Australian National Gallery, the High Court, the National Archives building, the Harold Holt Memorial and buildings housing important policy making departments such as External Affairs and Attorney-General’s. The Committee has arranged for models and diagrams illustrating the siting comparisons to be placed for study comparison by honourable members and honourable senators in the Parliamentary Library. I invite anyone interested to inspect these during the suspension of the sitting. I invite them to bring themselves up to date on certain aspects with which they might not be familiar. Also the Committee has arranged for a crane to be erected on Camp Hill to the same height as the flagpole on Capital Hill. If honourable senators make an inspection, as the Committee did, they will see that Camp Hill provides a site of unexpected visual eminence. Also, in this position the House could be integrated with other enhancing though less significant buildings and would be particularly striking when seen from the land axis terminating at the Australian War Memorial, the climactic end of Anzac Parade.
Parliament House needs and will have other supporting buildings to give it greater importance in its setting. The single axis on which Camp Hill is centred provides a less restrictive site and logically offers greater freedom for design and expansion. Furthermore, by being close to the present House it might well offer an advantage during the transition from this House to the new building. I do not place great emphasis on that point, but it is one of the factors to which the Committee had regard. In the earlier debate there was much reference to the area available in respect of either site. This House in its setting occupies about 6 acres. The new recommended site occupies about 97 acres. The area available for present and future development on both sites is virtually unlimited for practical purposes, but neither has more to offer on the question of area than the other, to any relevant degree.
– The Committee considered this matter and has found that there is not a great deal of significance in the sizes of the areas.
– I ask the honourable senator to let me develop my case. It is not a question and answer exercise. I do not wish to appear rude, but I am trying to bring out the facts and it is a little disconcerting if honourable senators treat my speech on a question and answer basis. There is no debate as to whether there should be a new parliament house. I think we are all on common ground there. We are not discussing how big the building should be, what should be its design or when it should be built, but simply where it should be constructed. There is no point in delaying this decision. I am sure that members of another place and senators are as wise as succeeding generations of politicians will be, and equally equipped to make this great national decision. I think honourable senators will agree that we are making a decision that will be part of Australia’s history.
We are not making a decision about a building to last only a few years or a decade. It may well be that we are making a decision about a new parliament house which could stand for 50, 60 or 100 years. 1 do not know for how long. We have our place in history. We cannot ignore it and say: ‘We will leave it to somebody else to make a decision’. As I have pointed out, until we make this decision we are baulking and frustrating other decisions that must be made about the future development of Canberra, our national capital. Urgent decisions are required as to the allocation of area. Departments are being brought here from the various States. This is the starting point for those decisions and therefore there is a necessity for us to come to a decision.
We should not be diverted by the recommendation for the eventual demolition of East Block and West Block, or by the emotional concern over the demolition of this provisional Parliament House, which is a very cramped building. Future governments can decide when to act on the recommendation, but honourable senators should remember that even if the great new parliament house were to be placed in splendid isolation on Capital Hill few people would be happy to look down upon the roof of this building and, almost certainly, once the new parliament house was occupied and visited by a million or more visitors a year there would be pressure for the removal of this building. I do not think I need to stress this point.
– I agree entirely. 1 am saying that it does not matter whether we choose Camp Hill or Capital Hill in that respect. In concept at one stage we would need to remove this temporary building because the panorama, the vista and the planning of the whole area predicates that this building should not be in front of the new parliament house.
I hope that the question of this building does not become an argument in our considerations. I think we are seized fairly well of the major points of this issue. There is no doubt that the people of Australia regard the Federal Parliament House as being of prime importance and a major tourist attraction in this city. We have had a classic illustration of that during school holidays in recent weeks. 1 would be interested to learn of the numbers of people who have visited Parliament House within the last 7 days. It has been magnificent to observe the interest of our young people in the democratic processes of our way of life.
– 1 must admit that I was responsible, With the concurrence of the President and the Presiding Officer in another place, for the very modest display that is in King’s Hall at present and has attracted considerable interest. More and more people will be coming to Canberra. It has become part of every Australian’s desire to visit the capital and to see the Parliament, the War Memorial and all the Other national buildings in the heart of this great nation. The new parliament house must be built with the future in view and must have a site worthy of its function. We must not be niggardly in our approach to the ultimate determination. It is not for this Parliament of for the motion before the Senate at this time to decide the shape and form of the new parliament house.
– Yes, the site, but we are not to decide what form the building will take. We must be as wide as possible in our choice of a site so that the future parliament house, wherever it is, will be worthy of the nation.
– I believe I have covered this point. It is considered by the Committee and its advisers that there is no significant difference between the two sites in terms of the type of building that a future government may wish to construct as a parliament house.
I could develop further arguments, but the fact is that we have lived this issue for a long time. We are to have a free vote. I do not think there is a member of this Parliament who has not been on Camp Hill. We are virtually there now; it is just behind us. I hope that every parliamentarian has inspected the possible site on Capital Hill. If the decision of the Committee is carried I will move that its recommendation be adopted. The Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House has taken substantial evidence. I have transcripts of all that evidence. The Committee sought the advice of experts on site planning and the advice of the planning authority in Canberra. I accept that the men who served on the Committee are men of objectivity. They have taken the evidence and have weighed the facts put before them. The Committee has come out clearly with a recommendation in favour of the original suggestion of Camp Hill. This is to be decided in the atmosphere of a free vote. When we resume after the suspension of the sitting I will invite honourable senators to direct their minds to a decision so that we can reach finality tonight as to the site for the new and permanent parliament house.
Sitting suspended from 5.4S to 8 p.m.
Senator KENNELLY (Victoria) 8.0.f- f recognise that the decision to be made by the Senate on the site for the new and permanent parliament house is very important. Perhaps it is not so important for some of us who are here now because the vast majority of us will not be here when the new parliament house is built. Perhaps some of the younger senators, whom I hope will learn more as the years go by, will be here at that time. Nevertheless, it is vital for this nation that we, in our wisdom, give serious consideration to doing what we think is in the best interests of this country. I believe that not one honourable senator would suggest that our system of government, which was copied largely from that of Great Britain, has yet been surpassed. 1 admit that at times after elections we become a bit angry about it, but the fact remains that our system gives the people of this country the right to choose who will govern them. Although some people in the community may be apathetic and others, with the aid of the mass media, delight in belittling those whom they elect, the fact remains that the Parliament is an institution for which we must do the right thing.
A few months ago the Senate carried a resolution by 45 votes to 6 in favour of Capital Hill as the site for the new and permanent parliament house. The Leader of the Government (Senator Anderson) has the figures and he will correct me if I am wrong.
– I do not want to crib 1 or 2 votes. Provided that I have enough votes on my side, you can have the rest. What has worried me more than anything else about this matter has been the conflicting statements regarding the areas which will be available at the two proposed sites. I heard what the Leader of the .Government said about the area of Camp Hill and although I would not doubt his word I have read statements and have seen in a report that the area available on Capital Hill is between 130 and .135 acres whereas the area at Camp Hill is 30 acres. It seems from what was said in the other place - I suppose one is entitled to read the speeches made in another place on the subject - that the area of Camp Hill which is said to be available includes the area right down to the road outside the present Parliament House. I have been informed that the actual area available on Camp Hill is 30 acres.
– They have certainly included the area down to the present Parliament House.
– I understand that it includes the whole of the area from the road outside this building.
– The Minister is being a little tricky. I can only say that the proposed area of Camp Hill which is now referred to begins outside this building. Therefore 1 do not think it is proper to suggest that the acreages of the two sites are comparable. If we are to construct a building which is to last for many hundreds of years, as has been done in other parts of the world, the most essential factor to consider is area because one never knows what expansion will be needed in the future. My friend from Queensland, Senator Gair, would remember, as I do, that we used to say that if we had 10 million or 15 million people in Australia we would be all right. Through advances in agriculture and other sciences, it will not be long before we will have 15 million or 20 million people.
- Senator Poyser says that we will have 20 million people at the end of the century. Although the United Slates Congress is by no means 200 years old - I do not think the United States is 200 years ok - already it has found itself short of space and thought is now being given to the purchase of additional space. lt would be a calamity if that were to happen here. Surely to goodness there cannot be such a divergence of opinion on the area of Camp Hill. Does it matter to us sitting here where the building is situated so long as we are satisfied that there is room for it to expand? Originally it was proposed that the new parliament house should be built on the lake site. I do not know who was anxious to have it there, but I understand that that site had been suggested by the National Capital Development Commission. The only reason that I voted against that site was the limited area available. I suggest that the area which is available should govern our decision. lt has been said that Capital Hill is a preferable site because it is in the centre of the city of Canberra. I have been informed that Capital Hill is 175 feet above the level of the lake whereas the site suggested by the Leader of the Government is 75 feet above the lake. So that we may compare the heights of Capital Hill and Camp Hill a crane has been placed on Camp Hill and raised to the height of Capital Hill. But we can forget about height. The important thing is area. No-one can predict what will happen in this country within 100 years and how much additional space will be needed around the new parliament house. God forbid that it should ever happen, but the time may come when members from distant States will have suitable suites for their accommodation in the new parliament house. I say that not because I wish to give members anything, but only so that they will be able to do their work and to be on the job as they desire to be. The last time I was in the House of Commons in Canada, if I remember correctly, I noticed that such provision was made for certain members - not for all members. The Canadians are in difficulty at the present time on account of lack of area.
Some people have even said to me that architects may find it difficult to provide plans and builders may not find it easy to build on Capital Hill because of its height. I have had some dealings with architects, God bless them. If you keep on their backs you might get what you want. To my mind, the statement that in this modern age a parliament house could not be built to the satisfaction of the people of Australia on Capital Hill is not worth consideration. I understand that seven roads lead to Capital Hill. I am not thinking of the bridges over the Tiber in Rome. I think Caesar built seven bridges over the Tiber. Sir John Overall, the Commissioner of the National Capital Development Commission, told the Joint Select Committee:
The summit of Capital Hill … is the geometrical apex of the central triangle. Seven avenues radiate from State Circle and this broad pattern has increased the natural prominence of Capital Hill so that any building or group of buildings on its summit would be clearly seen from the major avenues.
Later on in evidence given before the Committee he said:
Capital Hill h sufficiently dissociated from other development in the parliamentary triangle to be considered as a separate site which is independent of other buildings. The all-round nature of the site requires an architectural solution which is equally satisfactory when viewed from all sites. lt also needs a treatment which will allow later additions that will not reduce the impact of the original design. Of course, the building must grow.
The site is a formal one and will need very skilled and careful design.
Therefore, I would be extremely disappointed to see a change of view on the part of the majority of honourable senators. I believe that the main thing that must concern us overall is the area that we have to play with on these sites. I know that the Minister said, in that nice way that he has, as a rule, of saying things: ‘We have to get rid of East Block and West Block’. Of course, he did not tell us what that meant in terms of area, cost or loss of useful life.
When I walk around Canberra- J admit that I do not do much walking around Canberra, but I do a little sometimes - I am just amazed at how easy it is to get money here. At times I wish that I had a little of the money for other spheres in which I am interested. We cannot just say in an off-handed way that East Block and West Block have to be demolished, and that in order to obtain the necessary acreage the present Parliament House automatically has to be demolished, too. I do not think that case should be supported. Let us hope that the same number of senators as last time will vote for Capital Hill this time. However, I understand that we might have a few defections. Of course, defections worry me at any time. I hope that there will not be many defections. We may get some defections from the other side.
– I was not thinking of the six. I believe that the only way to have settled this matter for good and all was to have a joint meeting of both Houses of the Parliament. Had we done that, we would have spoken as the full Parliament.
– I would not blame any person, particularly an officer, for not wanting it. However much I may disagree with my colleague from Victoria, Senator Greenwood, on many matters, I do not think I disagree with him on this one. I do not think he was one of the six to whom Senator Anderson referred; and I hope he has not changed his mind. I think we should win and win well, because our case is logical. I know that if people go on to a committee with fixed views it is pretty difficult for them to change their views, just as it is difficult for a Jeopard to change its spots. That is said in a very kindly way. I believe that people did go on to this Committee with certain fixed views. I doubt whether the evidence that J have read could have changed their minds to the necessary extent. I hope that the decision that the Senate made a few months ago will be reiterated by it voting against the motion submitted by the Leader of the Government.
– There were only two dissentients.
– That is what you say. This is what I want to make clear. I begin by going back and tracing the history of the Committee. It was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, on 3rd December 1965. At that time I was appointed as one of the original members of the Committee. When the Committee was re-established by Prime Minister Holt, on 27th September 1967, I was again appointed to it. I attended every meeting of the Committee with the exception of the meeting at which it made the decision set out in this recent report. I want to refer to the special report of the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House which was brought down in August 1968. If honourable senators turn to page 2 of the report they will find that it states:
The Committee gave careful consideration to all points raised by the Commission. Camp Hill could not be seriously considered because of the proximity of the existing House. While it was agreed that the two alternative positions of Capital Hil! and the Lake shore each in themselves presented very fine sites and that the Capital Hill position was attractive because of its topographical prominence, it was clear to a majority of the Committee that the Lake site offered far greater advantages for striking development and also provided an expansive approach area and a pleasant environment in addition to several important technical advantages not offered by the Hill site.
It went on to say:
The Committee’s majority decision in favour of the Lake site was, in effect, an endorsement of the decision made by Cabinet in July 1958. The Committee made its view known by a Press release on 29tb November 1967.
If honourable senators look at the appendix to this report they will find there the minutes of proceedings of the second meeting of the Committee at Parliament House, Canberra, on Tuesday, 28th November 1967. They will find that on that day a decision was made by the Committee on the site for the new parliament house as between Capital Hill and the lake site. The question put before the Committee at that time was:
That this Committee endorses the decision of Cabinet made in 1938 that the New and Permanent Parliament House should be situated on the lakeside site.
The Committee divided, there being 1 1 ayes and 3 noes. Amongst the noes was Senator Drake-Brockman. When the report was brought before the Senate I spoke in the debate and 1 put the case for Capital Hill.
Now, Sir. having supported the Capital Hill site I want to go a little further. If honourable senators look further on in this report they will find a Hansard report of the final day of sitting. That report relates to the decision taken in regard to the lake site. The report includes a comment made by myself in which I said that I had come to the meeting with an open mind, having not previously seen either site previously. I went on to speak about the job that the National Capital Development Commission had done but said that I thought that a decision should not be made in regard to the two sites at that stage. I said that it should not be taken until the Committee had heard the views of the Australian
Capital Territory Advisory Council, the Institute of Architects and the residents of Canberra. The Committee would not hear further evidence at that stage from the people who I believed had a very vital interest in the siting of the new and permanent parliament house.
The Parliament then went a stage further and we debated the siting in this chamber. As Senator Kennelly said in his speech, the result was that forty-two senators voted in favour of Capital Hill.
-BROCKMAN - As against the lake site. Let me recall to the Senate the position we were then in. This was mentioned by the Leader of the Government (Senator Anderson). The position was that on 22nd October 1968 Senator Anderson introduced into this Senate message No. 78 from the House of Representatives. The Senate agreed with the proposal by the House of Representatives that the matter of alternative sites for the new and permanent parliament house, Capital Hill or Camp Hill, be referred to the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House and that the Committee be requested to submit its report within 3 months. At that time I was occupying the Chair and Senator Wilkinson raised a point of order. He stated that the motion proposed by Senator Anderson was in conflict with standing order 134. A debate ensued and I, as Deputy President, ruled that the motion did not amend or modify any previous resolution of the Senate and was in order.
-BROCKMAN- I want to continue and to put my position. A motion of dissent from my ruling was moved by Senator Willesee and was debated. Senator Willesee moved that the question of dissent required immediate determination. A debate followed and finally the matter was cleared up in that the majority of senators agreed with my ruling. From the very beginning of my association with this Committee I have been in favour of Capital Hill but at the same time I have been amenable to the Senate and the Select Committee itself having a further look at the two sites.
Now, Mr Acting Deputy President, I want to refer to the present report that the Committee has put before the Senate. If honourable senators turn to page 4 of the appendix to the report they will see the names of members of the Committee. For the purpose of the record and with the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate in Hansard the names of members of the Committee.
Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin, K.C.M.G., President of the Senate.
Hon. W. J. Aston, M.P., Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Rt Hon. J. G. Gorton, M.P., Prime Minister (in absence, Hon. B. M. Snedden, Q.C., M.P., Minister for Immigration).
Rt Hon. J. McEwen, C.H., M.P., Minister for Trade and Industry (in absence, Hon. P. J. Nixon, M.P., Minister for the Interior).
Senator D. M. Devitt.
Senator T. C. Drake-Brockman, D.F.C., Chairman of Committees.
Senator D. McClelland.
Senator Dame Ivy Wedgwood, D.B.E.
Hon. G. D. Erwin, M.P., Minister for Air and Leader of the House.
Members added by Resolution of both Houses on 6 March 1969
Senator the Hon K. M. Anderson, Minister for Supply and Leader of the Government in the
– Absent without leave?
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- I was absent without leave but I had asked for leave.
-BROCKMAN-! was just going to tell honourable senators why I was absent from Committee meeting. On 25th February 1969 J received a letter from the Secretary of the Committee notifying me that it was proposed to hold the next series of meetings on Tuesday the 1.1th, Wednesday the 12th, and possibly Thursday 13th March. If honourable senators cast their minds back they will remember that the Senate was not sitting in that week. I postponed the engagements that 1 had during that period until the next period when the Senate would not be sitting.
When I returned to Canberra to attend the meeting on 5th March I learned as a result of questions to the Chairman of the Committee that not sufficient members would be present to form a quorum on 1 1th, 12th and 13th March and it was decided to cancel the proposed meetings during that period. An endeavour would be made to hold the series of meetings during the next period when the Parliament would not be sitting. I indicated to the President and to the Secretary that 1 had already changed my appointments in the period in which it was proposed to hold the meetings and I would not change the rearranged appointments to fit in with the meeting. The meering to which reference has been made was the only meeting of the Committee that I missed. 1 attended the meeting at which a report was presented to the Committee. I accepted the report. I was asked by my colleagues from whom I had dissented previously whether I would sign the dissenting report. I told them that although I still dissented I would not sign the dissenting report because 1 was not at the final meeting of the Committee when the decision was made, and that I would make my position known to the Senate in due course. I have just done that.
Now I want to say a little about why I still favour Capital Hill. In the first place 1 want to make known to the Senate that I was the only Government member who, in the dissenting report of the special committee in August 1968, voted for the Capital Hill site as against the lakeside site. I did that because 1 was not satisfied with the information which had been given to the Committee, lt appeared to me that too much emphasis had been placed on the fact that the present provisional Parliament House had to remain here and that if the new parliament house were placed on Capital Hill you could not see over the top of this building to Parkes Place which is the green area by the lakeside. A great deal of evidence seemed to me to be pointed towards the lakeside site. 1 do not blame anyone for that because Cabinet made a decision 10 years ago that the new and permanent parliament house was to be on the lakeside and the National Capital Development Commission had planned over that 10 years to put the building there. But when we came to consider the Camp Hill and Capital Hill sites I heard the evidence again with an open mind.
I pay tribute to Sir John Overall for the concise and, 1 think, very fair case that he put before the Committee in relation to the advantages of the two sites. I do not think anyone could complain that the information he gave to the Committee was biased in favour of one site against the other. But 1 heard no information which convinced me that 1 had made the wrong decision back in August 1 968. .
-BROCKMAN- I am not obstinate. I think all honourable senators would agree that if there were no Parliament House in Canberra there would not be any Canberra as we know it at the present time. Take Parliament House and the Government out of Canberra and what is left? That indicates to me that the Parliament and the Government are the most important instruments in this city. Therefore I believe that the new and permanent parliament house has to be located in a place of prominence. What better place of prominence could you have than Capital Hill, a pedestal waiting for something to be put on it? And surely to goodness Parliament House is the most important building one could place on Capital Hil’
-BROCKMAN- Here it is, the supreme arm of Government. Senator Marriott might like to contradict me on that. Surely the supreme arm of Government should stand alone in its eminence; and it would be standing alone in its eminence on Capital Hill.
We are told that if it is placed on Capital Hill there will be a traffic problem but that does not add up. If the parliament house were placed on Camp Hill amongst the complex of buildings - the High Court building, the National Library, the Treasury Building and so on - surely there would be a traffic problem of much greater proportions than would be the case with Capital Hill. I do not believe that the argument about a traffic problem with Capital Hill is valid because, in this day and age there are ways of getting over traffic problems. I believe that the Commission has only to knuckle down to this problem and it will find a solution. Over and over again when it suits some people they tell us that we have to do what Burley Griffin said. I want to read to the Senate something that Burley Griffin said in his original report when he considered Capital Ha as an alternative to Camp Hill for the site of the new and permanent parliament house. He even stated that Capital Hill might be preferable to Camp Hill. His own preference for the capitol on top of the hil] was due primarily to the fact that he considered the Parliament House needed to accommodate two Houses and would not lend itself easily to the architectural treatment required for the site.
Let me quote another well known name in the person of the Right Honourable W. M. Hughes. Perhaps I can get some people on the Opposition side of the Senate to come in with me.
-BROCKMAN - I would not know but you have always told me that he was a great fellow. Mr Hughes said:
The building on Capital Hill, whatever it be, will dominate the landscape-
No-one can growl about that - and bc the most prominent architectural feature in the layout of the city.
No-one can 91 owl about that either -
Having regard to the architectural features of Rome, Athens. Washington and all the other great capital cities of the world, the most important building in Canberra should be that in which Parliament sits . . . Therefore the dominating site at Canberra should be utilised for Parliament House.
If you want a third view let me quote Dr K. Langer, consultant town planner and architect, who told the 1955 Senate Select Committee - I might have Senator Wright on my side on this one - after studying the aspect from the top of Capital Hill:
I measured in grades the appearance of the Australian and American War Memorials in order to get the reciprocal height and bulk of the proposed parliament house which would be required at the end of the axis.
I emphasise ‘at the end of the axis’ -
I came to the conclusion that a tall, wide and impressive building is needed to fulfil the function of a focal point at the end of the long vista.
There- are the expressions of opinion of the experts. That leads me to the next point. We are told that if we go against this report we are going against the experts. My only reply is that we were told by the experts that the new and permanent parliament house should be on the lakeside site and we went against the experts and voted against it.
-BROCKMAN - I would not know. I want to go to the other matter. As Senator Buttfield says, who are the experts? Burley Griffin is often quated as being the expert. I shall quote again on this matter from Burley Griffin, who talked about a provisional parliament house. He was dead against building a provisional parliament house because he said it would remove for ever the possibility of a permanent building going on Camp Hill. I am sure he was right. Yet the experts went and built a provisional parliament house on the edge of Camp Hill.
-BROCKMAN- Some of them think they are experts, too. I have had a look at these sites; I think all senators who are interested in this matter have looked at them. In the Parliamentary Library is a display setting out the two sites, and one can be nothing but impressed by them. Indeed, the more one looks at the site for Parliament house proposed on Capital Hill the more one recognises that the original decision made in this chamber was the right one. If honourable senators examine these two plans they will find that, in the siting of Parliament House on Camp Hill, the new and permanent parliament house would be too close to the complex of other buildings. At this stage of our history, when the capital of Australia is comparatively young, it would be wrong to site the parliament house on Camp Hill, where it would be so close to the other complex.
We have been told and promised that the backdrop of Capital Hill would be left free of any building; originally it was decided that there should be cultural buildings up there, but now we have been told that the intention is to put only one spire there. What is going to happen within 20 years when the National Capital Development Commission is looking for a bit of land. This would be a prominent site, sitting up there, with a lonely spire sticking up. Would this not be a good position to put some building?
-BROCKMAN- If you and some of your colleagues who want to put it on Camp Hill, you might have another thought about it and put it up there. I believe that at this stage of our history we must leave plenty of room. 1 do not see why parliament house, the supreme arm of government, cannot be situated by itself on .this permanent site. Over the years, if it is desired to add further buildings, there would be plenty of room to add them. What do promises mean? They are given today in genuine good faith, but we cannot promise even for the next parliament what is going to happen; we cannot even promise that there is going to be a change of government. This promise that has been given to us, as a Committee, does not carry any weight with me.
Let me refer to our own Parliament House in Western Australia. We had a committee look at this situation, and it recommended that the parliament house be located down in Supreme Court Gardens, on the corner of Barrack Street and St Georges Terrace. The Parliament looked at it and said: ‘No, get it up on the hill, with a backdrop of another hill behind it’. This was good, but at the present time we have a barracks arch in front of it and a monstrosity of concrete built behind it; and there are four more monstrosities to go up afterwards. If that Committee had looked into the future, it would have recommended that the Western Australian Parliament House be built on the highest peak possible. I hope that this Parliament will not make that sort of mistake. 1 do not want to go on and canvass all these points. I hope that honourable senators have read the two reports and have taken time to go and look at the two layouts in the Parliamentary Library. I wish to make my own position perfectly clear. From the very beginning, when the first decision was made on where the site for the new and permanent parliament, house should be, I said Capital Hill; and I am still there. Having said that, I want to pay tribute to the Committee, for I believe it really worked hard. Some of the members of the Committee were perhaps fortunate or unfortunate, whichever way you like to look at it, to go round the world last year inspecting parliament houses. It was no easy trip. It was done in a ‘very short time, and the members of the Committee concerned worked very hard at their job. I pay tribute to Sir Alister McMullin, the Chairman of the Committee. I believe that he has done a very fine job, has performed a difficult task, and has stuck to it well.
Although I have never agreed wilh the National Capital Development Commission, and although I know they have not agreed with me, I believe that once it got o%’er that Cabinet decision in 1957, it has done a really good job. It has tried every way it knows to show us the pros and cons of these two sites. I believe that, while it may have personal inclinations, as a body it has been very fair in placing its evidence before the Committee. I hope that this Senate will now do as it did on the previous occasion - vole for the siting on Capital Hill.
– Would the honourable senator put the Governor-General’s residence and the Prime Minister’s Lodge alongside, as Burley Griffin suggested?
– There have been departures from the complete plan. I agree with alterations if they are based on expert opinion but not if a politician gets up and says: ‘I have found a site. There is a better view and you can see a wider area.’ Is it for us to decide because we like the view? Can we not see the whole concept of the original design? Should we not assist the fulfilment of the dream of the original designer, who favoured a site as near as possible to Camp Hill but was very much concerned with the proposed demolition of the present building? I think the demolition of this building would be a national calamity. I put a submission to the Committee that the present building should be incorporated in a new and permanent parliament house. 1 did not have the ability to elaborate on that proposal but 1 found that the Committee had received evidence from someone who had adopted this proposal and had the capability to put it into designs and words so that it was a possibility. This was Mr Jonathan Rudduck, student of town planning, of Goldstein College, Kensington. After he gave details of a design for the Camp Hill area he said that it would be impossible to use the present Parliament House by putting it on the Camp Hill area. He said:
Then we have the problem of the existing Parliament House. Should it be demolished or should it be retained? This will have to be decided by the Parliament. I have tackled the hardest problem of all by keeping it. I believe quite seriously that part of this building should be kept, and that is the front half. It will have to be restored and in the restoration it can be fitted in with the new parliament house which will grow immediately behind and spread back over the Camp Hill area as far as needed.
Therefore we find it was not only my isolated opinion but also the opinion of someone trained in this particular field.
– There is one other expert in this field who agrees with this proposal. I have not read all the evidence but I take it that the other experts did not agree with him because in their opinion he was trying to design a model of parliament house while trying to utilise the existing building which is sound and possibly the only historical national building that we have to represent our Commonwealth. The Committee gets over this by saying that it felt somewhat embarrassed about the present Parliament House. The Committee said it will have to come down; if we are to build in this area, it will have to be demolished; if we are to build in another area we should not look down on the roof of Parliament House; and that unless we demolish Parliament House we shall be looking down on its roof. The Committee claims that if we are to erect a new building on Camp Hill this building has to be demolished and it justifies this claim by referring to the heavy cost of maintenance of the present building. I suggest that honourable senators should make some inquiries and look at the solid structure that we have in the present Parliament
House. The cost of maintaining the present foundations and walls would not be high. We have heard of the necessity for rewiring, and it was necessary to have a new roof. This building has the most difficult type of roof from the point of view of maintenance. It is almost flat and does not let the water get away quickly. There are other things to consider in the cost of maintaining establishments.
Every time it rains, the only way I can work in my office is under an umbrella. Each occasion I report the leakages to Black Rod, and he gives prompt attention to the matter by sending me some buckets to catch the water. He has to write a requisition in triplicate for the Department of Works, which files so many copies and, I suppose, retains one. Then the Department sends some workmen around - as many as three on one occasion - to repair the roof. I do not know what they do, but in the next shower I get more water than I had previously. This has been going on all winter. In an afternoon one plumber could fix the roof. The present system is adding to the cost. The only other example of bad maintenance that I have seen is the door place knocked through the wall of Senator Murphys office. Looking at the patching up of the plastering, it is obvious that a plasterer was not employed to do that job. One can imagine the time it would take for an unskilled man to get cement and sand from a barrow, put it on a board, take it from the board to a hawk and from the hawk to the wall. Under this system to knock a hole through a wall and to patch up the wall would involve colossal expenditure. It could well be that the maintenance is poor, but I think the administration rather than the state of the building is to blame.
I now deal with the history associated with this building. Where in Australia is there a comparable meeting place? It is desired to have meeting halls for interstate and international conferences. Where is there a comparable meeting place which would permit the attendance of a listening public as this building does? Honourable senators should consider the memories associated with the many thousands of people who have visited or worked in this building. Only the other evening some friends of mine who live in Canberra, whom I had here, said that Canberra would not be the same if this old building were demolished. If the entrance is not what is desired for the future, there is plenty of area for a new front to be constructed. The area at the back of King’s Hall down to the dining room, where the Library is now, could be extended if necessary by using a series of piers. Over the two existing courtyards, by using pre-stressed concrete and steel girders that are used in foundations, a structure could be built to any height at which it is possible to build. I think this must be readily agreed: Whatever site is decided upon, there is no problem about area or about structural ability to construct a suitable building. As we were told, we are not discussing the design of the building. Modern architects could give detailed and complete plans of quite impressive buildings on either site.
We should not have ideas of grandeur or of building the greatest parliament house in the world. Members of the Committee studied various arches and domes throughout the world. We do not want to compete with those. It is very difficult. Our minds spread to ideas of those buildings that members of the Committee saw in their tour of the world. But we should attempt to build an Australian parliament house the design of which will be typically Australian. We should not attempt to slavishly copy anything else. As yet nothing has emerged as a true, distinctly Australian architectural design. What appeals to me is the square recesses at the entrance of this Parliament House rather than the normal columns, heads and caps on marble structures.
– I do not know that I would say that I like the Administrative. Block, but I like the recessed entrance that this Parliament House has. That suggests solid walls. The building could rise to the working section at the back, with the possibility, as I said, of extension of Kings Hall. That brings to mind further attractive ideas. I have always said that modern building concepts have proved that the old stone constructions which were designed to last 500 years are obsolete in 50 years. The old parliament houses around the world today leave much to be desired. Commercial’ undertakings will not rent office accommodation in buildings over 50 years old. That is why buildings wilh a life span of 50 years are being constructed. After that time they will be demolished and new buildings constructed. This is a profitable venture.
– I do not think it is desirable to have a parliament house without ornamentation. The parliament house could be so designed as to have all the necessary ornamentation in a solid building. Possibly at the rear there could be the modem concept of a building as a working area. At all times we - whatever politicians occupy the building - could work there.
– I do not think this is a hotch potch idea. We are considering the site only. I submit these suggestions so that they can be considered by architects who could design a building to suit any proposal. What I envisage would be more suitable for the Camp Hill area than it would be for Capital Hill, lt would permit the retention of the greater pari of the existing building, with its national and historical significance and its nostalgic memories that deserve some consideration. Experts should be called in to design such a building. It has been agreed that we discuss the alternative sites by debating a motion to rescind our present decision. If we carry the motion to rescind, the proposal in favour of Capital Hill is rejected. If we reject the rescission motion then a motion for the purpose of voting, as the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) said, on the adoption of the Committee’s recommendations will have to be moved. It was generally expected that this motion would be put without further discussion. I cannot agree with that proposal. Although it is not my intention to discuss any further motion now, I would vote for the rescission of our present decision so that a subsequent motion could be moved, but I could not agree’ to the adoption of the Committee’s report, because the Committee went far beyond the charter it was given. I would agree to the motion to rescind the present decision of the Senate - the Committee having inquired into the matter of the alternative sites and having recommended that the new and permanent parliament house be situated on Camp Hill, which suggestion I support - so that an investigation as to how the existing building can best be utilised, knowing the state in which it is, can be carried out. But the Committee went beyond its terms of reference which were to decide whether the new and permanent parliament house should be situated on Capital Hill or Camp Hill, lt decided that nothing should be built on Capital Hill except, perhaps, a spire. That is the suggestion of the Committee. What is to be erected on Capital Hill other than, perhaps, the new and permanent parliament house, had nothing to do with the Committee. We are not concerned with that in our discussions tonight.
– Because we are discussing the location of the new parliament house. Whether that location is to be Capital Hill is within the ambit of consideration, but if we decide that the location is to be Camp Hill, what is to be placed on Capital Hill is not within our consideration and was not within the terms of reference of the Committee.
– I do not think it is. The Committee also recommended that no building should be permitted inside the area of State Circle, and went on to recommend:
The Committee went on to deal with a number of issues which I submit were not within its terms of reference. It recommended:
I am totally opposed to that recommendation. While I am prepared at this stage to support the recision proposal, I am not prepared subsequently to support the adoption of all’ the Committee’s recommendations. I am prepared to support the recommendation as to the location of the site for the new and permanent parliament house.
– What if the majority is nol so big?
– If the majority is not so big, that is our problem. We have before us excellently prepared details of the Capital Hill and Camp Hill sites. There is ample visual and documentary evidence to enable us to reach a sensible decision on this matter. 1 would like to express to the members of the public the appreciation of the Senate for the interest they have shown in this matter. By their submissions to the Joint Select Committee I believe great interest has been developed throughout the Commonwealth. The professional people who gave freely of their advice deserve the thanks of this House. The National Capital Development Commission deserves our congratulations for its comparative study of the Capital Hill and Camp Hill areas. I much appreciate the time and energy that has been spent by the Committee on behalf of members and senators.
I was interested in the comment of one witness before the Committee, ft has some bearing on my comments of a few minutes ago. He said that a proper earlier reference of the whole question to Parliament by a former Prime Minister could have obviated this situation. He said that unhappily Parliament was ignored and the matter proceeded solely by Executive decision in an essentially parliamentary sphere. So it is quite right that the Senate should debate this matter this evening. I was greatly interested to note the various documents presented to the Joint Select Committee. Of 184 members of Federal Parliament, in all twelve members of both Houses saw fit to submit recommendations to the Committee. Of that number only three were at that time in favour of the Camp Hill site. It is interesting that the matter held sufficient interest for twelve members of both Houses to submit evidence. Submissions were requested by the placing of newspaper advertisements. Fourteen submissions were received of which eleven were in favour of the Camp Hill site; of the other three, one suggested that a proper basis should be set forth for decision. A second suggested that the best site should be chosen and the third was adamant that the Capital Hill site should be chosen.
– Undoubtedly the honourable senator has read them. The point is that the interest in this matter is represented by the numbers J have mentioned. The basis upon which the report is then made is the various documents and those submissions. The report indicates that the main body of opinion is that Camp Hill is the most impressive. I believe that one must be impressed by the wealth of opinion contained in the report. Architects have expressed their opinions. I think it is quite pertinent to state that following the decision of the Senate that the Capital Hill site would be the most suitable, I had probably a dozen letters from architects - I am not certain whether the Royal Australian Institute of Architects wrote at that stage all of which were hostile to the site chosen being other than the lake site.
– Undoubtedly, Senator Buttfield has had some experience with architects, as all of us have, and realises that there are excellent architects and some who are not so excellent. But the point I make is that following our decision in favour of Capital Hill we were inundated with comments from architects to the effect that the new and permanent parliament house must be on the lake site. One witness before the Committee said in referring to the fact that those who are now advocating Camp Hill had previously been adamant that the lake site should be chosen:
So let us have no more invocation of the authority of Burley Griffin by men who yesterday were advocating a site which negated his plan completely. I think it is very telling that those individuals scarcely view the lake site as being acceptable today. ] was impressed with the wording of the submission put to the Committee by the Institute of Architects. All honourable senators will have read this submission. Among the four areas which it considered fit to put forward it noted, first, the benefits of Capital Hill, secondly the benefits of Camp Hill, and then presented its conclusions. Although I have great respect for the architects who are members of the Institute, I am afraid that the choice that they put forward has very little basis for acceptance. Of Capital Hill they say:
The location of a bicameral parliament at the junction of the land axis and the axes of a number of radiating roads would impose severe restrictions on the designers of parliament house and its environs.
It is very hard to accept that an architect would have his heart in a comment like that. I believe that if Capital Hill does pose architectural difficulties ft should present a challenge to the architects. The second point they made in a consideration of Capital Hill was this:
A land axis, having for its terminals the War Memorial and parliament house on Capital Hill would be too long and out of scale with the special character of Canberra. . . .
– Yes, but those who wrote earlier to the honourable senator and to me saying that the parliament house should be beside the lake apparently did not consider that point to be very important. That is the manner in which I judge the comment from the architects, although I give them credit for making this valid point. The third point was this:
The functional relationships between a parliament located on Capital Hill and other buildings, existing and projected, within the parliamentary triaangle would be seriously deficient.
I cannot imagine how they could have come to that conclusion - how they could have believed that if the parliament house were put on Capital Hill the supporting buildings could be seriously deficient. It was suggested also that the preparation of an adequate area for parliament house on Capital Hill would most certainly reduce that elevation to something approximating the elevation of Camp Hill. This is an attitude on the part of architects which I have experienced before. I have heard from many officials that it would be necessary to bulldoze 30 feet or 40 feet off the top of Capital Hill before that would present a suitable site. That is a ridiculous proposition. If I could not find an architect who could design a building for the level that is now associated with Capital Hill I would be most disappointed.
The fifth point made was that the view from Capital Hill is excessively suburban. That seems to be a good proposition. If it is suggested that from a building on Capital Hill one would look down on roofs, I would submit that any building so placed would have that outlook. I find nothing wrong in having that as an outlook for a parliament house. Whether the outlook is industrial, urban or takes in the beauty of the buildings that we have in Canberra, it would not detract from the benefits of Capital Hill. Another point put forward is that it would be a deviation from the plan proposed by Walter Burley Griffin. I have commented on that suggestion already. The last point was that the existing provisional parliament house would have to be demolished. I cannot accept that as an argument.
In its report in favour of Camp Hill the Committee said that it was the road pattern which gave an eminence to Capital Hill. Indeed, bodies endeavouring to assist members and senators went to the great length of placing a crane with a sighting board on the top of Camp Hill to give an indication of the elevation of that sight compared with Capital Hill. When one reads the Committee’s conclusions one is astounded at the comments that it makes. The Committee seemed to think that it was surprising that from a level lower than Camp Hill the sighting board appeared to be much higher than the flag pole on Capital Hill. That is an obvious comment. I cannot imagine how anybody could argue that if you have a hole into which you put a pole which reaches up to the level of an intended building that that will make the site acceptable for the building. An important point relating to height which has not been brought sufficiently to our attention is that the Capital Hill site is about 75 feet higher than Camp Hill. No matter what is done, that represents approximately four floors of building before you even reach the height of Capital Hill.
- Senator Prowse mentions that in actual fact Capital Hill is 75 feet higher than Camp Hill. Comment was made about the ease of building on the Camp Hill site, but surely one cannot consider that. I believe that the new parliament house will be a building which will challenge the architectural wisdom of, I hope, an Australian architect. 1 sincerely hope that it will be an Australian architect who will be commissioned to design this edifice. Another important point made by the Committee related to the area available on Camp Hill. I remind the Senate that when the Leader of the Government (Senator Anderson) was saying that the sites were approximately the same in area, 1 endeavoured to prompt him. This suggestion is very far from the truth. If it is agreed that all open ground from Capital Hill down to the lake is available, no matter which site is chosen one could agree that the area available for either site is the same; but this does not agree with the view presented to us by the National Capital Development Commission which indicated at page 21 of the report that the area of the parliamentary zone inside State Circle was 135 acres. At page 24 the Commission said:
The Camp Hill area extending to King George Terrace contains about 65 acres.
In fact it is very clear that if one is to consider both sites one should not attempt to take the view that the Camp Hill area takes in the whole of the Capital Hill area also. That is a fallacious and untruthful argument which is put before the Senate. Some people do not wish to bring such information before the Senate. The fact is that on the Capital Hill site there is 135 acres and on the Camp Hill site there is half that area - 65 acres. There should be little doubt as to what should influence honourable senators as to the way they should cast their votes.
– I suggest that the honourable senator ask the Leader of the Government why he said that the areas were approximately the same. In saying that he was reiterating the view put forward by the Committee in its report. The Committee says that the areas are approximately the same. One may argue that way, but no sensible person could accept that as the fact.
A further argument for the Camp Hill site is that Capital Hill would be a very pleasant backdrop to a building on that site. I agree with that. I also agree that a building on the Camp Hill site would have a wonderful view. The Committee suggests that it would be sheltered from the weather. That is a unique comment. If the building were placed even lower it would have that attribute even more. The Committee says that there are historical considerations. I believe that the historical considerations are far greater in the case of Capital Hill than in the case of Camp Hill. So, whilst I am impressed by the status and elevation of those people who submitted evidence and gave their best advice in the form of arguments for Camp Hill, I am not sufficiently impressed by the arguments for Camp Hill and those that point to the disadvantages of Capital Hill. 1 make these points: The new parliament house should be planned and erected on Capital Hill. It should be planned to be based on a central block with 3 or 4 storeys above ground level. The level should be in common with the natural and existing ground level of Capita] Hill at this time The central block should have at least four floors below ground level. The planning should provide for future supporting buildings at a lower level so as to support the parliamentary edifice and give proper effect to the road pattern that already exists.
The now existing Parliament House should be utilised and should be left to stand for a calculated period of usefulness - perhaps 30 years - and eventually should be demolished. It could be used as a conference centre. This need should require its retention. It has been mentioned that the state of repair of the present building is poor. I think I heard a comment by one honourable senator that a much greater amount of money had to be spent on it each year. That may be correct. The National Capital Development Commission suggested that the maintenance cost had risen from about $30,000 per annum in 1957-58 to $50,000 per annum in 1967-68.
– If anybody cared to make a calculation on the basis of a rate of inflation of 3i% to 4% per annum over that 10-year period, I think he would find that the amount being spent today is the equivalent of that which was spent 10 years ago. To back up my statement that the existing building surely should not be demolished at this time, 1 quote the following statement from page 10 of the comparative study by the National Capital Development Commission:
Referring generally to the structural character of the building, few cracks have appeared and these have been of no structural significance. The provisional Parliament House has stood the test of time and is considered structurally sound.
I accept the view of the experts in that matter and discount the view that was given to us, namely, that the present building may be in bad condition. After giving due consideration to the work of the Joint Select Committee, I recommend to the Senate the Capital Hill site.
– Does the honourable senator mean that he has not a great interest in the site of the new parliament house?
– I have a great interest in the site of the new parliament house; but I was attending a meeting of another committee of the Parliament on the relevant day. The two committee meetings clashed.
– No, I did not. As my name does not appear in the vote that was taken on that day, I felt bound to explain to the Senate what the position was. Then, when the Joint Select Committee was making its decision to agree to the report to be furnished to the Parliament, I felt that it would be quite wrong and improper for me to vote against that proposition at that stage. I thought the Parliament was entitled to have that report. It represented the considered views of that Committee on the basis of all the evidence it had collected. That explains why I feel that I am able to rise and speak in favour of the Capital Hill site, as Senator DrakeBrockman did.
I do not propose at this stage to canvass the reasons I gave to the Senate on the former occasion when I spoke on this matter. If I recall correctly, I mentioned on that occasion some of the things which, in the course of an overseas visit, I found to be extremely important in considering the type and location of a new parliament house,. and the type of facilities and ancillary buildings and appointments which were necessary for a parliament in modern times. In the course of our meetings with officials of the Parliaments we visited overseas, it was very evident to all of us - it certainly was to me - that it would be very easy, in planning a new parliamentary building, to under-estimate the requirements. 1 believe that during the previous debate I mentioned what had happened in New York in regard to the United Nations building. I think that building was opened in 1951. It had a floor space of 600,000 square feet. In 1968 it was found to be 400,000 square feet short of that required for the United Nations Secretariat and for the other activities that go on in it. Surely that gives some indication of the seeming inability of modern planners, designers and engineers who are charged with the responsibility of erecting buildings of this kind to estimate the physical requirements properly. Therefore it is very important for us to take account of the fact that in providing a new parliament house we must certainly not fall short in terms of space, appointments and this sort of thing but rather that we should err in the other direction. Evidence from around the world points to this view.
Unless we do err in this way I suggest that after completion and occupation of the new parliament house the time will not be far distant when we will be required to undertake a substantial building programme. So we come back to the problems a parliament may meet in performing its functions in this modern day and agc if it has inadequate provision. One has only to look at the situation in this present building light now to appreciate some of the difficulties that face the back bench members of the Parliament in trying to perform their functions and the hopelessly inadequate facilities provided. We find the intrusion, day after day, of the Ministry into areas of Parliament House formerly reserved for private members. We are cramped and there are inadequate facilities. This very seriously hampers the work of private members of the Parliament. We have to take account of all these things when attempting to assess the needs of a new and permanent parliament house.
When 1 spoke previously on this matter I think I pointed out to the Senate the great problems that exist, for instance, at Kuala Lumpur where there is a magnificent and beautiful parliamentary building. One could not find a better site and a more imposing edifice anywhere in the world. However, because of the inability of the planners and designers of those times to foresee the requirements of the future, the building at Kuala Lumpur is very inadequate for the purpose it is now required to serve. The architectural concept was established and developed on the basis of the requirements of the time. Subsequently, the development of the parliamentary system and the formation of Malaysia imposed additional requirements and demands upon the space available in that building. I understand that nothing now can be done. That is the opinion held by the people concerned in Kuala Lumpur. Nothing can be done to overcome the problems without destroying the architectural concept of that beautiful building. That was the first parliament building we visited and that was the situation we found.
We went on to India. I want the Senate to take particular notice of what we found there because this has a very close relationship with what we might very well do here in Canberra if we make the wrong decision as to the site for the new and permanent parliament house. In India a circular parliamentary building accommodates the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, which are the two houses of parliament in New Delhi. There again, because of the inadequacy of the facilities available to members due to the increasing demands made upon the parliamentary system and the physical space available within the building, it is now necessary to find additional accommodation so that the Indian Parliament may carry on with its work. From memory that building is 300 yards in diameter, lt is now necessary to build an executive complex about a thousand yards, I believe, from the present building in order not to destroy the architectural concept of the parliamentary building.
So again, Mr Acting Deputy President, we come back to this old question which seems to bedevil this growing and developing society of ours - the inability of those charged with the responsibility to plan sufficiently far into the future to meet the demands expected during the lifetime of a building. In India the parliamentary building stands in a position inferior to that of another building which is on an eminence. I believe the other building is the Viceroy’s old residence in New Delhi. Now nothing can be done to upgrade the parliamentary building, to add to it architecturally or structurally, or to improve it in any way to make it stand out against the other building. 1 was quite amazed to see this because I expected that the parliamentary building would stand out above buildings in the surrounding area. I hope honourable senators will take this into account when assessing the ultimate location of the new and permanent parliament house.
I know of no argument against the proposition that it is possible to build the new and permanent parliament house on Camp Hill. A most beautiful building could be erected there. [ do not think we should make any mistake about that point. I now want to come back to what I said about the new parliament house being located at the lakeside. When we discussed that site 1 was not aware - nor were all the other honourable senators - that there would bc foundation difficulties, water seepage difficulties and that sort of thing. So far as the site and the general beauty of the area are concerned, there would not have been any great problem in locating a very beautiful and attractive building there.
But we are faced with this proposition: As I said about the first parliament house that the Committee visited, architectural problems were apparent. There were problems as to the space available. The United Nations building in New York also revealed this problem although no doubt it had been built after the most modern planning that one could expect in a building of that kind. The person in charge of the architectural situation at the United Nations building, in New York, Mr van Name, discussed this problem with members of the Committee. I spoke to him about it because I was concerned, as a result of my past experience in local government, about this seeming inability of people to assess future needs and to plan adequately to meet the problems. Mr van Name certainly agreed with me that one of the easiest traps that one could fall into in the construction of a building of this kind was to build it on an inadequate scale and according to an architectural design which did not sufficiently allow for future needs. 1 will not go into details of what we saw in the Bundestag at Bonn in relation to the inadequacy of accommodation. I suppose if one looks for an example of hopeless inadequacy in a parliament building one could not go beyond the parliament buildings at Whitehall. In the Mother of Parliaments some 200 members do not even get a seat. How any parliament functions with a system like that I would not know. I suppose one has to give credit where it is due. I know that it was Churchill’s idea to have the Parliament-
– I have seen the Senate chamber packed on occasions. When I rise to speak it is not a sufficiently important occasion to warrant all the seats being, occupied but that does not deter me a great deal because I propose to say what I have, to say and I hope those who are here will learn something from it. What I am saying is based upon my own observations and upon information which was supplied to me.
– That is an important point. I agree with Senator Gair that the taxpayers would be justified in believing, as I do, that I have an obligation to them to state these views. Whether what I say will be taken very much to heart in the final determination is immaterial although I hope honourable senators will be impressed by at least some of the things that I have to say. For the reasons Senator Gair has mentioned and for a number of other reasons I feel bound to say them. We must always be conscious of the location of the new and permanent parliament house in relation to its dominance of the landscape. Surely this is the reason for which Canberra was established. Surely the new and permanent parliament house should be sited in the most dominant position in the area.
I pay a tremendous tribute to Burley Griffin. I think he did a magnificent job. Senator Cavanagh eulogised Burley Griffin’s planning ability and so on. 1 do not think any of us would argue about that. However I direct attention to one of Burley Griffin’s shortcomings in that he designed this area on the basis of a population of 75,000 people. That shows how even the best of us can go wrong. The present population of Canberra is about 120,000 people and, according to the projections of population development, by the turn of the century we will have at least a quarter of a million people in this area. I mention that fact merely to indicate that even the best planners and the best design engineers can go wrong. I take nothing from Burley Griffin. I suggest only that he could make a mistake. We all are very much inclined to under-estimate. Very seldom, if ever, to my knowledge have we over-estimated a situation.
– I do not know.
– I am not suggesting that there would be any great effect except that he based his design concept on a population expectation, and he would not have said that if it did not have some relevance to his planning.
– It may have some relevance. So far as I am concerned, its relevance lies iti the fact that despite his great eminence - we take nothing from him - he was capable of making errors, and it was quite a substantial error of judgment when, as I mentioned to Senator Wright, he referred to a population expectation of 75,000 people. Already we have exceeded that number. It may not be terribly relevant but I think it has some relevance in the total concept.
The Committee had the opportunity to visit the United States Congress. We met the chief architect, Mr Stewart, a grand old man who gave us a most enlightening report on the development of that splendid looking magnificent building. It really stands out. It is on an eminence. I think it truly represents what the Parliament stands for. In the United States of America the Parliament really does stand for something. Let me digress slightly to say that the American people are very conscious of their parliamentary system and of their country. All over the place one sees small scale models of the United States flag. People are conscious of their nation and its tremendous development. In the United States Congress there is a shortage of space in terms of the immediate requirements they see for extensions to office complexes and other ancillary appurtenances to the parliamentary system, so much so that they have reserved against any future housing development in the area in which it is proposed to erect additional buildings to serve the Parliament of the United States of America.
Everywhere we went it was brought home to us most forcibly that the institution of parliament was growing day by day in the lives of the people. I think that is important because despite what you hear and what you read in the Press about the Australian Parliament - very often the most eulogistic terms are not used in reference to us but we have to learn to accept that - the institution of parliament is developing day by day and, I believe, is playing a more important role in the lives of the people in the countries we visited and certainly in Australia. I understand that some 3,000 people pass through our Parliament House each day. In Canada about 10,000 people pass through that Parliament House every day and in the United States of America the number is 30,000. That is the kind of thing we have to plan for as well as a roads system, parking areas and the other things that form essential parts of the whole complex of a parliamentary system.
That brings me back to what I said in my opening remarks about the site of the new and permanent parliament house being an indispensable ingredient in the complete plan. If we fail at this stage in our lives to plan adequately for the Parliament of this country, we fail in our responsibility. Surely, bearing these things in mind, and bearing in mind the need for a sufficiency of space, one of the most important considerations we have to bring into this debate is the adequacy of the space available. The Senate may recall that when 1 addressed it previously on this matter 1 made an observation that the lakeside site was quite adequate for the requirements of a parliament in the next, say, 60 or 70 years, and that there would be no problem at all involved in putting up a most beautiful building there - a building representing all the aspirations of the Australian people and so on. But we are not bent upon the provision of a parliament to last 60 or 70 years or so. I hope that we are talking today of providing something monumental in this country - something to represent the aspirations of the people of this country. I hope that we are thinking of something that we, in our time, can provide so that posterity - the people who come after us - will be able to say, ‘At least those people had some vision, and provided something that represents our outlook and what this young, growing and developing country stands for.:
I again sound the warning that, unless we are big enough and are able to take into consideration these factors that bear upon the decision concerning the location and type of parliament house we are to build, we should leave the whole project alone. I am sorry that this whole question is bedevilled by a decision made upon a recommendation, I understand, by Prime Minister Menzies in 1958. which was adopted by Cabinet, for parliament house to be put on the lakeside. A great deal of work has gone into the development of the road systems and the general layout of this area in which it was proposed that parliament house be situated. A lot of the planning and work that went into that was based upon the concept - and surely we are entitled to assume this - that parliament house would be built on the lakeside. If we intend to put parliament house on Capital1 Hill, 1 suppose we are now faced with the great and expensive problem of attempting to undo this work. But surely this should not so colour our opinion about it that we decide against the Capital Hill site and, for the sake of convenience and because of what has been done in the engineering design of road systems and so on, that we are obliged to put parliament house down on the Camp Hill site. 1 am not suggesting that this will form a great part of the consideration of this question by honourable senators, but I think they should take into account, that this is to be a monumental building, which is to stand for centuries I hope, like some of the great buildings round the world that we were able to see. I think that we should be able to divorce from our thoughts and minds the fact that someone spent so many hundred thousands of dollars on the provision of road systems and this has all got to be torn up and the whole thing redesigned. We can forget about that and look at it in the light of a building that is to stand as a monument for hundreds of years.
We are faced with this proposition: We are required shortly to undertake the building of a new and permanent parliament house. Associated with this building, we will have to build the ancillary structures that are essential for the development of the parliament house area. Also, we have to be able to look sufficiently far into the future to ensure that we have an area of land that will enable us to design the thing architecturally, to accord with the surrounding landscape, to be feasible from an engineering viewpoint, and to allow for further development in the years that lie ahead. I do not know what will happen to the parliamentary system, lt is difficult for us, when talking of providing something that is to last for centuries, to attempt to assess what we will be doing in the Parliament. Certainly we will not be doing much, although we might be quoted in a few decades. However, it is difficult to assess what the position will be regarding parliaments in the future. At the same time, it is important for us now to take account of these two factors - the area that the building is to be provided in, and how it will dominate the landscape.
The Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) when he addressed another place on 13th May referred to this matter at pages 1702 and 1703 of Hansard. He quoted certain areas available in the Capital Hill area and in the Camp Hill area. A short time ago Senator Webster referred to the fact that Capital Hill had an area of 130 acres and that Camp Hill had an area of 65 acres. These figures do not accord with the areas given by the Minister for the Interior when he addressed another place a few nights ago. In fact, I think senators might-
– Leave it for a moment; I shall come back to it. In the report itself there is no reference to an area. I tried to find this out. I had quoted to me a figure of 31 acres in this parliament house area, I think it is called. There is an area of 65 acres in the Camp Hill area, and some other figure was given for some other area.
– That is right. Let me tell you that I asked for these figures on the occasion when the draft report was adopted by this Committee, but I could not get them.
– Let me finish, senator. Mr Bryant of the House of Representatives also sought this information, and ultimately resorted to taking a measurement of the area himself, based upon what he saw as a definition of this area. Surely the Minister could have come straight out and stated it? We were told that the lakeside area had 87 acres, and the Senate believed that this was insufficient for the provision of a parliament house. Now we are being asked to believe that it is proper to build a. parliament house on 65 acres. I do not agree with that.
– You may make your speech later. I do not often interrupt you, so please give me a bit of a go. I am doing something that will improve your mind on this matter; I am not being unfair. The honourable senator may say what he likes in reply to what I am putting. In conclusion, if it becomes a question of the two areas being equal, then surely, if we are to have some regard to the fact that the parliament house should dominate, there is only one place for it - that is, on Capital Hill.
– That is a reasoned argument.
– I am indebted to Senator Murphy for his encouragement. The second broad matter to which 1 desire to refer is the fact that a committee has been appointed and whether or not the fact that that committee has reported should be a factor of weight with this Senate. 1 have no doubt that if the Committee presents its views - and I am sure every honourable senator should read what the report said - and influences honourable senators to alter their preconceived views, they should be honest enough to accept that. The fact that the Committee has reported gives its report no greater weight than that of some ten or twenty individuals in this Senate who have expressed views one after another. This is in no sense an expert committee. It is simply a joint committee consisting of selected senators and members and all they have heard is material which is the same as the material which has been reported to us. They are in no better position than we are to express views on that material. Accordingly I feel it is proper to examine the Committee’s views simply on the basis of what it says. It is proper to examine it in that way and if what the Committee says does not appeal as being based on reason it should be rejected. I have taken the trouble to examine carefully the report and 1 find in it much that is inconsistent and nothing which is persuasive. I find it surprising that the time which has been spent by this Committee in this particular activity should have been, as I see it, so poorly spent, that the reasons which have been given are not reasons which are either persuasive or follow from the reasoning which is set out in supposed justification of it.
The Committee has come to four conclusions on why it favours Camp Hill. The first appears in paragraph 44 of the report setting out why Capital Hill should be rejected. In the first paragraph it is stated that the Capital Hill building would be dominant and isolated. In what way does the fact that a building will be dominant and isolated if it be placed on Capital Hill indicate that it is not in those circumstances a proper site for a parliament house. The Committee concluded:
The view of a building on Capital Hill from the avenues leading to it is dominant and isolated. The very fact of its isolation, however could mean that the building would not appear as impressive as a building sited as a culminating edifice in a total civic entity.
– I am gratified to have Senator Poyser’s support and to learn that he also does not understand what is meant by ‘culminating edifice in a total civic entity’. It would appear that to think of a building either on Camp Hill or Capital Hill as being in a total civic entity is unrealistic. They are both open areas. In my opinion the fact that an impressive building is dominant and that there is no building around it so that the architectural features of this dominance will be enhanced, is a reason for placing a building on that site rather than a reason against doing so. May I say that this argument against Capital Hill is the very first reason why. the Committee says: ‘We favour Camp Hill’. There is a lack of logic in that argument. The second reason is that it is not visible in a direct line from the main avenues. The Committee in the second paragraph says:
Camp Hill provides a site of unexpected visual eminence which will be integrated wilh other enhancing buildings and be particularly striking when seen from the land axis.
Why should Camp Hill be favoured because it has an ‘unexpected visual eminence’? Might I also inquire, rhetorically, what unexpected visual eminence’ means. What is meant by the expression ‘which will be integrated with other enhancing buildings’? 1 understand that things will be pulled down so that there will be ample space for the new- parliament house to be put up. What is meant by the words ‘and be particularly striking when seen from the land axis’. I am not sure what a land axis is. If I am viewing a particular building or scene from a certain place I cannot be sure that the place where I stand is the land axis. This is part of what I respectfully call the mumbo-jumbo of those people who get wrapped up in town planning and use town planning phrases to justify preconceived conclusions. The Committee reported in the third paragraph:
The single axis on which Camp Hill is centred provides a less restrictive site and logically offers greater freedom for design and expansion.
There again I feel that the opinion which is expressed is not based upon facts as disclosed by the report. I leave aside the question of what is a single axis on which Camp Hill is centred. I feel also that it is meaningless and if as distinct from being meaningless it refers to a line drawn from the War Memorial to Capital Hill one is equally justified in saying that Capital Hill is on that axis. The Committee goes on to say that Camp Hill will provide a less restrictive site. I fail to see how an area of 30 acres which possibly is expandable to 60 acres could be called a less restrictive site than an area of 135 acres. The Committee said that Camp Hill offers greater freedom for design and expansion. Clearly there cannot be greater freedom for expansion and as for freedom of design, if the intention Ls to say that looking towards the War Memorial we can have a horizontally extended building, then I can see the point in it. Accepting that there is point in it, is there not greater scope for some sort of design with the same sort of approach and outlook as on Capital Hill? The fourth reason which is expressed is that, by being close to the present House, it may offer advantage during the transition from the old House to the new. That is a transitional argument of dubious weight.
I was staggered when I read this report, because those are not reasons at all and there is nothing whatever in the report which provides anything more striking to support the view which is arrived at. All I say is that I have the strong view which I have expressed that the members of this Committee were determined from the outset that if they could not have the lake site they would not have Capital Hill. That is the result that has been arrived at. If one looks at the other things that the Committee has said it can be seen that it is going in the face of its own reasoning. I refer to paragraph 25, which states:
The new Parliament building will, it is hoped, be one of the finest Parliament Houses in the world and since the Commonwealth Parliament is the reason for Canberra’s existence, the aim should be to ensure that, beyond any doubt, the building stands pre-eminent in this city.
I simply say that the Committee is obviously adhering to the view that the parliament house should be the most pre-eminent building in the city and from that, in the light of the report, certain conclusions must flow. Paragraph 26 says:
The summit of Capital Hill is at the apex of the Parliamentary Triangle. Two of the city’s main avenues lead up to it, both physically and visually, as do five other important avenues. These avenues will always give clear views of the summit unaffected by the later growth of buildings in Barton or the Parliamentary Triangle, lt is, indeed, the road pattern rather than the height of the Hill which gives prominence to this site.
Paragraph 27 states:
It is the view of this site from the avenues and from the central area of Canberra which is the main and probably the only factor which excites the imagination and establishes this site as pre-eminent in the opinion of those who have not studied the matter in all its aspects. It is, for instance, far more difficult to visualise the impact of a building on Camp Hill.
One sentence of paragraph 3 1 reads:
That architects of the highest Australian or international repute could not today design a fine building for Capital Hill is inconceivable.
Having said that, having stressed the importance of the parliamentary building as the most important building in the city, having indicated that Capital Hill clearly has an eminence that is aided by the road pattern and having stressed also that architecturally there is no problem, because a fine building could be designed, in paragraphs 45 and 46 these quite incriminating statements are made:
Originally Griffin planned a building of some size on Capital Hill. He called it the Capitol ‘that has a limited function, either as a general administration structure for popular reception and ceremonial, or for housing archives and commemorating Australian achievements rather than for deliberation or counsel; at any rate representing the sentimental and spiritual head, if not the actual working mechanism of the Government of the Federation’. He went on to say that ‘Kurrajong (Capita! Hill) is deemed too large and too high for a convenient working organisation of Parliament, but, being the only conspicuous internal eminence that has a skyline visible from practically every portion of the city, it lends itself to an architectural treatment that need comprise little more than in the necessary ramps, stairs, and terraces for outlook to make it, by its natural bulk, the dominating architectural feature’.
– Walter Burley Griffin. Paragraph 46 states:
With Griffin’s view, that the structure on Capital Hill should bc the ‘dominating architectural fature’ the Committee emphatically disagrees. As has been mentioned before, the Parliament must possess the most dominating building in the city.
If the Parliament should have the most dominating building in the city and if Capital Hill lends itself to the most dominating feature, why does not the Committee say that Capital Hill should be the place? I suggest that there is a flaw in the reasoning of the Committee which confused its purpose. It is obvious that while Burley Griffin considered that Capital’ Hill should have this dominating architectural feature - although he said it should not be the parliament house for reasons which have been advanced here tonight and for reasons which he expressed, because it would not lend itself to the parliament house - if the Parliament thinks that the parliament house should be that dominating architectural feature, then obviously in terms of what Walter Burley Griffin thought it should go on Capital Hill. I consider that this report is not the kind of report which ought to be given any weight by the Senate, for reasons which I have mentioned and for other reasons which will commend themselves to honourable senators if they read the report. I do not think the report supports the reasons which it advances. The Senate is asked to rescind a decision previously arrived at. I hope that far from rescinding it the Senate, by a resounding defeat of the rescission motion, will confirm emphatically that it believes that the site of the new parliament house should be on Capital Hill.
– I ask for leave to make a statement on behalf pf the AttorneyGeneral,
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman)- There being no objection, leave is granted.
I inform the Senate that the Whips have had this matter under discussion. The motion follows much the same lines as previous motions about times of meeting.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I indicate to the Senate that at the conclusion of today’s sittings, which will go on until 10.30 p.m. - bearing in mind the hope that has been expressed previously of concluding the sittings by Thursday of next week - if the Senate finds itself in a critical position in relation to Government Business, I propose to give real consideration to moving next Tuesday that Government Business take precedence over General Business after 8 p.m. on Tuesday. That is only an indication of my present feelings on the matter. I do not want to move such a motion on Tuesday without having at least indicated that I am contemplating such a move, having regard to the work factor.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT - The President wishes to advise the Senate that he has received a letter from the Leader of the Government in the Senate appointing Senator Sim to fill a vacancy on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator. Wright) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
On 26th November last in a statement to the Senate Senator Anderson informed honourable senators of the Government’s intention to introduce legislation during this session to provide for non-contributory units, within specified fields in the Commonwealth superannuation scheme and also to reduce the degree of tapering in eligibility for pension benefits under the scheme. This Bill gives effect- to the proposals Senator Anderson then outlined. In his statement of last November Senator Anderson explained that the Government had given careful consideration to the position of members of the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund who, at later stages of their Public Service careers, become entitled to take up additional units of superannuation pension but, because the fortnightly contributions involved are then so high, find it difficult or impossible to do so. The problem arises from the nature of the Commonwealth superannuation scheme itself. Being a benefit purchase scheme it requires the employee’s full share of the cost of additional pension entitlements taken up to be met by the officer over the remainder of his career, however short that may be . Thus while additional units of pension entitlement attracted by increases in salary are relatively inexpensive in terms of increased fortnightly contributions when an officer is still young, they become increasingly costly as the officer nears retirement.
Not infrequently the cost of taking up additional unit entitlements at later ages more than exceeds - sometimes by a wide margin - the increase in salary that gives rise to the entitlement. Officers in the lower levels of Commonwealth employment are affected just as much as those in the higher grades. In fact, because of the tapering of superannuation pension entitlements above a salary of $6,630 a year, the effect can be even more pronounced at the lower levels. On the other hand, the effect of increased instalment deductions for taxation consequent on salary increases bears more heavily at the higher salary levels. Honourable senators will be aware that the Commonwealth contributes to the Superannuation Fund concurrently with the payment of benefits rather than at the time that the officer contributes. The standard amount of the Commonwealth’s contribution for each unit of pension payable to a retired officer is $65 a year or $1.25 a week. When an officer finds it necessary to forgo additional pension entitlement because of the cost of contributing for that entitlement, the Commonwealth at present in effect makes a saving at his expense. The officer in respect of whom this saving is made is usually one who has spent his working life in the service of the Commonwealth.
The provision for non-contributory units in the Bill will relieve this situation. The overall effect of the Bill will be to make it possible for officers, subject to meeting certain requirements, to take up part of their unit entitlements on a non-contributory basis if they choose to do so. These noncontributory units will, of course, carry a lower rate of pension than contributory units. The standard value of a non-contributory unit will be $65 a year, or five-sevenths of the standard value attaching to a contributory unit - $91 a year - the five-sevenths representing the Commonwealth’s share of each contributory unit of superannuation pension payment. Eligibility to take up a unit on a non-contributory basis will be subject to two main tests. The first is that at the time he makes the election to take up the unit on a non-contributory basis the number of units for which he is contributing must be nol less than one-half of his full unit entitlement, as defined in the Bill, at that time. This will ensure that the officer must have already made a reasonable minimum contribution himself towards providing for a postretirement pension. The second test is that, if he were to contribute for the unit at the time when he seeks to take it up as a noncontributory unit, his total fortnightly contribution rate would be in excess of 74% of his salary for superannuation purposes, or as expressed in the Bill, his fortnightly rate of contributions would exceed three-one thousand and fortieths of his annual salary for superannuation purposes.
The Bill also provides that at the time the officer makes the election to take up a unit on a non-contributory basis the number of units for which he is contributing must be not less than what was his full unit entitlement when he first became a contributor to the Fund. This provision will ensure that a late entrant to the Fund, who must expect to pay higher contributions because of his right to qualify for pension benefits on a basis similar to that applying to an entrant at an early age, will not benefit unduly by having an immediate right to take up part of his initial entitlement on a noncontributory basis. All non-contributory units will be age 65 units - that is, their standard value of $65 a year per unit will be payable on retirement at age 65. This will be so even though all the officer’s contributory units have been taken up on the basis of retirement at age 60. To give the age 60 contributor the right to take up noncontributory units on an age 60 basis would give rise to anomalous and unfair situations. To ensure consistency with existing provisions relating to contributory units, the effect of an election by an age 60 contributor to take up a non-contributory unit will be to make him thereafter an agc 65 contributor for all future contributory units he may take up. At the same time, the. Bill preserves the right of an age 65 contributor, who has not previously exercised his option under the Act to change all his age 65 contributory units, to exercise that option notwithstanding that he already has some non-contributory units.
Contributing on an age 65 basis does not preclude an officer from retiring voluntarily on pension at any time after he attains age 60. If he exercises that right he has the choice of either accepting an actuarially reduced pension or, alternatively, paying in a lump sum to increase the pension either partly or to its full age 65 value. Comparable provisions will apply to noncontributory units. On retirement after age 60 but before age 65, other than on account of invalidity, the pension value of each noncontributory unit will be five-sevenths of the value that would have attached to the unit if it had been taken up as a contributory age 65 unit. Similarly, the lump sum payable in this situation lo increase pension attributable to non-contributory units will be five-sevenths of the lump sum payable in respect of comparable contributory units. In the event of an officer being retired on invalidity grounds the full pension value of $65 for each non-contributory unit will be payable. In all cases the widow’s benefit attaching to an officer’s non-contributory units will be five-eighths or one-half of the pension payable to the officer in respect of those units according to whether the widow’s benefit in respect of the officer’s contributory units is five-eighths or one-half.
So as to give a necessary element of flexibility to the non-contributory provisions, an officer will be able subject to meeting the various tests to take up on a noncontributory basis, at any time, a unit for which he has previously declined to contribute. This flexibility is missing from the provision in the present Act covering the taking up of previously rejected units on a contributory basis; such units can at present only be taken up in conjunction with the takingup of additional unit entitlements flowing from a salary increase or change in the salary point at which the provision relating to tapering of pension entitlements begins to operate. There is no substantial reason for this restriction and, as consistency between the contributory and noncontributory provision is desirable, the Bill provides for removal of the existing restriction. The requirement that an officer, who elects to take up a previously rejected unit on a contributory basis, must satisfy the Superannuation Board as to his physical and mental fitness is, however, retained. Because the Fund itself is not involved this requirement will not apply to non-contributory units.
The Bill also provides that certain officers will have the right to elect, within a period of 6 months of the date of commencement of the legislation or within such further period as the Superannuation Board allows, to convert a limited number of existing contributory units to non-contributory units. Officers who will be able so to elect will be those who are able to meet the various tests of eligibility for non-contributory units as at the date of commencement of the legislation. The units that can be converted will be limited to those the obligation to contribute to which came into existence on or after the date the officer attained age 40 - the age from which contributions to additional entitlements become optional - and those held by the officer immediately before the date of commencement of the legislation.
There are two provisions of a transitional nature to which I should refer. The first will safeguard the position of a person whose eligibility to convert rejected units to non-contributory units ceases shortly after the commencement of the legislation and who fails to elect while still eligible because, for example, he does not immediately become aware of, or is not able promptly to exercise, his rights under the new legislation. The Bill gives such a person the right to make one election which is retrospective to a time, on or after the date of commencement, at which the person is eligible to takeup non-contributory units. The second provision covers a person who, only because he fails to pass the necessary medical examination, is not able to take up on a contributory basis any of his rejected units as at the date of commencement so as to enable him to meet the 7½% of salary test applying to eligibility for noncontributory units even though he meets the other tests. Such a person will qualify for the non-contributory units to which he would have been entitled had he passed the medical examination.
These are the main features of the noncontributory unit arrangements. Other pro visions in the Bill, which are essentially of a machinery nature to adapt the noncontributory unit arrangements to the existing contributory scheme and to other provisions in the principal Act, can be explained during the Committee stage. As I mentioned earlier, the Bill also provides for reduction in the tapering of benefits in the scheme. At present, the unit entitlement of an officer with a salary of up to $6,630 per annum provides, if all the units are taken up on a contributory basis, a pension equal to approximately 70% of salary. Above that salary, however, there is a tapering of unit entitlements which results in a maximum pension of approximately 50% of salary for officers at the highest level. The change in the unit scale formula being made by the Bill will reduce the tapering by half by increasing the latter precentage to approximately 60%. As provided in the Bill the non-contributory units provisions and the reduction in tapering will come into operation as from the date of royal assent.
The Government believes that the noncontributory arrangements will be warmly welcomed by contributors to the Superannuation Fund as they will meet a problem that has been a source of increasing concern to both the Government and Public Service organisations. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Willesee) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Wright) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill seeks authority for the Government to give guarantees on behalf of the Commonwealth in respect of certain loans made to independent schools in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. The loans are in connection with the scheme of Commonwealth assistance in meeting the capital and part of the interest costs of constructing independent primary and secondary schools. Commonwealth aid to independent schools in the Australian Capital Territory was developed in response to various proposals from school authorities for assistance with loans and for direct grants. In July 1956, the Commonwealth Government issued a statement recognising the special problems for schooling associated with the accelerated growth rate of Canberra. It introduced a scheme of reimbursement of part of the interest on loans raised by the school authorities to meet capital expenditure on secondary schools. It is generally referred to as the interest subsidy scheme. On 5th September 1961, the Government extended the scheme to primary school projects. The total cost of projects approved under these arrangements was $3,988,656. With the concurrence of honourable senators, I incorporate in Hansard a list of schools which received assistance for projects approved under the interest reimbursement arrangements which applied during the period 1956 to 1965.
Note - The capital repayments and interest subsidy arrangements have been extended to the balance of principal outstanding on these projects as at 11th December 1968, i.e. $3,299,439.
However, by 1965, this form of assistance had proved inadequate to meet the increased needs of the independent schools, which were unable to raise the capital necessary for the construction of urgently required school facilities. In November of that year, the Government introduced a scheme of assistance whereby independent school authorities received from the Common wealth repayments of the amount of loans for approved projects, by equal annual instalments over periods up to 20 years. This scheme was extended to the Northern Territory as well as to the Australian Capital Territory. The Commonwealth also makes to the school authorities an annual interest payment at a rate not exceeding the long term bond rate current when the loan for the project is approved. The interest is paid on the balance of the loan remaining after each annual reduction of capital has been made. The total cost of projects approved under the November 1965 arrangements is $9,890,924. With the concurrence .of honourable senators, I incorporate in Hansard a list of schools for which projects have been approved under the capital repayment and interest subsidy arrangements which have applied since November 1965.
As a result of this scheme of assistance independent schools authorities in the two Territories have been able to go a long way in providing new schools and extensions of existing schools to meet the rapid growth of the school-age population in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. Were it not for this scheme of assistance, the Government would be involved in the building and staffing of more government schools to accommodate those pupils who would otherwise have attended independent schools.
Recently the independent school authorities in the Australian Capital Territory have experienced delays and disappointments in obtaining loans for approved buildings at reasonable rates of interest. Their financial obligations under the interest subsidy scheme arrangements have also affected their ability to proceed with further school buildings.
School projects, approved in principle to the value of approximately$3, 181,000, have been held up because the Australian Capital Territory Catholic Education Office and the Canberra Girls Grammar School were unable to arrange suitable loans. It is probable that additional sources of loans for the independent schools, such as superannuation funds, could become available if the Commonwealth were able to give guarantees to prospective lenders. In order to ensure that the independent schools in the two Territories will be able to provide for the reasonable future needs of school facilities, the Government decided, in December 1968, to extend the conditions of the 1965 capital aid scheme to projects previously approved under the interest subsidy scheme, and this Bill has been introduced to give the Government adequate authority to offer formal guarantees under the capital aid arrangements in the two Territories. The guarantee will not cover the cost of ineligible items such as residential or church facilities and will be limited to the reasonable cost of each project as determined by the Minister. Preliminary expenditure has already been incurred on some approved projects for which loans have not yet been obtained, and the Bill provides for the guarantees to apply to expenditure already incurred on approved projects.
I emphasise that this legislation is expected to assist the independent school authorities to obtain additional loan funds. It provides authority only for guarantees. The Government will seek authority from Parliament separately in the relevant Appropriation Bills for funds it requires to meet its financial commitments under the programme of capital aid to independent schools in the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The Bill provides for a statement to be laid before Parliament each year containing particulars of the guarantees that have been issued during the previous year and of any repayments made during that year under any guarantees made in accordance with this Bill. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cohen) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) read a first time.
When, on 14th May 1969, I introduced the Broadcasting and Television Bill 1969, I indicated that it was hoped, during this session of Parliament, to introduce subsequent Bills to amend the Broadcasting and Television Act in certain further directions. Accordingly, I now present for the consideration of the Senate the Broadcasting and Television Bill (No. 2) 1969.
Honourable senators may recall that, on 24th September 1968, I informed the Senate of proposals to extend to broadcasting stations some of the ownership and control provisions currently applying to television stations, while on 19th March 1969 I informed the Senate of the intention to bring down an amendment to the Act to correct a shortcoming which had been found to be present in respect of the ownership and control provisions relating to television stations. This Bill deals with these matters and, in addition, provides for the grant of licences for small television stations to serve remotely situated communites and amends the existing provisions relating to the broadcasting and televising of election matter.
I do not propose in this second reading speech to cover in any great detail the various clauses of the Bill. On the face of it, they are fairly complex and can, I think, be better dealt with in the committee stage. I propose, however, to outline for the information of honourable senators the background and broad import of the proposed amendments.
In 1960 and later, in 1965, Parlaiment enacted legislation to deal with the question of the ownership and control of television stations. Broadly, the intention was to limit the extent of the control or influence which might be exercised by any one person or group over companies holding licences for television stations. The provisions which were enacted appear as Division 3 of Part IV of the Act and it is gratifying to record that they had been most effective in ensuring compliance with the will of the Parliament. In contrast, the existing provisions relating to broadcasting stations, which have remained virtually unchanged since 1942, not only have, in the light of developments, proved to be inadequate but leave open ways for the evasion of the basic intentions of the provisions. In consequence, there has been an increasing trend towards a concentration of control arising from transactions in shares in licensee companies or in companies which are themselves shareholders in licensee companies.
As I explained in my statement to the Senate on 24th September 1968, the Act now provides that a person shall not own or control, directly or indirectly, more than 4 commercial broadcasting stations, including 1 metropolitan station, in any one State, and more than 8 stations, including 4 metropolitan stations, in Australia. In this context, the Act does not define ‘control’ as is the case with television stations and, in respect of shareholding changes, the provisions do not extend beyond the beneficial ownership of shares in a licensee company. It has been necessary to provide for transactions of an indirect character through conditions of licences - an unsatisfactory procedure.
The position with respect to ownership of broadcasting stations is, therefore, that a person may own or control a. total of eight stations in the Commonwealth and may. in addition, hold up to 50% of the shares in any other number of companies holding licences. It is not proposed to change the present limitation on the number of stations which may be owned or controlled but it is proposed to restrict the interest which may be held directly or indirectly in any additional licensee company. This is to be done by extending to broadcasting stations some of the existing provisions of the Act currently applying to television stations, and I now propose to explain, briefly, the main features of these.
Proposed section 90c of the Bill provides that a person shall contravene the provisions of the Act if he has a ‘prescribed interest’ in licences for:
more than one metropolitan commercial broadcasting station in any one State;
more than four metropolitan commercial broadcasting stations in Australia;
more than four commercial broadcasting stations in any one State; or
more than eight commercial broadcasting stations in Australia.
Proposed section 90 (2.), in turn, provides that a person has a ‘prescribed interest’ in a licence if he is:
the holder of the licence;
in a position to exercise control either directly or indirectly, of the licence; or
the holder of shareholding interests in the company holding the licence exceeding in amount 15% of the total of the amounts paid on all shares in that company.
In ascertaining whether a person has a prescribed interest’ in a licensee company, the Bill provides in section 90b for indirect interests to be taken into account by the tracing back of shareholding interests through a series of companies. Tracing back through voting rights is provided for by proposed section 90e. This section, it will he noted, provides for ‘control’ of a company to embrace 15% of voting rights, the holding of 15% of the shares in a company carrying unrestricted voting rights or the holding of 15% of the total share capital of a company and, in effect, applies the principle of ‘one share - one vote’. Such a provision becomes necessary in order to prevent the manipulation of articles of association of a company with the intention of restricting voting rights, no matter how large the shareholding, for the purposes of preventing a contravention of the purely voting., rights test of control of a company. . .
Changes in the ownership of shares in a company holding a licence, or of shares in a company having a shareholding interest in a licensee company, are dealt with in proposed section 90j. It provides that the Minister’s approval must be sought in respect of transactions defined in that section which include the acquisition of shares which would amount to a prescribed interest and also where the holder of a prescribed interest becomes the holder of additional shares. Proposed section 90j (4.) states the grounds on which the Minister may refuse bis approval.
The remaining proposed sections of the Bill relating to the ownership and control of broadcasting stations, with one exception, are extensions of similar provisions currently applying to television stations and are, I think, clear enough. The exception is proposed section 90a referring to companies limited by guarantee, to which 1 shall refer later.
At this stage, I should say that consideration has been given to the position of persons or companies who, by virtue of their present shareholdings in licensee or related companies, would be in breach of the Act when amended. However, as was the case in respect of the 1965 legislation concerning television stations, it has been concluded that there would be serious difficulties in making Che provisions of the Bill apply retrospectively in such cases. Accordingly, as indicated in my statement of 24th September 1968, it is proposed that no shareholding arrangement existing as at that date will be invalidated by the new provisions or will constitute an offence against the Act as amended. However, if a person, or company, who has acquired excess interests prior to 24th September 1968 subsequently divests himself of such interests he will not thereafter be entitled to recapture those holdings although he will be able to participate in any new issues of shares which may be made. This position is covered by section 90c.
Finally on this aspect of the Bill, I should point out that the provisions now proposed in respect of broadcasting stations differ from those currently in force in relation to television stations only insofar as the amount of shareholding interest constituting a ‘prescribed interest’ is concerned and no regard is paid to loan interest. In the case of ‘prescribed interests’ in relation to television stations a level of 5% shareholding was adopted whereas in the case of broadcasting stations a level of 15% is proposed. This course, together with the omission of any reference to loan interests, has been considered to be justified having regard to the fact that in the main the licences are held by private companies having a relatively small share capital.
As I mentioned earlier, my announcement of 19th March 1969 foreshadowed an amendment to the ownership and control provisions of the Act relating to television stations to correct a shortcoming which had come to notice. I repeat here the relevant terms of my earlier statement on this matter. Section 92b (l.)(a), in dealing with control of television stations through voting rights, treats a person who is in a position to exercise control of more than 15% of the maximum number of votes that could be cast on a poll at, or arising out of, a general meeting of Che company holding the licence as being in a position to exercise control of that company. The limitation of this provision to the company holding the licence means that control based purely on more than 15% of voting rights cannot be traced through a series of companies. This limitation was unintentional. In most cases, the defect would not matter in practice, as other provisions of section 92b would operate to enable control to be traced through shareholding interests, irrespective of voting power. However, it appears that it may be possible to avoid these other provisions by the interposition of companies that do not have a share capital but are limited by guarantee.
In order to close these loopholes, a new section 91aa, together with an amendment to existing section 92b, is proposed. In clause 19, provision is made to protect any arrangements which may have been made prior to my announcement of 19th March 1969 on this matter, although it is fairly certain that there are none. The amendments to the Act which are now proposed to cover the position of companies limited by guarantee have also been extended to embrace broadcasting stations. Proposed section 90a deals with this aspect.
I turn now to the provisions which are proposed for the purposes of facilitating the establishment of television services in remotely situated areas. As honourable senators will be aware, continuous and persistent efforts have been and are being made to extend television to areas which are at present not being served. The present position is that when the current sixth stage of development is completed during 1969-70 a coverage of Che order of 96% of the population will have been achieved. The remaining 4% of the population is widely distributed over about 85% of the total land area. The low density of population in the areas remaining without service and the remote locations of such concentrations of population as do exist present technical and economic difficulties in providing service and special measures become necessary. I have mentioned this matter because it bears on the amendments which are proposed in this Bill in clause 10 to permit the licensing, of What has been termed ‘television repeater stations’.
There are a number of small and remote communities in the Commonwealth, mainly mining centres, to which it is unlikely that service would ever be provided by normal type commercial stations and to which, because of the costs involved, the establishment of national stations is difficult to justify. A number of mining’ companies have indicated that they are prepared to establish and operate television stations of a modest character if the way can be made clear for them to do so. The scheme which has been proposed is that the companies concerned would meet the cost of establishing the transmitting facilities while the programmes would be provided by the Australian Broadcasting Commission at a central recording centre established for the purpose.
The establishment of the type of station to which I have referred gives rise, however, to some difficulties of a procedural and legal nature as the Act now stands. In the first place, the Act provides only for the grant of licences for commercial television stations, as defined, involving a fairly complex procedure of inviting applications and the holding of public inquiries into them by the Broadcasting Control Board. Secondly, section 92d of the Act restricts overseas interests in television licences to 20% in the aggregate or . 15% individually. Having regard to the present constitution of mining companies, the latter provision would have the effect of placing an insurmountable obstacle in the way of such companies erecting and operating stations.
In the special conditions which prevail in respect of the particular areas concerned, no real objection can be seen to the control by mining interests of television stations which such companies may be prepared to operate in their area of activity. Indeed, it is evident that unless the mining companies are placed in the position of being able to establish services there is little, if any, prospect of the residents of these remote areas having access to television. It is also clear that there is nothing to be gained from adhering to the present procedures prescribed in the Act in relation to the grant of licences. It is apparent that the only enterprise which would be interested in providing service in the areas concerned would be the organisation conducting the mining operations.
Accordingly, it is proposed in clause 10 that the Act be amended to include a new Division 5b to provide for the grant of licences for television repeater stations and for their operation. The main features of the proposed provisions are that the Minister may grant licences on the recommendation of the Board and that the Board shall not recommend the grant if, in its opinion, satisfactory reception of programmes is already being received in the area concerned. In clause 11 it is proposed that a new section 113a be inserted to authorise the Commission to make its programmes available to the type of station in question. I should point out that clause 4 proposes the insertion in section 4 of the Act a definition of ‘television repeater station’. It will be noted from this definition that the proposed stations in this category will be of low power and will be capable of transmitting only programmes recorded on magnetic tape. The definition will also have the effect of excluding such stations from the ownership and control provisions of the Act which are found in Division 3 of Part IV and the procedural requirements as to the grant of licences in Division 1 of Part IV.
The last matter I wish to mention is that relating to the broadcasting or televising of election matter. Honourable senators will, I think, be very familiar with the existing provisions of section 1 1 6 of the Act and will recall that I have on several occasions indicated that the Government was examining the whole question of the implications of the provisions of that section. As a result of this examination, it is now proposed in clause 12 of the Bill to amend the section to provide that the existing restriction on the transmission of election matter, as defined, from midnight on the Wednesday preceding polling day to the close of the poll will apply only to stations which are deemed to serve the area in which an election is being held. It is proposed that the Board will, in respect of any by-election or State election, grant exemptions from compliance with this requirement to stations the transmissions from which are not ordinarily received in the area to which the election relates. The adoption of this amendment will considerably alleviate the many difficulties which the operators of stations have experienced in presenting programmes from which it has been necessary to exclude election matter during the restricted period. I think that 1 have covered in the foregoing the main features of the Bill. As I said at the commencement, it can be dealt with in greater detail during the Committee stage. 1 commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cohen) adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 12.53 to 2.15 p.m.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Scott) read a first time.
– 1 move:
That the Bill be now read a second time. (Quorum formed). The Customs Tariff Bill now before the Senate provides for amendments to the Customs Tariff 1966-1969 based on Proposals Nos 5, 6 and 7, operating from 28th February, 7th March and 30th April. The changes cover lawnmowers New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement - referred to in a Tariff Board report; sorbitol and band saw blades, referred to in special Advisory Authority reports; and certain stainless steel products forming part of a Tariff Board report.
In accordance with the current approach lo the introduction of these Bills I will not detail the changes as already given publicity in Hansard of the House of Representatives. Extracts of Hansard are available to any honourable senator who would like a copy. In addition I invite the attention of honourable senators to a comprehensive analysis of the changes presently being distributed for use during the debate. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Scott) read a first time.
– I move:
This Bill proposes amendments to the Schedule to the Excise Tariff 1921-1969. The purpose of these amendments is to enact, as from 28th March 1969, reduced rates of excise duty on canned apricots, peaches and pears and mixtures thereof. The reductions proposed are from 30c per dozen 29 oz cans to 5c per dozen 29 oz cans with equivalent reductions for other can sizes.
An excise on these commodities entered for consumption within Australia was introduced in 1963 to ensure to the Australian Canned Fruits Board sufficient funds for export development to assist the canned fruit, industry in disposing of the increasing supplies of fruit then becoming available. The level of excise rate to apply is decided from time to time after consideration of recommendations in this respect from the Board. The funds have been used effectively since the introduction of the measure. As the international : marketing situation developed over .this period, however, there was increasing use of these funds in the form of market development allowance payments to canners exporting to markets such as West Germany. This led to friction with a major competitor - the United States of America - and an agreement was reached with the United States last year that the payment of market development allowances would be discontinued in 1969 in certain significant markets for the chief variety exported, that is, canned peaches.
Australian industry representatives participated fully in the discussions leading to this agreement. One effect of the agreement is that the Board will require considerably less funds in 1969 than it has needed formerly in order to meet its commitments. Against this background the Board reviewed its need for revenue from the excise and decided that a significant reduction in the level was warranted. The Government has accepted that recommendation.
There has been a greater degree of consultation between the main competitor countries in the canned fruit export field since the discussions with the United States last year. Two meetings already have been held with United States and South African industries and more will follow with the objective of exploring areas of possible cooperation between the industries in the development of export markets. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Poyser) adjourned.
Motion to Disallow Ordinance
Debate resumed from 21 May (vide page 1461), on motion by Senator Murphy:
That the Legal Practitioners Ordinance 1969, as contained in the Australian Capital Territory Ordinance No. 2 of 1969 and made under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910- 1965, be disallowed.
– In resuming the debate on this matter this afternoon allow me to express the sorrow I feel in just having received news of the death since the debate terminated last night of Mr Brian Meagher, former president of the Australian Capital Territory Law Society. I feel a sense of great regret that his involvement in this contention and debate perhaps may have contributed in some way to this tragedy.
The Senate is dealing with a motion for the disallowance of the Legal Practitioners Ordinance. I had offered to the Senate last night some preliminary observations designed, as I intended, to lay a basis for the argument that I propose to ask the Senate to accept. 1 just recall that in at least two States of Australia we have by law the constitution of the barristers branch of the legal profession separate from the solicitors branch. I intended to urge that there is a marked distinction in the functions that those two branches in fact perform. I also remind the Senate that I directed attention to the special nature of the Australian Capital Territory as the focal area of the whole nation. The special feature about that area is that it is going to be the centre for the High Court of Australia and important Federal courts. As commerce in Canberra is growing, it is natural that litigious issues generated in the Territory itself, which concern people actually resident here, will grow in importance. Also, commercial enterprises and people resident outside the Territory will become involved in disputes which will, as a matter of principle, be justiciable here. So that the question of practice by the legal profession on behalf of those clients in this Territory is one of very real importance.
I am not addressing myself, in upholding this ordinance, to the interests of the individual members of the legal1 profession in either of its branches. They must be considered as professional people who make special services available to the public. It is the availability of those specialised services to the public who have to litigate before the courts of Canberra that is the cardinal’ consideration. If the Senate disallows this ordinance, it will be confronted with the alternative offered by Senator Murphy - that he would not move for the disallowance of a new ordinance, provided it made provision for admission of members to the legal profession in the Australian Capital Territory on the one single basis - the basis which we cal’l an amalgam; that is to say, admission as barrister and solicitor.
The first point I wish to put before the Senate in relation to that is that the ordinance at present enables legal practitioners from States to come here for admission in one of three categories: They may apply for admission solely as a barrister; they may apply for admission solely as a solicitor; or they may apply for admission as an amalgam, being entitled to practise in both branches, as a barrister and as a solicitor. Is it not quite obvious from what I said last night that a man who has never served in a solicitor’s office during his tutorship for the bar - has never handled commercial affairs as a business man and settled commercial transactions, and has confined himself to advising on forensic matters and arguing cases in court - is ill-adapted to the conduct of commercial1 practice as a solicitor in the Australian Capital Territory? Many of the barristers would be very capable and very readily adaptable to their new problems, but that is not the capacity in which they have practised in the States and, prima facie, they would have no entitlement to practise in the Territory in another capacity - namely, as a solicitor.
The cardinal consideration that I urge is this: Barristers in Queensland and New South Wales are, by law, entitled to practise only as barristers. They have their bar councils there, and it is one of their principles that they will not, as to each of their members, practise as a solicitor. I am not going to argue the reasons for that. The question as to the justification for that division in the profession is one of the interminable argument and, for the purpose of our consideration of the appropriate legislation in the Australian Capital Territory, it is irrelevant. If you are to have members of the New South Wales and Queensland bars able to come here and make their services available as barristers, they would have to submit to being admitted by the Supreme Court of the Territory not as a barrister only - of which they would willingly avail themselves if that profession were retained - but under the proposal that Senator Murphy put before us they would have to come here and be admitted as a barrister and solicitor.
Whatever be the rights or wrongs of the division of the profession - and I am not predisposed to justify the division, having practised now for 41 years in a State that provides for the amalgam, and not arrogating to myself that my experience is the best, and realising that this division does exist - if Senator Murphy’s proposal were enacted after this ordinance is disallowed, the public who have litigation in Canberra would be precluded from obtaining the services of the Sydney and Queensland barristers who refuse to be admitted as barrister and solicitor in this form. Once one realises that Senator Murphy is precluding the public from employing those barristers who will not, as a matter of principle, take an admission in the capacity of barrister and solicitor in this Territory, then one realises that this proposal would deprive the public who have issues before the court in this Territory of the availability of their services.
– I have been listening to you.
– What does the Bar Council of the Australian Capital Territory want?
– - So far as I know.’
– That is their trade union, so to speak?
– In a number of States there was a divided profession until some years ago. New Jersey had a divided profession.
– The former president of the American Bar Association spoke on this when he was here some years ago. He said that he came from the last State that had a divided profession - it was amalgamated in 1930 - which 1 think was New Jersey.
– If the Minister can suggest how we could do that 1 would be happy to accommodate him.
– Does the Minister say that the motion would not do any real damage?
– What about in the Minister’s view?
– After the very considerable drama of yesterday, to retreat into this quiet atmosphere of discussion on a matter such as this might appear to be almost contradictory, yet in a sense the two matters are related. In a sense each involves the sanctity of the law. the status of the law and the stature of those associated with its practice and the implementation of its principles. -
– They might be keeping it confidential.
– It was vetoed by the Victorian Bar.
– The vital interests of the Victorian Bar.
– We admit barristers from other States as barristers.
– Did you understand that any of my submissions depended on that point?
– Neither the Queensland leader nor his junior would be willing to accept admission here as an amalgam. That is the point.
– But if you as a member of the Bar were to practise as a solicitor in Queensland you would be disbarred.
– And if you as a member of I he Queensland Bar practised as a solicitor in Canberra would you not deserve to be disbarred?
– That is my point.
– Do you think that we should use this occasion to revolutionise the profession in Canberra?
– New South Wales barristers are admitted as barristers and solicitors in Victoria.
– Yes. The difference is that there is no guarantee that the profession here will insist upon the division that Victoria has established.
– There are some.
– Are there any who have been admitted in a truly amalgam status who are practising in amalgam?
– Does the honourable senator understand that there is no requirement for admission here at the moment and that there is no form of discipline?
– But if the honourable senator’s view is not accepted the profession remains without a formal method of admission. If the honourable senator’s view is not accepted for 12 months there will be no discipline for 12 months.
– I should correct my statement. There will be no discipline except, of course, by the court.
– With due respect, I suggest that the profession would consider that simply presumptuous.
– But we would all agree that this Parliament has no general power as to the admission of practitioners to State courts. We are dealing only with admission in the Australian Capital Territory.
– We have heard at some length the arguments back and forth as to the disallowance or otherwise of this ordinance. I do not propose to deal with them at any great length. I wish to make only one or two comments which arise from what has been said already. The first is on what Senator Byrne has just said. He urged the view that there should not be a redefinition of the present form of practice. He said: ‘For this reason, f support the motion for disallowance of the ordinance’. 1 agree with him that there should not be a redefinition; but the conclusion that I reach is the opposite one. I believe that creating something which is an amalgam profession in the Australian Capital Territory is redefining the form of practice. I believe that, while we have the unfortunate differences that exist throughout Australia in relation to the form of admission, the Commonwealth Government, in dealing with the Australian Capital Territory, has a duty to preserve those differences. It has that duty until such time as the States themselves have sorted out. the differences and evolved a satisfactory system which may then be applied in the Australian Capital Territory as well.
It is unfortunate that the States have not been able to progress very rapidly towards reaching some finality on this aspect of the practice of the law in Australia. It is unfortunate that we have a form of admission of people as barristers which means, as Senator Wright said, that a person may come to the Australian Capital Territory without any background of office experience, be admitted as a barrister and solicitor and be enabled to practice as a solicitor with all the responsibilities that go with the running of an office and dealing with clients’ business, without any experience whatsoever. 1 do not think any of us have to seek very far to find examples of how unfortunate the result can be in the States where it happens. There have been instances in which people have been admitted without any prior training at all and, because of the lack of that training, they have not ever been able to catch up and practise as solicitors in the way they could have had they had some prior train ing. Alternatively, as Senator Wright says - I have not the slightest doubt about this - the vast majority of barristers would be able to and would apply themselves to gaining that basic knowledge before they attempted to set up in practice. I agree that the fair proposition is only that the possibility exists and certainly not that the probability exists.
As far as obtaining some form of uniformity is concerned, I was interested to read in a letter from the President of the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory written in November last year that when this matter was discussed by the Law Council of Australia the decision that took place apparently took place with ten constituent bodies represented, and the law societies represented were unanimously in favour of the amalgam type profession. The three bodies that indicated some opposition were the three bar associations. That would appear to indicate that there is a clear cleavage between the two parts of the profession in relation to this problem. Further to what Senator Byrne said, it is quite apparent from this letter that, although an indication as to which way parties would have voted was given, in fact no vote was actually taken at that meeting.
As recently as last weekend, the matter was again discussed at a conference of law societies. It is currently before those charged with administering the legal profession in Australia but as yet they have not been able to achieve any uniformity. Until such time as we achieve uniformity, in my view there is a strong argument for saying that all the various types of admission should be preserved in the Australian Capital Territory unless we are to regard the Australian Capital Territory as a State. Were we legislating for a new State, were we legislating as a State parliament, then unhesitatingly I would agree with those who urge the view that there should be an amalgam profession.
But we are not legislating for a State. I believe that the Commonwealth Government, in providing an ordinance for the Australian Capital Territory, a place resorted to by people from all over the Commonwealth - people whs, by necessity, because this is the Capital Territory, have to bring their business to this place; people who come from the States to practise here; people who come from the States to litigate here; people who come from the States to have their business affairs attended to - has to provide for people to have the same type of practitioner available as in the States.
For those reasons I support the Ordinance as it stands with the hope - perhaps not a pious hope - that it will not be long before some amendment to it can be made to bring it into line with what has been achieved by the States. Once the States have achieved a uniformity of approach, then I would be horrified if the Federal Government did not immediately make the requisite arrangements if they were sought by the legal profession in the Australian Capital Territory.
There is one further aspect to which I wish to refer - that is the possibility of avoiding the unfortunate situation which will arise if this ordinance is disallowed. As has been indicated already by the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) and Senator Byrne, if it is disallowed the net result will be that all the useful provisions of the ordinance - everybody agrees that most of them are extremely useful - will not be available for a considerable time to come.
– The matter which the Senate is debating this afternoon is necessarily complex. The practice of Mw in Australia is complex, as it must be in any country where there is a federal system and, especially where there is a federal territory. Provision has to be made for the rights of practitioners admitted to practice in the State courts to practise in federal courts. The further problem arises as to what extent the courts of federal territories are themselves to be regarded as federal courts.
I can well imagine that without the problem of the profession in some States being divided and in other States not being divided, there could be considerable problems in trying to bring down a satisfactory ordinance concerning the right of practitioners in various States to practise in the courts of a territory and also to provide reciprocal rights to the practitioners of the courts of the federal territory and so on. But that is not the particular matter we are dealing with today. What we are dealing with is an ordinance introduced by the Government to provide for a rather singular form of admission to practise inside the Australian Capital Territory.
– But it is the next 20 years that are important from our point of view.
– But the legal man now has a complete option.
– But is not that the position in Victoria?
– Does not the honourable senator think that would operate as at the date of the ordinance?
– The debate upon the motion to disallow the Legal Practitioners Ordinance has so far been conducted, as I see it, in a millpond in which the lawyers may placidly ripple the waters. I think I must acknowledge what I sense those who have preceded me would like me to acknowledge - the patience and forbearance of the non-lawyer members of the Senate who have been here while this debate has continued.
The Legal Practitioners Ordinance was introduced to provide the admission to professional practice in the Australian Capital Territory of legally qualified persons, and for some control of those persons in their professional practice. It was desired that this control should be exercised in the way in which a similar control is exercised in the States. The Ordinance may be said to provide for six particular matters: the admission to practise in the categories of barrister, solicitor, and barrister and solicitor; to provide measures whereby the discipline of members of the profession may be carried out among those solicitors who hold practising certificates; the keeping by solicitors of records and trust accounts, and for them to submit their trust accounts to annual audit; to make provision for a portion of the funds of a solicitor’s trust account to be kept in a particular way, so that interest derived therefrom shall be available to supplement the solicitors’ fidelity fund, to promote legal aid, and to provide postgraduate education and legal research; and to set up a solicitors’ fidelity fund, which will be . available to compensate people who suffer pecuniary loss as a result of any defaults occasioned by solicitors. Finally the ordinance provides for the incorporation of the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory. I should have thought that honourable senators would agree that an ordinance of this character is long overdue. The motion for the disallowance of the ordinance was expressed by Senator Murphy based on the fact that objection was taken to the form under which practitioners may be admitted to practice. He said that it is impossible, or not reasonably practicable, to sever from the ordinance those particular provisions which relate to admission to practice and therefore the only reasonable course available is to move for the disallowance of the whole ordinance. To that view, that it is not reasonably practicable to sever the parts to which objection is taken, I think general agreement must be given.
The position which now prevails in the Australian Capital Territory with regard to the legal profession in the Territory has grown over the years. The position which has now been reached is one which, if one has regard to the standards that prevail in other parts of Australia, is wholly unsatis factory. The Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory has of course been established by Act of this Parliament. Until 1966, the persons who were entitled to appear before that Court were persons entitled to appear in any Federal court. That, if I might put it shortly, comprehended those people who were entitled to appear in any court in any of the States in which they had been first admitted.
The Seat of Government ordinance had also provided that any person entitled to practise as a barrister or solicitor of the High Court of Australia should have the right to practise as a barrister or solicitor, or both, in the Territory. That provision in fact permits any person from any State in Australia to come to this Territory and set up in practice as a barrister or solicitor, or, if he chooses, as a barrister and solicitor. In 1966 steps were taken whereby the provisions to which I have referred were altered. They were altered because the size of the Territory, its population and the needs of the Territory legal profession obviously required that the affairs of the legal profession should be put upon a basis which recognised a control by the local Supreme Court and the submission by the practitioners within the Territory to those ordinary obligations and requirements to which members of the legal profession throughout Australia have long been subject. Accordingly the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Act was amended so that it now provides that a party in any cause or matter may appear before the Supreme Court either personally or by a barrister or solicitor having the right to practise in that court. By the use of those words ‘having the right to practise in that court’ there was recognised the need for a court to have control over the profession within the Territory where the court exercised jurisdiction. That I may say is the control which the Supreme Courts of the States exercise with regard to members of the profession in their State.
At the same time the Seat of Government ordinance was amended so as to require that persons who were entitled to practise within the Territory were those duly admitted legal practitioners, as defined in that ordinance. The position therefore is, briefly, that since 1966 persons who are entitled to practise as members of the legal profession throughout Australia are entitled to resort to Canberra, to live in Canberra and set up in practice as they please. They are subject to no control except that ad hoc control based on the essentially inherent power that may be exercised by the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory. The Judiciary Act which is a measure of this Parliament governing the legal profession in Federal courts was amended in 1966, at the same time as the amendment of the Supreme Court Act of the Australian Capital Territory, with a view to determining the ways in which persons might be admitted to practice within the Territory. Section 55d of the Judiciary Act provides for the way in which there shall be determined who is entitled to practise in the Supreme Court of this Territory pending the making of an ordinance which shall set out in more precise form who those persons are and the ways in which they may be admitted.
This, of course, is the ordinance which is now before the Senate. It has been, from my inquiries, an ordinance long in the making. As far back as 1962 the AttorneyGeneral had a draft of an ordinance and succesive Attorneys-General thereafter have endeavoured to make headway in what is admittedly a somewhat complex field but one in which the requirements of the profession and the public in the Australian Capital Territory require urgent action to be taken. It may be thought that there is no real requirement for an ordinance regulating the right of admission to practice in the Territory while there are provisions in the Judiciary Act which take care of this situation until the ordinance is passed.
There are two major reasons why an ordinance regulating the admission to practise in the Territory is a matter of considerable importance. The first is that there is within the Australian National University a law school which since about 1964 or 1965 has had graduating from it persons who have law degrees. If these persons desire to practise law in the Australian Capital Territory, which in many cases is the area in which they have been brought up and in which they naturally would want to carry on a legal practice, they must leave the Australian Capital Territory, go to one of the capital cities where they will undertake a period of articled training and there after be admitted in that State. This must be done before they can come back and lawfully practise in the Australian Capital Territory. So long as there is no ordinance in the Australian Capital Territory determining who is entitled to be admitted and the qualifications of those entitled to be admitted, then there is an omission which imposes a considerable and unnecessary hardship upon persons who graduate from the law school of the Australian National University.
The other reason why I think there is undoubtedly a need for an ordinance is that there is no provision as in the States, for a legal control of the profession. At the present time we have a situation where there is no control of practitioners except in this somewhat uncertain area, as I have indicated, which may be exercised by the Supreme Court of the Territory. There are no legal admission rules; there are no restrictions on unqualified persons undertaking legal work. There are no provisions for auditing trust accounts and there is no guarantee or fidelity fund. No disciplinary control is exercisable in a traditional way by the profession over its members. Accordingly I should have thought that the need for an ordinance is overwhelming. This Ordinance has been in the making for a great number of years. Various pressures have been at work to have some facilitative process to solve these problems contained in its provisions. I well recall that in about 1965 the Law Council of Australia which, as has been said, is the body which represents the lawyers’ professional bodies and institutes throughout the Commonwealth was asked by the then existing Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory if it could be admitted to membership. The Law Council of Australia was concerned about admitting to membership a body which did not have those customary safeguards and traditional rules which have characterised the formation of other legal bodies in the Commonwealth.
– The members having received a similar training to that received by the other branch of the profession, I take it?
– What is the position in Tasmania?
– That was not my point.
– I refer the honourable senator to sub-section (5.).
– Would the honourable senator permit me to interpose that up to that stage there is a description of the statutory right. In sub-section (5.) we pass on to the ordinance right.
– Without recasting its language, would the honourable senator state what it says - ‘does not affect the operation of a law of a Territory (whether made before or after the commencement of the section) insofar as that law’, and so on?
That provision indicates that a person will be admitted to practise if he applies to be admitted to practise as a barrister and solicitor in the Territory. I say that the point of that reference is that if there is no right given in the ordinance to be admitted to practise as a barrister and solicitor, any ordinance which did not give that right would not be properly made. I concede that if Senator Wright senses that there is some difficulty in construing subsections (5.) and (6.) together, there is a problem of interpretation. I have not raised this matter to display a sort of legal interpretative erudition, but simply to indicate my view that the one argument which has been put forward to justify the provisions of the ordinance in the terms of what the Judiciary Act provides is not one which should be sustainable.
The ordinance itself makes provision for admission to practise in three categories - as solicitor, barrister, and barrister and solicitor. There are provisions which cover those people who live in the Territory and have done so for a period of time. Under the ordinance those who are here at present may simply apply to be admitted in accordance with the proposed section 10 of the ordinance. Providing he has been practising lawfully up to the present time he will be admitted. Similarly, practitioners from the States and from overseas may be admitted simply on showing that they have the qualifications or the right to practise in one of the States, or in Great Britain, Scotland, Northern Ireland or New Zealand, and provided they are of good faith and character and their right to practise has not been suspended. But when they are admitted their name is placed upon a roll and the ordinance provides that there shall be three parts to that roll, one for each category of admission. Then there is imposed what I consider to be an unnecessary burden and restriction in that a person’s name must remain on that roll for 2 years before he can transfer to another part of the roll. A young person who starts off in practice in the Australian Capital Territory as a barrister and decides after 6 months that he is not yet ready, or that the solicitors are not yet ready for him, and decides to become a solicitor can transfer only if he can secure the permission of the court.
– In Queensland a barrister applies to be disbarred and then is entered on the roll of solicitors - after 5 years, I think.
– In Victoria there is a division de facto but not by law.
– That would be called an open door policy, would it not?
– Is not this what the ordinance provides?
– Every speaker from whom we have heard in this debate is a member of the legal fraternity and those of us who have listened to the debate have heard a most interesting discussion on this ordinance. I do not propose to speak at any great length, but I think it is necessary to make a declaration on this ordinance. Some little time ago I had a discussion with a Mr Meagher of the legal fraternity of the Australian Capital Territory whom I regret to say I have heard passed away just a few hours ago. After discussing the matter with Mr Meagher I looked at the situation from a layman’s point of view.
There were two aspects of the ordinance which impressed me. First of all, in the main the Government is trying to introduce here, by means of an ordinance, something that is operating only in my own State of Queensland and in New South Wales. People in the other States and in this Territory believe that there is no reason why the methods or ideas of those two States should be imposed on this Territory. There is apparently such a strong feeling against this ordinance among the people of the
Australian Capital Territory that I believe there is no reason why we should impose it upon them.
I know that the wish of the people should not be the beginning and end of everything. The basic consideration should always be whether something is right or wrong. But, after hearing the view that I heard from Mr Meagher and after hearing the debate in this chamber today, I do not feel that I can change my mind on this matter. I am strongly of the opinion that this ordinance should be disallowed. I will vote accordingly; that is, to help to disallow the ordinance. Let me say that in making this declaration and voting in this way I am not speaking or voting as Chairman of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee. This is purely my own decision. I want to make it quite clear that in no way do I implicate the other members of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee. That is how I feel about this matter. From the layman’s point of view and looking at it simply, I believe that it would be better for this ordinance to be disallowed. It has been suggested that there will be a vacuum if the ordinance is disallowed. As Chairman of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee, which has been raising continually the matter of regulations being in arrears, I say that this is a very important matter and that there is no reason why the Attorney-General’s Department and the Parliamentary Draftsman cannot get on with the job a little more quickly.
– in reply - What has been said about the late Mr Brian Meagher by Senator Byrne and Senator Greenwood is shared by all honourable senators. They have spoken on behalf of us all. He was most concerned about this measure. He was a man who was dedicated to his profession and in that way lived a life of service to the community.
It must be remembered that the legal profession is the one that enables one of the three great branches of government to operate. The judicial branch of government can operate only with the assistance of a well trained, honest and diligent legal profession. Despite the differences of opinion that have been aired in this chamber and the differences of opinion that may be held outside in regard to this matter, we in the Parliament share with those in the legal profession outside the one aim; that is, what we seek to do is something that will enable the legal profession properly to carry out its chosen function of assisting in the operation of the judicial process throughout this community.
We have had some times of trouble in the legal profession. In recent times the profession has shown that it wants to change; it wants to adapt; it wants to bring itself into a shape in which it can deal with the challenges that face the whole community. It is not always by seeking to hold on to old ways that one enables oneself to deal with these challenges. There is a lot to be said for the view that was expressed by Senator Byrne and others, namely, that perhaps the legal profession not only in the Australian Capital Territory but also elsewhere should have a good look at its structure to see whether the way it is presently arranged is the best way to ensure that the needs of those in practice as well as the needs of the community are met.
For a start, dealing with the role of those who practise advocacy in the courts, I think we all would want to see preserved those people who are skilled in advocacy and are able to spend their time in deep study of the law. But, with the passing of the years, it has become apparent that there may be serious deficiencies in the way the profession is set up at present. I have serious doubts whether the division of the profession is enabling the Bar to perform its proper role. It may be that with a different structure in the profession we will be able to maintain the supply of skilled advocates if we surround them with the machinery which at present they lack. We have moved into a stage in which barristers or advocates in the courts - we call them barristers - need to be surrounded by the machinery of law libraries and other skilled people. Their position is a little like that of the medical practitioner in the transition from the general practitioner to the group practice or the specialist. I do not know that the old ways are really suitable. We all want to have these people, but how the profession will be set up to enable them to perform this role is a different question.
Many people practising at the Bar think that the way the Bar is operating is presenting very great difficulties. In order to maintain this system in which we have these skilled advocates or barristers, to enable them to have the freedoms that they want and should have, to enable them to have the security that they want and should have, and to surround them with the material things that they need in order to practise properly - law libraries and skilled staff people who will enable them to carry out their functions - we may have to have some change. I do not think anyone who understands the workings of the law and the necessity of having these specialists - people who are skilled, people who love to spend their time in the law and want to practise advocacy - would want to do away with them. As I understand it, no-one is suggesting that anyone would want to do away with these specialists and the kind of freedom that they have. We all want to aim for this and it is a matter of how we achieve it.
That is the background to this matter. Coming to the immediate problem, this is an ordinance which imposes three categories on the legal practitioners of the Australian Capital Territory. For good reasons, which I will not go over again, we cannot see that any damage will be done if there is one category only. Senator Greenwood adverted to the fact that many barristers in New South Wales, and perhaps the most eminent of the practitioners, have been admitted in Victoria as barristers and solicitors. I do not think that this deterred any of them. Those who wanted to practise in Victoria were quite happy to be admitted as barristers and solicitors. I do not think any litigants or citizens of Victoria lost the services of any New South Wales practitioners by reason of the fact that those practitioners were required, if they wanted to go to Victoria to practise, to be admitted as barristers and solicitors and not merely as barristers. That was, I think, the strongest of the arguments put forward by the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) in defence of this ordinance. We know, through our experience, that that simply is not the case; that no-one feels that there is any loss of face. Why should they feel that way when all the practitioners in Victoria have been admitted as both barristers and solicitors? No loss of face or prestige is involved in this matter.
The Opposition considers that what has been put forward by the Law Society of the
Australian Capital Territory is a perfectly reasonable proposition. It seems to represent the views not only of the Law Society but of the people of the Territory, as expressed through the ghost of the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council. We know that what was left behind by the Advisory Council when it was last incarnate was a view which endorsed the view of the Law Society and of the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr J. R. Fraser).
– I do not think it is.
– Mr Deputy President, I ask for leave to make a further personal statement similar to that for which leave was given previously.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
The Senate divided. (The Deputy President - Senator T. C. Drake-Brockman)
Majority . . 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Report of Joint Select Committee
– And there are only 7 days to go.
– Could he not move the motion, to endorse the previous attitude of the Senate?
– It is a bit of commonsense.
– Are you sure that you correctly understand what the Leader of the Government wishes?
– What do you mean by the rescission motion?
– I do not know about the unfair part of it.
– Yes. The motion was a resolution of 22nd August 1968, that the new and permanent parliament house be situated on Capital Hill.
– Yes, but I have not moved the motion. If there is to be any difficulty about it, I shall go right back and speak on the rescission motion. But I am suggesting that senators will achieve a far more orderly debate if they debate the substantive matter. That is all I ask for. If there is agreement, I shall move the rescission pro forma, and in that way get it out of the road.
– If you force me into formalities, I shall have to do that. But if the spirit of the Senate is that we should get rid of it, we might as well get on to taking that action.
– Yes, I contemplate that.
– That is right.
– That is what I want to avoid.
– That is what I want.
– If the rescission motion were carried simpliciter we should have no decision as to a site.
– I should follow that immediately with a motion for the adoption of the report.
– I have been given leave. Why go back on that?
– Now you are spoiling it.
– It would have saved all this waffling.
– In view of what has been said it is obvious that the Senate is not of a will to adopt the proposal I made. I agree with Senator Murphy and in all the circumstances I shall now formally move:
That the resolution of 22nd August 1968 that the new and permanent Parliament House be situated at Capital Hill be rescinded.
That becomes the motion for debate. It is understood, nd I am sure Senator Willesee understands, that we shall canyass the whole issue although the subsequent motion will not be moved except in the event of a certain decision on. the rescision motion. I now proceed to speak to the motion. We shall now have a full debate on this motion. It is necessary in a formal way to canvass the procedures that were adopted. The original resolution which was moved by me was amended by an amendment moved by Senator Murphy in these terms: that the Senate is of the opinion that the new and permanent Parliament House should be situated on Capital Hill.
That was carried on 22nd August by a vote of 42 to 6. It was a free vote and as honourable senators know I moved the motion for the lake site. It was subsequently moved by me on 22nd November, and resolved on 26th November, that the Senate having considered message No. 78 of the House of Representatives concurred in the proposal by the House that the matter of alternative sites for a new and permanent parliament house on Capital Hill or the Camp Hill area be referred to the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House for report, and that the Com mittee be requested to submit its report within 3 months.
– The majority report.
– Will any buildings inside the area of State Circle have to be demolished?
– The report was concerned with the area.
– Will the Minister give that reference later?
– It is about 130 acres on Capital Hill and about 97 acres on Camp Hill.
– Would the Minister
– That point would hold good irrespective of the hill it was built on.
– There is nothing Australian about the display in King’s Hall.
– But we will choose the site.
– Have you any views as to whether the site should be selected in relation to the building?
– It was carried by 42 votes to 6.
– Some have included an area almost back to the lake.
– Does the honourable senator suggest that the area to which he has referred is measured from the lake or from the road outside Parliament House?
– ls that the road on the north or the south side of the building?
– We will have 20 million people by the end of the century.
– We have not much margin with only six.
– Mr Odgers did not want that.
– It has been said that the national capital of Australia has two functions: One to be the seat of government and the other to be the national cultural and historical focal point for Australians and visitors. Both of those functions deserve prominent and centrally located sites. At present there are two such sites in Canberra, namely, the Camp Hill site and the Capital Hill site. Tonight we are discussing a report on the alternative sites of Capital Hill and the Camp Hill area for the new and permanent parliament house. 1 believe that the supreme arm of government should be placed in the most prominent position in Canberra.
Before going any further I wish to make my own position perfectly clear to the Senate. Senator Anderson, during his contribution this afternoon, mentioned that this was a majority report which had been brought down by the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House.
– As against the lake?
– You are the man to blame, are you?
Senator L. K. Murphy, Q.C., Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.
Senator the Hon. V. C. Gair, Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party.
We find that there are six recommendations in the report. However, I am not so much interested in the recommendations as in the voting or the way that the Committee divided. At page 25 of the report it will be seen that the Committee divided and that there were 12 ayes and 2 noes. This raises the point mentioned a minute or so ago by Senator Gair, by way of interjection. Honourable senators will find that if they total the membership of the Committee, which I have incorporated in Hansard, there were 21 members. They will find that on the day that the decision of the Committee was made there were 15 members in attendance, of whom 14 voted, 12 being in favour of the Camp Hill site and 2 against. Nowhere will honourable senators find my name mentioned in that section of the report. This is a point want to make clear to the Senate.
– Why was it that there were six members absent?
– You are a bit obstinate, are you not?
– It has not achieved much this week.
– What would he know about building?
– Who are the experts?
– Not the experts - the politicians; and they did it in defiance of the experts.
– I say. put a new anil permanent parliament house up there.
– The question of where parliament house should go is not one of the things that one gets all excited about. I do not know whether where we put it will make any difference to the men that we have been discussing in the past few days. Nevertheless, I think this is an occasion when members of the Senate should have an opportunity to voice an opinion on where the permanent parliament house should go. Having a free vote, we should all stand up and be counted in regard to our opinions on this question. When this matter was before the Senate on the previous occasion, a choice was offered to senators of whether parliament house should go on the lakeside or on Capital Hill. I was one of the majority - not one of the six - that thought that the new and permanent parliament house should not be down on a flat level on the lakeside, and voted for Capital Hill. Then we agreed, to a recommendation, after receiving the report from the other House, to extend the reference of the Committee. This was after the Senate expressed the opinion that the new and permanent parliament house should be situated on Capital Hill. The Senate concurred in the proposal by the House of Representatives that the matter of an alternative site for the new and permanent parliament housewhether it should be Capital Hill or the Camp Hill area - be referred to the Joint Committee. This gave us a new vision. Previously the selection had been between Capital Hill and the flat lakeside site. The new reference was not a selection between Capital Hill and Camp Hill; it was a question of whether we were of the belief that the best site for the new and permanent parliament house would be on Capital Hill or the Camp Hill area. That is important. It is important in making up my mind on my position in this matter. I give the Committee credit for its work. In addition to publishing advertisements, it wrote to all members of Parliament and asked them to submit any views that they may have had so that the Committee could have the assistance of the views of members who had to decide this issue. I made a submission on that occasion that of the two alternative sites then offering the selected site should be in the Camp Hill area. This decision was influenced by the fact that I do not accept politicians as the best authorities on where a particular structure should be. I do not accept William Morris Hughes as an authority on building. I accepted him as an authority on many questions which, out of generosity, I shall not mention now, but I did not accept him as an authority on building.
Here we see that one of the authorities, Burley Griffin, was opposed, as Senator Drake-Brockman has told us, to the building of a temporary parliament house and said that we would not get a permanent parliament house as the temporary one would always be an obstruction to it. Of course this is what happened. The politicians had decided otherwise. I was influenced by the design of Canberra. We had a man who was capable, and in his own field as an expert had won a competition for the design of Canberra. He dreamed of the completion of the pl’an but it was not achieved in his time. Burley Griffin’s dream was not of one particular area; it was of a complete design for Canberra. Part of that dream was that Parliament House should be on Camp Hill. No-one could say that in the development of the plan of Burley Griffin he had made a mistake. Until now there has been no criticism pf his work as we have followed his design for the city of Canberra. Possibly, one of the remaining things is the site on which to complete the dream of Burley Griffin. Politicians are now going to destroy the dream.
– Did the other experts agree with that?
– Does the honourable senator like the Administrative Block?
– That will happen here in 50 years time.
– Is there nol a danger of getting a hotch potch building with this idea?
– Why not?
– It is an ancillary question.
– I believe that each of the three sites discussed in recent years for the new and permanent parliament house would be excellent for that purpose. The lake site would serve excellently for a parliament house. So too would the Camp Hill site, but I hold firmly to a view which I have held consistently that from a symbolic point of view and from a practical point of view the best site is Capital Hill. In true democratic style the Senate this evening is to decide the site on which the new parliament house will be built. It is about 1 1 years since a decision was made by a former Prime Minister with the approval of Cabinet that the lake site would be the accepted location. As I have said previously, I believe it is regrettable that that decision was not adhered to because we would then have saved perhaps millions of dollars that have been spent by the National Capital Development Commission in developing the layout of the parliamentary triangle. However, this evening we are in a somewhat similar position. If the Senate was given a lead as to what would be the position regarding the location of the new parliament house, depending on the outcome of this debate, I would be more alerted to the facts. If the Senate votes as it did on the last occasion, have we an assurance that the new parliament house will then be built on Capital1 Hill?
I commenced by saying that in very democratic style we are unaware of what is to happen after we vote this evening. If by a slight majority the Senate decides on the Camp Hill site I have little doubt that the comment will be made that neither House could make up its mind and the Executive will decide where the new parliament house is to be built. I think we should be well prepared at the conclusion of our voting, if our numbers are in favour of Capital Hill - and I think this will be the result - and the total numbers here and in another place are greater than those for the Camp Hill site, immediately to invite the other House to this chamber so that we may conduct a vote of both Houses.
– What were the qualifications of those people?
– Surely architects are supposed to tell one how to build a place after one has chosen a site.
– Don’t you think that is a good point?
– Capital Hill is 75 feet higher.
– Why is it said that the area of the Camp Hill site is 97 acres?
– What about inflation?
– It is not very often that I find myself rising to support Senator Webster. More is the pity, lt is rather sad that that is the position. I hope that he will join me on many more occasions. I think that would be. to the mutual advantage of both of us and to the advantage of the country. On this occasion I find very little on which I can take issue with him. In fact, in the time available to me I do not propose to take issue with him on any of the comments he made, because in fact I support him.
I feel impelled to enter this debate because I am a member of the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House and also because a few months ago I had the privilege and honour of being a member of a sub-committee that undertook a tour of the world for the purpose of looking at parliament houses in various parts of the world, where we thought we might gain some benefit and knowledge from seeing what was taking place and what was the position regarding the adequacy of those parliament houses and the facilities they were able to provide for members, and for the very ‘important purpose of examining the question of the area that should be provided for a parliament house in these modern times.
At this stage I should explain to the Senate, as Senator Drake-Brockman did in his case, my position in relation to the report which contains the recommendations of the Committee and which was presented to the Parliament a few days ago. If honourable senators will refer to page 25 of that report they will find that I was not present at the meeting at which the recommenda tion for Camp Hill was made. In fact, at that time I was on my way to a meeting of another joint committee of the Parliament which is dealing with another subject. I was a member of a sub-committee of that Committee and, as I understand the position, my presence at that meeting was necessary to enable that sub-committee to function. One cannot be in two places at once. More is the pity. I have a great deal of interest in the matter now before the Senate for the reasons I have mentioned already.
– What is the matter in which the honourable senator does not have a great interest? I thought he said that he did not have a great interest in something.
– Does the honourable senator think 60 seats are required here now?
– The taxpayers would expect it. You had a free trip around the world.
– Did he make any estimate of the number of members to occupy Parliament House?
– What effect do you think the estimate of population has on the building?
– That is a very important point.
– What figure did the Minister give?
– Do you mean to say that you have been on the Committee all this time and do not know the area of each site?
– Do you mean-
– You think-
– Despite all the words that have been said, depite the frequent, high-sounding phrases and the references to platitudes about planning and all the paraphernalia that has to go into a new parliament house, I very much doubt that this issue has not been pre-conceived and pre-ordained by all honourable senators, and that all senators, before speaking have made their choice on the site for the parliament house. With all the words that have been said and will be said, I think there will be no difference in the result.
I propose to speak very shortly, and I speak only because on the last occasion when this issue was before the Parliament I voted but did not speak. I feel that, as it has been a subject on which most senators have spoken, I should shortly express the reasons why I prefer the site of the new parliament house on Capital Hill. The basic reasons why I prefer that site are that, first, the character of the parliament building should be the most impressive, the most dominant, and the most prominent feature of the national capital. That is a viewpoint that has been recognised and expressed by many people to whom one speaks. I think it neatly expresses the thought I have - that parliament house in Canberra should be the dominant feature. The second point that I think is important is that Capital Hill has a site elevation that enables the building to be imposed on it to be viewed from all sides. If parliament house were placed on any other site - in particular on the alternative site at Camp Hill - people looking from the south would have no appreciation of the parliament house. At the present time the flagpole which denotes Capital Hill is discernible from all directions and slight though the elevation is, the flagpole is evident from the north, south, east and west. I visualise that particular point where the dominating building, the prominent parliament house, as we view it, should be situated. The third point as I view it is that the area of land provides ample space for all that the architects who will hereafter have to design a parliament house will require. The area within State Circle is on one view 130 acres and on another, 135 acres. On the other hand the Camp Hill area is termed 30 acres but if East Block and West Block are pulled down it is 60 acres. In those circumstances I consider that 130 acres provides ample scope for flexible design. It would provide architects with ample scope to determine whether the building was to be vertical, horizontal, rectangular or circular and it would also provide ample space for any subsidiary buildings, underground parking or on site parking. Those are the reasons, shortly expressed, that have always appealed to me why the building should be on Capital Hill and there is nothing 1 have heard which suggests they are not valid reasons.
– Who said that?
– During the course of his remarks Senator Greenwood said that the members of the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House appeared to him to be determined that, if they could not have the lakeside site, they certainly would not have the Capital Hill site. In this chamber two members of the Committee who, when the matter was before the House in 1968, voted for the Capital Hill site in preference to the lakeside site, as a result of hearing the witnesses who gave evidence before the Select Committee altered their minds from a choice of Capital Hill, for which they voted in this House last August, to a choice of Camp Hill. I was one of the members of that Committee who so acted. I make no excuse for so doing, despite the attempted interjections from my colleagues. As a member of the Committee I was charged by the Parliament with listening to the evidence and forming a judgment on the evidence as it was presented to the Committee. The site for the new and permanent parliament house was the subject of debate in this House in August 1968 - some 7 or 8 months ago - when by a majority of 42 to 6 it was resolved to reject the lakeside site in favour of Capital Hill. Despite the attempted interjections from those who normally are my colleagues I intend to pursue my course of action and support the Camp Hill site, because like my fair minded colleague Senator Cavanagh, I have chosen to accept the opinion of experts whose evidence was given to the members of the Select Committee.
After the vote was taken in this House in August the Joint Committee that was established to inquire into the erection of a new and permanent parliament house, by resolution, was asked to consider and make recommendations on the desirability of either the Capital Hill site or the Camp Hill site. The Committee heard a great deal of evidence. Having listened to the evidence and having given that evidence the weight that one must give to it I now favour the Camp Hill site, subject of course to the proviso which is set out in the Committee’s recommendations. I do not intend tracing the whole history of the matter, but the subject of the site of the parliament house is a battle that has been waged over a period of about half a century. I dare say that, if the matter is not resolved in the near future, in another 50 years’ time not only will the new parliament house not be built but also people will1 still be wrangling over which is the better site. As Shakespeare once said: ‘To be or not to be, that is the question’. The Committee sought advice from a large number of people. Indeed it circulated all members of Parliament, asking both members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to submit thenviews on the site.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman) - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 22 May 1969, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1969/19690522_senate_26_s41/>.