26th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMuliin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator MURPHY - My question is directed to the Leader of the Government. Will the Minister tell us how much longer the Government is going to stall before announcing whether the Fill aircraft contract is to be cancelled? Will he give tha Senate an assurance that we will be told before the Parliament rises for the election whether the contract is to be cancelled and, if so, the terms and conditions of the cancellation?
Senator ANDERSON - The situation is that a special mission in relation to the aircraft has been to the United States. That mission has returned to Australia and will be making a report to the Minister for Defence. When that report is available I have no doubt that the Minister for Defence will make a report in the Parliament. As to the second part of the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister has made it clear in a statement that it is his desire that a decision in relation to the aircraft will be made and announced before a general election takes place.
– I address my question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. In view of the growing complexity of information required by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, which is imposing an unduly large amount of work on many small business undertakings, will the Government consider modifying these requirements?
– We are living in a world of sophistication. I am sure it is true to say that there is a tremendous demand in commerce and government for detailed statistics in all avenues of trade and commerce and in studies of trends and patterns. I know that the Commonwealth Statistician does his best at all times to minimise the work load imposed on firms supplying information. Nevertheless, because of the nature of things it is necessary from time to time to obtain information. There may be some further angles to the question posed by the honourable senator and if he cares to put his question on the notice paper I will refer it to the Treasurer.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry whether the Minister’s attention has been drawn to a report in the Melbourne Agc’ today that the President of the Victorian Farmers Union, Mr A. Wood, has publicly indicated his intention to sell on the black market above-quota wheat produced by him? Will the Government take action against wheat growers who sell outside the Australian Wheat Board or below the fixed home consumption price? If so, what form will this action take? Will the Government deprive present offenders of any future quotas which may be imposed or will it allow the present stabilisation scheme, which has been in operation in various forms for over 20 years, to collapse?
– My attention was drawn to the article mentioned by the honourable senator. Most of the question would need to go on the notice paper in order to receive a detailed reply from the Minister for Primary Industry. But I point out to the honourable senator that if the suggested action is taken it certainly will upset the orderly marketing of wheat in Australia, which I think certainly would react most unfavourably against the Australian wheat growers.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Will the Minister give further consideration to making wheat available for feeding starving stock in the drought areas of Queensland at a lower price than at present, in view of the fact that the price of wheat sold to Japan and certain other countries has been reduced?
– This is a matter of great moment to those unfortunate people in Queensland who are suffering from the effects of a drought. The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following information in regard to this matter: The first aspect is whether the Australian Wheat Board is entitled to sell wheat to any user in Australia at a concessional price. The answer to this question is quite clear from the legislation. The Board may sell only at the home consumption price, which is common to all States and is fixed by State legislation. The second aspect is a matter of drought relief. The Commonwealth has undertaken to provide generous financial assistance to Queensland for drought relief measures. I understand that the question of wheat for stock feed is currently the subject of correspondence between the Prime Minister and the Premier of Queensland, and therefore I am not in a position to provide any additional information at this juncture.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Is it a fact that the Australian National Line is contemplating freight increases on the Australian coast and that the main justification for this action is the unprovability of certain trades, particularly the Darwin trade? Is it not true that the ANL has had to live with the problem of the Darwin trade for many years and has always managed to make a reasonable profit? Is it also true that the Tasmanian trade accounts for approximately half of the Line’s profit and has been a most lucrative one for it? Finally, why should Tasmania - the only State wholly dependent on shipping - now be obliged to carry additional freight burdens in order to maintain the ANL’s profit margin?
– Answering the last part of the question first, let me say that the only reason why Tasmania has to rely on sea transport is that it is an island off the mainland of Australia. In answer to other parts of the honourable senator’s question, I say to him that the Australian National Line has always endeavoured to give a service to all States within the Commonwealth. I ask the honourable senator to place the other parts of his question on the notice paper, and I will obtain an answer for him.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. Is the Minister aware that concern is being felt in South Australia at the action of the Victorian State Rivers Commission in discharging saline water from the Lake Hawthorn basin into the River Murray? Can he reconcile this action with the Commonwealth Government’s outlay of S3.7m on the Lake Hawthorn and Barr Creek projects, provided specifically to correct the problem of excessive inflow of saline waters into the Murray? As the first irrigation at Renmark and other South Australian irrigation settlements will be made at the end of this month, what action is the Commonwealth Government taking to ensure the effectiveness of the Lake Hawthorn and Barr Creek projects and to ensure that irrigations are made with high quality water, which is now regarded as essential, following successive years of irrigation with water of high saline content?
– It is true that certain people living along the Murray River, particularly in South Australia, are worried about the saline water being discharged into the Murray from Lake Hawthorn. I understand that the reason for discharging saline water from Lake Hawthorn to the River Murray is that the River Murray Commission wants to reduce the quantity of water in Lake Hawthorn. It takes this action when there are excess flows down the River Murray. In fact, it started discharging water from Lake Hawthorn early this month and continued to do so for about a fortnight, only increasing the saline content of the River Murray by about ten parts per million over and above the 200 parts per million in the River Murray at that time. Discharging from Lake Hawthorn is to recommence and is to continue until about 3rd September. It is thought that the quantity of saline water being discharged from Lake Hawthorn will increase the saline content by five parts per million. This discharge will no doubt release so much water from Lake Hawthorn that in future it will help to keep down salinity during the irrigation season.
I would like to add that the Commonwealth Government has spent or has made available about S3. 7m for the Lake Hawthorn and Barr Creek schemes, of which the honourable senator is aware, to reduce the saline content of water entering the
River Murray. In addition, after an extensive survey was undertaken by the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority the River Murray Commission recommended to the States - and I understand that the States have agreed with - the construction of a dam at Dartmouth. This dam is guaranteed by the experts to ensure that South Australian irrigationists will receive a greater water supply than they have received in the past. When the dam is built the people of South Australia will be guaranteed an extra 250,000 acre feet of water each year as against the Chowilla scheme and their present water supply.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs: Can the Government advise the Senate who in its opinion is right - Mr Fairhall, Minister for Defence, who recently said that the entry of Russian naval forces into the Indian Ocean is a matter of grave concern for Australia, or Mr Freeth, Minister for External Affairs, who, in contradition, says that he has been having friendly chats with Russia and the matter is not one that should concern Australians?
– At a later hour today I propose to put down in the Senate a foreign affairs statement made by the Minister for External Affairs in another place last Thursday evening. Therefore it would be quite unwise, and indeed contrary to Standing Orders, to anticipate the document which is to be put down in the Senate later this afternoon. I suggest to Senator McManus that it would be wrong for him - or for anybody, for that matter - to draw some conclusions out of context from the statement which I shall put down this afternoon. Indeed, as I shall move that the Senate take note of the paper, which will give an opportunity for debate on the subject, I think I can leave the matter at that for the time being.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport indicate whether any steps are being taken to overcome the industrial strife which, it appears, is creating a decrease in efficiency in the Australian National Line and which is causing rumours of in- creases in freight rates? Will the Minister bear in mind the extreme concern expressed by trading and manufacturing organisations in Tasmania over any possibility of an increase in Australian National Line freight rates, as the Australian National Line constitutes the only mode of transport available for almost all types of Tasmanian freight?
– I am aware of the problems of running an Australian shipping line because of certain action taken by certain people. I also know that one of the Australian National Line’s ships taking freight to Darwin has been delayed there for periods in excess of 3 weeks to unload 5,000 tons. The Australian National Line may increase its freight rates if these types of hold-ups occur. The Government, unlike previous governments, has said that it intends to make the Line pay. This is left entirely in the hands of the people working within the industry. If ships cannot be unloaded quickly and if goods cannot be transported quickly, there may be increased freight rates.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Prime Minister. In view of the proposed court martial proceedings against Captain Stevenson of the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne’ arising from the collision during the South East Asia Treaty Organisation exercise, which suggests that the Australian command was not free from blame, will the Prime Minister consider appropriate action against the Minister for the Navy who has been proved wrong in that, before the joint Australian-United States inquiry, he incorrectly prejudged the issue by expressing the belief that the Australian command would emerge without blame and that the collision was just ‘bloody bad luck’?
– I do not accept the question. As a court martial has been ordered, the easiest way to resolve the matter is to put the question on the notice paper.
– Has the Minister for Housing, who represents the Minister for Health and the Minister for Immigration, seen a Press report which states that the drug cortisone is being administered to migrant children by certain medical practitioners? Can the Minister say why migrant children are singled out for this iniquitous treatment? Can she also indicate what is the proper purpose of this drug and what effect it has when used for frivolous purposes on children? Can the Government do anything to make this improper practice illegal and why is not the Australian Medical Association taking action to prevent the practice?
– Two Ministers are involved in the honourable senators question. I think the point that she raised is: Why are migrant children the ones who are receiving this treatment? I cannot give the honourable senator an answer to that. She went on to ask about the medical effect of the drug and also what could be done. The Commonwealth health authorities have informed me that as a general practice, and in the scope of good medical treatment, cortisone should not be given unless it is really needed for the treatment of established diseases. When given in substantial and prolonged doses, cortisone can cause the retention of salt and water in the body and result in high blood pressure. These risks are more pronounced in childhood, and in this area administration for prolonged periods may interfere with growth. The honourable senator also asks why cortisone is being administered to the children of migrants. I tell her now that the Minister for Immigration who, like me, has seen the comments in the paper to which the honourable senator refers, has assured me that he will see that everything that can possibly be done is done to let migrants know the real seriousness of this situation if a child receives the drug under the conditions which have been outlined by the health authorities.
– 1 address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Can the Minister indicate just what is the actual loss shown on the Melbourne to Darwin shipping run conducted by the Australian National Line? If, as was foreshadowed by the Minister, this is one of the important factors in bringing about an increase in freights over the whole of the Commonwealth, will the Minister or the Government take up with the ANL the possibility of putting the Melbourne to Darwin run in a separate category with a view to causing that run to stand on its own two feet so that it will not be responsible for increasing freight rates over the whole of the services conducted by the Australian National Line?
– No doubt this question is prompted by the answer I gave Senator Rae. I said that one of the very high costs involved was the cost of shipping cargoes to the port of Darwin. I think the honourable senator will realise that the port of Darwin has been a problem for the Australian National Line over a considerable period. I went on to say that one shipment of less than 5,000 tons took, I think, something in excess of 3 weeks to unload. This, of course, meant additional costs. As to having this particular area isolated from the rest of Australia so that the island ports of Tasmania may receive better treatment, 1 ask that the honourable senator place that part of his question on notice so that I may take the matter up with the Minister for Shipping and Transport.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Repatriation been drawn to the strong criticism of the repatriation system by Dr Whiting, a former employee of the South Australian branch of the Repatriation Department? If so, does the Minister accept the charges or the widely held views of many applicants for repatriation benefits and ex-servicemen’s organisations who have complained that many exservice applicants do not get justice from the system, a situation which has produced a request from the Returned Services League for a national inquiry and a resolution from the Senate supporting the setting up of a Senate Select Committee to inquire into repatriation matters?
– I have seen the book to which the honourable senator referred and I do not agree with the author’s criticism of the system. In his book the author says that there are too many bludgers - 1 think those are the words he uses - in repatriation hospitals. 1 think that the book is scurrilous rubbish. I am quite sure that the honourable senator feels the same as 1 do about the matter.
– I wish to direct a question to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I ask: Is it a fact that the Japan-Australia shipping conference will be commencing operations shortly? is it also a fact that the Japanese K Line, which is a partner of the conference, is having difficulty obtaining a reasonable tonnage quota? If this is so will it have an adverse effect upon the two Australian partners, the Australian National Line and the Flinders Shipping Company? Could it place those two companies in an adverse trading position with other Japanese shipping companies and Overseas Containers Limited, which are operating in the Australian-Japan trade?
– The Australian National Line and the Japanese K Line have launched ships for participation in this trade. The ‘Australian Enterprise’ was launched in Kobe, Japan, on 17th May. It is expected to go into service about the end of this month. The ‘Australian Sea Roader’ which is the K Line’s counterpart, was launched in Japan on 16th July. It is expected to go into service within the next month or two. It is true that there is a problem regarding obtaining sufficient freight for the ships. I ask the honourable senator to place the rest of his question on notice so that I can obtain an answer for him.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. In view of the Minister’s concern about the financial position of the Australian National Line and the proposal to increase freight charges, I ask: Will he take steps to ensure that the ANL establishes passenger and freight booking offices and carries out the other administrative arrangements that are normally a part of such business undertakings, thereby saving the substantial sums which are now paid in commission for services provided by the Line’s business competitors?
– I have already referred to the increased costs on cargo forwarded to the port of Darwin. I understand that there has also been trouble with freight forwarded from Sydney and other mainland ports to Tasmania. :I did not say at any stage that there would be an increase in freights. I said that if this sort of thing kept on-
– What sort of thing?
– Hold-ups and strikes. I said that if these kept on occurring throughout Australia in all probability there would be no other action the ANL could take but to increase freight rates. There cannot be stoppages, strikes and lock-outs without these costing somebody something. This is understood in Australia. In view of the honourable senator’s concern, I ask him to place his question on notice and I will obtain an answer from the Minister for Shipping and Transport.
– My question to the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral is based on the fact that Tasmania is an island State. I ask: Has the AttorneyGeneral any power to insist that where any Australia- wide organisation with a Tasmanian section has on its official letterhead a badge incorporating a map of Australia it should also include Tasmania? Is the Minister aware that the letterhead of the Tasmanian section of the Australian Labor Party has such a badge - one which is minus the map of Tasmania - and that this is a hurtful insult to all Tasmanians? Is the Minister aware that printed across the badge is the slogan ‘Unity of Labor is the Hope of the World’? Does he feel that the emergence of Mr Brian Harradine within the Labor Party in Tasmania - a person who was prevented from attending a conference of the ALP on the mainland - has been the cause of the omission of Tasmania from the badge?
– I am not aware that the Commonwealth Parliament has any power in regard to the inclusion on a letterhead of any matter by a federal organisation, and least of all would it apply its powers to the Australian Labor Party. I suppose the fact is that the island State has been rubbed off, just as its representative, Mr Brian Harradine, has been rubbed off the map now that Mr Reece has been rubbed out of Government.
– Is the Leader of the Government aware that United States military departments are at present paying S 1,137,000 for research by Australian universities? Is he aware of the nature of this research? Is any of this research directed towards chemical or biological warfare, as was alleged by a Dr A. B. Lloyd of the University of New England at Armidale? If not, what is the purpose of this research and what is the true interest of, particularly, the United States Army?
– The answer to the first question is no, 1 am not aware of the circumstances. Because the answer to the first question is no, 1 cannot answer any of the subsequent questions.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science aware that non-graduate technical assistants in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation receive higher salaries than graduate experimental officers? Is he aware also that the long delay in the hearing of an application for increased salaries by officers of the CSIRO is causing dissatisfaction and a loss of morale in that organisation? Can the Minister indicate when a decision on the salary claims is likely to be made by the Public Service Board?
– The honourable senator’s question was the first intimation I had of any unrest of the kind to which he has referred. I shall take the question up with the Minister and see that the claims by the officers for increased emoluments are given an early consideration.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration indicate what progress has been made by the expert committee set up by the Minister for Immigration to inquire into and advise as to the recognition of professional qualifications of migrants to Australia?
– I recall that the Minister for Immigration made a statement on this matter last March. The first meeting of the committee was held on 10th April, since when there have been three meetings. The fourth meeting is to be held on 28th August. The work of the committee is in connection with overseas professional qualifications of people coming to Australia. The task confronting it will be long and complex. I think that was understood when the committee was set up. Already it has established contact with professional associations, registration authorities, deans of faculties and principals of colleges of advanced education in Australia. It has appointed as its executive director Mr Ramsay, an officer of the Department of Education and Science. He commenced duty on 4th August. The headquarters of the committee have been established in Canberra and, as I have said, the next meeting is to be held on 28th August.
– I preface my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport by reminding the Senate that an application was received about 3 years ago from the Verholme shipbuilding company to establish a shipbuilding industry at Margate in Tasmania and that the then Minister for Shipping and Transport refused to assist the company on the ground that there was not sufficient demand for ships in the Australian trade to warrant the establishment of a new shipyard. In view of the fact that the Department of Shipping and Transport, through the Australian National Line, has placed large contracts with Japanese shipbuilders to build ships for the Australian National Line, will the Commonwealth Government take steps to re-open negotiations with the Verholme company with a view to establishing a shipbuilding industry in Tasmania?
– I remember quite well the application which was made by the company the honourable senator has mentioned to establish a shipyard in Tasmania. I forget the exact details and the reason why the shipyard was not established. If he places his question on the notice paper I will obtain an answer from the Minister for Shipping and Transport.
< Senator GAIR - My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is the suggested choice of 25th October, the anniversary of the Russian Revolution, as the date for the House of Representatives election a graceful tribute by the Gorton Government to its new friendship with the Soviet Union?
– I shall answer the question in two parts. First, 25th October is the date that I read in a newspaper and I suggest that it has no more credence at this time than has anything else one reads in the newspapers about prognostications of election dates. Secondly, I am not as well versed in Russian history as are some others in this place.
– I address my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Is it a fact that Australian-produced meats are being edged out of the Papua and New Guinea market because of the lower landed cost of New Zealand meats? Is it a fact that shipping costs from Australia to Port Moresby are far above those from New Zealand to Port Moresby? Will the Minister have this problem investigated with a view to assisting Australian producers, by way of reduced freight rates, to obtain reasonable access to markets in a Territory which the Australian Government administers?
– On the last couple of occasions that I was in New Guinea I noticed that New Zealand meat seemed to be more in evidence than was Australian meat. The reasons could be those stated by the honourable senator; I do not know. But I will make inquiries from the Minister for Primary Industry or the Minister for Shipping and Transport and let the honourable senator know the result.
– Has the Minister for Customs and Excise seen a report that officers of his Department yesterday raided the home of Mr Don Lane, the well known Sydney television personality? Is the Mr Lane referred to the same Mr Lane who was charged last year by the Crown with bringing drugs into Australia and who subsequently was acquitted before a judge and jury? Has the Minister seen the statement made yesterday by Mr Lane that no drugs were found on him or at his home yesterday despite a wide search by customs officers? Is this statement correct? If so, can the Minister say, in fairness to that gentleman, whether it is intended to proceed against him on any charge arising out of yesterday’s raid by officers of the Minister’s Department?
– I believe it is the same Don Lane who was charged last year with having imported drugs, or for having drugs in his possession when he came to Australia. In relation to the other parts of the question, I would like to advise the honourable senator that the raid was carried out by the State Police Drug Squad. An officer of the Narcotics Bureau of the Department of Customs and Excise was with the Drug Squad. They did not find in the building any evidence that Mr Lane had drugs and therefore, as no prohibited imports were discovered, no charge will be laid.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In view of the popularity and success of daylight saving in Tasmania and because of the added benefits that would accrue if it were adopted in the eastern States and the Australian Capital Territory, and, further, as the Premier of New South Wales, Mr Askin, appears to be in favour of its adoption, will the Minister urge the Prime Minister to continue to work for its introduction by gaining the acquiescence of the Premiers of Victoria and Queensland?
– ‘I well recall that I spoke on this subject many years ago - at least it seems a long time ago now - and was a strong advocate of daylight saving. I still remain a strong advocate of summer daylight saving in the eastern States - at least in New South Wales - and I think the case would be unanswerable. As to influencing the State governments in relation to this matter, it was brought up at a Premiers Conference. At that time the States were not prepared to agree. There the matter remained until last season, or perhaps the season before, when the Tasmanian Government introduced daylight saving. As a matter of fact Tasmania is the one State for which daylight saving would have the least attraction.
– Turn it up.
– Let me explain that statement. The point I am making is that because of the geographical position, the case for daylight saving in Tasmania, where there is a longer twilight, would not be as great as it is in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland or South Australia. The Premier of New South Wales has said that whilst New South Wales may well favour daylight saving, or at least, summer daylight saving, he does not see the merit of it unless the other eastern States adopt the same arrangement. 1 think we are bound to admit that that argument has validity, particularly when we think in terms of the inconvenience that may be caused by the application of different systems in the eastern States. With the greatest goodwill, 1 suggest that the most that the Commonwealth could do would be to take the suggestion back to the Premiers Conference and ask the Premiers whether they, in turn, would have another look at the proposition. I will put that proposal by Senator Marriott to the Government. It certainly has my blessing.
– 1 direct a question to the Leader of the Government. Am I to understand from the answer to my previous question that the United States can undertake defence research in Australian universities without the knowledge of the Government?
– The situation, as I understand it, is that if any research were being carried out at a university it would be under an arrangement entered into between the university and whoever was sponsoring the research. I answered the question when I. said: T am not aware of the circumstances in which a university is doing research for the United States Government’.
– The United Slates Defence Department.
– Or for the
United States Defence Department. 1 am not aware of the nature of what they are doing; but if, as suggested by the honourable senator in his subsequent question, there is some governmental understanding or governmental information related to it, I. will be perfectly happy to obtain it. As a matter of fact, I read about this in the Press at the weekend. I was disturbed during the night by the Press and invited to answer questions. I was able to say to the Press: As far as I am concerned, this is a matter of some arrangements that some universities have entered into. I suggest that you ask those universities about it’. But, if the honourable senator thinks that some governmental information may be available. I will attempt to obtain it for him.
– Will the Minister for Customs and Excise consider further extending the emergency duty relief of 20% on harvesters, with no stipulation regarding width such as applied previously? Will the Government consider extending a bounty payment to manufacturers of harvesting machines in Australia to replace the present duly and so afford some relief to farmers facing the cost-price squeeze?
– J answered a question similar to this one hist week. 1 can advise the honourable senator that the duty applies at the present time to all types of harvesters imported into Australia, including those of a width of 20 feet and over. 1 advised him that f was able to prolong for a period of 3 or 4 months the length of lime in which self-propelled header harvesters of a width in excess of 20 feet could be imported without payment of duty. I also mentioned last week that the numbers that could be imported were limited. This period has since expired. Now importers of header harvesters are paying duty at the rate of 20%. In relation to the other part of the question, which refers to changing the method of assistance from one of duty to one of bounty, I advise the honourable senator that my colleague, the Minister for Trade and Industry, placed before the Tariff Board in about October 1967 all the items to which the honourable senator referred - in fact, all items in relation to farming in Australia. No doubt, when that report is received the Minister and the Government will give further consideration to these problems.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport advise the Senate when the last general strike of members of the Australian Seamen’s Union took place? Can he also enumerate the alleged disputes to which he referred in answer to a previous question and which he claims are responsible for the proposed rises in interstate shipping freights?
– I understand that there were delays in the departures of Australian National Line ships from Australian mainland ports for Tasmanian ports. Recently when 1 was in Darwin 1 was informed by people there that a ship belonging to the Australian National Line-
– Which ship?
– A ship belonging to the Australian National Une. .1 was told that it took over 3 weeks to discharge about 5,000 tons of cargo.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport inform the Senate how many times the island trade ships of the Australian National Line have been delayed in departing from Sydney and Melbourne by strikes by members of the Federated Marine Stewards and Pantrymen’s Association of Australasia?
– I know there have been delays in the departures of Australian National Line ships from Australian mainland ports for Tasmanian ports, caused by the steward problem and by a failure to get sufficient crew.
– And by manning provisions.
– Yes. This has all increased costs to the Australian National Line. In order that 1 may answer the honourable senator’s question properly I ask him to place it on the notice paper and 1 will get the information he seeks from the Minister for Shipping and Transport.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Customs and Excise. I refer to the recent convictions of people for smuggling into Australia from Singapore birds of the feathered variety. What assistance has Australia received from the Singapore authorites in rounding up the master minds associated with this racket?
– We are very conscious of the problem associated with the smuggling of birds into Australia. Very often half of them are dead on arrival. We are worried also about the people endeavouring to smuggle birds out of Australia. As to the co-operation we get from other countries in relation to this smuggling, T ask the honourable senator to place his question on notice so that I can obtain a detailed answer for him.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. Now that 82% of the farmers within the projected CressyLongford irrigation area scheme have voted in favour of the proposal and have indicated that they will enter into it, can the Minister state when the necessary enabling legislation will be introduced to authorise the payment of $750,000 of Commonwealth funds to Tasmania for the scheme so th:it it may be introduced at the earliest possible date?
– It is very pleasing indeed to know from the honourable senator that agreement has been reached by the people concerned to allow this scheme to proceed. As to the exact date when it will start and as to the intentions of the Minister for National Development, I shall obtain an answer for the honourable senator if he will place the question on the notice paper.
– I ask a question of you, Mr President. In view of: the revelations in another place, will you assure the Senate that stewards employed to attend to honourable senators are not used as informers on honourable senators and request that honourable senators should not sink to the dishonourable practice of seeking from stewards information as to the habits of visitors of other honourable senators?
– All I know is that the matter has been raised in debate in the other place. I have complete confidence in the attendants in this chamber. I have no doubt at all that the various confidences that members and senators have with them are respected completely.
(Question No. 1283)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The Minister for Education and Science has provided the following reply to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1303)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
There is no upper limit in either case. However, if detailed records are not kept of the amounts spent by the employer, it is the practice of the Commissioner of Taxation to allow a deduction of $2 per week for each employee. The Commissioner has found that this figure, which has been applied since 1951, provides an acceptable estimate in most cases. The majority of employees who are provided with keep are on rural properties where part of their food is produced by the employer. It is always open to the employer to demonstrate (if this is the case) that the amount expended was greater than $2 per week. If he does so, a larger deduction is allowed but the employee will, in this event, have to bear tax on the higher amount expended for his benefit.
The Commissioner does not propose any change in the current administrative practices.
(Question No. 1274)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
As a result of the study conducted by the Department of Labour and National Service into Aboriginal employment, which challenged the belief that Aborigines were occupationally unstable, will Aborigines employed throughout Australia, secure a better deal and now receive proper award wages and conditions of employment.
– The Minister for Labour and National Service has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
All employees including Aborigines in employment throughout Australia are subject to the terms and conditions of awards where awards apply to the work being performed.
I should add that the study to which the honourable senator refers also revealed that because of environmental and other factors employment opportunities available to Aborigines are too often of an intermittent or unskilled nature. It was therefore decided to develop a special programme of action designed to stimulate opportunities for certain Aborigines who are capable of undertaking more skilled work.I announced this in a press statement on 1st June. In particular, the programme includes an employment training scheme which among other things subsidises employers prepared to give more Aborigines work training in skills that will improve their prospects of regular employment.
(Question No.1 290)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The Prime Minister has provided me with the following answer to the honourable senators question:
(Question No. 1251)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:
-The Prime Minister has provided me with the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Submissions received 1 968-69
Ure Smith Ply Ltd ‘Art and Australia’. (N.S.W.)
Ballet of the Five Continents’ - Beth Dean, cultural Olympics, Mexico
Carimina Estudio de Baile Clasico Espanol (Vic.)
Experimental Theatre (John Allen/Judy Gemes) (N.S.W.)
National Theatre at the Playhouse (Perth)
O’Shaughnessy, Peter (N.S.W.)
Bird, John and Harris, James - film makers (Swinburne Technical College)
Senior Film Productions Pty Ltd (withdrawn) (Vic.)
UBU Films (N.S.W.)
Arts Council of Australia and Australian Elizabethan Trust - Proposed tour by Malcolm Williamson and Opera Company from England
Balinese Dancers and Gamelin Orchestra - proposed by Australia-Indonesia Association of New South Wales
Indonesian Shadow Theatre - proposed by Arts Council of Australia
Le Treteau de Paris - Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust
Linklater, Miss Kristan - proposed by National Institute of Dramatic Art
Piccolo Teatro di Milano - proposed by Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust
Robertson, Miss Sconaid - proposed by Australian Society for Education through Art
Turkish Janissary Band - proposed by Returned Services League of Australia
U.S. Consultant, Miss Margaret Webster - proposed by Australian Intervarsity Drama Festival
English Opera Group- tour proposed by Adelaide Festival of Arts
Australian Participation in European Congresses of Youth Choral Leaders
Australian Universities’ Festival Choir - to participate in International Universities Choral Festival, New York
Ehmer, B. - puppeteer: assistance to travel to U.S.A. to Festival of Puppeteers of America (Qld) 12th International Music Congress
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra - concert tour of U.S.A. 1970
Musica Viva Society- Festival of the Performing Arts, Manila (Tour by New Sydney Woodwind Quintet)
Musitz, Susanne - assistance to study dance and choreography for her company while overseas (N.S.W.)
Orval, John - stained glass artist; assistance with study tour overseas (Vic.)
Pilsner, Milano - piano accordion teacher; assistance for daughter to compete in overseas music competitions (N.S.W.)
Ransome, Anthony - singer; grant to study singing in Adelaide, England and Europe
University of Adelaide Wind Quintet - world tour
Youth Theatre World Festival. Nancy, France - Monash University
Melbourne Fire Brigade Band - to participate in international competition.
Federal Entrepreneurial and Co-ordinatingBodies
Arts Council of Australia
Arts Council of Australia
Northern Territory Division
Queensland Division, Mount Isa Branch
South Australian Division
South Australian Division. Whyalla Branch
Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust
Adelaide Eisteddfod Society
Advisory Council for the Arts (W.A.)
Alice Springs Drama Festival 2nd Australian Universities Arts Festival
Central Queensland Drama Festival
City of Wangaratta Eisteddfod Society 2nd Festival of the Arts for St Georges’ Day (Tas.)
Goulburn Valley Drama Festival (Vic.) 20th Intervarsity Choral Festival (S.A.) 3rd Mildura Wintersun Festival (Vic.)
Moomba Festival (Vic.)
Musica Viva - 2nd Canberra Spring Festival 2nd National Catholic Schools Drama Festival (Vic.)
North Australian Eisteddfod Council
North Queensland Drama Festival
Abbott, Cliff (N.S.W.) Composer;
Adelaide Choral Society
Albury Symphony Orchestra
Astra Chamber Music Society (Vic.)
Australian Boys’ Choir (Vic.)
Australian Musical Association (London)
Australian U.N.E.S.C.O. Music Committee
Bathurst Baroque Society
British Music Society of Victoria
Cheltenham Light Opera Company (Vic.)
City of Mordialloc Philharmonic Society (Vic.)
Elizabethan Trust Orchestra
Fazakerley, Edward C. (Vic.)
Folk Lore Council of Australia
Glenbrook Music Club
Hamilton Light Opera Company (N.S.W.)
Heron, Bruce F. L. (Vic.)
Leonine Consort (N.S.W.)
Martin Clarke Recording Studios (W.A.)
Metropolitan Choristers (Vic.)
Musica Viva Society - National Music Competition
Music in Schools - Alan and Aletha Eddy (N.S.W.)
Music Society of Mildura
National Boys Choir (Vic.)
National Music Camp Association
National Youth Orchestra
North Queensland Summer Conservatorium of Music
Organ Institute of N.S.W.
Reynolds, Mrs J. (W.A.)
University of Adelaide
Yass Music Club
Australian Opera Company (Elizabethan Trust Opera Company)
Proscenia Theatre (N.S.W.)
Q Theatre Guild (Vic.)
Queensland Opera Company
Rockdale Municipal Orchestra and Opera Company (N.S.W.)
Sydney Metropolitan Opera Company
University of N.S.W.
Victorian Opera Company
West Australian Opera Company
Melbourne University Photographic Society
Western Australian Camera Club
Australian U.N.E.S.C.O. Seminar- support for the Performing Arts
Bendigo Arts Centre
Bunbury Arts Promotion Council (W.A.)
Children’s Activities Time Society Inc. (C.A.T.S.) (W.A.)
Clancy, Elizabeth Durack
Geelong Association of Music and Art
Mildura Arts Centre Advisory Council
National Theatre and Fine Arts Society
Toowoomba Cultural Co-ordinating Association
Wangaratta Arts Council
Adelaide Festival of Arts
The Australian Opera
The Melbourne Theatre Company
Aboriginal Dance and Music Notation Project - Monash University
– I present the follow ing paper:
Audit Act - Finance - Report of the AuditorGeneral for the year 1968-69, accompanied by the Treasurer’s Statement of Receipts and Expenditure.
Reports on Items
– I present the following reports by the Tariff Board:
Floor and wall coverings.
Gloves and mittens.
Electric circuit breakers and switch units.
Pursuant to Statute I present also Special Advisory Authority reports on the following subjects:
Cherries, preserved by sugar - drained, glace or crystallised.
The Tariff Board’s report on wheel trims and the report by the Special Advisory Authority on knitted shirts do not call for any legislative action.
Senator PROWSE (Western Australia)I present the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works relating to the following proposed work:
Jingili and Moil Primary Schools, Darwin, Northern Territory.
I ask for leave to make a short statement.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The summary of recommendations and conclusions of the Committee is as follows:
– I ask leave to read a statement on foreign affairs made by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Freeth) in the House of Representatives on 1 4th August 1969.
– Is leave granted?
Opposition Senators - No.
– Leave is not granted.
– That relieves me of the burden of reading for 40 minutes. I present the following paper:
International Affairs - Statement by Minister for External Affairs, 14 August, 1969.
– I seek your direction on this matter. In what circumstances may a document be tabled? By your leave or by leave of the Senate?
– Leave is not necessary for a Minister to table a paper. Nor is leave necessary for me to table a paper.
– Is it necessary to have the leave of the Senate if a Minister wishes to table a statement and he does not seek permission to table it?
– There is no direction or leave required for a Minister to table a statement any more than it is required for me to table one.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Scott) read a first time.
– I move:
For many years now the officers of the Department of National Development have been engaged on various types of field surveys, including topographic, geological and geophysical surveys, undertaken in the course of preparing maps for Commonwealth purposes. This has necessitated their entering upon private property and Crown lands for the purpose of making observations and measurements, taking photographs, placing marks and carrying out various other operations. In the course of these activities they are required from time to time to clear timber in order to obtain lines of sight and to place marks.
The officers concerned have always been careful to do as little damage as possible and to consult land owners in advance, and their duties have been carried out with tact and courtesy. So far very little trouble has been experienced in gaining entry to property, but there has been occasional destruction of survey marks which has necessitated re-surveys and has held up the progress of mapping operations.
It is very rare for a field or survey party to encounter antipathy among property owners or local authorities and in point of fact they are normally welcomed. The possibility that the operations of these parties may ultimately lead to local economic development evokes interest and an atmosphere conducive to co-operation. Consequently party leaders normally have little difficulty in achieving their purpose by the exercise of courtesy and reasonableness. However, each season or so a party encounters a property owner who objects to government employees per se and who objects to the proposed survey. If avoidance of the property of such owners is not possible, if the aims of the survey are to be achieved then the power to issue an authority to enter upon the land may be necessary. The mere existence of a power to authorise is expected to be sufficient to obtain co-operation without formal recourse to its invocation.
The main purpose of this Bill is to empower the Minister for National Development to authorise survey parties to enter property and there carry out survey operations, establish survey marks and, if necessary in the course of these activities, to trim or cut down bushes and trees. The Bill provides that due notice shall be given to the land owner in advance of any cutting down or trimming of trees and bushes and requires the surveyors to avoid as far as practicable the causing of damage to property, and where it is unavoidable as far as practicable to repair the damage. There is provision for payment of compensation where a person suffers loss or damage to property as a result of survey operations. The amount of compensation may be determined by agreement or, in the absence of agreement, by action against the Commonwealth in a court of competent jurisdiction. Penalties are provided for the persons hindering activities authorised under the Act and for the unlawful damage or removal of Commonwealth survey marks.
Maps in some form or other are required for a number of Commonwealth purposes; indeed much modern governmental administration and management must be referenced to a mapping background. With the increased activity in exploration for minerals there has been a strong demand by industry for various types of maps produced by the Commonwealth. Maps are essential for the collection of statistics and the Division of National Mapping is currently engaged on the preparation of a very large number and a very wide range of maps for the next census to be conducted by the Bureau of Census and Statistics. These maps range from the individual collectors map of a small area to statistical maps of the whole of Australia and between each census they must be revised and brought up to date to show developmental changes.
Much statistical information can be grouped under the general term of geostatistics where the prefix ‘geo’ refers to the earth and geostatistics are those which are recorded against a particular position on the earth. This in effect means determining their map position. The Department of National Development is most active in collecting or arranging the collection of geostatistical data and in co-operating with State authorities in these fields of activity.
The Bureau of Mineral Resources procures and records geostatistical data in respect of geology, mineral resources, the earth’s gravity and magnetic fields, all of which is recorded in terms of geographical position. The Department’s Water, Power and Geographic Branch arranges primarily through State authorities for the recording of statistics on surface and underground water and produces maps showing the geographical location of this data. It also produces an atlas of Australian resources and is active in the production of geographic maps showing the resources of particular regions.
The Forestry and Timber Bureau collects and collates information on forest statistics for timber inventory surveys, and advises on forest management, including fire fighting. In all of these activities map positions are required in varying degrees of significance. Many other Commonwealth agencies are involved in the collection of geostatistical information and therefore making continuing use of maps. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial
Research Organisation is notable in this respect through the activities of its Divisions of Land Research, Soils and Wildlife Research.
The Division of National Mapping provides aeronautical charts for the Department of Civil Aviation. Good maps are of course essential for defence planning and defence operations. Close liaison exists between the Division of National Mapping and the Royal Australian Army Survey Corps. Maps are produced by both agencies to a mutually agreed basic specification and when each map is printed enough copies are provided both for civil and defence use.
The Attorney-General’s Department has found maps essential for the cartographic determination of coastal boundaries and of the limits of territorial waters. Topographic maps are of particular importance. These show the shape of the terrain, the location of natural features such as streams, swamps and timber coverage and additionally the works of man such as railways, roads, airfields, buildings, reservoirs and the like. They are extensively used in themselves and are also used as a background to the portrayal of geostatistical data in map form, for example, geological maps, soils maps, resources maps, population statistical maps. Because of the basic importance to so many other activities the Government has authorised a 10-year programme to map and contour the Commonwealth at a scale of 1:100,000 - approximately 1.6 miles to 1 inch- with 20-metre contours, or approximately 66 feet.
This is a task that will require every modern aid and a very concentrated effort if it is to be finished on time. The Department of National Development has acquired and will in the future acquire much modern and up-to-date equipment for this task. Special air survey cameras have been introduced which from a height of 25,000 feet can photograph as much as 140 square miles on a single photograph. In recent years, electronic distance measuring equipment using modulated radio waves has been employed to measure distances and last year laser equipment was introduced to give increased accuracy by timing the passage of light flashes back and forth over lines that have to be measured. The whole country is being covered by a dense network of levelling surveys and additional heights are being obtained by contractor operated airborne radar equipment in the large areas of very flat country in Australia.
In order to provide the accuracy necessary in country of greater relief the Weapons Research Establishment of the Department of Supply has developed special laser equipment that will provide the necessary elevation data from an aircraft flying at a constant height above sea level. The modulated radio type of distance measuring equipment has been extended to an airborne version that will allow lines of 200 miles length to be measured, and with this equipment we are well on the way to establishing a co-ordinated survey with stations at 70-mile intervals over the whole of Australia to provide the geodetic framework within which the mapping surveys are made.
Electronic computing equipment is being used to process all the field data and the Minister for National Development has recently authorised the purchase of electronically operated stereo-plotting equipment that, when supplied with a stereoscopic pair of air photographs and set up to fit the ground survey data, will proceed automatically to extract contour data and to produce a rectified air photograph showing the detail of the ground in its correct map position. This data is being converted directly into a map which is known as an orthophotomap and is in effect a perfectly positioned air photographic map with contours superimposed. From these the normal type of topographic map will eventually be produced but in the meantime they produce a useful map in about one quarter of the time usually taken.
As a result of the introduction of these modern and sophisticated technical aids in producing more accurate and better maps the number of ground stations that have to be established has been reduced considerably, but it is still necessary for field parties to establish these stations in appropriate locations and for geophysical parties to establish baselines for their various operations. This requires that survey parties be permitted to enter on private property and in certain cases it may be necessary for trees or bushes to be lopped or trimmed so that surveyors can carry out the necessary observations. The establishment and preservation of the lesser number of stations now required is of much greater importance to the mapping programme because of the greater amount of survey work that will be referenced to them.
The provisions of the Bill are not intended to alter the existing practice whereby survey parties moving into a district or on to particular properties take steps to advise representative persons by advance letter or personal contact of their intention to carry out the proposed operations. Where the possibility exists of damage to trees or crops, the cutting of fences or interference with stock, the alternative possibilities of location of the operations are discussed. Where any damage requires making good, such as damage to roads, filling in of holes or repairing of fences, local arrangements satisfactory to the property owner or local authority are made. However, the use of the powers set out in the Bill will prevent any hitches in what must of necessity be a tightly scheduled and close knit operation, if the 10-year mapping programme is to be completed on time. It will also serve to ensure that the rights and property of landholders are adequately protected. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Wright) read a first time.
That the Bill be now read a second time. The purpose of this Bill is to provide for the government of certain islands in the Coral Sea. The islands are situated in the areas described in the first and second paragraphs of the preamble to the Bill. They lie to the east of Queensland between the Great Barrier Reef and the meridian 157 degrees 10 minutes east longitude. One of the islands in the Willis Group has three members of the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology stationed on it. The others are all uninhabited. All are very small. Some of the better known are Cato Island, Chilcott Islet in the Coringa Group and the Willis Group. The islands were acquired by the Commonwealth by acts of sovereignty over a number of years. A lighthouse has been erected on Bougainville Reef and beacons are operating on Frederick Reef and Lihou Reef. A meteorological station has operated in the Willis Group since 1921 and there is an unmanned weather station on Cato Island. They have been regularly visited by Royal Australian Navy vessels. Survey parties from the Division of National Mapping in the Department of National Development have completed a survey of most of the islands.
When the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act was introduced into Parliament in 1967 the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) foreshadowed that at a later stage the offshore petroleum legislation would be extended to these islands in the Coral Sea and to their adjacent submerged lands. This will be the subject of a separate Bill. The possibility of exploration for oil on the continental shelf and the increasing range and scope of international fishing enterprises illustrate the desirability of establishing a framework of administration and a system of law in the islands that will be certain and adequate.
The Bill constitutes the islands a Territory of the Commonwealth by the name of the Coral Sea Islands Territory. It provides for the Governor-General to make ordinances for the peace, order and good government of the Territory but does not, like the Heard Island and MacDonald Islands Act, apply a set of Australian laws. No one set of Territory laws entirely meets the requirements of the Coral Sea Islands and an Adoption of Laws Ordinance will be made setting out specific legislation which is to apply. Any ordinance made by the Governor-General under the Act shall be laid before each House of the Parliament. Commonwealth Acts will not apply to the Territory unless otherwise specified in an Act.
Provision is also made for the Supreme Court and the Court of Petty Sessions of Norfolk Island to have jurisdiction in relation to the Territory. The Bill will permit these courts to sit in the Territory, in Norfolk Island or in Australia for the dispatch of business concerning the Coral Sea Islands Territory. Under the Norfolk Island Act Commonwealth judges may be appointed judges of the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island. Regulations have been made under that Act permitting Norfolk Island business to be dealt with in Australia. The arrangements proposed for the Coral Sea Islands adopt this principle but extend it to the subordinate court. The provisions of the Bill which apply the judicial system of Norfolk Island to the Territory are designed only to make provision for law enforcement in the new Territory and will have no consequential effect on the Territory of Norfolk Island. The Bill will establish no administration on these islands. It will, however, provide the means of controlling the activities of those who visit them.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Anderson) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Honourable senators will recall that the Defence (Parliamentary Candidates) Act 1966 was passed to enable national service officers and national servicemen to contest federal parliamentary elections. That legislation was necessary because section 44 of the Constitution provides that any person who holds an office of profit under the Crown shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives. There was, at that time, no other means whereby the constitutional disqualification could be removed in respect of national service officers and men. The Government has now given further consideration to the position of other members of the defence forces who may wish to contest parliamentary elections and has made provisions in this
Bill to permit it. Furthermore, at present there is no means whereby a member of the defence force who is released to contest a parliamentary election can be reinstated with all his accrued rights and privileges preserved if he is not successful at the election.
The purpose of this Bill is to amend the 1966 Act to give effect to the Government’s decision. Because of the substantial amendments involved, it has been found convenient to repeal the Defence (Parliamentary Candidates) Act 1966 and to incorporate its provisions in a new Bill. The machinery whereby the constitutional disqualification placed on a member of the defence force is removed is: (a) an officer of the defence force who wishes to contest a parliamentary election is to be transferred to an appropriate reserve force: (b) other members of the defence force who wish to contest parliamentary elections are to be discharged; and (c) the continuous full time service of a member of the citizen or emergency forces who is rendering such service is to be terminated.
In each case an application will be made to the appropriate Service board. Given that a member satisfied the Service board that he is a bona fide candidate and that the Service board is satisfied that the exigencies of the arm of the defence force of which he is a member permit, the application may be granted.
The Bill provides that an unsuccessful candidate may be reinstated in the defence force in either of two ways: (a) he can make application to the appropriate Service board for reinstatement; or (b) the Service board can require him to complete the period of service on which he was engaged before he became a candidate.
In either case the Bill makes provision for the preservation of the unsuccessful candidate’s rights regarding pay, rank, furlough entitlements etc. by treating the period he was absent as a period of absence without pay. Amendments to the defence force retirement benefits legislation will deal with his rights under that legislation. An application for reinstatement must be made within 2 months after the date on which the Minister publishes a notice in the ‘Gazette’ that he is satisfied that the result of the election is certain or within such further time as the Service board may allow. Where the Service board wishes to recall an unsuccessful candidate it must serve notice on him within 1 month of that date.
Where a person does not comply with a notice of recall, the Bill provides that he shall be deemed to have been transferred from the reserve in the case of officers or re-enlisted in the case of other members and the normal disciplinary provisions will apply to him. A national serviceman who has been discharged to contest an election and is unsuccessful is still required to complete his national service and if he does not make application for reinstatement, he may be served with a notice under section 26 of the National Service Act and the provisions of that Act then apply to him. Provision is made in the Bill for the return of a member who wishes to contest an election to the place of his enlistment at public expense and. if he is overseas and his family is with him, for the return of his family and household furniture to Australia.
Where a national serviceman is discharged he acquires certain rights under the Defence (Re-establishment) Act 1965-1968 and the Bill makes provision for the preservation of these fights in the event of his being called upon to complete his period of national service. Thus, servicemen will now have the right, almost generally, to contest elections in a manner which does not relieve them of their obligation or commitment to serve in the armed forces in the event of their being unsuccessful, electorally, but also in a way which fully protects all of their rights and benefits as servicemen. T commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Bishop) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Anderson) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill is a companion measure to the Defence (Parliamentary Candidates) Bill which I have just introduced. The purpose of the Bill is to provide an opportunity of preserving their full rights under the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act to those former members of the defence force who, having been discharged to contest an election and having failed to be elected, are reinstated in the defence force under the provisions of the proposed Defence (Parliamentary Candidates) Act
The Bill provides that a reinstated member will have the right to elect to be treated as a contributor in respect of the period between discharge and reinstatement when he was not a member. He will have this right for a period of 1 month after again becoming a member or for such further period as the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Board, in special circumstances, allows. Should a reinstated member so elect he will be required to repay any benefits that he received under the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act as a consequence of being discharged, together with the contributions that he would have been called upon to make to the Fund had he remained in the defence force during the period that he was not a member. Should a person, who has been reinstated in the defence force, not elect to preserve his rights under the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act he will, notwithstanding that he may have less than 12 months of his appointment or engagement to serve, again contribute to the Fund but on the same basis as a new member.
The Bill also protects the position of widows and children of former members who are discharged to contest an election, fail to be elected and die before the expiration of a period of 3 months after the date that, for the purposes of the proposed Defence (Parliamentary Candidates) Act, is the declared date in relation to the particular election. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Bishop) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator McKellar) read a first time.
– I move:
This Bill has two purposes. The first is to provide for an increase in the number of meat producer representatives on the Australian Meat Board from five to six. The second is to empower the Australian Meat Board to issue, cancel or suspend export licences, and to provide the applicant or licensee with a right of appeal to the Minister against a decision by the Board. The increase in the number of producer representatives on the Board is proposed so as to facilitate a more adequate representation of the major livestock producing regions of Australia and of the widely differing conditions under which cattle, sheep and lambs are produced. In particular, an additional producer representative should assure representation for producers in the southern States. Since the Board was reconstituted in 1964 there has been no meat producer representative from Victoria, South Australia or Tasmania despite the fact that these States account for a very considerable proportion of Australian meat production and exports.
When the present legislation was introduced the Government made it clear that the principal criterion for the selection of Board members should be their ability and experience. This will continue to be the case. It is envisaged however, that an additional producer position on the Board will make it possible for the Australian Meat Board Selection Committee, when making its nominations to the Minister, to ensure that adequate geographic representation is also achieved. The proposal to make the Meat Board responsible for the issue, cancellation or suspension of export licences and to provide a right of appeal against the Board’s decision represents a significant change from current procedures. Currently applications for export licences are made to the Board which, after obtaining such further information as it considers necessary, makes its recommendation to the Minister. The decision to grant or refuse a licence however rests solely with the Minister or his delegate and there is no provision for appeal against that decision. Similarly the Minister may cancel an export licence if, on a report from the Board, be is satisfied that the licensee has contravened a requirement prescribed by regulation or a condition to which the licence is subject. In both instances the Minister must in practice rely heavily on the report and recommendation of the Board but must take the sole responsibility for the decision and in neither case is there any provision for appeal.
The proposed changes would require the Board to take responsibility for its decisions and would also ensure that any applicant who is refused a licence, or any licensee who has his licence suspended or cancelled, has full opportunity to present his case to the Minister for review. The Bill also provides that the Minister may, if he considers it desirable, appoint independent persons to examine any appeal and to make a recommendation to him. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Wilkinson) adjourned.
– I move:
As Senator Wright is not present, I ask for leave to continue my remarks when he is present.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– Mr President, I suggest that the first and second reports of the Standing Orders Committee be considered together.
– There being no objection, I will allow that course to be followed.
– I move:
I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– Having moved the motion in the absence of the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) and asked for leave to continue my remarks, I now speak to the motion in his presence. Any citizen accused of an offence is entitled to a trial before a court of justice. The Attorney-General is entitled to institute charges and prosecute them against the citizen in a court of justice. When such charges have been dismissed, that should be an end of the matter. We must not allow trial by politicians to follow trial by a court of justice. The Attorney-General and his representative in this chamber should accept a decision against them of a court of justice dismissing a charge against a citizen. That is the time honoured practice. There may be an exception to that practice, which I will deal with later.
I make no criticism of the AttorneyGeneral (Mr Bowen) himself in this matter. I do not believe that he has in any way been party to what has been done here by Senator Wright as his representative. The right to be free from further accusation, direct or indirect, after acquittal is too precious to be undermined. By ‘acquittal’ is meant a setting free by verdict, sentence or other legal process, as by dismissal of charges. No man charged and acquitted will be safe from denigration if the Minister representing the Attorney-General is to be allowed to question the correctness of the decision dismissing the charge. It is basic to the civil rights of the citizen that his acquittal be not brought into question, especially in Parliament where he who does so is immune. How is the citizen to defend himself if that is to be the practice in Parliament?
In this case Mr Graeme Pratt, a citizen, was charged with a number of offences against the Crimes Act, in substance, that without authority he communicated certain documents to the Newton press or its associates. The cases were brought by agents of the Attorney-General, who was represented by an eminent Queen’s Counsel, before a competent tribunal - a magistrate appointed by the Commonwealth under laws of the Commonwealth. The defence sought to have the charges heard by a judge and jury if the occasion arose. At the end of the case for the prosecution, the magistrate decided that no prima facie case had been made out. In each case he dismissed the charge. It is important to observe that the citizen was not even called upon to present his case. He had no opportunity to put a defence. In the view of the magistrate he did not need to do so. On application for costs by the defence, the prosecution said:
It is not the kind of case in which the discretion as to costs should be exercised.
The magistrate said:
Well, I feel that it is, because in my view there is not one tittle of evidence connecting the defendant with the communication of these documents. I do not know why the informations were laid. I feel it is a case in which the defendant should not have been called upon to answer. I order the informant-
That is the prosecution - to pay the defendant’s costs of $100.
– Why did not the
Minister read that last week?
– He did not read it. Perhaps he will tell us why. It has been suggested that notwithstanding the dismissal, the Attorney-General can still under his official powers file an indictment; that is, persist with the charge and force the citizen to trial before a judge and jury. In that case the offence by the Minister is of course even worse. This motion arises out of the statements made by Senator Wright on 12th August, last Tuesday. Honourable senators will recall that Senator O’Byrne asked a question which, according to Hansard, was directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson). The answer given, not by Senator Anderson but by Senator Wright, referred to a warrant case. Indeed, that was the direction of Senator O’Byrne’s question. Perhaps it might be convenient for me to read the relevant portions of the Hansard report and have the rest incorporated in Hansard. Senator O’Byrne asked:
My question, which is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, involves civil liberties and human rights. Now that Mr Justice Fox of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court has ruled that the search warrants issued for the searches of Maxwell Newton’s home, office and bank records were invalid, will the Government give an assurance that there will be no repetition of a misuse of the Crimes Act to search homes, offices and bank accounts on grounds as flimsy as those on which the warrants were issued against Maxwell Newton? Were not the whole proceedings designed to stop the strong criticism of the Government by Maxwell Newton’s publications in an election year?
Of course, Senator O’Byrne’s remarks were directed to the case which was decided by Mr Justice Fox on warrants which were procured by the Commonwealth to search the home and premises of Maxwell Newton. It is true, as Senator O’Byrne suggested, that the judge said that the warrants were invalid. There was no proper basis laid under the statute for the issuance of those warrants and in plain terms the searches and seizures were invalid and not justified in law. It is important to observe that Mr Justice Fox did not refer at all to Pratt’s case. He specifically stated in the course of his judgment that he was not dealing with any particular case, except the question of the warrants. He found for several reasons that the warrants for the search of Newton’s premises were invalid. What was the answer which Senator Wright gave? He said:
The honourable senator will well know that the procedures referred to were followed by legal action. The decision with regard to the validity of the search warrant is still under consideration and may not yet be final.
Let us suppose that he had stopped there. That would have been an end of the matter. He had been asked about the search warrants case. He had been asked whether the whole proceedings had been designed to stop the strong criticism of the Government by Newton’s publications. As the representative in the Senate of the AttorneyGeneral he implied that the judge’s decision might be appealed against. Suppose he had said: ‘We felt that we had justification in issuing the warrants and it may still be tested.’ Was not that the answer which the Attorney-General or his representative was entitled to give, and repudiate any suggestion that there was any other motive? He could say that there was no other motive. Why did he go on to deal with the case of the citizen, Mr Pratt? He was not asked about Mr Pratt, but he volunteered information about Mr Pratt and went into details of Mr Pratt’s case, although he was not asked about it. He went on to say:
The other decision, which involves Mr Pratt, is one of a most interesting character, lt appears that three cables from the Department of Trade and Industry were practically copied in the handwriting of Mr Pratt and were found, on the search to which Senator O’Byrne has referred, in the offices of Maxwell Newton, having been printed word for word in three separate issues of Incentive’ a few days following the date upon which they were in the Department of Trade and Industry, where Mr Pratt had access to them. In those circumstances although the magistrate found that in his opinion there was no evidence of communication of those cables by Pratt to Newton, as 1 say, the cables were practically translated and were in manuscript handwriting, proved to be that of Pratt. Other people are entitled to make their judgment as to whether there was a sound basis in reason and to enforce honesty in administration for the prosecution of Pratt in the circumstances of that case.
He is dealing not with the issue of search warrants against Newton but with the prosecution of Pratt, about which he was not asked. He went on:
To impute wrong political motives in any such prosecution is to make a complete spurious suggestion.
– You have not dealt with the comment that Senator O’Byrne raised about the misuse of the Crimes Act. That is one point you have avoided in your discussion.
– lt was under the Crimes Act that the warrants were issued. I thank Senator Webster for pointing that out. I will again read that part of Senator O’Byrne’s question. He asked:
Now that Mr Justice Fox of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court has ruled that the search warrants issued for the searches of Maxwell Newton’s home, office and bank records were invalid, will the Government give an assurance that there will be no repetition of a misuse of the Crimes Act to search homes, offices and bank accounts on grounds as flimsy as those on which the warrants were issued against Maxwell Newton?
– Will you deal with the misuse of the Crimes Act?
– Of course it was a misuse of the Crimes Act. Mr Justice Fox found that the warrants were procured on material which was insufficient. They did not specify the crime which was suggested. I have the judgment here if the honourable senator wishes to read it. No question was directed by Senator O’Byrne to the prosecution of Mr Pratt. Certainly no question was directed to the correctness of the decision in the Pratt case. Even if there had been, there would be no justification for the Attorney-General or his representative to enter into a discussion of the correctness of that decision.
Honourable senators will remember that I then asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether it was in accordance with the standards of this Government that a Minister of the Crown should stand in the Senate and imply that a man is guilty although he has been acquitted by a judicial authority in this community. Senator Rae interpolated that he was not acquitted. I said that he was acquitted, to which Senator Rae replied that the case was dismissed. I then said:
Yes, the case was dismissed. The nian was found by a judicial authority to be not guilty - whatever quibbling the honourable senator may interject. Is this the standard that this Government is showing to this country on questions of civil liberties and the liability of a citizen who has been charged and has had his matter dealt with before a judicial authority to have his innocence put in question by a Minister of the Crown in the Senate? ls that the standard that the Government is going to tolerate?
The Leader of the Government in the
Senator Wright responded to a question from Senator O’Byrne who, let me point out, if we are talking in terms of morals and standards, reflected upon the veracity of the Government’s intentions in relation to a prosecution that was launched. That was the basis of the question, and very properly Senator Wright defended the decision that the Government took.
If it were a decision that the Government took, it was a decision taken improperly, lt was a decision that ought in propriety have been taken by the Attorney-General. Senator Anderson, referring to Senator Wright, continued:
He gave the facts which were the basis of the Government’s decision.
That was incorrect because Senator O’Byrne asked about the issuance of search warrants and the improper search and seizure of a person’s property under warrants which were not in conformity with the statute. Senator Anderson said that 1 should have done something about it earlier. I think it is remarkable that that suggestion should be made when the Minister for Works was the one who gave the answer. Senator Cavanagh asked:
I refer the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral to his reply to Senator O’Byrne’s question. Is it the Ministers opinion that the decision in the case of Graeme Pratt was a travesty of justice and noi in keeping with the evidence before the court?
There should have been only one way to answer that question. The answer should have been: ‘No, I would not suggest that any decision was a travesty of justice and not in keeping with the evidence before the court’. It was not for him to question what had been done in a court of justice. The Minister cannot pretend now that in any way he said that the Crown had some justification for commencing a prosecution. He deliberately entered upon a discussion of the correctness of the decision of a court of justice and suggested, by his answer, that the citizen was guilty of the offence with which he was charged.
– Did Senator Cavanagh ask two questions or the same question twice?
– T will read what Senator Cavanagh said. He asked:
Is it the Minister’s opinion that the decision in the case of Graeme Pratt was a travesty of justice and not in keeping with the evidence before the court?
I would say that is one question. Senator Wright replied:
I made some reference to the decision of the learned magistrate who dealt with the case of Graeme Pratt and in order to answer the honourable senator’s question . . .
The Minister did not say ‘questions’. He continued:
He referred to a considerable amount of evidence and what the magistrate had said. The magistrate had said that there was only suspicion and that if it were to be decided on suspicion the man was probably guilty; but that cases could not be decided on suspicion. The Minister went on to say:
I have quoted that to show the basis upon which I express an opinion - as I was invited to do by the honourable senator - on the question as to whether the magistrate was in error in finding that there was no evidence that Pratt communicated the document to the Press. T point out that there were three documents, not one. They were all in the handwriting of Mr Pratt. They were all published by the Newton Press soon after they were in the custody to which Mr Pratt had access. 1 am bound to say with some respect - I hope not a disproportionate degree - for my own opinion . . .
He might have bad respect for his own opinion, but he showed no respect for the administration of justice in this community. He continued: . . that I hold the firm opinion that there was not only some evidence but strong evidence that those manuscript documents copying cables from the Department of Trade and Industry, which were found printed a few days later in the Newton Press, not on one occasion but on three occasions, were communicated by Mr Pratt to the Press.
In other words, he was saying that he was of the opinion that there was strong evidence that Pratt was guilty, because that was the only ingredient left in the case. What right has the Minister to canvass the correctness of the decision of a court of justice? What right has he to suggest here, under the immunity that is given by the privileges of this Parliament, that a citizen is guilty when the charge has been heard and dismissed?
– Has on ordinary citizen that right to question a judgment?
– He may have the right to question the decision. Mr Pratt would have the right to take him into a court of justice and sue him for damages for defamation. But Mr Pratt has not the right to do that when the Minister stands here, under the cover of privilege of Parliament, and denigrates him. Is it not defamation of a man to say that he is guilty of a number of crimes. The man appeared before a tribunal. The Attorney-General was not caught by surprise. He was represented by Queen’s Counsel, armed with all the evidence that he could bring. The magistrate dismissed the case and ordered the Crown to pay SI 00 costs. When the Minister rose here, he did not say that he repudiated any suggestion that the Crown was not entitled to bring the charge, that the advice was that the Crown had evidence upon which to commence proceedings, but that he accepted the decision of the court of justice. He did not say that the Crown did not accept the decision and that the Attorney-General would exercise his power to proceed further with the prosecution by filing an ex-officio indictment. What did the Minister do? He took the course of saying to the Senate something which is unacceptable. He suggested that the man, who has had the case dismissed, was guilty. There is no escape from that. Does not this offend honourable senators?
The Minister dredged up the evidence. He gave us his opinion. I would like to see him rise here before honourable senators and say that is not what his words suggested. He did not question the evidence or whether there was any entitlement to bring the prosecution. He did not say that in the view of the Attorney-General or his advisers the Crown was justified in commencing the prosecution. He did not say that there was some evidence. He said that in his opinion there was strong evidence. Strong evidence of what? One can infer only that he meant strong evidence of this man’s guilt. If, as seems to be suggested by Senator Rae and as has been suggested elsewhere, the Attorney-General asserts that in these cases he is entitled to file an ex officio indictment, that notwithstanding what the magistrate has done, the Attorney-General is entitled to force Mr Pratt to come to trial before a judge and jury, I invite honourable senators to consider the enormity of it. If not infamous, is not it at least deserving of the censure of the Senate that a man who is still open to be brought to trial can have his case discussed in the way in which the Minister discussed it here, when he suggested that there was strong evidence of the man’s guilt? Where is the presumption of innocence if, before the matter is concluded, the Minister representing the Attorney-General can rise in this Senate and say that in his opinion there is strong evidence of the man’s guilt? What man in this country is safe if this can be done to a citizen?
This is not the first time that the Minister has prejudiced a person against whom proceedings have been instituted. On 27th May last, after making a number of prejudicial remarks about Mr Newton and his publishing information for profit, he suggested the probability that a search of Mr Newton’s premises and perhaps his house would have disclosed that the cable was in his possession illegally. What kind of a prejudicial remark was that to be mads against a person about whom the Minister conceded that a charge might be laid? Is this the standard that is going to be tolerated in the Senate? Honourable senators may read the record of this on pages 1557 to 1559 of Hansard. Whatever might be the position outside, the position in Parliament on these matters is very clear.
There are references in Mr Odgers* famous work to the limitations which Parliament should place upon itself in discussing the proceedings of courts of justice. I would like to refer to what appears in one of those authorities which were quoted by him. It is Todd’s work ‘Parliamentary Government in England’, on page 574 of which Todd says:
Complaints to Parliament in respect to the conduct of the judiciary, or the decisions of courts of justice, should not bc lightly entertained. ‘If there is a failure in the administration of justice from whatever cause, affecting any judge, both Houses of Parliament may address the crown to remove the judge from office.’ But ‘nothing could be more injurious to the administration of justice than that the House of Commons should take upon itself the duties of a court of review of the proceedings of an ordinary court of law;’ or of the decisions of a competent legal tribunal, - or, that it should tamper with the question whether the judges are on this or that particular assailable,’ and endeavour to inflict upon them a minor punishment’ by subjecting their official conduct to hostile criticism. Parliament should abstain from all interference wilh the judiciary, except in cases ‘of such gross perversion of the law, either by intention, corruption, or incapacity, as make it necessary for the House to exercise the power vested in it of advising the crown for the removal of the judge.
Mr Odgers, in referring to a decision in the South African House of Assembly in 1953 which cited that passage, said:
While it would undoubtedly be injurious to the proper administration of justice to have in the course of general debates in the House attacks upon the correctness in law of a judicial decision there might conceivably be introduced in the House a motion or Bill which Mr Speaker’s opinion brings a particular judicial decision before the House in such a direct and definite manner that it would be proper and relevant to allow such a decision to be discussed.
There was no such attempt made here. Instead, the Minister seized upon a question asked by a private senator to discuss a case about which he had never been asked and to deal in detail with the evidence given in it. Then, in answer to another question, instead of tossing aside the suggestion that in his opinion there was a travesty of justice and that the decision was not in keeping with the evidence, he proceeded to utilise that question by a private senator, to go into the details of it to question the correctness of the decision, to negate the rights of the citizen to suggest that the decision was incorrect, and thereby to sully the name of the citizen who had either had the case against him finally dismissed or, who in the event of the AttorneyGeneral filing an ex officio indictment, had still to stand his trial.
Again 1 ask: Where will our freedom be if the Attorney-General or his representative, after having failed in a prosecution against a citizen, is allowed to suggest in this Parliament that the citizen is guilty of the charge? I challenge the Minister to produce, with all the assistance of the Department of the Attorney-General, with ail the wealth of researches that are open to it, a case the like of this in British history. There has been none. Those in other countries who are jealous of the traditions of the law which unites us all and of the proper conduct of affairs in parliaments such as this and who have a proper regard for the rights of citizen, have never descended to the kind of attack that has been made by the Minister. 1 therefore ask that the Senate support this motion and censure the Minister for his conduct.
– I oppose the motion put by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy). I regret that the motion has been put. Indeed, I regret the circumstances in which we find ourselves where the Leader of the Opposition moves a motion of censure of a Minister. I would say that this case had its foundation in implications and questions that were put in the Senate on 12th August - on Tuesday last. I should like to comment in a nonlegal way on these questions in a moment or two, but at the outset I should like to say that I do not accept the motion of censure. Government senators who sit behind me do not accept the motion of censure. We believe that it will be demonstrated here that Senator Murphy’s criticism - I suggest this will be reflected in Hansard - goes beyond what in fact Senator Wright set out to do. I do not propose to deal with this at great length because, at an early stage in the debate, Senator Wright will respond himself. There are other Government speakers who are also willing and anxious to respond to the criticism.
I cannot help feeling that in this motion of censure there is the shadow of the experience of a senator, now a Minister, who has always been a very vigorous, forthright and determined debator. Let us face the facts: Senator Wright has always debated vigorously, and he always will. He is n capable and efficient debator. Sometimes, when he is debating vigorously, people take umbrage at some of the things that he says. I would remind honourable senators that 1 was a Minister when Senator Wright was sitting on the back bench and he has taken me to task quite a few times. But this is the wear and tear of a parliamentary institution. I am going to suggest-
– He was not debating that.
– I say quite deliberately and calmly that 1 cannot escape the feeling that in this motion there are the seeds of more vigorous debating in the past which have perhaps found their expression in a misunderstanding - I say this with reference to Senator Murphy - of what Senator Wright was purporting to say in relation to a question that was put to him. I regard Senator Wright, who sits behind me in this chamber, as a capable, efficient and loyal Minister. Therefore, 1 do not support the censure motion that has been moved against him. Those honourable senators who are interjecting should let me develop my case.
– Tell us your impression of the words used.
– I will do that, but I will do it in the way that I want to do it and not in the way that the honourable senator wants me to do it. This matter arose as a result of a question asked by Senator O’Byrne. Quite clearly a very serious accusation was directed at not only Senator Wright but also every Minister of the Executive of the Government. The very serious, wilful and vicious accusation was that the Crimes Act was deliberately and wilfully used by the Government.
– That was his belief.
– When one is bandying around who is hurt and who is not one should remember that it is just as much an affront to me as it would be to honourable senators opposite to suggest that in the democratic society in which we live and in which we cherish our freedom, a Minister of the Executive would be guilty of a wilful and shameful misuse of the Crimes Act. But that was how all this started.
– The court found that.
– The court did not find that at all.
– lt found that there had been misuse.
– It found the person concerned not guilty of the charge and it acquitted him or dismissed him, whichever expression honourable senators like to use. I am not going to play with words. The fact of the matter is that quite clearly Senator O’Byrne’s question was directed at an allegation of misuse of the Crimes Act to search homes, offices and bank accounts on the grounds of flimsy evidence. Senator Wright answered the question. In his reply he made it perfectly clear that in his view there had been no misuse of the Crimes Act; that in the Pratt case the use of the Act to launch a prosecution had been justified. One cannot read anything else into the question and answer. After listening to the question and the answer Senator Murphy rose in his place and objected. In the final portion of my answer I took the point with him that if he had been so moved by the matter he should have taken his objection at the point when it was being raised. He did not do that. But let us put that to one side. In my reply I said:
Senator Wright responded to a question from Senator O’Byrne who, let me point out, if we are talking in terms of morals and standards, reflected upon the veracity of the Government’s intentions in relation to a prosecution that was launched.
That was the nature of the question that Senator Wright responded to and he was entitled to respond to it in the way that he did. But the Leader of the Opposition, significantly, took objection to the manner in which Senator Wright responded. I want honourable senators to note that he took objection to it. This indicates that his mind was not on other matters. It was completely directed to what he claimed was an offensive statement by Senator Wright. We all know the procedures of the Senate. Senator Cavanagh then asked a question. He said:
I refer the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral to his reply to Senator O’Byrne’s question. Is it the Minister’s opinion that the decision in the case of Graeme Pratt was a travesty of justice and not in keeping with the evidence before the court?
God help us! If the Leader of the Opposition thought that the answer that Senator Wright gave to the first question was offensive how in the name of conscience could he sit in his place and let one of his own front bench men ask such a question? If there was any impropriety at all it was in the nature of the second question. But the Leader of the Opposition, who had taken offence to the answer to the first question, and whose mind had been alerted to the possibility of offence, sat and let the second question go. I do not need the help of those honourable senators opposite who are interjecting.
– The Leader of the Government badly needs someone’s help.
– Be that as it may, the fact is that the honourable senator asked a Minister to express an opinion on whether the decision given in a case was a travesty of justice and not in keeping with the evidence before the court. The honourable senator’s question was most improper. As I see the matter, Senator Wright responded to two questions concerning whether there was any justification for a prosecution. The prosecution was undertaken in good faith. The magistrate found that there was no evidence of communication of information and therefore the person concerned was acquitted. I believe that we cannot have a situation where the Parliament is not allowed to express a view on the question of whether a prosecution should be taken. As I heard and read Senator Wright, I do not think that he reflected upon a decision of the court. He expressed a view as to whether there was sufficient evidence to justify a prosecution. In reply to the second question on the subject he said that as far as he was concerned there was evidence to justify a prosecution. There is a distinction there which I do not think Senator Murphy wanted to hear at any stage. I have read the judgment. I will not quote all of it, but I was intrigued to find that the magistrate - and Senator Murphy did not read this part out - made a comment from the bench in a non-legal way. He said that if he could be excused for using a non-legal term: the sixty-four dollar question is, by whom was this information communicated and on the evidence before me I would answer that question by saying, ‘probably by the defendant’.
But that is not to say that he found that there was evidence of communication of information by the defendant because he acquitted the defendant.
– The Leader of the Government had better read further. That was suspicion’ and I referred to that.
– That is right. 1 do not think we can live in the cloisters. I do not think that we can put cloaks around ourselves and say that we are not allowed to look at a matter that has in fact been before the courts and has been referred to in the Press. I understand the limits imposed upon the Parliament when a matter is sub judice, but I have heard some things said in this chamber that I thought bordered very closely on matters which were subjudice. In this instance a person was before the court and was acquitted. Nobody is moving away from that fact. It seems to me that we are making something big out of two questions which were asked in this chamber. I regard the second questioner as being more culpable than the first. 1 believe that honourable senators opposite are reading into the answers given by Senator Wright something which was not intended.
– ‘If it was not intended why does he not inform the Senate of that now so that we can get on with something else?
– Senator Wright will take part in the debate. After all, it is a serious matter to move a motion of censure against a Minister. I suggest that Senator Wright’s reply was directed to the fact that in his view of the evidence which was brought out it was proper to launch a prosecution. I regret the circumstances in which this case has been brought before the Senate. I think it would be a good thing, as Senator Turnbull has suggested, if we had a limited debate and got on with the business of the Senate. Senator Wright will enter into the debate reasonably soon, but I would say that in my view he has been wrongly accused in these circumstances. I suggest that there is a background of vigour in his campaigning and in his speeches which might have led the Opposition into error in imagining that he was saying something which in fact, he never said. If honourable senators look at his replies, and particularly at the reply to the next question, they will see that he deliberately avoided the implications that Senator Cavanagh had put into this question. I was very surprised that Senator Murphy, as Leader of the Opposition, allowed Senator Cavanagh to ask that question.
– The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) regrets that a censure motion of a Minister of the Crown has been moved by the Opposition. He has said that the motion has its origins in questions put last Tuesday by my colleagues Senators O’Byrne and Cavanagh, but the censure motion in fact has its origins in the answers given by the Minister for Works (Senator Wright), who represents the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) in this chamber. It was Senator Wright in the first instance who chose to deviate from the question asked about the Newton case and what Mr Justice Fox had said about the Newton case in his judgment. In answering the question he deviated to a discourse on what had happened in the Pratt case and what had been said by the learned judge in giving his decision. Therefore I say in reply to Senator Anderson that it was not the questions that were asked but the answers that were given by the Minister that brought about this censure motion.
Senator Anderson suggested also that the censure motion was brought about by a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of what had been said by Senator Wright in his capacity as Minister representing the Attorney-General, but surely any ordinary person reading Hansard must get the natural impression that Senator Wright was not only disagreeing with the magistrate’s decision but also saying that an Australian citizen who was born free and ordered by the court to remain free, because the case against him had been dismissed, should have been dealt with on the basis of the evidence that had been presented to the court. Although Senator Anderson might be prepared to condone that type of conduct on the part of the Government or on the part of one of its Ministers, certainly the Opposition is not prepared to condone it. This is the reason why the Opposition has determined to move the censure motion.
The Leader of the Government then went on to say that Senator Cavanagh’s question was most improper. He added that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) should have taken objection to the type of question posed by my colleague Senator Cavanagh. But the question was allowed by Mr President and, indeed, there was no objection to the question either by Senator Anderson or by any other Government supporter. I remind the Leader of the Government that in his answer to Senator Murphy three questions earlier than the one to which I have referred he himself chided Senator Murphy for not taking objection in the first instance to the answer given by Senator Wright. Senator Anderson said:
Of course, there is a second side to this matter. It is that, just as I have responsibilities - Senator Murphy has directed his question to me - he equally, as Leader of the Opposition, has responsibilities. If he thought there was impropriety in the response Senator Wright gave, he had his responsibility to stand up and use the forms of the Senate when the answer was being given.
As Senator Murphy has suggested, he did so immediately, but now for the first time, a week later, Senator Anderson objects to a question asked by Senator Cavanagh. It was then, when the question was asked, that Senator Anderson had the forms of the House available to him to take whatever objection he or any other Government supporter might have had to the question. The fact is that objection was not taken, that the question was not ruled out of order by Mr President and that there was a very affirmative reply by Senator Wright to Senator Cavanagh’s question as to whether in the case of Graeme Pratt the Minister thought there had been a travesty of justice and that the decision was not in keeping with the evidence before the court. Senator Wright went on to say in his reply:
I hold the firm opinion that there was not only some evidence but strong evidence that those manuscript documents copying cables from the Department of Trade and Industry, which were found printed a few days later in the Newton Press, not on one occasion but on three occasions, were communicated by Mr Pratt to the Press.
The salient feature of that remark is the word ‘communicated’. Senator Anderson has said that we are reading into the remarks made by the Minister representing the Attorney-General something that was not intended to be said by him, but how could he say in plainer words that in his opinion Pratt had been let off by the magistrate when he should not have been let ofl? Senator Wright has done himself, the Government of which he is supposed to be a responsible Minister and, more importantly still, this Parliament, untold damage in the eyes of the Australian public. To my mind he completely destroyed the image that he had built up for himself in some quarters as a backbencher who adopted the role of defender of the rule of law. Last Tuesday, in his answer to Senators O’Byrne and Cavanagh, he threw to the wind completely any reputation that he might have had as a man with an open and fair mind. He added weight to the unhealthy reputation of this Government for engaging in phobias and witch hunts - a phrase that the honourable senator himself once used in this place - against people who might be opposed to the Government’s political philosophies. But more importantly, as I reiterate, he did untold harm to the reputation of Parliament as the bulwark of the people against the power of the Executive and the growth of bureaucracy. By attacking or criticising a decision of a magistrate, as he did under the privilege of Parliament, he besmirched the character of a man who had been before a court and in respect of whom the magistrate had ordered that the proceedings be dismissed.
At question time last Tuesday the Minister answered questions put to him by Senator O’Byrne and Senator Cavanagh. The question posed by Senator O’Byrne related to the circumstances of the Commonwealth Police raid carried out on the home of Mr Newton, a journalist here in Canberra, and to a subsequent judgment by His Honour Mr Justice Fox of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court. In that case the learned judge, after hearing argument as to the validity of search warrants, ruled against the Commonwealth. If one looks at the question and answer in Hansard one will see that the question is headed ‘Maxwell Newton Pty Ltd’. For purely political purposes and for no other reason the Minister turned his answer to a criticism of the decision given by His Worship Mr Dobson in the Pratt case, which was an aftermath of the raid that took place by Commonwealth Police on Mr Newton’s home.
About 5 minutes later at question time when asked by Senator Cavanagh whether he, the Minister, in fact disagreed with the magistrate’s decision in the Pratt case - incidentally that question in Hansard is headed, not ‘Maxwell Newton Pty Ltd’ but
Public Service’ - the Minister cited portion of the magistrate’s decision to the effect that although there was suspicion lying heavily on the head of Pratt he, the Minister representing the Attorney-General, disagreed with the magistrate and held the firm opinion that there was strong evidence indicating that the documents concerned had been communicated by Pratt to Mr Newton.
That is where the Minister was completely unfair not only to the learned magistrate but more particularly to Mr Pratt as an Australian citizen. The Minister cited only portion of the magistrate’s decision, not the whole of it. As the Leader of the Opposition already has pointed out, the magistrate went on to say, as recorded on page 23 1 of the proceedings:
In a nutshell the prosecution case appears to be that the defendant had access to these confidential documents, he committed them to writing, this writing was found at 55 Kent Street, Deakin, ipso facto, the defendant must have communicated them to someone at that address and that, as far as 1 am concerned, is as far as the prosecution evidence goes. There is no place in the criminal jurisdiction for the civil doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. On the contrary, each and every ingredient of the offence must be proved by evidence. In the absence of any admissions by the defendant 1 am forced to the conclusion that the prosecution has failed to prove the main ingredient of these offences, namely, that the defendant and no-one else did in fact communicate these documents to someone connected wilh 55 Kent Street, Deakin, in some way or other.
In each matter I hold that there is no prima facie case and the information will be dismissed.
Let us compare the words of the learned magistrate in his decision with the following passage in what Senator Wright had to say in his reply to Senator Cavanagh:
I hold the firm opinion that there was not only some evidence but strong evidence that those manuscript documents . . . were communicated by Mr Pratt to the Press.
How anyone can interpret that as a misunderstanding of what Senator Wright has said, goodness only knows. Then, in exercising his discretion on the matter of costs the magistrate added:
I feel that it is because in my view there is not one tittle of evidence connecting the defendant with the communication of these documents. 1 do not know why the informations were laid and 1 feel that it is a case in which the defendant should not have been called upon to answer. I will order the informant to pay the defendant’s costs of $100.
If the learned magistrate could not find one tittle of evidence to show that Pratt had communicated the documents in question to Mr Newton, then I challenge the Minister to go through the transcript of proceedings in this House and show us the evidence which, in his opinion, is strong evidence that Pratt did the actual act of communication. So in fairness to the magistrate and to the Australian citizen against whom the prosecution by the Commonwealth was unsuccessful, I ask why the Minister representing the Attorney-General in this House did not read all of the decision, or at least the parts of the decision that Senator Murphy and I have read, and not merely the parts that suited him when replying to Senator Cavanagh’s question.
I certainly do not dispute the right of any ordinary Australian to differ from the decision of a legal tribunal but in this instance Senator Wright is not an ordinary Australian in that he is, firstly, a member of the Australian Parliament who has been elected to uphold and protect the rights of Australian citizens. Secondly, he is a lawyer of some repute and, as much as if not more than anyone else here, he should espouse the well known and oft stated cardinal principle of British law that every man is innocent until he is proved guilty. But more importantly. Senator Wright is a Minister who in this place represents the Attorney-General. In the fashion which is typical of members of this Government the Minister has fallen into the grave error of always defending the actions of government departments or of a Minister’s particular department whenever the actions of that department impinge upon the liberty of Australian citizens. According to the Attorney-General himself, the raid on Mr Pratt’s place was not carried out at the direction of the Government. Last Wednesday in reply to a question that I had placed on the notice paper he stated:
The raid was not carried out at the direction of the Government, f am informed that it was related to the recent search of the home of a well known journalist.
Despite that statement by the AttorneyGeneral which the Minister representing him in this place read to me, the Leader of the Government in the Senate in his reply to Senator Murphy at question time last Tuesday said that Senator Wright was defending the decision that the Government had taken. But what more damaging statement could a Minister of the Crown, especially a well seasoned parliamentarian, the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral, make under privilege of Parliament against a citizen of this country against whom proceedings had been taken and dismissed than to say, as Senator Wright himself said: ‘Despite the decision of the magistrate, portion of which I cited, not only do I think but I also hold the firm opinion that there was strong evidence to indicate that not once but on three occasions departmental documents were in fact communicated by Pratt to the Press’? In other words, Senator Wright says that Pratt was guilty of the offence with which he was charged, he should have been dealt with according to law, and the proceedings against him should not have been dismissed as they were, because, as the magistrate has stated, there was not one tittle of evidence to show in any way that Pratt communicated the documents to Newton. Indeed, I noticed last week that Pratt himself challenged the Minister to repeat his statement outside the Parliament.
I will challenge the Minister to show the courage of his convictions by repeating outside the Parliament what he said last week inside it as to why Pratt should have been dealt with. Mr President, I agree completely with the following statement of the learned magistrate:
It has never been the law to my knowledge, and
I trust it never will be, that a man can be convicted or even required to stand his trial on suspicion alone and nothing else.
Whilst the magistrate found that there was a strong probability of suspicion, that certainly was as far as he was prepared to go. For him, that was the maximum. He then went on to say that there was not one tittle of evidence to show that Pratt had communicated the documents to Mr Newton. But the Minister has interpreted that as strong suspicion and as strong evidence, and in so doing has asserted publicly under parliamentary privilege that a man how free should have been dealt with.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Mr Deputy President, prior to the suspension of the sitting for dinner, I was instancing what the Minister representing the Attorney-General in this chamber, Senator Wright, had said in the Senate last Tuesday, a week ago today, to prompt this censure motion. As I have said, we of the Opposition are not here to defend Mr Pratt or anything that he might have done; we are here more to defend his right to be regarded as a free man after the summonses issued against him had been dismissed. But how different are the attitudes and utterances of the Minister since he became a Minister from his attitudes and utterances as a backbencher. Earlier I used the phrase ‘phobias and witch hunts’. I did so because the Minister himself used this very phrase in the Parliament on 7th December 1960 during the Committee stage of the Crimes Bill, when the Senate was debating the question of criminal intent of the act of sabotage and as to whether it should be provable by evidence of the known character of the person charged. During the course of that discussion the Minister, at page 2161 of Hansard of 7th December 1960, had this to say:
It seems to mc, Mr Chairman, that our civilisation should have reached the stage where phobias and witch-hunts are foreign to our courts and only evidence which is acceptable on principle is admitted in them.
Again, the same honourable senator, as a backbencher, in May 1967, when adopting the role of a civil libertarian in the debate on the Narcotics Drugs Bill, is reported at page 1 390 of Hansard as having said this:
Having seen the web of officialdom in this place gradually growing in confusion and in weight in the years that I have been here, my respect increases for the progenitors of our laws who provided, as one of the fundamental safeguards of the freedom of the individual, trial by jury as distinct from trial by officials.
But since becoming a Minister, Senator Wright has turned his coat on these principles which he has espoused, after so many years in this place as a private member. He is now no longer defending the rights of citizens but is a defender of the great bureaucracy that has been allowed to develop and expand in the 20 years of conservative reactionary government. Let me say in conclusion that, since the Newton and the Pratt cases have taken place and the decisions and judgments have been given, I have an even greater respect for the courts of justice in this country. They have stood firm in their impartial and judicial decisions against the frightening wielding of power against Australian citizens who dare oppose this Government’s policies. I want to cite a passage that was relied upon by His Honour, Mr Justice Fox, in his Newton judgment. I quote from page 23 of His Honour’s judgment where he said:
Professor Wade, in an article (85 Law Quarterly Review 198) based on the recent decision of the House of Lords in Anisminic Ltd v. Foreign Compensation Commission (1969 2 W.L.R. 163) expressed the matter thus, at p. 200:
For three centuries, however, courts have been refusing to enforce statutes which attempt to give public authorities uncontrollable power. If a ministry or tribunal can be made a ‘aw unto itself, it is made a potential dictator and for this there can be no place in a constitution founded on the rule of law.
In my opinion that passage aptly depicts the situation that confronts this Parliament today. If Senator Wright’s judgment is to be substituted for the rule of law then let this Government say so in very clear terms. I am certain that the Australian people would censure the Government, as the Minister representing the Attorney-General in this place certainly is deserving of censure by this Senate. I support the motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition.
– It is always a distasteful experience to hear the devil quoting scripture. I have devoted a good deal of my life to the maintenance of principles which have been quoted in the speeches made in support of this motion; that is to say, a respect for law and an insistence upon the rule of law. But it is a sorrowful experience to hear those learned in the law abuse the situation by confused principle and imperceptive argument. I was challenged by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) to quote any instance in the British courts which would accord to me the right to criticise a judgment of the court.
– I did not say in the courts; I said in the Parliament.
– The honourable senator’s language is on the record. I did not interject when he was speaking and I intend to make a thoughtful and restrained speech. I go on the record for judgment not only tonight but hereafter. All I want to say, quietly, is that I rely on the words of Lord Aitken, one of the most notable, illustrious and respected members of the House of Lords in our generation, and of 18992/69- S- m this century. He said this, Mr Deputy President, in a case that went from Trinidad:
But whether the authority and position of an individual judge, or the due administration of justice, is concerned, no wrong is committed by any member of the public who exercises the ordinary right of criticising, in good faith, in private or public, the public act done in the seat ot justice.
That is to say, in public or in private the ordinary member of the public has a right to criticise the act of a judicial tribunal. Lord Aitken went on to say:
The path of criticism is a public way: The wrong headed are permitted to err therein:
I would offer that comment to Senator Murphy: provided that members of the public abstain from imputing improper motives to those taking part in the administration of justice, and are genuinely exercising a right of criticism, and not acting in malice or attempting to impair the administration of justice, they are immune. Justice is not a cloistered virtue: she must be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful, even though outspoken, comments of ordinary men.
Mr Deputy President, that is the right of the common citizen of England and of Australia, guaranteed by the rule of law in our system of justice. There are some of us who have been elected to represent in the place where it is our duty to speak - to parley - in Parliament, on behalf of those we represent; and then there are a few who are, under our system of responsible government, given the executive duty to apply the law and guide the administration and enforce the law. It may occur to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) that upon them devolves a special duty with responsibility to speak in exercise of the common man’s right of criticism of any judicial decision. In this case a magistrate was dealing with committal proceedings in which his duty was to say whether there was evidence which, if accepted by a jury as true, would reasonably justify the conviction of Mr Pratt for communicating confidential government information to the Newton Press.
It will be remembered that I did not write any letter to the newspapers when that decision was pronounced. It will be remembered that I did not make any statement on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate in protest against the decision. It will be remembered that I was asked not one but two questions after the propriety of such questions had clearly been brought to notice by the intervention of the Leader of the Opposition when he asked my leader, the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson), whether he thought my first answer was within the bounds of propriety. Senator O’Byrne’s question was directed to the Leader of the Government; but, it being within the ambit of the Attorney-General’s Department, I, with the assent of the Leader of the Government, answered it. What did Senator O’Byrne say? He said:
My question . . . involves civil liberties . . Now that Mr Justice Fox . . . has ruled that the search warrants issued for the searches of Maxwell Newton’s home, office and bank records were invalid, will the Government give an assurance that there will be no repetition
No repetition of what? What the honourable senator was pleased to describe, behind his leader, the complainant tonight, as: . . a misuse of the Crimes Act-
In what respect? In this respect:
On what basis? The honourable senator said:
Then he added to that, for our interest:
Were not the whole proceedings designed to stop the strong criticism of the Government by Maxwell Newton’s publications in an election year?
We have the pitiable spectacle of a Leader of the Opposition, whose disciple has asked that question, coming here to complain when I, a member of the Government, had the courage to give a forthright and restrained answer, not in the slightest degree going on to offer my opinion but simply pointing out that the proceedings in regard to the validity of the search warrants were not then final. Of course, I did not take the trouble to say: ‘For that reason, lest it prejudice an impending appeal, 1 shall abstain from comment’. But all who know me in this place understood me to stop in that sense and for that purpose.
Having dealt with that matter, I then referred to the sequel of the search - a search that revealed material at great length which was in the handwriting of Mr Pratt and which had recently been the subject of committal proceedings in which I would never understand the magistrate to be adjudicating upon guilt. In committal proceedings the magistrate is considering only whether there is any evidence which, if believed, could reasonably justify a conviction. He would transgress all the rules of jurisdiction of a committal magistrate if he ever offered an opinion as to the guilt of the person. After recounting some of the evidence, I went on to say:
Other people are entitled to make their judgment as to whether there was a sound basis in reason and to enforce honesty in administration for the prosecution of Pratt in the circumstances. . . .
I was devoting myself to the justification for the prosecution of Pratt on the evidence that was disclosed upon this search. I did not state my opinion, but with characteristic restraint I suggested that other people were entitled to make their judgment. I was speaking of people other than the magistrate. Then I said, with terrific impropriety, I have no doubt, according to people with small minds and pitiable inexperience:
To impute wrong political motives in any such prosecution is to make a completely spurious suggestion.
That is where I left Senator O’Byrne. I refuted the imputation that the Government had used a search warrant to intimidate Mr Newton because it was an election year. I refuted the idea that we had searched his home on flimsy grounds. I refuted Senator O’Byrne’s suggestion - an odious suggestion the full objectionableness of which, of course, I would not expect Senator O’Byrne to understand because he has become so habituated to such suggestions - in which he asked me to give ‘an assurance that there will be no repetition of a misuse of the Crimes Act’.
– What was your answer to that?
– Senator Cant is trying to divert me by repeated interjections. My answer to that was:
To impute wrong political motives in any such prosecution is to make a completely spurious suggestion.
I remember that I had to speak impromptu. Had I had the chance to think for a few seconds I would have chosen a better word than ‘spurious’. But it will do; I shall rely on it. As to the alleged misuse of the Crimes Act, part of the law of this country and the rule of law that the Opposition pretends tonight to maintain is section 10 of the Crimes Act, which provides:
If a Justice of the Peace is satisfied by information on oath that there is reasonable ground for suspecting - -
Not believing; not knowing; not being convinced; but reasonable ground for suspecting:
. that there is in any house, vessel or place -
When the Government of which I am a member is on the receiving end of a suggestion by Senator O’Byrne that we should give an assurance against a repetition of the misuse of that power on flimsy grounds and a question to this effect: ‘Were not the whole proceedings designed to stop the mouth of Mr Newton criticising the Government in an election year?’, I pray for some pardon for having the fortitude to express myself in the moderate language that has been quoted against me. That language is:
To impute wrong political motives in any such prosecution is to make a completely spurious suggestion.
Then Senator Murphy asked a question, I think with his attention rather upon matters other than the subject under discussion, if the circumstances can be recalled correctly. He was answered by my Leader. Shortly after Senator Cavanagh made a contribution characteristic of his turn of mind when he addressed this question to me:
Is it the Minister’s opinion that the decision in the case of Graeme Pratt was a travesty of justice and not in keeping with the evidence before the court?
What is a Minister to say when a question of that sort is put to him by the Opposition? Am I to bend low and with whispering humbleness say yes, or am I to say reluctantly, nevertheless quietly and after quoting the magistrate’s decision in its relative respects, that in my opinion there was some evidence - and strong evidence - to show that Mr Pratt had communicated to the Press the confidential material he had received? I did not go on to criticise the magistrate. I did not go on to say that he was induced by any political motive or other improper motive. I did not use any expression that could possibly reflect upon him, other than by reference to an error of judgment. I am entitled as a common citizen to express my view as to the proper conclusion to be drawn from the evidence. I have a duty as a member of Parliament in ordinary circumstances and 1 have a duty as a Minister. When I am asked a question it would be a matter of complaint by the people whom Senator Cavanagh represents if I were to evade or avoid that question. How did I answer the question? I referred to the magistrate’s relevant decision. Then I briefly recapitulated the evidence and said:
I have been challenged today by Senator McClelland who spoke in support of his Leader, to produce the evidence upon which that opinion is based. 1 am very ready to respond to that challenge. For the convenience of the Senate I have transcribed the cable of 9th May, which we call the Paris cable’, and the print that was made in the Newton Press on 1 3th May. In evidence a document was given, signed by Mr Pratt. I had that document in mind when I referred to due administration in my answer to Senator O’Byrne’s question. Mr Pratt had signed the document on taking his office. It stated:
I understand that all official information acquired by me as an officer or employee of the Commonwealth is the property of the Commonwealth and is not to be published or communicated to any other person in any form except in the course of my official duties, whether during or after my service in or with the Commonwealth, without lawful authority.
Mr Pratt having accepted an office on that basis, he was paid the appropriate emoluments. After the Paris cable came in from Paris to Australia on 9th May it was distributed to officers in departments, Mr Pratt being one of the recipients. This is the evidence upon which I base my firm opinion - as 1 was challenged to show by Senator McClelland - that there was evidence and strong evidence that Mr Pratt had communicated this cable to the Newton Press. The cable was distributed on 9th May. It has been proved to have been in Mr Pratt’s possession either that day or on the following Monday. The excerpts that 1 am about to read were then committed to the personal handwriting of Mr Pratt.
– Ask that question most directly. Why? It was not a mere transcription of the cable, but in a form already appropriate for the printing press. It was so appropriate indeed that the Newton Press printed it-
– Verbatim - word for word - exactly as it was proved before Mr Dobson to be in Mr Pratt’s handwriting. The only suggestion that was put forward to exculpate Mr Pratt from the allegation that he had communicated it was that at some time the document in Mr Pratt’s bandwriting might have been scribbled out by him just idly, for no purpose, and got into the hands of Mr Newton ex post facto. But unfortunately for that contention, Mr Pratt’s preparation in Press form and the contents of the cable in his own handwriting had the marks of those people within the Newton Press who submitted the manuscript actually to being printed. The heading had been altered. Mr Pratt had given it a heading which 1 have no doubt was thought to be sufficiently attractive to increase the subscriptions to Mr Newton’s Press. He had headed it Thoughts of Mr Debre’ Someone in the Newton Press had crossed that out and had substituted ‘Report on a Confidential Government Cable’. The sub-heading used was ‘Australian Ambassador talks with French Foreign Minister’. So as to make it clear that this manuscript production of Mr Pratt, translating the substance of the cable of 9th May, printed by Mr Newton on 13th May, had come into the possession of Mr Newton, I point out to honourable senators that, in the act of printing, those headings had been added, and the directions to the printer in italics were also on the document. By one of those coincidences that only heaven can explain - not understood by Senator Murphy - the whole of Newton’s publication is in italics. A search was made and the manuscript of Mr Pratt, who is an officer of the Department of Trade and Industry, was found. He had access to this confidential cable. He prepared the contents in a form so ready and appropriate for printing that the printer did not change one word of it. Then we are asked to believe in miracles, that Mr Pratt did not communicate that document, prepared for the Press and printed by the Press, to the Press.
I am a bit like Warren Hastings; I did not mean to say this, but I am amazed at my own moderation the other day. I said that there was strong evidence. I now say that there was such evidence that no reasonable explanation has been preferred by anyone that would reasonably justify the rejection of the inference that Mr Pratt had communicated that document to the Press. 1 differ from Mr Dobson about these things. I state this because this afternoon I was challenged by Senator McClelland to state the reasons in the evidence that led me to make the statement that I made. I stated it also because my Government’s motives in entering upon the search and prosecution have been impugned by Senator O’Byrne as a misuse of the Crimes Act and as a proceeding on flimsy grounds designed to stop the mouth of Newton from his petulant criticism of the Government.
Having stated that in substance, let us see how the cables correspond with the Press. I content myself, by reason of limitation of time, with the most significant cable -that of 9th May 1969. The cable is expressed to be confidential and to be from Mr Renouf, the Australian Ambassador in Paris. The first paragraph of the cable states that Mr Renouf says that he saw Mr Debre, the French Foreign Minister, on 7th May 1969. The first paragraph in the printed Newton press - and we are supposed to understand that there has been no communication between Mr Pratt and Mr Newton - is a print of the manuscript document of Mr Pratt. It states:
Among the confidential cables received by the Department of External Affairs last week was a very interesting one from the Australian Embassy in Paris. The cable gave a summary of an interview the Australian Ambassador, Mr Renouf, had with the French Foreign Minister, M. Debre The interview ranged over a number of topics.
Paragraph 2 of the cable, dealing with Vietnam, said:
Debre said that both Hanoi the Front and (he United States wanted a political settlement.
But no progress towards one would be made, he was convinced, until the United States was willing to discuss political issues as distinct from military or at least both political and military issues at the same time.
He did not understand why the United States would not do so.
Nor did he understand why the United States did not show more enthusiasm for really secret talks and for secret talks with the Front where Saigon could also be present if it so wished.
The above was the only significance he thought, of Le Duc Tho’s return to Paris and Kiem’s declaration.
Mr Pratt’s manuscript ; Mr Newton’s print ; is in these terms:
On the subject of Vietnam and the Paris Peace Talks, M. Debre was reported as saying that in his opinion the USA, Hanoi and the National Liberation Front were all anxious to achieve a settlement to the war. However, progress was bogged down because Hanoi and the Front wanted to talk of a political as well as a military settlement but the USA was only prepared to talk of a military settlement. He believed that as soon as the USA was prepared to talk politically, a solution to the ending of the conflict would be in sight.
– Would the Minister read that first paragraph which said that the cable was received and which may be of interest?
– It reads:
Among the confidential cables received by the Department of External Affairs last week was a very interesting one from the Australian Embassy in Paris.
I wanted to show the close correspondence, paragraph by paragraph, between the cable and Mr Pratt’s manuscript and the exact correspondence between Mr Pratt’s manuscript and Mr Newton’s print.
– That has never been denied, has it?
– I do not think it has, but it has never been reported. Until it is made public in factual terms it may be capable of distortion by people such as the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and the member of the Australia Party. In relation to Laos paragraph 3 of the cable states:
Debre does not believe that Hanoi and the Pathet Lao may be preparing the way for negotiation for a new political settlement.
He takes the view that the Laotian and Vietnamese situations are inexplicably linked and that a settlement in Laos can only, and will, follow a settlement in Vietnam.
On this subject the Newton press said this:
Moving on to Laos, M. Debre was reported as saying that the situation there with the Pathet Lao was inextricably bound up with the Vietnam situation. He considered that the conflict in Laos could not be cleared up until the Vietnam conflict was over but once this was the case, the Laotian situation would soon be cleared.
On the next subject, paragraph 5, the Indian Ocean, the cable states:
Debre said that some is years ago the Soviet Union had to decide to build up its Navy.
This new strength had to be used somewhere: The Mediterranean was a natural area for its use and the Indian Ocean was a logical area in which to extend.
However, the main reason for Soviet activities in the Mediterranean, Debre reckons, is as a counter to American naval presence there.
As regards the Indian Ocean, Debre said that Soviet interest was preventive and principally directed against China: The Russians were much more interested in the centre of Africa - Somali, the Sudan and Nigeria - in which places the French were watching their activities closely.
In relation to that Mr Pratt transcribed this statement, which was printed in the Press:
Talking of the naval presence of the USSR in the Indian Ocean, M. Debre reportedly considers that this is largely a logical extension of their naval activities in the Mediterranean, which was solely intended as a counter-balance to the USA’s presence. He believes the chief object of Soviet naval penetration into the Indian Ocean is to pose a warning to Mainland China. However, he also believes that it is connected with the Soviet’s increasing interest in the central African countries. He says that’ France is closely watching developments in this area.
The next subject is the bilateral relations between France and Australia. The cable says this:
Debre expressed satisfaction with relations with Australia.
However, it was time, he said, these were built up politically as well as economically.
On the political front, there should be more consultations and more regularly.
On the economic side, the French had to increase their investments in and exports to Australia.
He still had in mind the despatch of another mission to Australia but his plans on this had been interrupted by de Gaulle’s retirement.
Asked to be more specific about political consultations, Debre said that there were several fields of common interest, including Asia, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.
He did not want any formalised consultations but merely consultations between the respective foreign Ministries and embassies and occasional exchanges at ministerial level.
Mr Pratt put that in this form, and the Newton press printed it in this form:
On the political front, he said that France and Australia had many fields of mutual interest in me Pacific Ocean area, the Indian Ocean area and Asia. He did not envisage any particularly formal exchanges between the two governments but rather, more frequent consultation at ministerial or official level.
In the commercial area, M. Debre said thai consideration would be given to France sending another mission to Australia. He said that France’s main concerns were in selling more produce to Australia to even up the trade imbalance and in investing in Australia’s development. However, he said that further consideration of these points would be delayed due to General de Gaulle’s resignation. f come now to the final paragraph on which I wish to seek the patience of the Senate. The cable said this:
De Gaulle’s Departure
I took the liberty of expressing to Debre regret at the departure from the French scene of the General saying that although his policies had nol always had Australian agreement, he was a great figure.
Deb re thanked me and said thai General dc Gaulle would bc happy to have the message.
The Press article from a document in Mr Pratt’s handwriting, and printed by Mr Newton, is in these terms:
On the subject of de Gaulle’s resignation, Mr Renouf rendered on behalf of the Australian Government, a verbal expression of Australia’s regret for the General’s decision. He said thai while the Australian Government may not always have agreed with his decisions, it had great respect for him as a man of ability. Mr Renouf told M. Debre that Australia considered it better to deliver this message verbally rather than in a formal statement, as had been done by some other countries. M. Debre reportedly concurred and promised to convey the message 10 de Gaulle. He said that he felt sure the General would be most appreciative of Australia’s sympathies.
Indeed, there you have language which, so far as I quoted it from the Press, is printed from the manuscript version of Mr Pratt. It closely corresponds, paragraph by paragraph, with the substance of the cable to which Mr Pratt had confidential access, and, within the space of 4 days of its receipt, it finds its way from the pen of Mr Pratt to the press of Mr Newton, and in the meantime, the appropriate indications are given to the linotypist of Mr Newton’s press as to how it should be printed.
It will be remembered that Mr Dobson, the magistrate with whose opinion I differ, and in respect of whose opinion I took the occasion to express my difference when asked a question in the Senate, expressed himself as convinced that Mr Newton had not come by that material for printing in either an unlawful or dishonest way. When I am challenged as to the flimsy grounds for a search that revealed that evidence against an officer in the Department of Trade of a disclosure of confidential cables; when I am challenged as to the misuse of the Crimes Act; and when it is suggested by Senator O’Byrne that the proceedings were designed to intimidate Mr Newton rather than to defend the integrity of the administration by a due administration of justice, I quite soberly assert my right to state my opinion. I go further and say that 1 would regard myself as a veritable coward if I had avoided the question and I certainly would not misrepresent the circumstances to the Senate.
Some reliance has been placed by those who offer this motion of censure against me upon the fact that Mr Justice Fox has said that the warrant was invalid. I have read section 10 of the Crimes Act which shows that the law authorises a justice of the peace, if he is satisfied by information on oath that there is a reasonable ground for suspecting that there is in any house, vessel or place anything as to which there are reasonable grounds for believing it will afford evidence, to issue a warrant. In this case, instead of the warrant reciting that the justice had reasonable grounds for suspecting, it recited that a police officer had laid information on oath before the justice that there were reasonable grounds for suspecting, and the judge was not satisfied, on the face of the warrant, that the justice who issued the warrant was so satisfied. Such is the scrupulous care with which any intrusion upon the subject’s private property or person or house is guarded against by the English law that Mr Justice Fox said that the exact condition that justifies the issue of a warrant had not been satisfied. This was that the justice should say that he was satisfied on oath that there were reasonable grounds-7to be set out - for suspecting the existence of evidence. This was not stated on the warrant and Mr Justice Fox therefore invalidated the warrant. That is to say, that procedural warrant was invalidated.
But if these documents were known to be, or suspected to be, in the possession of Mr Newton tomorrow and no proceedings had taken place against Mr Pratt, there would be nothing in law or in good practice to prevent a warrant in proper form being issued and it would be the duty of the Administration represented by the police force, which, in my usual experience, is so fearless and so effective in the discharge of its responsibility to prevent breaches of the law to secure a warrant from a justice of the peace and enter and obtain evidence. If the police then got three documents, all in the handwriting of an officer of the Department of Trade communicating to the Press confidential copies of cables, then, in my view, so far from suggesting that the warrant was issued on a flimsy basis, the warrant would be supported by the discovery of evidence. There has been no explanation of the evidence that we have other than Mr Pratt’s resignation and a complete exercise of his right to refuse to give any explanation of the purpose for which he transcribed those confidential cables.
Mr President, as I began in sorrow I end in pity. But I am unable to express the real feeling of pity that I had after listening to the submissions of Senator Murphy and those who support him. Senator Murphy put to the Senate the principle that for a long time no house of parliament has thought it proper to impugn the propriety of a judicial officer’s behaviour without that criticism being accompanied by a substantive motion. I do not know why Senator Murphy put that forward in argument this afternoon in support of a case that a Minister of the Crown should regard it as improper to differ from the opinion of a magistrate. It beggars of description to understand why such confusion should emanate from the learned Leader of the Opposition.
The motion before the Senate is that I should be censured for suggesting that Mr Pratt was guilty of the offence for which he was charged. Mr Dobson made it quite clear that if he were looking at it as a nonjudicial act he would answer the $64 question: ‘Who communicated the information?’ by saying: ‘Probably the defendant’. Mr Dobson went on to say that there was no evidence-
– No tittle of evidence.
– I will come to that. He said that there was no evidence but that there were heavy clouds of suspicion. He then went on to say that suspicion does not warrant committal. I quite agree with him. But I nope that Mr Dobson did not think that it was his job to adjudicate upon Pratt’s guilt. His job was only to consider whether there was evidence which, if believed by a jury - not by a magistrate or a Minister of the Crown - would warrant conviction. So when I said that there was evidence, and strong evidence, I was contenting myself, with the utmost propriety, with expressing an opinion on the question which was before the magistrate and on which I differed with him. The ultimate conclusion as to whether Pratt was guilty would, or course, be a matter for the jury.
Had the magistrate stopped there it would have been simply a question of criticising a judicial conclusion. But as we were told this afternoon by Senator Murphy and as I read in the judgment, the magistrate said that there was not a tittle of evidence and he did not understand why the prosecution had been instituted. In doing so he was making comment upon the Administration and the Administration is entitled to make an appropriate answering comment. That is an additional reason why it is proper for a Minister of the Crown to put forward a view, when questioned, that is different to the view of the magistrate. I regret that a motion of this nature could emanate from a dignitary of the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition, who is learned in law. I fail to understand the very basis of the motion. I can only come to the conclusion that it emanates from imbalance in judgment.
- Mr President, if any honourable senator had any doubts as to whether he should support the motion of censure moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy), I can only say that I would expect those doubts to have been completely dispelled by the extraordinary performance by the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) that we have just witnessed. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the Minister’s reply betrays such an extraordinary and lamentable lack of balance and perception of what is involved in this censure motion that serious doubts are raised about his capacity to continue to be a Minister and certainly his capacity to represent the Attorney-General in this chamber. Representing the Attorney-General, as he does, he has to ask himself the question: ‘If I were the Attorney-General and not simply the Minister representing him in this chamber would 1 be justified in behaving on this issue as 1 behaved last week and tonight?’ The Minister has pursued an extraordinary course.
Earlier in the debate, after a very convincing case had been put by the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) took the floor to express regret that such a motion had been moved and to claim that the Opposition had misunderstood what Senator Wright had said. He said, in effect: You know how things are in this chamber. In the heat of debate we tend to speak our mind vigorously and that is all that Senator Wright did’. Indeed, beneath the surface there was the implicit admission that whilst the Minister for Works had gone too far on this occasion it really was not quite right to censure him and it was hoped that things might be smoothed over. The Leader of the Government did not quite put it that way, but that was entirely the purport of what he said.
He said that the one thing that the Minister for Works had not done was to criticise the decision of the magistrate. If ever we heard a vitriolic attempt to document criticism of a judicial decision we heard it tonight if not the other day from the Minister for Works. He attempted to defend himself by using a principle that was not even put forward. He put himself in the position of being an ordinary man in this land who is entitled to deal with the decisions of the courts as he sees them and to make honest criticism of them. What an extraordinary distortion that is of the position that he holds in this chamber. He is here representing the senior law officer of the Commonwealth of Australia, the AttorneyGeneral, the man who, either directly or by delegation, authorised the prosecution of Mr Newton and Mr Pratt. To start with, the warrant was issued against Mr Newton. But instead of saying: ‘Look. I may have over-reached myself in my zeal to defend the launching of this prosecution by the
Government’, the Minister went on to augment the criticism that he made last Tuesday. In the end, flinging discretion to the wide winds, he virtually suggested that Mr Justice Fox was over-zealous in rejecting the action and invalidating the proceedings. I remind the Minister that the searches and seizures were based upon a warrant which Mr Justice Fox held to be invalid.
– When did the Minister say that? I suggest to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that he did not say anything like that at all.
– I was listening very carefully and he suggested that there may have been some technicality as a result of which the warrant was invalidated. Mr Justice Fox said:
The warrant was therefore invalid, in the sense that it did not constitute lawful authority for entry upon the premises in question, any search thereon, or the seizure of any books, documents or other things on those premises.
He gave his reasons for that. In substance, he found a misuse of the Crimes Act by the Government. That was just what Senator O’Byrne had asked the Minister about. Senator Greenwood is very keen to interject. His hearing might be somewhat different from mine, but he should listen. Mr Justice Fox said:
What section 10 authorises to be seized is therefore any ‘thing’ which is, in the way required by the section, related to a particular offence.
I repeal: ‘a particular offence’. He continued:
The warrant cannot authorise the seizUre ot things in general or things which are related to offences in general. In my opinion the warrant should refer to a particular offence and authorise seizure by reference to that offence, lt follows that in my opinion the warrant is bad in this respect also.
– Is the honourable senator saying that that is right? Is he saying that that is correct?
– I am saying that this is the basis, or one of the bases, for Mr Justice Fox’s decision, and I am saying that Senator Wright threw discretion to the wind and, in addition to beleaguering Mr Dobson for the opinion that he formed, as a result of which he dismissed the information against Mr Pratt, tended by innuendo to cast some doubt upon Mr Justice Fox’s criticism.
– What a criticism - tended by innuendo to cast some doubt. What sort of suggestion is that?
– 1 suggest that Senator Greenwood, who is a very voluble young man, will before very long have to defend any position he takes on this before the electors of Victoria. I presume that he will want to speak on the subject and not want to make bis speech during the course of my remarks. I did not interrupt Senator Wright; I did not say a word while he was speaking. The issue which was before the magistrate was not misconceived by him. He put it in very simple language. He said:
The question I have got to ask myself now is is there sufficient evidence before me to justify sending the defendant for trial by judge and jury.
He did not say: ‘to justify me in finding him guilty’. Senator Wright chased himself round in circles and thought that the magistrate was addressing himself to some other question, but the magistrate asked himself the correct question: Is there sufficient evidence before me to justify sending the defendant for trial by judge and jury? He continued:
I have no hesitation in answering that question No’.
The operative words in each information before me are the words ‘did communicate’.
Then he went on to deal with the matter in the way that has been described. He understood perfectly well what the question before him was and he could not find any evidence of a communication. It is not disputed that he found evidence of handwriting. As to all this hullabaloo about handwriting, all this reading out of cables which the Crown at the hearing before Mr Justice Fox. asked not to be disclosed, we have been treated tonight to a magnificent rendition in extenso, although I am afraid very few of us were listening attentively because it was so sublimely irrelevant. What was in that cable was completely irrelevant to this censure motion. That was the cable that the Attorney-General’s counsel asked Mr Justice Fox to say should not be disclosed to the public. What we have had tonight has been a lengthy tirade of abuse against the way in which the magistrate proceeded on his task, and the Minister included in his speech the reading of a number of documents.
– There was not one word of abuse. Why not tell the truth?
– Be quiet.
– Order! If Senator Cohen addresses himself to me he will not be the cause of any provocation.
– With respect, 1 did not interject on Senator Greenwood; he interjected on me. I understood that 1 had the floor at the moment. The plain fact is that the magistrate understood what his function was. He understood that the real question before him, all other things being apparently prima facie proved to his satisfaction, was the question of communication. He came to the conclusion that although the suspicion was very great, the evidence was lacking. As the result of that he dismissed the information.
One thing that Senator Wright has not done in the course of his lengthy diatribe is to answer the question which Senator Murphy raised at the beginning of this debate, that is, whether there is still the possibility that the Crown could file an ex officio indictment and present Mr Pratt for trial notwithstanding the dismissal of the information by the magistrate. He is very silent on that because if that course is in contemplation the Minister’s offence is compounded because he has pronounced upon a matter which may not yet be concluded. He was very careful in answering Senator O’Byrne’s question in the Newton case to point out that there might not have been finality in that case and that therefore he did not want to say too much, but what he did in this case is absolutely unpardonable. He gave a non-responsive answer to a question asked at question time by an honourable senator. I think he would have to agree that if the question were asked in court the answer could be struck out as being non-responsive to the question. Senator O’Byrne did not ask about Pratt: he asked about Newton. Having disposed of the question about Newton, the Minister went on:
The other decision, which involves Mr Pratt, is one of a most interesting character.
He took it upon himself to turn from a consideration of the Newton case to a consideration of the Pratt case and he did so for no other reason than to besmirch the decision that had been made by the properly constituted judicial tribunal to hear the case at that stage. I did not hear from the Minister anything to say that at least his offence was not too bad because the matter had been finally disposed of. What would we say, and what would Mr Pratt say, if tomorrow it were decided that the matter would be proceeded with by the Attorney-General and that Mr Pratt should be presented before a judge and jury for trial on this very offence?
– ft might explain how the documents got where they were.
– That also is irrelevant because what we are dealing with here is the propriety of a Minister’s action in dealing with this matter as he did. We say without any hesitation that what has been done in this case is deserving of censure. It is not much good beating the air and talking about something that Lord Atkin said. Lord Atkin did not deal with the position of a Minister. The Attorney-General’s representative in the Senate was casting doubt upon a decision recently made in relation to a matter in which the Attorney-General’s Department had been the prosecutor. He was saying that no wrong would be committed by any member of the public who exercised the right to criticise in public or in private the public acts in a seat of justice. I attempted to take the words down when the Minister spoke. To speak of those who raise this question in the slighting way that he did is a desperate attempt to turn the attack against those who are pressing him so strongly.
We do not know of any instance in which a man who has been acquitted on a criminal charge or who has had a charge against him dismissed can be attacked under privilege of Parliament by the responsible Minister representing the Attorney-General as though the decision releasing that man was wrong. As Senator Murphy has said, no man in this country would be safe if, having been acquitted by a jury or having had a charge against him dismissed in a court, it was open to a Minister or another member of Parliament simply to question the basis of the decision or to say: ‘Well, the court found him not guilty or dismissed the charge but do you know what the evidence was?’
This could happen in the case of a man charged with murder; it could happen in the case of a man charged with some form of pecuniary or other dishonesty; it could happen in the case of a man charged with some grave offence of moral turpitude. His case could be dealt with by the court, the court could adjudicate in the normal fashion and find in his favour, whether it was an ultimate acquittal by a jury or dismissal of an information either on summary proceedings or on proceedings prior to indictment by a magistrate, and it would be open, in the Minister’s view, for the Minister to come into this House and cast doubts upon the validity of that acquittal or dismissal. It is a monstrous doctrine.
The offence is compounded by the brazen way in which the Minister has come forward tonight. Not only has he been unrepentant; he has made his offence worse by saying things that he did not say last week. He said: ‘I was mild the other day because I really should have said, not that there was strong evidence but that there was such evidence that no reasonable explanation has been proffered by anyone that can possibly justify the rejection by the magistrate’.
– Is that not true?
– The honourable senator wants to attack the magistrate too? All right, in due course we will see whether we can extend the terms of the censure, but for the present he is not the Minister representing the Attorney-General. The honourable senator does not need to carry on like this and join in the Minister’s misdemeanour by assenting to and agreeing with everything that he has said.
We believe that the motion of the Leader of the Opposition is in effect an understatement. It puts the position correctly in principle. There has been an impropriety. The impropriety is worse because the Minister represents the Attorney-General in this chamber and the least he might have done was to express some regret and say that he was not in effect canvassing the court’s decision. It is deeply reprehensible in that we do not know as yet whether there is any possibility of an ex officio indictment in this case. I ask the Senate to support the motion proposed by the Leader of the Opposition.
– I hope to be able to get away from a trial, or the suggestion of a trial, of Mr Pratt but I do find it necessary to refer to some aspects of the matter. I want to try to put the matter into perspective as 1 see it. 1 suggest that it falls to be considered from two aspects. Firstly, what did the Minister say and was his behaviour such as to warrant the censure of this chamber? Secondly, did the nature of the questions asked in this chamber, to which the Minister replied, and the general misunderstanding of the nature of the proceedings manifested in many of the Press and public statements which have been made and the suggestions that the Government had acted improperly in causing the prosecution to be instituted, make it desirable and necessary for the Minister to explain and comment upon the court proceedings involving Mr Pratt and the decision of the magistrate of that court?
Let us consider the first question. In doing so let us look at the questions that were asked of Senator Wright who in this chamber represents the Attorney-General. 1 should like to extract from the question and the answer that T consider to be the most relevant parts. Anyone who wishes to see the remainder of them can find it in Hansard. Senator O’Byrne asked:
Will the Government give an assurance that there will be no repetition of a misuse of the Crimes Act-
I repeat ‘misuse of the Crimes Act’ -
I pause there to emphasise that Senator O’Byrne raised the question of the grounds. He went on:
Were not the whole proceedings designed to stop the strong criticism of the Government by Maxwell Newton’s publications in an election year7
In reply to that question which introduced the matter of misuse of the Crimes Act and the grounds upon which the warrants had been issued, Senator Wright said:
The honourable senator will well know that the procedures referred to were followed by legal action.
In other words, it was not an action taken without any basis; the steps that were taken were followed by legal action. He went on:
The decision with regard to the validity of the search warrant is still under consideration and may not yet be final. The other decision-
This is part of the legal procedures - which involves Mr Pratt, is one of a most interesting character.
The Minister then went on to state some facts in quite unexceptionable terms - I have not heard anyone take issue with them - and he concluded by saying:
Other people are entitled to make their judgment as to whether there was a sound basis in reason and to enforce honesty in administration for the prosecution of Pratt in the circumstances of that case.
He went on to comment about the matter raised by Senator O’Byrne in this way:
It is clear that in that answer Senator Wright did not do anything more than state some facts and answer the question which was asked of him. Later he replied to a question from Senator Cavanagh which expressly asked for an expression of opinion.
Before we look at the second question in detail let us get clear the circumstances surrounding the discussion of the court’s decision. When he spoke earlier this evening Senator Wright referred to a decision of the Privy Council. I should like to refer to other judgments by persons of the stature of Lord Justice Denning and Lord Justice Salmon. In a decision in England last year in a case involving the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis of London, ex parte Blackburn, Lord Justice Denning said:
Let me say at once that we will never use this jurisdiction as a means to uphold our own dignity. That must rest on surer foundations. Nor will we use it to suppress those who speak against us. We do not fear criticism, nor do we resent it. For there is something far more important al stake, lt is no less than freedom of speech itself.
It is the right of every man-
I emphasise this and would like Senator Murphy in particular to pay attention to it - in Parliament or out of it, in the Press or over the broadcast, to make fair comment, even outspoken comment, on matters of public interest.
I will repeat that passage because I have been asked to do so: lt is the right of every man, in Parliament or out of it, in the Press or over the broadcast, to make fair comment, even outspoken comment, on matters of public interest Those who comment can deal faithfully with all that is done in a court of justice. They can say that we are mistaken, and our decisions erroneous, whether they are subject to appeal or not.
Then Lord Justice Salmon said:
The authority and reputation of our courts are not so frail that their judgments need to be shielded from criticism. . . . Their judgments, which can, I think, safely be left to take care of themselves, are often of considerable public importance. lt is the inalienable right of everyone to comment fairly upon any matter of public importance. This right is one of the pillars of individual liberty- freedom of speech, which our courts have always unfailingly upheld.
Lord Justice Edmund Davies added:
The right to fair criticism is part of the birthright of all subjects of Her Majesty.
There are other comments here which are also of interest but which I will not quote. It is quite clear that, in Parliament or out, there is a right to comment upon decisions of the courts of law, particularly where the decision raises a matter of public importance.
I would have thought that the law on this subject was so clear that few could have had any doubt about it. So, Mr President, in me light of the law I go on to ask: Did the Minister offend? The question asked by Senator O’Byrne included the words misuse of the Crimes Act’ and went on to refer to the issuing of warrants on ‘flimsy’ grounds. That then inevitably raises the grounds upon which the warrant was issued and the general furore which has been going on in certain sections of the Press, particularly the Newton Press, in relation to whether the actions of the Government were actuated by mala fides in this particular case. I would have thought that by using the words ‘misuse of the Crimes Act’, Senator O’Byrne could have been taken only as referring to the purpose behind the use of the Crimes Act. If we then ask: What was the purpose of the use of the Crimes Act in this case’, there is no other answer than that it was the Pratt prosecution. The question could not possibly be answered without involving the Pratt case. That accusation of mala fides made against the Government must involve the prosecution of Pratt - whether that prosecution was improperly brought - whether the Government was actuated by mala fides or not.
It is suggested by some sections of the Press, and implied in Senator O’Byrne’s question, that there was some gigantic plot by the Government to persecute, not prosecute, Mr Pratt. That alone would bring in the reply which was given. There is nothing in the first answer to imply that Pratt was guilty or even to express any opinion at all. I wish to emphasise that nothing in the first answer expressed an opinion and nothing implied that Mr Pratt was guilty of any offence. On this particular aspect, Mr President, I suggest that Senator Murphy’s attack on the Minister was misconceived because it was based upon an interpretation of the answer which took up that same expression of opinion which had arisen in the first answer, and that some expression of guilt on the part of Pratt was given in that answer. I suggest that every honourable senator in this chamber who looks at the question and answer will fail to find this there. Senator Wright expressed no opinion. He stated facts in his first answer.
Then we must look to the second question. I suggest, Mr President, that if anybody brought Mr Pratt absolutely clearly into this debate in this chamber - that is, in regard to his guilt or otherwise - it was Senator Cavanagh who, with most deliberate questions, asked:
I refer the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral to his reply to Senator O’Byrne’s question. Is it the Minister’s opinion that the decision in the case of Graeme Pratt was a travesty of justice and not in keeping with the evidence before the court?
What could have brought it more fairly and squarely before this chamber than that question which came from the Opposition side of the chamber, not from Senator Wright? I know that Senator Murphy is interested in civil liberties. So am I. I admire his interest in civil liberties but I wonder why it was that Senator Murphy did not take objection at that stage, as has already been referred to. To take objection subsequently is, perhaps - if his arguments are correct - to shut the gate after the horse has got out. As Senator Anderson said, if there was any impropriety it was by Senator Cavanagh in asking that question.
Even then Senator Wright did not say that the man was guilty. What he said was that there was strong evidence given at the committal proceedings of a prima facie case. He did not say that the man did not have a defence. He said what is said in every case where a man is committed for trial; that is, that there was evidence which was sufficiently strong to warrant the man being committed for trial. As I interpret those words, that is what is said at every court which commits any man for trial in a criminal court. As Senator Murphy would know, those words are often said by persons opening committal proceedings when the defendant first appears and there is some question of bail to be decided. A police prosecutor says that there is a strong case against the man concerned. This was similar to what was said in this case by Senator Wright. As Senator Murphy would know, even though some of his supporters do not know, Senator Wright was referring to a man who bad appeared before a court on a preliminary hearing, at a committal proceeding.
– The honourable senator did not know the difference himself the other day when he said that he had not been acquitted.
– 1 would like to reply to that interjection from Senator Wheeldon by saying that there was no doubt whatsoever that he was not acquitted. What happened was that he was discharged at the committal proceeding. The honourable senator, being a lawyer, would know that if he was acquitted he could plead autrefois acquit. I should have thought that the honourable senator would not make such an interjection. J was surprised that the honourable senator made that slip but T accept his remark as a slip. I do not mind the Press talking about an acquittal. Laymen can be quite excused for saying that sort of thing. But this was not an acquittal. In committal proceedings, for those honourable senators who are not aware, the whole question is whether the man should have to take his trial before a jury. The sole question in a committal proceeding is whether a sufficient case has been made out to require an answer. It is not a question of whether he has a defence; it is not a question of whether he can prove himself innocent at that stage. The sole question at that stage is whether a sufficient case has been made out to put the man on trial before a jury. That is the matter to which Senator Wright was referring at the time he answered his question.
– Do you say that the Attorney-General can still proceed against him on an ex officio indictment?
– Would my opinion in relation to that add anything to this debate? I have an opinion about it. It is quite obvious from what I have said that it is my opinion, for what it is worth. But 1 do not want to get into a debate about all the extraneous matters brought into this by certain persons who keep trying to get away from the matter and to try Mr Pratt. Let us just keep to the facts. Let us put the matter in its proper context. The context is committal proceedings; whether there was a prima facie case; whether there was sufficient evidence to commit him for trial, not whether he had a defence. 1 would be quite happy to say here and now that 1 have no opinion at all as to whether Mr Pratt had a perfectly strong defence to any charge that may have been brought. 1 do not want to go into that. I do not wish to canvass it.
What I do wish to point out again is that this matter has been taken out of context as far as Senator Wright’s reply is concerned and it should be put back into context, particularly by those who have been debating this matter in this chamber. I do not want to go into what may have been the motives in bringing this censure motion against Senator Wright. One can but conjecture. Some comments have been made already. But, viewed in its context, it was a perfectly proper statement to make in replying to the questions deliberately raised by Opposition senators.
I pass to the second phase of the matter, which is the nature of the questions which were asked in this chamber and to which the Minister replied, the general misunderstanding of the nature of the proceedings manifested by much of the Press and the public in making and publishing statements, and the suggestions that those statements contain to the effect that the Government acted improperly in causing this prosecution to be instituted. Without completely covering the ground Senator Wright has covered and not having any purpose or desire to try Mr Pratt, I wish to look at the circumstances for a moment. This is unavoidable, the matter having been raised here.
What were the circumstances? We have the circumstances of the raid, the circumstances of the prosecution of Mr Pratt, and the circumstances of the dismissal of the charges, which was followed by public and Press comment suggesting mala fides on the part of the Government and suggesting misuse of the Crimes Act and persecution of Mr Newton and people associated with him. Finally we have, most unfortunately for all the people concerned I would have thought, the Opposition bringing this matter before the Senate and repeating allegations concerning the whole matter; repeating allegations of misuse of the Crimes Act; bringing in the question of the grounds on which the warrants were issued and bringing in directly through Senator Cavanagh the question whether the Minister thought the decision of the magistrate in regard to Graeme Pratt was a travesty of justice. Surely in those circumstances there was some reason for showing that the Government was not acting with mala fides; there was some reason for showing that it was not engaging in persecution. That is as far as it went. That is what the Minister did. He did not do what has subsequently been done; that is, canvass the matter in detail. He simply said sufficient to show that there was a basis - a strong basis, he said - upon which the launching of the prosecution had taken place.
As to the circumstances of the launching of the prosecution, 1 refer only to evidence which was given before the court and which is therefore already public knowledge. The evidence was given, and I intend to refer to it briefly in order to answer the challenge by Senator McClelland and the implied challenge by the other Opposition senators who have spoken on this matter. 1 refer to the continuation of the insinuation or statement that the Minister in this chamber and the Government generally acted with mala fides in relation to this whole matter. In response to this challenge, let us look briefly at the evidence. It was a serious matter and one which, in my view, could not be taken lightly by any responsible government. As Senator Wright has said, it involved the publication of confidential reports by an Australian ambassador. They were confidential because they involved Australia’s security and because they involved Australia’s relations with other countries.
– What has the nature of the evidence to do with the question of whether or not he was guilty?
– I do not want to go into the question of whether or not he was guilty. I simply want to show the evidence the Government had at the time it instituted the prosecution, without making any com ment whatsoever on whether or not the man had a defence to it. I do not want to bc led on to a debate on the question of the man’s guilt or otherwise. All I want to do is show the evidence that was available to those who were investigating the matter, which was the: serious matter of a leak - perhaps a deliberate leak - on the part of a government servant or the stealing of documents belonging to the Government and involving Australia’s security and its relations with other countries.
As to the importance of this, let me ask this question: When we have a situation in which there are private discussions between the French Foreign Minister and the Australian Ambassador to France, the details of which find their way into the Press in Australia, can we expect Australia’s position in Paris to be as strong in the future? Can we expect to receive the same sort of assistance from the French as we may have received in the past; or will there be in Paris and other places a tendency to clam up on discussions with Australia, to Australia’s detriment? That illustrates the seriousness of the matter. That is the basis upon which one would think all responsible citizens would expect the Government to take a serious view of the publication of its confidential documents relating to its relations with other countries. Obviously this was a matter that required investigation; and it was investigated.
The power to search private homes and premises is well known in all fields of criminal law. It is available and is used every day in searching for stolen goods. One wonders whether it is not a power which can be used very properly by a government that is launching an inquiry into the letting out of confidential documents to the Press. The Government having instituted such a search, which is a common procedure under the criminal law, obtained information. That information has been set out in some detail by Senator Wright. Documents were found in the premises of a publisher. As has been said, those documents were in the manuscript of an employee of a government department. The documents were shown to have been written by the person. Not only were they shown to have been written by him, but they were shown to have been in the hands of the publisher in the same form as that in which they had been written.
– You want to be very careful. You are speaking here under privilege.
– The documents were found in the hands of the publisher in the same form as that in which they had been written by the public servant. Please do not endeavour, by interjection, to get me to state matters other than the bare minimum which I am trying to state in order to make out a case in regard to the bona fides of the Government’s prosecution. Having obtained that information, bearing in mind the seriousness of it and the facts that Senator Wright has given, surely any responsible government would have caused the investigation to go further. The Government did so.
Mr Pratt was interviewed and gave no reason which would explain the circumstances which may be regarded as suspicious. The investigation failed to turn up any plausible reason why Mr Pratt should have written this out or why it should have been found in his handwriting in the premises of the publisher, lt may be that there is a very good and plausible reason. I do not think we are concerned here tonight to go into that question. 1 do not appreciate the hilarity with which certain honourable senators opposite have approached this serious matter, attempting to involve a question of the trial of Mr Pratt. As the Government found circumstances in a very serious matter which would warrant its being placed before a court, it followed that course. I submit that the Government could not fairly be said to have done any more than a responsible government was required to do in the circumstances. Such an important matter quite properly was placed before a magistrate for him to decide whether a prima facie case existed.
It was not a misuse of the Crimes Act. That is the situation which Senator Wright defended. He did not, as honourable senators opposite have tried to influence honourable senators on this side of the chamber to do, go so far into the matter as to express an opinion on whether Mr Pratt was guilty. The Minister sought to show only that on the face of it there was a case to answer, and a sufficient basis for a responsible government to launch a prosecution. In view of all the misguided noona that has come from certain sections of the Parliament and the Press, surely it was the clearest duty of the Minister to place the matter in its proper perspective. That is all that he did. The question was whether there was sufficient evidence to go before a jury to decide whether Pratt had passed on the document. We are not concerned here and now to decide that matter.
– Senator Wright was concerned with it.
– Senator Cavanagh would not have the slightest idea about it, but he was prepared to bring up the matter and institute a debate on Mr Pratt’s case in the Senate. Let us see whether it was so unlikely that with the evidence available, after sufficient thought, a magistrate might commit him for trial or a jury might convict him. I. wish to refer only briefly to a celebrated case which even some of the more obtuse honourable senators opposite may understand. It is the case of a man called Plomp who was charged in Queensland with murder. His case went to the High Court. I have referred to it because in that instance the prosecution sought to have an inference drawn such as might be drawn in similar cases. Numerous authorities are well known to all senators who have any experience of the law where such inferences have been drawn although a crime was not actually seen to be committed. Frequently in murder cases no-one has actually witnessed the crime, but evidence is submitted which raises a suspicion and requires explanation. That is the basis upon which prosecution was launched in the case of Mr Pratt. Certainly no-one had any evidence to offer that he had seen Mr Pratt hand the document to Mr Newton, but it is also certain that on the evidence placed before the magistrate it was possible for him to commit Mr Pratt for trial, and it was possible that a jury would convict him.
This was the responsible action of a responsible government - to bring that prosecution before a court to be dealt with according to law. Let us not go back and have Mr Pratt tried before some other tribunal. Let us not recanvass the issue of whether he was guilty and let us not continue to say, as has been said so often, that this was a case of persecution. Tt was not persecution. It was a proper exercise of responsibility by a responsible government. A proper defence of that responsibility was exercised by the Minister in answering certain questions asked by honourable senators opposite. When the canaries opposite stop squawking I will proceed. I have outlined the circumstances which forced the Minister to act as he did, with complete propriety. I oppose the motion and I deplore the fact that it was ever moved. It is groundless, should never have been moved and I oppose it.
– I have been drawn into this debate by the action of the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) in querying the propriety of the question that I asked of Senator Wright. I shall refer to that later in my address. I had no intention of entering this debate, but the more I have listened to it the more I have become convinced that some censure should be made of the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) because of the way in which he has answered questions, and particularly because of the way in which he has spoken in this debate today. I wish to take the matter away from legal jargon and get down to a common sense basis to explain the complaint of the Opposition. In simple layman’s terms, as I understand the position, Senator Wright was asked by me on 12th August:
Is it the Minister’s opinion that the decision in the case of Graeme Pratt was a travesty of justice and not in keeping wilh the evidence before the court?
– Why did you ask that?
– I shall come to that, if my friend will have patience. We will come to everything in due course. I will not evade the issue. It is quite clear. There is nothing to evade. It is now Senator Greenwood’s turn to interject. My impatient friend cannot even wait to hear me speak in the interests of truth and clarity. He does not like the logic of my proposal and seeks to confuse it by interjection. I ask him to have the patience that Senator Webster can show at times. If at the conclusion of my speech I have not satisfied their queries, that is the time for them to raise those queries. As I understand Senator Murphy’s accusation today, he has said that Senator Wright in effect answered yes to my question as to whether he considered that a travesty of justice had occurred. The Minister thought that it was a travesty of justice and not in keeping with the evidence before the court.
Senator Anderson said that Senator Murphy had misinterpreted what Senator Wright had said and therefore there was no justification for the censure motion moved by Senator Murphy. Tonight Senator Rae has gone some way towards repeating the statement of his Leader, and has said that a suggestion or inference that Pratt was guilty was not made by the Minister in reply to the question. Senator Anderson said that the Minister had a responsibility to defend his Government and the senior Ministers who had made a decision and that this was important and in keeping with his responsibility. The Minister was very outspoken in his reply. Up to this point the Minister’s speech was very good.
Then we have the attitude of the Minister and of Senator Rae who do not think that the Minister for Works acted incorrectly, as Senator Murphy suggested. If, on an examination of the facts, it is clear Senator Wright did reply in the direction that Senator Murphy suggested, then today we have had a criticism by the Leader of the Government and by Senator Rae of Senator Wright. Senator Anderson and Senator Rae say that it is only a matter of Senator Murphy being off the track. If Senator Murphy is not off the track, there has been a condemnation by the Leader of the Government and by Senator Rae tonight of Senator Wright. We must consider that aspect. An examination of the questions asked and the answers given by Senator Wright shows that Senator Wright replied in the terms referred to by Senator Murphy. Tonight Senator Wright, in defence of his own attitude, asked: Are we to believe in miracles and this matter was not conveyed by Pratt to the Newton press?
– Does the honourable senator believe in miracles?
– It is not a matter of my believing in miracles; it is a matter of a magistrate giving a certain decision after a judicial hearing. As Senator Rae said, I would have no knowledge of legal matters. I do not set myself up as a judge, but I do accept the decisions of tribunals of this country; honourable senators opposite do not. I am not saying whether or not Pratt conveyed the documents to the Max Newton press; I do not know. After a full inquiry a magistrate found that there was no evidence to suggest that he did convey them, that there was no evidence on which the magistrate could commit him for having conveyed them. Senator Wright said that there was sufficient evidence; that is the whole question.
– ‘He said that there was strong evidence.
– Yes. I would not condemn any honourable senator for criticising the judiciary and its judgments on many occasions, but here we have a man who is accused of committing a crime under the Crimes Act. He is entitled to be presumed innocent until he is proven guilty. The magistrate having decided that there was no evidence to establish the offence, to draw an inference that the magistrate was wrong is to accuse the man - who is entitled to the presumption that he is not guilty - of being guilty
– Where would the honourable senator draw the line as to whether a judge is or is not to be subjected to criticism - according to the case or according to the involvement?
– I would say that it is entirely wrong to say, where such a statement would receive public recognition, that a judge was wrong when he found a person not guilty.
– The law reports are full of cases where people have done exactly that.
– My friend is conversant with the law reports and knows them all, but he failed to bring a strong authority to support his contentions tonight, so his whole reading of the law has been wasted on an occation when his colleague is subject to some discredit. Let us look at the events which led up to the happenings of 12th August. We know that warrants were issued by a justice of the peace in Canberra to search, I think, five premises of Max Newton, including the bank at which he had his money deposited, the premises of his business firm, etc. The Newton press and Mrs Newton made application to the Supreme Court to cancel the warrants of search because they were obtained unlawfully. For the many reasons that Senator Cohen read tonight, the judge held that there was no justification for issuing the warrants, that the J. P. should not have issued the warrants and that, therefore, the Commonwealth Police, in seizing property, acted on unlawful warrants. After that judgment Senator O’Byrne framed a question according to his interpretation of the case. I do not go into whatever may be said to be his motives for framing it; it was simply a question directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. He said:
My question, which is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, involves civil liberties and human rights.
Senator O’Byrne has deep feelings about these matters. He considered that on this occasion those liberties and rights were impugned. He asked:
Now that Mr Justice Fox of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court has ruled that the search warrants issued for the searches of Maxwell Newton’s home, office and bank records were invalid . . .
Honourable senators will see the purpose in wording the question in that way; it refers only to a certain group of warrants. I suppose warrants were issued for the purpose of searching Graeme Pratt’s home. However, the question did not refer to any warrants to search Graeme Pratt’s home but to a group of warrants issued to search the home, the office and the records of Mr Maxwell Newton. The warrants were identified further as those on which Mr Justice Fox had made a decision. The question continued:
– Where was the misuse of the Crimes Act?
– In Senator O’Byrne’s opinion, someone, on the issue of an unlawful warrant, unlawfully took some documents when he had no legal authority to take the documents and that was a misuse of the Crimes Act. Senator O’Byrne asked whether some guarantee would be given that there would be no further misuse of the Crimes Act. Senator Webster is apprehensive about this. As the Leader of the Government said today, the Minister, in answering the question, had to justify the action of his Government. The Leader of the Government said that the Minister had to justify the action of the senior Ministers who made the decision to get the warrants issued so that a search could take place. Senator Rae made a great case for the justification of issuing warrants to search Maxwell Newton’s home. If departmental documents can be distributed, unauthorised, to all and sundry, there is some justification for government action; there is no doubt about that. These were unlawful warrants. In Senator O’Byrne’s view, they were issued on somewhat flimsy grounds. As an upholder of civil rights he sought a guarantee that the Commonwealth Police would not unlawfully invade homes in the future. 1 do not think that Senator O’Byrne would object to any warrant legitimately issued under section 10 of the Crimes Act, if there was justification. Honourable senators will see the point of the question. It referred to only one group of warrants about which a judgment of the Supreme Court had been issued - a group of unlawful warrants which had been used for the purpose of the search of a home, a business and a bank at which Max Newton had some business. The Minister replied:
The honourable senator will well know that the procedures referred lo were followed by legal action. The decision with regard to the validity ot the search warrant is still under consideration and may not yet bc final.
There is a complete answer to the question asked. No one could object to that. The Minister did not want to go into the matter any further because of the possibility of further action. Then he went on:
The other decision, which involves Mr Pratt. . . .
Mr Pratt was never mentioned. Having a weak case, the Minister was not satisfied with his reply to Senator O’Byrne’s question. He mentioned something which he thought would give him stronger grounds to justify the Government in taking the course that it took. As the Leader of the Government said today, the Minister had to uphold the rights of senior Ministers. In his belief that there was a duty upon him to uphold his actions as a Minister, he dragged in something else about which he was never asked. He proceeded to deal with the question of Graeme Pratt. Today, Senator Murphy asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) whether he interpreted the Minis ter’s reply as a statement that the magistrate was wrong in the Pratt case. Senator Anderson said that the question carried grave implications against certain Government officials and therefore Senator Wright was justified in answering in the way in which he did.
Senator Cavanagh who has been accused of asking this unpardonable question - it could well be because of his liking for Senator Wright - attempted to get the Minister out of the difficult position in which he had been placed by Senator Murphy by asking this question in all simplicity: 1 refer the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral to his reply to Senator O’Byrne’s question. Is it the Minister’s opinion that the decision in the case of Graeme Pratt was a travesty ot justice and not in keeping with the evidence before the court?
There the Minister is given an opportunity to say that he would not cast any reflections upon the judiciary or upon the magistrate who made this decision. Honourable senators will see the opportunity he had. If my motive was not to give the Minister that opportunity but to get him to repeat his criticism of the judiciary which, in the mind of Senator Murphy is an unthinkable thing to do, then it achieved its purpose when it need not have done if the Minister really had no desire to criticise a magistrate for letting off a person charged with committing an offence against the Crimes Act. In his reply, the Minister said:
I made some reference to the decision of the learned magistrate who dealt with the case of Graeme Pratt and in order to answer the honourable senator’s question I would be impelled to refer to one or two passages from that decision. It is necessary that I be accurate in my response to the question. The magistrate said . . .
Then he went on to recite what the magistrate had to say in his decision. Tonight, the Minister sought to evade the charge by bringing forward conclusive evidence that what the magistrate had found against Pratt was correct. He supported the magistrate by reading out cables which had been received by the Department, and identical copies of which, in the handwriting of Pratt, were found at Maxwell Newton’s home. The magistrate found on these grounds that Pratt had copied the cables in order to put them to some other use. But why did we have this recital tonight? It was given as justification for the issue of the warrants.
No-one is denying that there would be justification if the warrants had been lawfully issued. But they were not lawfully issued. But what has all this got to do with Pratt?
The magistrate found that the cables were received by the Department of Trade and Industry and that identical copies, in handwriting which could be identified as that of Graeme Pratt, were found at Maxwell Newton’s office. We have heard quite a lot about this tonight and it is not disputed. After the Minister gave all these details to prove that Graeme Pratt was not innocent he went on to say that the magistrate had found that while there may be suspicion, there was no evidence at all that justified sending a man to trial on a charge that he had conveyed information to Maxwell Newton. Because of this finding, the man was not committed for trial. Whether we call this ‘acquittal’, ‘discharge’ or ‘let-off’, the fact is that the magistrate found that there was no case to go before a judge and jury.
After quoting all the bad things that the magistrate found against Graeme Pratt, the Minister concluded his answer by saying:
I have quoted that to show the basis on which I express an opinion - as I was invited to do by the honourable senator - on the question as to whether the magistrate was in error in finding that there was no evidence that Pratt communicated the document to the Press.
By this time the Minister had perhaps interpreted my question properly. By this time he had probably realised that he had been asked to express an opinion as to whether the magistrate was in error in finding that there was no evidence that Pratt had communicated the documents to the Press.
– You asked me was there a travesty of justice.
– I am not disputing that the Minister made a correct statement. I am pointing out what he had said against the magistrate. At that point, the Minister was answering a question as to whether it was his opinion that the magistrate was in error in finding that there was no evidence that Pratt had communicated the documents to the Press. The question was not as to whether there was evidence that Pratt had copied the documents or that he had taken them out of the Department’s office. The question the Minister was asked was whether the magistrate was in error in saying that there was no evidence that Pratt had communicated these documents to the Newton Press. In the magistrates opinion there was no such evidence and, until that man is convicted on some other charge, he is entitled to the benefit of the magistrate’s opinion; he is entitled to be recognised as being not guilty until he is found guilty of an offence. I am sure Senator Wright would be the greatest upholder of this principle. As I have said, the magistrate found that there was no evidence. The Minister was asked whether in his opinion the magistrate was in error in this finding. He said:
I point out that there were 3 documents, not one. They were all in the handwriting of Mr Pratt-
That is admitted and was found by the magistrate. The Minister went on:
They were all published by the Newton Press soon after they were in the custody to which Mr Pratt had access.
That is admitted and was found by the magistrate. The Minister continued:
I am bound to say with some respect - I hope not a disproportionate degree - for my own opinion, that I hold the firm opinion-
Remember the question was as to whether the magistrate was in error - that there was not only some evidence but strong evidence that those manuscript documents copying cables from the Department of Trade and Industry, which were found printed a few days later in the Newton Press, not on one occasion but on 3 occasions-
Remember that the Minister had said: T hold the firm opinion that there was not only some evidence but strong evidence’ - were communicated by Mr Pratt to the Press. If the Attorney-General had in his possession some additional evidence about which the court did not know, then the advocate for the Department was remiss in not making that evidence available to the magistrate when prosecuting his claim. Hansard contains the definite words used by the Minister - it is not a case of who interprets them - in answer to the question whether he thought there was any error in the finding of the magistrate that there was no evidence of communication. He said:
I hold the firm opinion that there was not only some evidence but strong evidence -
He believed there was strong evidence that these documents were communicated. Therefore he must have been of the opinion that the magistrate, who had all of the evidence before him, came to a wrong conclusion and that as a result a criminal who distributed secret documents that were invaluable to the preservation of the country was let off through the failure of the judiciary. Senator Murphy said that no-one has a right to point a finger of scorn at a person alleged to have committed a crime until such time as that person is found guilty by the judicial procedures of this country. No-one can make allegations about such a person outside of the privilege of Parliament without paying the penalty for doing so. In this instance we find the privilege of Parliament being used by not just a member of the Parliament, not just a Minister, but the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral and therefore a person whom one must look upon as having more information available to him than the ordinary member of Parliament. Despite the fact that the person concerned has been before the court and has been found not guilty we find that someone in this chamber is saying that he is guilty. This can happen on every occasion that someone wants to denigrate Graeme Pratt.
– Or any other citizen.
– Yes. Anyone who wants to denigrate this individual can say with impunity that although a magistrate did not commit him for trial there was ample evidence, on the advice of the Attorney-General’s Department, that he was guilty of the crime with which he was charged. The accused person does not have the protection of British law and is not accorded the presumption of innocence to which he is entitled. I submit that there is some justification for saying that all the Government supporters who have taken part in this debate, with the exception of Senator Wright, recognise this fact but they try to get over the Minister’s actions by saying that his words were misinterpreted. Will someone stand up and show me where the actual words used by the Minister in his answer have been misinterpreted? Will someone stand up and say that no injustice was done to this citizen? Surely an accused person has a right to expect Parliament to protect his civil rights until such time as he is found guilty.
– 1 rise in answer to Senator Cavanagh’s challenge. I have great pleasure in speaking in support of the Minister for works (Senator Wright). I oppose the censure motion that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) has moved. 1 think that Senator Cavanagh, one other honourable senator and myself are the only non-legal men to have taken part in this debate so far. Nevertheless, I feel that it would be most difficult for honourable senators to reach a consensus of the legal people who have taken part in the debate. The point 1 wish to put forward is that we are debating a charge by Senator Murphy that the Minister for Works should be censured for saying that a citizen was guilty of a charge which had been dismissed by a competent tribunal. I think that is the core of the matter. That is basically what we should be directing our attention to. In reply to Senator Cavanagh, 1 wish to say that it is an altogether untruthful comment on the Minister’s statement to say that he suggested that this citizen was guilty of the charge even though it had been dismissed by a competent judicial tribunal. In my opinion the Minister has never said that this citizen was guilty. He has said only that in his view there was strong evidence that there was a case to be answered.
– Strong evidence that he communicated the document.
– I ask Senator Murphy to listen for a moment because I think he will find in the end that his exhortation did not influence the majority of honourable senators in this chamber. I am sure that honourable members opposite will agree with me that this matter was raised initially in a question aimed at provoking the Minister for Works. There is no doubt that Senator O’Byrne asked the question to embarrass the Government. I do not think that that can be denied. It may be the duty of the Opposition to raise such a matter. Nevertheless, this matter is being debated tonight as a result of a question asked by Senator O’Byrne that was answered in truth by the Minister for Works. The Minister did not assert that Pratt was guilty. He said that in his view there was a case to be answered. I believe the Minister spelt this out. 1 believe that we should look firstly at the matter of whether a public servant has an obligation not to disclose secrets that come into his possession. This matter was raised by Senator Cavanagh. I refer the Senate to the fact that when a public servant is inducted into the Public Service his attention is drawn to regulations 34 and 35 of the Public Service Regulations. Regulation 34 states:
An officer shall not -
use for any purpose, other than for the discharge of his official duties, information gained by or conveyed to him through his connection with the Service; or
publicly comment upon any administrative action or upon the administration of any Department.
Section 70 of the Crimes Act is also drawn to his attention, lt states:
A person who, being a Commonwealth officer, publishes or communicates-
I stop at the word ‘communicates’ because when one refers to the actual judgment of Mr Dobson one finds that the whole basis of his comment was on his interpretation of the word ‘communicate’. Section 70 continues:
That section provides the basis for any public servant not to be surprised if evidence is produced that certain actions taken by him tended to have a result that brought about contravention of the Crimes Act. Indeed, that is the basis upon which the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) took certain action, lt is on that basis that he requested the magistrate to give consideration to the charge laid against Pratt. The magistrate said that the words ‘to communicate’ gave him some difficulty in interpreting. We all believe, I imagine, that he interpreted them in the strict sense that there was no evidence produced by the prosecution that Pratt physically handed a document to any person. But the arguments of honourable senators on the other side of the chamber have been quite amazing to me. On the one hand we find them saying that no-one has the right to criticise any particular judgment given by a court and on the other we find Senator Cohen making the comment that in many instances citizens had the right to criticise a judgment provided they did not unfairly criticise the judiciary. Senator Cohen is shaking his head as though to say that what I am saying is not correct. I am interpreting the argument put forward by the Opposition. Some honourable senators opposite agree that a citizen has a right fairly to criticise a judgment; but for some peculiar reason when criticism is offered in this House a distinction is drawn between the types of citizen who are allowed to criticise.
– Certainly not the Attorney-General.
– Here we have it. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition’s statement makes the Minister for Works laugh. It should make the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and his legal friends laugh, too. If honourable senators opposite admit that an ordinary person has a right to criticise they must answer the question which they failed to answer when Senator Byrne interrupted Senator Cavanagh and said: ‘Explain where the division is, where criticism must not take place.’ I propose to refer to two cases, one of which has been mentioned already. In support of my proposition that an ordinary citizen has the right to comment I refer to a 1935 case of Rex v. Dunbabin in which Mr Justice Rich said:
The jurisdiction is not given for the purpose of protecting the Judges personally from imputation to which they may be exposed as individuals. It is not given for the purpose of restricting honest criticism based on rational grounds of the manner in which the Court performs its functions. The law permits in respect of Courts, as of other institutions, the fullest discussions of their doings so long as that discussion is fairly conducted and is honestly directed to some definite public purpose.
The other case, which was mentioned by the Minister, contains remarks which are perhaps more relevant than my previous comment. I refer to the 1936 case of Ambard v. Attorney-General for Trinidad and Tobago, in which case the following comment was made:
But whether the authority and position of an individual judge, or the due administration of justice, is concerned, no wrong is committed by any member of the public who exercises the ordinary right of criticising, in good faith, in private or public, the public act done in the scat of justice. The path of criticism is a public way: the wrong headed are permitted to err therein: provided that members of the public abstain from imputing improper motives to those taking part in the administration of justice, and are genuinely exercising a right of criticism, and not acting in malice or attempting to impair the administration of justice, they are immune. Justice is not a cloistered virtue: she must be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful, even though outspoken, comments of ordinary men.
Opposition senators have shown by their comments that they would regard Senator Wright as an ordinary man. I think it has been proved beyond doubt tonight that what the Opposition has attempted to do is to suggest, incorrectly, that a citizen has not a right to criticise. In effect this is what is said in Senator Murphy’s motion.
– It does not say anything of the sort.
– If it does not say anything of the sort it comes down to the Opposition saying that the Minister is placed in an entirely different position and has no right to comment. Senator Murphy suggested that the Minister said that a citizen was guilty. 1 suggest that the Minister was saying that in his view the case which had been presented was one which could be referred to a judge and jury. Indeed, this was a comment made by the magistrate. I make the point, that the magistrate dwelt on the word ‘communicate’. If one looks at dictionaries, as perhaps we have all done, one sees that the word ‘communicate’ has a very wide meaning. My view of the word communicate’ would be that if by any means I passed information across to another person it would be a communication.
In the charges that the magistrate was asked to decide the word ‘communicate’ was used in several instances in relation to the words ‘a confidential document’. 1 think it can be accepted that in reply to a question ‘did you communicate a confidential document?’ it would be possible to answer ‘no, I did not’. But the charges against Pratt were not only in relation to a document; the fourth and fifth charges used the expression: ‘Did communicate a fact’. Let me give an example in which, for the purposes of my argument, I shall refer to Senator O’Byrne who has been prominent in this matter. If I write in my own handwriting on a piece of paper a complete copy of something which has been given to me confidentially and if that handwritten document is found in Senator O’Byrne’s possession, I doubt that anybody could argue that I had not communicated a confidential matter to Senator O’Byrne.
I agree with the Minister, who said that he agreed with much of what the magistrate had said and believed that there was a dark cloud in this instance on whether there was a case. There is no doubt that the question raised by Senator Cavanagh was intended to gain this information from the Minister. A Minister is required to answer truthfully, and in this instance Senator Cavanagh had asked the Minister whether he thought there had been a travesty of justice. The Minister did not give the answer that has been imputed to him; he did not say that the gentleman in question was guilty, but he did express his own view. He made it clear that it was his own view. He made it clear also that he was not speaking as the Minister for Works or as the Minister representing the Attorney-General. He said: 1 am bound to say with some respect - I hope not a disproportionate degree - for my own opinion, that I hold the firm opinion that there was not only some evidence but strong evidence that those manuscript documents copying cables from the Department of Trade and Industry, which were found printed a few days later in the Newton Press, not on one occasion but on three occasions, were communicated by Mr Pratt to the Press. 1 suggest that in saying that the Minister was stating bis own view. In doing so be was stating his own view as a citizen, and the view that he expressed was apparently acceptable to most people. That is the light in which I see this matter. Perhaps this case goes much further, in which case I would be delighted to discuss that, if the time were available to me. I can only say that if such an event occurred again I would plead with the Minister and with the Attorney-General not only to take action but also to review the present case and take action if it is seen fit to do so. I hope that any public servant who copies documents word for word and passes on those copies to other people can be assured that he will find himself in trouble at some future time.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMuIlin) - 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.
Senator DAVIDSON (South Australia) held within this building, attended by people connected with the Parliamentary Library and other interested people, to honour Mrs Marcel Schreiber who probably is better known to all of us as the former Mrs Shirley Warde, who leaves the service of the Parliament and the Parliamentary Library after some 25 years association with them. A quarter of a century is a considerable length of time. If the Senate will grant me its indulgence 1 should like to say a word or two in my capacity as Chairman of the Library Development Sub-Committee by way of tribute to and in appreciation of all that this person has done for members of the Parliament over the past 25 years in one capacity or another.
She has been concerned with what I might describe as the former National Library and its involvement in earlier days with the then Parliamentary Library, but more particularly in the experience of most of the present members of the Senate she has been connected with the Parliamentary Library and especially with the various developments of the legislative research section with which we all have had some experience and from which we all have benefited to a very large extent. In this capacity she has earned the appreciation and gratitude of senators because of her wide knowledge and the experience which has been gained from, I think, not fewer than three trips to various parts of South East Asia, because of her knowledge of foreign affairs, because of her readiness to help and because of the personal interest she has maintained not only in the matter which she has prepared but also in the speeches and activities of honourable senators. Mrs Warde, as we knew her, has earned our gratitude and I think that after 25 years service it is fitting to place on record this brief expression of our appreciation of all that she has done for us. This is not only a statement concerning the service which she has rendered; it is also a statement concerning the quality and value of that service.
You, Mr President, as Chairman of the Library Committee, in the brief function this evening expressed your appreciation. I enjoy the privilege of your endorsement of what I am saying now because you assured Mrs Warde that she would have a sense of satisfaction at having served the Parliament, the National Library and the Parlia mentary Library for a quarter of a century and through them I beg to suggest, as you did, she has served the nation in a very real and practical way.
As honourable senators are aware, in recent times the legislative research section has been of very real benefit to the Parliament and to the Senate in particular. Mrs Warde has played a very significant part in that and you, Mr President, paid tribute earlier to her contribution. I want to place in the records of the Senate this expression of my own appreciation - I am sure all honourable senators will join with me - of the significant, signal and pioneering part that Mrs Warde has played in the legilative research section. She has responded to the needs of a modern parliamentarian both in terms of debate within the Senate chamber and in the many, varied and changing duties in which a modern senator finds himself involved.
Mrs Warde’s career started from her days at the Presbyterian Ladies College, through the University of Melbourne and through the various activities of the National Library and the Parliamentary Library. She takes her leave at the end of this week after a quarter of a century of service to members, to the Library and to the Parliament. It is my privilege to pay this brief tribute to her in this last week of her service to the Library.
– Briefly on behalf of the Government and those who support the Government I am glad to take the occasion of the reference that Senator Davidson has made to the very outstanding services of Mrs Schreiber to add my appreciation She has shown great leadership in the discharge of her duties, an unswerving devotion to her duties and a cheerful response to every request made on behalf of senators. By using her wide ranging knowledge of the matters to which she had access in the Library I believe that she has offered a great contribution to the work of this Parliament. I personally am most deeply indebted to her for an association over a great part of the period of almost 20 years that I have been here. I am sure that I speak for every member of the Government, and for every honourable senator who supports the Government, when I say that we appreciate this sterling example of outstanding service by a most capable officer of the Parliamentary Library.
– I want to do no more than associate the members of the Opposition with the tributes which have been paid in a well-deserved way to a lady who has done a great deal for all senators and, in fact, all members of the Parliament.
– I should like to associate the Australian Democratic Labor Party with this gesture of appreciation to Mrs Schreiber. Having regard to the tremendously increased range of duties which have devolved upon the National Parliament and the wider national and international responsibilities which members of Parliament have to take into account in the research they do and in the background knowledge that is necessary in the speeches that are presented in these chambers, I think we often forget that without the assistance of a modern library research service the standard of debate and the contribution of members in this Parliament would not have been as worthwhile as they have been in more recent years. It is to Mrs Schreiber and people like her that members of this Parliament are deeply indebted for the assistance they have received in that direction. We shall miss the ability of Mrs Schreiber and officers like her to diagnose the rather inchoate requests of members and to discover what they want when they themselves are hardly able to articulate it. For that brilliant gift of imagination we are particularly indebted to this good lady.
I associate members of the Democratic Labor Party with the good wishes which have been extended to her on the severance of her association - so long, so worthy and so dignified - with the Parliament of Australia.
– First of all I should like to say on behalf of Senator Bishop and myself, as the Opposition members on the Library Committee, that we endorse all the tributes which have been paid to Mrs Warde.
I rise tonight to make a plea on behalf of the Bankstown Municipal Council which feels that, due to what I shall call complacency or inability on the part of Com monwealth departments in the field of water pollution, an alarming situation is developing in the Georges River in New South Wales. I had hoped to have this matter settled during meetings of the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution but unfortunately due to certain misconceptions and Press statements, particularly by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission through the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn), it is necessary for me to pinpoint one or two matters which are crying out for adjustment.
The story commenced on 7th August when the Bankstown Council wrote to the Director-General of Health. In fairness to the Minister concerned I point out that the Council addressed the letter to Sydney instead of Canberra. The crux of the Council’s argument - this is where the confusion arose - was in relation to Commonwealth occupied land at Lucas Heights. The Council directed the attention of the Minister for National Development to the fact that some of this land was being used for what the Council termed the disposal of certain industrial waste which could not be put through the various sewerage systems. In effect, this material, which they described as lethal waste, was going into Mill Creek and, ultimately, Georges River. On that basis the Council suggested that the Commonwealth Department of Health should act as a mediator or arbitrator to see whether this practice could be stopped.
I took the liberty of raising this matter before a particular Senate select committee. For some reason best known to himself, the Minister for National Development, on 15th August, issued a statement in which he endeavoured to contend that I was implying that radioactive substances were involved. I had another clash with these people in respect of another part of Australia. I did not say that radioactive waste was involved but I did say that due to laxity there was river pollution in certain parts of the Northern Territory. This apathy, I repeat, is creating increasing pollution in the Georges River. When I raised these matters I expected two things to happen. Firstly, I expected the Commonwealth Minister for Health (Dr Forbes), or the Director-General of Health, to be courteous to the Bankstown Council and to say whether the Commonwealth was neutral in the matter, or not interested, or whether it would look into it. The Minister for Housing (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) would know more than I do about this but so far as 1 know little has been done in that direction.
The second point 1 wish to raise is even more important. The Minister for National Development said he had been advised by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission that some weeks ago it had drawn to the attention of the New South Wales Maritime Services Board the dumping of some kind of industrial waste on land near the Commission’s Lucas Heights establishment. Here again, in effect, we see the adoption of this attitude of ‘1 am not my brother’s keeper’. Many honourable senators have seen the Four Corners’ telecast in which it was indicated that Georges River is becoming similar to the Hudson River in New York State. The same mistakes are being made here in Australia. There is one point that infuriates me. The Minister has any amount of Commonwealth police at his disposal. I know that in the vicinity of many Commonwealth establishments Commonwealth police are likely to swoop on a young fellow exercising a greyhound, or something like that, and accuse him of breaches of the peace. We can take this Pontius Pilate attitude a little further. This might be like the case of the man, a God fearing man, who has a vacant block of flats and finds that somebody sets up a high class call girl establishment in it. Technically, that man is not responsible in one sense but I think there is a responsibility on him to see what is going on in that establishment.
In deference to the time factor I sum this matter up in this way: I want to put two submissions to the Ministers concerned. I want to know whether, since 7th August, there has been any communication from the Director-General of Health or the Minister for Health as to what the attitude is to the claim by the Bankstown Municipal Council about the seepage. In view of the tremendous number of statements in the last 12 months about the responsibilities for river pollution, if this is Commonwealth land surely the authorities concerned should not merely have said that somebody dumped industrial waste on the land. The Commonwealth could have been more specific; it could have arranged for Commonwealth police to be stationed there to warn off these trespassers. If not, at least the Commonwealth could have taken action to cordon off the particular area rather than pass the matter back to the New South Wales Maritime Services Board.
Senator McClelland is fully aware of this situation. On a number of occasions he and I questioned this dual responsibility about the pollution of Georges River. We were told that it was within the combined responsibility of the Atomic Energy Commission, the Maritime Services Board and the New South Wales Public Health authorities who monitored the discharges. Putting it in simple language, we know that the Maritime Services Board does not have the technical equipment required to read these discharges effectively. I do not canvass that point any further.
I conclude by raising two points: What has been done to inform the Bankstown Municipal Council of the attitude of the Commonwealth Department of Health and, secondly, is the Minister for National Development going to hide behind this smokescreen and say that there is no radioactive material going into the Georges River - a statement I cannot dispute - without answering the specific question, in more detail, as to the moonlighting that is going on so far as industrial waste is concerned, which is further compounding the serious position that exists in the Georges River area.
– lt is also happening at Botany Bay.
– As Senator McClelland points out, this is happening in Botany Bay as well.
– Mr President, I have some remarks to add to what Senator Davidson said concerning Mrs Shirley Schreiber. Speaking as an individual in this Parliament, when I first came here I did not know how to get information. She was always a great help to me and has always been cheerful, efficient and capable. The high standard of service that one receives from the Parliamentary Library is due in a large measure to her example.
[10.46] - Senator Mulvihill addressed his remarks to two Ministers. One was the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) whom I represent and the other was the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) who is represented in this chamber by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott).I would like to inform the honourable senator that I have with me some short notes concerning this matter which I shall give to him. The notes refer to the control of waste from the Lucas Heights Atomic Energy Research Establishment.
I am informed that this matter is the responsibility of the New South Wales Department of Public Health and the Atomic Energy Commission. The letter referred to by Senator Mulvihill was forwarded to the Director-General of Public Health in New South Wales. It is understood that a formal agreement exists between the Atomic Energy Commission and the New South Wales Department of Public Health. In drawing up this agreement other interested parties, such as the Maritime Services Board, were involved. The honourable senator referred to this. The agreement covers the treatment of all forms of industrial waste from the plant prior to disposal, sets certain standards, and controls the disposal, including discharge into rivers. The Department of Public Health receives analysts’ reports at regular intervals and it is understood that the authorities are completely satisfied. I will bring before the notice of my colleague, the Minister for Health, all the points raised by the honourable senator so that the Minister can provide any further information he may wish to give.
– Mr President, I wish to refer to the remarks made by Senator Mulvihill relating to waste material being placed on land which he said belonged to the Australian Atomic Energy Commission or was under its jurisdiction. I want to inform the honourable senator that the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) has said he was advised that some weeks ago the Atomic Energy Commission had drawn the attention of the New South Wales Maritime Services Board to the dumping of some kind of industrial waste on land near - and I emphasise the word ‘near’ - the Commission’s Lucas Heights establishment.
– Was the material dumped on Commonwealth land?
– I am not sure of that point. All I am saying is that the Minister said that industrial waste was dumped near the establishment of the Atomic Energy Commission. I will take this matter up with the Minister for National Development and endeavour to obtain a reply for the honourable senator.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.49 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 August 1969, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1969/19690819_senate_26_s42/>.