27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMuIlin) took the chair at 1 1 a.m., and read prayers.
– I ask for leave to make a statement in connection with a notice of motion I wish to give.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– Due to the time lag between the tabling of certain regulations and the receipt of these regulations and their departmental explanatory memorandum by the Regulations and Ordinances Committee the Committee now finds that after normal consideration by members and advisers certain regulations will go out of time if notice of motion is not given this day for their disallowance. The Committee is concerned about certain aspects of the amendments of the Naval Financial Regulations contained in Statutory Rules 1969, No. 138, and in order that further consideration may be given to these matters and to preserve the Committee’s right to take action against the regulations if this course is found necessary, I will table a motion for their disallowance. Accordingly, I give notice that on 16th April I shall move:
That regulations 8 and 12 of the amendments of the Naval Financial Regulations, as contained in Statutory Rules 1969, No. 138, and made under the Naval Defence Act 1910-1968, be disallowed.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. I preface the question by referring to the serious position existing in the fruit canning industry in Australia and in particular in South Australia in the fruit growing areas of the Upper Murray and the Adelaide Hills. Both the South Australian Government and the co-operative canneries in South Australia have made an urgent request to the Commonwealth Government for immediate assistance to counter the critical situation which it is believed is due to the loss of liquidity caused by realisation losses due to the devaluation of sterling in 1967 and the collapse of the export levy scheme. In view of the critical position and the value of the canned fruit industry to South Australia will the Minister use all his good offices to induce the Government to provide immediate assistance?
– I have not seen the representations which the honourable senator refers to but I shall certainly take his question up with the Minister for Primary Industry and let him have an answer as soon as I can get one.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral. When will he give further consideration to the legal position of Unilever Australia Pty Ltd in regard to its patent rights for the processing of Surprise peas? As this patent is used in overseas countries only for the product which is exported to Australia, could it not be declared, as the Patents Act lays down, that the reasonable requirement of the Australian public is not being met by the patentee? Is this not a matter for the closest investigation by the Government?
– I inform the honourable senator that since he asked me a question on this subject a day or two ago I have turned out the file of correspondence. However, I do not have it with me; it is in my office. I shall send for it. I hope to be able to answer the honourable senator’s question later in the question period.
– My question to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration refers to a report in today’s Canberra Times’ which says that Lady Crawford, the wife of a former Governor of Uganda, was refused permission to stay in Britain when she flew in for medical treatment last night because her husband, Sir Frederick Crawford, had his British passport confiscated in 1967 by the British Government on the ground that he supported the Smith regime in Rhodesia. Does not her exclusion, contrasted with the admittance to Australia of Mr Burchett, indicate that the claims that Australia treated Mr Burchett unjustly are exaggerated and that the British Labour Government is much stricter on these matters than our Government?
– I would say to the honourable senator that I agree with the point he has made.
Senator Dame IVY WEDGWOODCan the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior inform the Senate whether the Department of the Interior requires annually the full payment of rates and taxes in respect of homes owned and occupied by pensioners residing within the boundaries of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory? Has consideration been given to adopting the practice of some State undertakings and municipalities of allowing such rates and taxes to stand as an accumulated charge against the property on the death of the pensioner owner?
-I do not have the information to answer that question, which I think is a most interesting one.I shall convey it to the Minister and have a reply prepared for the honourable senator.
-I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in his capacity as Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry. Has he seen a report in the ‘Financial Review’ of today’s date that Victoria proposes to supply country towns with gas fuel by using liquid petroleum gas, if the gas can be purchased at a reasonable price? Is it a fact that LPG from Bass Strait is being sold to Japan at less than $20 per ton and that the refineries are selling LPG in Victoria at $34 per ton? Will the Minister state the reason or, if he is not able to state it at the present time, will he ascertain why consumers in Victoria cannot purchase LPG from Bass Strait at least at the same price or at a better price than that at which it is being sold to Japanese interests?
-I have not had the advantage of reading the article referred to by the honourable senator. I shall certainly put my mind to reading the report immediately after question time. ThenI shall direct the honourable senator’s question to the Minister for Trade and Industry. It may well be that other departments are involved in the question asked by the honourable senator and it may well be that this is a matter within the responsibility of a State government;I do not know. Certainly I shall look very closely at the question and have it conveyed to the Minister to see whetherI can elucidate the facts for the honourable senator,
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport been directed to the latest marine emergency involving a trimaran type yacht named ‘Kareela’? Can the Minister state whether this yacht, which carried young children, was structurally and by design capable of safe sea passage in the type of conditions which it may reasonably have been expected to encounter on a Pacific Ocean cruise? Will the Minister again consider my earlier requests for an investigation into the safety of vessels of the trimaran type and, if necessary; place some suitable restriction upon their use for off-shore passages?
– I can recall the interest that Senator Rae has always shown in this subject. It is a matter of real concern to him.I cannot answer him directly but I will certainly take up the matter and do what I can to see that some satisfactory answer is provided to him and, if possible, some better method of inspection instituted.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior aware that the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory has passed a motion calling for an open independent inquiry into the administration of the Territory by the Department of the Interior? Is he aware that all political parties - Labor Party and Country Party as well as the Independents - united in supporting this motion for an inquiry into remote control of the Territory by the Northern Division of the Department of the Interior? Did the debate include comments such as that the Territory, was a Public Service playground and that a type of dictatorship was being exerted from Canberra? Will the Minister consult the Government and inform the Senate whether the Government will agree to set up an inquiry by an independent authority with power to make recommendations and to publish a report?
– I was not aware of this particular circumstance and I thank Senator Murphy for bringing it to my attention. I will communicate his suggestion to the Government and in due course he will receive a reply through me on what the Government and the Minister for the Interior feel should be done if the circumstances are as he describes them.
– My question is addressed to the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities. Has the Government completed its investigations into the incentive schemes offered by overseas countries to their tourist industries? If so, can the Minister indicate whether any of the schemes could have application in Australia?
– A large number of overseas governments do provide specific incentives for tourist development, particularly in relation to the accommodation side of the industry. Those countries include some of Australia’s nearby competitors, for example, Fiji and New Zealand. Some of the schemes operate through the taxation system by way of taxation rebates, and others take the form of direct assistance by way of loans, grants and subsidies. In preparing the tourist programme the Australian Tourist Commission scheduled a list on a world wide basis of the various incentives that have been provided in this industry. It is a very extensive schedule and the appropriate parts are under consideration by the Government at the present time.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. In view of the fact that it has now become a socially accepted practice in Australia for many persons of dubious character, and former bankrupts, to float companies almost at will, will the Government take urgent action to amend section 122 of the Companies Act and legislate for other amendments, if necessary, in order to protect the small investor?
– The honourable senator makes observations to which I do not necessarily subscribe. He talks about socially accepted practices, etc. I do not express any approval of such observations. But the substance of his question is whether the Government will give consideration to looking at the company law. I think that is a matter which is more directly applicable to the Attorney-General’s Department than to the Treasury. I suggest that he put the question on the notice paper and then I will have it directed to the appropriate authority.
– Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate request the Prime Minister to give immediate consideration to calling a meeting of those concerned in both State and Commonwealth spheres to discuss the Commonwealth’s intention to legislate for control over all submerged lands that surround this continent, so that greater harmony may be engendered between State and Commonwealth authorities and the rights of the States to have control over certain submerged lands may be discussed more fully?
– My understanding is - in fact, I am sure - that this matter appears in the Governor-General’s Speech and the proposed programme for the present session. It is equally my understanding that the States have been informed of the Commonwealth’s intention in this matter. I do not think this will be a new situation or the first time this has happened since federation. I would not imagine that the States need to be invited by the Commonwealth to express their views. The normal procedure is that if the States have certain views about a matter concerning their relations with the Commonwealth they very properly and very forcefully express them. 1 do not see that there is any special merit in the honourable senator’s proposal. Nevertheless I will refer it to the Prime Minister. It is my belief that the States are already aware of the Commonwealth’s intention in relation to this legislation. Probably there have been some discussions on it. It has always been a source of amazement to me that in 69 years of federation we have not had sufficiently determined where the sovereignty is. If this legislation does nothing else, it will establish a situation in which that question will be resolved for the future benefit of the people of Australia.
– What can the Minister for Civil Aviation report on efforts to create a central, Canberra-based aerial fire fighting organisation which could be switched to operating duties in co-ordination with the various State authorities when bush fires were raging?
– The honourable senator asks me what I can report. All I can say at the moment is: Practically nothing. The reason is that this is the first time I I have heard about this very interesting proposal. In the Australian Capital Territory we have one of the Australian experts on bush fire control, a man named McArthur. He has done some outstanding work. His work is well known around the world. 1 will certainly look into this matter. 1 will take it up and see what I can do to aid the inquiry and foster the idea.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Educaton and Science, relates to oenology scholarships. The reference is taken from the latest report of the Australian Wine Board. 1 ask the Minister whether the two scholarships referred to in the report are attracting satisfactory attention. Can he give the Senate any information on the number of scholarships that have been awarded and the value of those scholarships to the industry?
– 1 wish to inform the honourable senator that 1 was delighted to have my attention called the other day to the reference in the report of the Australian Wine Board to the fact that it offers two oenology scholarships at the Roseworthy Agricultural College. I referred the matter to my colleague the Minister for Education and Science. He informed me that as from this year that College has been recognised as a college of advanced education. 1 am sure honourable senators will be pleased to learn that recently the College has been described in the Adelaide ‘Advertiser’ as one of the few centres of oenology in the world, and the only one in the southern hemisphere. Of course, we regard the wine industry as a great amenity for the delectation of tourists.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Is it true, as alleged in a recent report of the Australian Dairy Produce Board, that imports of cheese at dumped prices have increased by 25% in the past year, causing serious damage to sections of the Australian dairy industry? Is it also true that the countries of origin of that cheese impose stringent restrictions and limitations on imports of Australian products? What does the Government propose to do to correct the intolerable situation in view of the very serious situation obtaining in the cheese manufacturing section of the Australian dairy industry?
– lt is true that a number of countries throughout the world impose very stringent restrictions on imported products. I have not seen the report to which the honourable senator referred. As he is asking for a statement on future government policy I will refer the matter to the Minister for Primary Industry and get a reply for him.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister i -for . Shipping and Transport advise the Senate of the result of various control measures used to combat the oil slick in Torres Strait caused by the holing of the oil tanker ‘Oceanic Grandeur’? Have results been more successful than those obtained in respect of the Torrey Canyon’ disaster 2 years ago?
– I have noted the interest taken by honourable senators in the incident involving the ‘Oceanic Grandeur’. Accordingly, yesterday I sought from the Department of Shipping and Transport information about the matter to assist in answering questions directed to me. However, I was not asked any questions yesterday about the incident and. in the true Australian spirit of never volunteering for anything. I did not mention it. However, it might help my colleagues in the Senate if 1 were now to read out the information I obtained ‘ yesterday.
– I rise to order. Despite what the Minister says, I have had questions concerning this incident on the notice paper for up to a week and nothing has been done about answering them.
– Are the questions directed to me? I really do not think that the honourable senator has raised a valid point of order. Nonetheless, Senator Keeffe can raise it if he wishes. Perhaps it would be of assistance to the Senate if I were to give the information I obtained yesterday. Of course, in due course it would be communicated in the proper fashion. If it is wanted, I will give it now. If honourable senators do not want it, then of course I will not give it.
– Perhaps it could be given now and incorporated in the answer supplied to Senator Keeffe.
– This information was given to me yesterday in the form of a very rough note.
– Order! In view of the decision we reached last week about the asking of questions that had already appeared on the notice paper I ask whether there is any conflict at all between the question that has now been asked and any question on the notice paper.
– May I answer this, Mr President?
– It would be impossible for me to determine whether there was any conflict or confusion between questions on the notice paper, which I cannot carry in my head, and the rather rough note I obtained yesterday for the purpose of helping the Senate. I shall put that note to one side and I shall answer Senator Young who asked me the question. I am informed by the Department of Shipping and Transport that there are no new developments in the position. The Oceanic Grandeur’ is not leaking any further oil. At this stage there does not appear to be any need to send any further detergents. The seaworthiness of the vessel for a voyage north for repairs is under consideration at present. I certainly shall ask the Department to see that any question on notice that can be answered is answered.
– I direct to the Leader of the Government in the Senate a question relating to the decision taken by the executive of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Medical Association to reject the Government’s proposals regarding a national health scheme and to refuse to hold a ballot among members of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Medical Association. In view of the Government’s enthusiasm for the imposition of court controlled ballots and penal provisions upon industrial unions of workers, will it consider having a court controlled ballot within the Australian Medical Association and, in the event of the Association refusing to carry out any decisions that may be made by the Government regarding a national health scheme, will the Government consider the imposition of penal provisions upon the Australian Medical Association similar to those imposed upon the Waterside Workers Federation and other industrial organisations? Or does the Government believe that measures of this nature should be applied only to industrial unions of workers whose members are on the lower levels of income within the community and should not be applied to professional associations whose members are on the higher levels of income?
– I am distressed to discover that apparently Senator Wheeldon is not aware that the conditions of employment of workers in Australia are governed by legislation. I did not think I would live to see the day when a member of the Australian Labor Party would show such amazing ignorance of the industrial laws of the land.
– That is not fair. The honourable senator knows the position well and truly.
– If he does know it, as the Leader of the Opposition claims, it is reprehensible for him to draw an analogy with the medical profession. 1 am amazed to think that he does not know that there are no such industrial laws for the medical profession. He is now between Heaven and earth. I will leave it at that.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry been directed to a report of action being proposed by the Canadian Government to dissuade genuine wheat farmers from growing that grain for the ensuing 2 seasons? Is he aware that the Minister responsible for wheat in Canada advised the Canadian House of Commons that this would be a crash programme which would have the effect of stabilising the world grain economy? Is he aware that the Canadian House of Commons was informed that Ministers from the United States of America, Australia, the Argentine and the European Common Market were invited to discuss the proposition and to consider complementary legislation? Is he aware that under a 1-year programme a farmer converting wheat land to summer fallow would be eligible for the equivalent of $A5.36 per acre to a maximum of $A5,357 for 1,000 acres and that a farmer converting wheat land to forage crops for more than 1 year would be eligible for $A8.93 an acre up to a maximum of 1,000 acres returning $A8,929? Will the Minister take the earliest opportunity to advise the Senate of the Australian Government’s consideration of this proposition?
– I am not aware of the article to which the honorable senator refers. I would hope he would direct my attention to it by supplying me with a copy and, should he wish, ask me a question at a later date.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Treasurer who administers the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics. In view of the fact that the Bureau recently released figures tending to indicate that speed causes the majority of road accidents, will the Minister seek information for the Senate as to whether the Bureau receives any information when so-called speed caused accidents are reported which would indicate, if medical opinion has been obtained, whether the ingestion of alcohol or drugs by the driver concerned was in reality the real cause of the accident, as most authorities believe that speed driving is basically caused by over indulgence in drugs or alcohol?
– I ‘ believe the question which the honourable senator poses is one of the classical problems involved in the analysis of the road toil. Honourable senators who were on a Committee with me which looked into this will recall that this was one of the first things discovered. An accident is due to a combination of things very often. It is a very difficult problem to analyse, and I do not think any country in the world has been able really to analyse this problem with precision and separate certain of the interchanging, inter-operating factors in relation to the road toll. It is true that statistics have proved - if ‘proved’ is the right word - that the death toll is significantly high at high speeds and on straight roads, lt is a sort of percentage leaning for the casualty rate but there is no real precision in it. I will certainly refer the honourable senator’s question to the Minister as he has asked me to do.
He has very properly put his finger on one of the big problems confronting the engineers, scientists and statisticians who are trying to draw conclusions in relation to the toll on the: road. There is this interchange between speed on the one hand, the state of the road on the other, and the state of the driver. In relation to road safety matters the experts talk in terms of such matters as enforcement and engineering. Where one leaves off the other takes up. Road safety is a big problem. I shall certainly refer the matter to the Bureau to determine whether it can elicit some information for the Senate.
– I wish to direct a question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. Is the Minister aware of rising unemployment in the manufacturing and servicing industries in the country towns of Victoria as a result of the depressed state of the rural industries? If so, what action, if any, will be taken to alleviate the hardship which is experienced by those affected? If the Minister is not aware of the present situation will he undertake to give urgent attention to the problem so that an assessment can be made of its extent and the remedial measures necessary, to assist the people affected?
– 1 think it is fair to say that in certain areas of the continent there are problems in the rural areas. They are due to a combination of events. Drought conditions are being experienced in certain areas. Of course, we all recognise that there is a special problem in relation to obtaining world markets for some of our primary products. I think it is fair to say that this factor in itself must have some impact in certain prescribed areas. I do not think it is proper for me to comment at question time on how the problem should be dealt with. I shall refer the honourable senator’s question to the Prime Minister. I hope I will be able to bring forth an answer. Without wishing to reflect upon the question, I notice that there are some resolutions on the notice paper which could invite debate on this subject. It is probable that some of these resolutions will be debated next week. Indeed, in the debate on the AddressinReply to the Governor-General’s Speech there has been already some reference to the subject. When I wind up that debate later in the day I hope to make some observations in a different context about the situation in the primary industries.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry. Is it a fact that the governments concerned have agreed to the construction of a natural gas pipeline to transport natural gas from Bass Strait to New South Wales? Can the Minister advise the Senate of the price per therm which New South Wales has contracted to pay for the natural gas?
– Reference has appeared in the Press to a statement made by the New South Wales Government as to the route the natural gas pipeline will take, but I have no other information at present. I shall seek to obtain that information if it is within the competence of the Department of Trade and Industry to provide it. I ask the honourable senator to place his question on the notice paper.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary industry. Has the Minister seen a report attributable to the senior lecturer in Biology at the University of Sydney that it is believed powerful insecticide sprays, superphosphates or weedicides caused the death of hundreds of fish in a creek near Ballina in northern New South Wales, that a similar mass killing had taken place in the Tweed River in northern New South Wales and that if the present situation continues pollution by insecticides, detergents and washings from dairying and other country industries will eventually foul up our rivers and seriously affect the future of the Australian fishing industry? Has the Minister also seen a report that a research team from the University of New South Wales was forced to abandon its investigation into this matter because of lack of funds? Because so many people are completely dependent on the fishing industry for their livelihood and so many country towns in northern New South Wales rely to a very great extent on a reasonably prosperous fishing industry for their existence and development, will the Minister investigate this matter urgently and request his officers to contact the research team from the University of New South Wales and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation to see what steps can now be taken to preserve this very vital industry?
– I have not seen the two reports to which the honourable senator refers. I should be very glad if he would show them to me. I would then discuss them with the Minister for Primary Industry and let the honourable senator have a reply later.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Prime Minister been drawn to newspaper reports of the display of lawlessness in the sacking of the North Vietnamese and Vietcong embassies in Cambodia? Does this action indicate that there is no overwhelming desire by Cambodians to be - in the words of the Communists and their fellow travellers - liberated by North Vietnam but rather that they, along with the Laotians and
South Vietnamese, object deeply and forcefully to North Vietnam’s refusal to observe their territorial integrity and right to live free from aggression by Communist forces?
– I would say that the Government is receiving reports on the disturbances from the Australian Embassy in the area and naturally is watching the position closely. For some time the Cambodian Government has been expressing concern about the use of Cambodian territory by the Vietnamese Communists. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on these developments, particularly in the absence of statements so far from either the Head of State or the Government in the capital.
– Has the Minister representing the Treasurer knowledge of the text of a news copy dated 10th March 1970 in which the Postmaster-General, the Hon. Alan S. Hulme, M.P., criticised the Treasurer of Queensland, the Hon. G. Chalk, M.L.A., for alleged inaccurate financial statements made to a Liberal supporters’ meeting held recently in Brisbane? Has the text of the news copy the support and approval of the Commonwealth Government? If such criticism is justified, why was it not made by the Treasurer rather than the PostmasterGeneral?
– I have not seen the text and I do not know whether it is available. Therefore, I am not in a position to comment.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation, refers to his statement on 10th March last regarding delivery dates for Boeing 727 and DC9 aircraft for the domestic operators. I refer also to a recent statement which was made at a seminar in connection with the Australian aircraft industry in which it was pointed out that the Douglas Aircraft Corporation in America had been surprised that no requests had been made to it for offset orders in Australia concerning the purchase of its aircraft. I ask the Minister: At the time when the Government approved the arrangement were any proposals considered for offset orders within the Australian aircraft industry, or has any consideration been given to this matter since that time? If not, before delivery of the aircraft, which will take I think a further 12 months, will the Minister, in conjunction with the operators, consider whether some work might be fed out to the Australian aircraft industry?
– One part of the question, that is the announcement about earlier deliveries, relates to a period before what I might describe as my time in this portfolio. The other part relates to earlier days when I knew little about this matter - not that 1 am presuming to know a great deal now. But the honourable senator has made a very worthwhile suggestion. I do not know exactly whether it comes within my province. It might well fall within the province of another department. But I will direct the question to my own Department, and will then try to get it to do what it can to take up the honourable senator’s suggestion.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Have the Commonwealth and State governments had any joint discussions concerning common legislation for the granting of a vote to 18-year-olds? If so, can the Minister inform the Senate as to what stage the discussions have reached? Is it likely that uniform legislation will be submitted in the near future on this important electorate reform?
– My recollection ls that this matter would be one for discussion at the Premiers Conference level and any discussions in relation to it would stem from that area. Perhaps it would be more proper for me to ascertain the Commonwealth’s precise position in relation to it. My belief is that the Commonwealth would not wish to move in this area unless there was uniformity, and this is putting aside the point of view that the Commonwealth itself may have. But I will take the question on board and give a reply to the honourable senator next week.
– Will the Minister representing the Prime Minister advise the Parliament of details of improvements carried out during the period since the last Parliament was dissolved in areas of Parliament House including the Library research section so that staff may live and work under better conditions? Will he also inform the Parliament of wage and salary increases granted during the same period to Parliament House employees? if no wage increases have been granted, when will a review of rates take place in view of the fact that parliamentary employees if not actually forbidden to join appropriate unions are certainly discouraged from joining unions which can plead on their behalf?
- Mr President, it is my understanding that these matters are within your domain and thereforeI can only suggest that the question be placed on the notice paper.
-I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration. What additional inducements does or can the Government offerto ensure a continuing supply of migrants from countries which have been traditional sources of migrant availability over the past several years in order to offset the problem which has arisen through greatly improved conditions in those countries which are now comparable with our own and as a consequence of which the former inducements to migrate are no longer dominant considerations.
-I could not quite hear the beginning of the honourable senator’s question, but I gathered the implication that migrants did not still wish to come to Australia.
– I am sorry; that is whatI thought the honourable senator said. As I did not hear the question properly,I ask that it be put on the notice paper.
– A few minutes ago I gave some information to Senator Poyser in reply to a question about voting age. The information that I actually have in my brief is that the Government is aware of movements to change the age of legal responsibility both in the States and overseas. The subject has been discussed between Commonwealth and State Ministers and we are currently examining implications of moves towards an earlier age of legal responsibility.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration a question. WhileI approve the decision of the Government to register Wilfred Burchett’s children on the ground that the children must not be punished because of the father, is it not a fact that the policy of the Government in similar cases has been that children outside Australia should not be registered as Australians unless the Australian parent intends to live in Australia? ls it not therefore a fact that in this case Burchett, who will leave Australia shortly to live abroad, is receiving preferential treatment?
– I have noted the points made by the honourable senator. I will discuss them with the Minister for Immigration.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Air. Is it a fact that 7 of the 12 Royal Australian Air Force Neptune bomber reconnaissance aircraft at Townsville have been withdrawn because of salt water corrosion in various parts of the wings? Are any proposals being considered to replace the aircraft? Are replacements available in Australia from other squadrons? For how long will the aircraft be out of commission? Does the Minister consider that time taken to repair the aircraft will occasion any difficulties in relation to the squadron’s operation?
– It is true that 7 Neptunes have been temporarily taken out of general service following a routine inspection at Richmond of one of the
Neptunes in which corrosion was found. All the other Neptunes were subsequently inspected and 6 more were found to have this corrosion. The aircraft belong to No. 10 Marine Reconnaissance Squadron based at Townsville. As most of their work is over the sea they are prone to this sort of defect much more than are aircraft which operate all the time over the land. The repair to each aircraft will take 7 days. The aircraft which are affected will be off general flying duties until they go through the repair programme. No aircraft will be brought in to replace them.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science throw any light on the figures which appear in the report of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education which show that although the number of university students in Victoria and New South Wales are roughly comparable per head of population, in Victoria there are 25,000 students in colleges of advanced education and only 4,000 in New South Wales, and that the Commonwealth proposes to grant $30m in each State for capital expenditure over the next 3 years but only $23m in New South Wales as opposed to $52m in Victoria for recurrent expenditure? Can the Minister tell us whether this may be associated with the failure of the Government of New South Wales to spend one-third of the amounts which were granted to it by the Commonwealth over the last 3 years?
– At the present moment I have not the information at hand to give a useful answer to the honourable senator. In view of the fact that it concerns the States of Victoria and New South Wales I ask the honourable senator to put the question on notice so that a prepared answer can be given.
– May I redirect to the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral a question relating to Surprise peas which I asked earlier but to which he did not have an answer? I believe that the Minister is now able to answer my question.
– The honourable senator will recall that in December 1968
I transmitted to him detailed information with regard to the patent rights of Unilever Australia Pty Ltd and also work that had been done by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in connection with frozen peas. With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate in Hansard 6 paragraphs of a letter from the Minister of Education and Science providing information on this matter.
I understand that the CSIRO Division of Food Preservation began investigations in 1954 on a process of slitting the skins of peas. The aim was to release air from between the outer skin and the seed, as it had been shown in earlier work in the United States and Britain that this air slows the loss of moisture during drying, and its take-up during reconstitution. Work on similar lines was also being carried out about this time by research groups in other parts of the world.
The Australian Patents Office records show that Australian Patent No. 204,434 was granted to Unilever in 1957 on an application which, under the provisions of Part XVI of the Patent Act, was based upon a British Patent Application filed by Unilever on November 9, 1954. This patent is directed to a process for drying pulses, such as peas or broad beans, in which the skin of the pulse is ruptured before the pea has been dried. In 1959 Unilever obtained Australian Patent No. 222,894 on a method and machine for pricking pulses, this patent being based upon an application filed in Great Britain on February 18, 1957.
There is no evidence that the Unilever patent relies on information obtained from the work conducted by CSIRO and CSIRO had not taken out any patents in connection with this process at that lime. CSIRO understands that the process and the machine covered by these two Unilever patents are used in the manufacture of dried green peas, which the company markets under the brand “Surprise”.
In about 1965 the Division of Food Preservation was investigating the processing of frozen peas, and found that puncturing their skins before freezing improved the appearance of the peas after cooking by reducing wrinkling. The mechanism is similar to that in the drying process: air is released from beneath the skin, and water enters during cooking, giving the pea a smooth, plump appearance.
CSIRO filed a patent application (No. 57,067/65) in 1965 for this process. The application was accepted on November 7, 1968 under No. 286,440 and will proceed to grant unless opposed within the prescribed time. Similarly CSIRO also applied for a patent on a machine for pricking peas in 1965 and a patent has now issued under No. 281,906. It may be noted that, although intended for the treatment of peas for freezing, the CSIRO machine is suitable for puncturing peas before drying.
I am advised that the Division of Food Preservation has not made any determinations of the nutritive value of “Surprise” peas but, on general experience, it is considered thatthe peas would retain tbe major nutrients of green peas. There will be some loss of thiamine because of the presence of sulphur dioxide as a preservative but peas are not an important source of this vitamin.
In specific reply to the honourable senator’s question I inform him that, as discussed yesterday, Part XII of the Patents Act provides for the granting of a compulsory licence towork a patented invention where the reasonable requirements of the public with respect to the invention are not met by the patentee. The honourable senator asks whether or not the use outside Australia of the Unilever process for peas would cause an application of that provision. That is an opinion that 1 would not like to give impromptu. My inclination would be to say that if the patented product were available to the Australian public there would be little ground for invoking that clause, but I would think the question was one which deserved reference to the Attorney-General for a considered point of view.
– lt is necessary for me to correct an answer I gave to a question without notice asked by Senator Mulvihill on Tuesday 10th March. 1 stated that on information received by me, so far as we could ascertain - that is, the Department of Shipping and Transport - at that time Ampol Petroleum was not a member of TOVALOP.I should like to inform the Senate that subsequent investigations have shown that Ampol has been a member of TOVALOP since early last year.
– My question to the Minister for Air follows that asked by Senator Bishop in relation to Neptune aircraft. Can the Minister say how serious is the defect in the aircraft?
– The affected part is a T shaped strip - it is called an alloy extrusion - which is secured to the wing spar for the purpose of attaching the leading edge section to it. The corrosion, I believe, has taken place in the top end of it. It is not very serious.
– I address my question to the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral. lt is consequent upon the answer he just supplied to Senator Lillico concerning the patent rights of the Surprise peas process. Can he enlighten me on the duration of patent rights in Australia in matters of this kind?
– My recollection is that it is 14 years but that is subjectto check with the text of the Act.
– by leave -I move this motion today because the Committee wishes to take the matter into its consideration on Tuesday next. I amobliged to the Senate for giving me leave. The lateness of the motion is due to the fact that I could obtain approval from Treasury only after the time for notices of morion this morning. 1 move:
That in accordance withthe provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969 the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: Development works at HMAS ‘Tarangau’, Los. Negros Island.
The proposal involves construction of a fuel oil installation, mooring dolphins, generating sets and electricar reticulation, air conditioning in the communications centre and transmitter building and 5 houses. The estimated cost of the proposed work is $1.1m.I table plans of the proposed works.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I ask for leave to make a statement in relation to a contract let by the Department of Supply. lt will be a Press statement later in the day, but 1 think it is appropriate to put it before the Senate now.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The Department of Supply has awarded a $6m contract to Collins Radio Co. (A’asia) Pty Ltd to provide the Royal Australian Air Force with the most modern communications systems currently available in the world. Both systems are high-frequency independent side-band radio communications networks. One will modernise and extend the operating range, capacity and efficiency of communications with aircraft from RAAF bases at Sydney, Townsville, Darwin and Pearce. The other will modernise and increase the capacity of the communications network connecting these bases within Australia.
The project will incorporate appreciable Australian content, including system design and installation, and the provision of high-powered transmitters, antenna systems, control consoles, cables, crossbar switching systems, message distribution systems and intercommunications systems. The networks are scheduled for completion in the second half of 1971.
– I move:
It has been decided to postpone this notice of motion on the understanding that the Minister for Defence (Mr Malcolm Fraser) would like more time to consider his position. I point out, however, that as the notice of motion was first given in September last year the Regulations and Ordinances Committee is anxious that this matter be dealt with before the Senate goes into recess for Easter and will not delay the notice of motion any further.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– In dealing with the placing of business, I wish to make the comment that it is proposed to bring the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply to a vote. We will continue the debate until we reach a vote. If we overrun the afternoon session we will sit tonight in order to complete the debate. However, it is expected that we will complete the debate this afternoon.
– Or tonight.
– Or tonight. If the debate is completed during the afternoon, it is proposed to adjourn the Senate at that time. The point is that under standing order 14 we cannot deal with other matters until we have disposed of the AddressinReply. It is in the interests of the good management of the Senate that we bring the Address-in-Reply debate to a vote today. There are two amendments to the motion. I expect to speak and close the debate late this afternoon.
Debate resumed from 11 March (vide page 240), on motion by Senator Rae:
That the following Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General be agreed to:
May it Please Your Excellency:
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
Upon which Senator McManus had moved by way of amendment:
That the following words be added to the Address-in-Reply, viz.: but the Senate deplores the failure of the Government to include in its programme -
an adequate statement on Australian Foreign Policy;
a comprehensive programme to rehabilitate Primary Industry;
a plan mutually acceptable to the Commonwealth and the States for the equitable distribution of national revenue;
adequate measures to promote family life, particularly in the fields of child endowment, maternity allowances and education; and
provision for a contributory National
And upon which Senator Murphy had moved by way of amendment to the proposed amendment:
Leave out all words after ‘but’, insert: ‘the Senate is of opinion that the Government has shown lack of leadership in foreign policy and defence as well as in internal affairs, and the Senate deplores the failure of the Government to provide a programme for -
adequate defence equipment and industries:
peace in Vietnam;
an acceptable health scheme;
a national superannuation scheme;
equitable financial arrangements for carrying out the activities of the States and local government and semi-governmental authorities;
the substantial uplift of the members of the Aboriginal race;
speedy settlement of industrial grievances and for 4 weeks annual leave and equal pay for its public servants;
rehabilitation of primary industry and reimposition of the embargo on the export of merinos; and
ihe great social issues of pollution, interest rales, housing and land costs, poverty, education and the burdens on families”.
– In a spirit of co-operation on this Thursday morning, I am prepared to act upon the hint delightfully given by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson), no doubt in association with others, in respect of the continuation of this debate. When the debate was adjourned last night I had just commenced rebutting allegations made by a political commentator to the effect that reports of Senate committees had no great value and in fact were purely academic because the Government pigeon-holed them. I emphasise my denial of that allegation. We have had it proved wrong in the Senate. 1 also put on the record another view that I have on how great value comes from the expansion of this system of having Senate select committees inquiring into important subjects and making reports of economic or social usefulness to the people of Australia. I refer to the Select Committee on the Metric System of Weights and Measures, of which 1. was privileged to be a member. Two things have flowed from that expansion. From the time that the Senate Select Committee on the Metric System of Weights and Measures was set up, throughout its sittings and for months afterwards the business community was forewarned. It was obvious to members of the business community that the. metric system of weights and measures would be coming to Australia.
The report of the Committee was well received by business and manufacturing interests and by trade and: commerce generally. The business people were not shocked. They were pleased because in their own factories and businesses they had commenced to prepare for the introduction of the metric system. The announcement by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) that the Government had accepted the principles of the report then followed. Last weekend we heard of the appointment of somebody to set up a board as suggested by the Committee.
That Committee was followed by the setting up of the Senate Select Committee on Air Pollution and the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution. I wonder how much the people of Australia would have known today, but for those committees, about the terrible dangers of and harm resulting from air and water pollution that is with us. Last night Senator Georges pointed out that the situation is rapidly deteriorating to the point where we are in danger as a people from air and water pollution. The setting up of the committees and the publicity flowing through the news media and the reading of the evidence taken by Ihe committees has alerted State and Federal governments and departments, local government bodies and industry generally to the dangers. I will bet that more reading is being done now about air and water pollution than would have been done had Ihe committees not got under way.
A benefit is derived by the people we represent from the very fact that the Senate has expanded its work of forming committees. I believe that, the committees enquiring into air and water pollution were set up only because former Senator Denham Henty, a great Tasmanian - he was Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister for Supply - visited the United States of America and through his official work there came to realise the great problems facing Americans because of air and water pollution. On his return to Australia he said: ‘We must have a look at the dangers of pollution in Australia.’ So the good work went on through the formation of Senate select committees.
Progress is being made by : the Senate Select Committee which is enquiring into ali aspects of the national health scheme. There is no doubt that much good will result and great help will be given to the Government when taking note qf its report. Currently I am privileged to be Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse. At present the taking of drugs is a grave social problem facing the world and in some aspects is widespread m Australia. I do not intend to lecture the Senate on that subject. I want to say only that it is my belief that since that Committee was set up and commenced hearing evidence many more people in all age groups and all walks of life are being forewarned and informed of the dangers of the drug menace in its various forms throughout Australia. I believe that throughout the public hearings of the Committee goodwill has started to flow and will continue to flow. The only real cure of the drug menace in Australia is for people to be warned off taking drugs. They can be warned off only by hearing the opinions of experts given under oath before a committee of the national Parliament.
I hope that those who try to denigrate joint committees and Senate committees by implying that the Government does not act on the recommendations of those committees and therefore no good comes from them will realise the truth. I hope that all honourable senators will continue to adopt a national outlook on committees and will continue their good work on committees as the years go by. I support the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply and oppose both amendments which, I think, are inappropriate and unnecessary.
– I wish to follow Senator Marriott’s remarks about the denigration of Senate select committees by saying that no-one has been a greater denigrator of Senate select committees than his own Government. I instance the Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs. Although we have heard reference to the report of the Committee headed by Mr Justice Nimmo, never once have we heard the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) or the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) mention the report of the Senate Select Committee. That Committee was set up by this House and did a mighty fine job.
– The Government has not denigrated that Committee; it has not mentioned it. The honourable senator should be fair.
– The Government has denigrated it by not mentioning it. If the honourable senator has difficulty in understanding what I say, I will explain it to him later. The Senate Select Committee did quite good work and put forward many sound proposals. Not once has any praise or any credit been given to it and especially to its Chairman, Senator Dame Ivy Wedgwood. Perhaps the denigration of Senate select committees should be brought home to Government members before they criticise others for denigrating other committees.
I wish to speak mainly about national health insurance and the national health service. 1 believe we have now reached the stage at which doctors on the one hand and the Government on the other hand are fighting each other through the Press and the people are not getting any benefit from such arguments. Firstly, the Government must accept that doctors have a right to charge whatever they wish. This right is attributed to every profession. No profession has its charges limited. From today’s Press it appears that the common fee is to be the fixed fee. If that is so, the Government will have no doctor taking part in the national health scheme in any circumstances. Earlier it was said that the common fee was not the fixed fee. We accepted that. After all, the common fee is related to medical benefits and not to doctor’s charges and was never intended to have such a relationship, lt was mainly a peg on which to hang medical benefits.
From today’s Press it would appear that if doctors do not charge the common fee they will not ‘be allowed to take part in the scheme. This is sheer blackmail and will not help the patients. I heard the Minister for Health say that his Government is concerned only with what is best for patients. Never have I heard a more platitudinous remark. We know very well that what he really meant was not what was best for the patient but what was best for the electorate and the return of the Government. If he had a real interest in the welfare of patients, long ago he would have accepted what the various bodies recommended on smoking. I will mention that subject later. It is not realised that doctors are one of the few groups that contribute to social services. We treat pensioners and we are paid a reduced fee by the Government. In other words, we save the Commonwealth a certain amount on fees.
– Doctors get a guaranteed payment for that.
– I was just coming to that. Admittedly we do get paid by the Commonwealth for this. It was said that before the Government introduced the national medical service we probably did not get paid at all. This may be quite true, but we were better off without the national health scheme, if the honourable senator would like to know. It would be far better if there were no national health scheme. I can remember that when 1 started in practice the consultation fee and the visit fee were the same. They were the equivalent of $1 - that is 10s - and I think the basic wage was the equivalent of $4. On this basis the consultation fee today should be at least $5.
– You could apply that to wheat prices too.
-I could apply that to anything, but at least we do not ask for subsidies.
– You do not need it. You just take it.
– No, we do not just take it, because you have said we have the right. You wantto apply it to wheat. Doctors were better off with pensioners under the old scheme even if they did not pay us. lt is no good arguing that we have a guaranteed income in regard to pensioners because, after all, they are only a small part of many doctors practices. Pensioners do not represent a major income for the greater majority of doctors. I want to make another point -I am trying to be impartial - and that is that the Australian Medical Association does not represent the majority of doctors, no matter how much it says it does. A sort of laissez faire situation exists amongst the doctors. The general practitioners are usually the busiest group and they do not have time to attend meetings of the AMA. Invariably, when the AMA comes to a decision, we find the general practitioners believe this is a wrong decision. The reason for this belief of course, is that the specialists attend the meetings and vote against matters of general practice. The general practitioners do not usually attend because they have their own work to do and cannot attend. The result is that the specialists attitude is always carried at an AMA meeting. Furthermore, the AMA is very badly served with publicity. I think its relationship with the public is shocking.I do not think any organisation could have worse publicity than the AMA has had.
I turn now to the common fee which is not an average fee, although the two could be the same. I presume that sometimes the two would work out the same, but it is the most common fee. No-one is objecting to it because we were always told and we still maintain that it has nothing to do with the doctor’s charge. In the light of the Government’s attitude, one could well say that allbarristers should charge the same amount.
– That would be dreadful.
– Well, you expect all doctors to charge the same amount.If one gives a better service one is entitled to charge more. In 14 years personal experience in practice in Launceston, our group of doctors has always charged 50c more than any other group in that town.
– Why is that?
– lt is because we say that we give a better service.
– You cannot advertise your service in the Senate.
– I have sold my practice and I do not think any honourable senators are coming to me for treatment. To return to the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) I say that we give a much better service and people will go to the doctor they want. The question of cost is not involved. If people have faith . in a doctor they are prepared to go to that doctor. Apparently they had faith in us because when I commenced my practice in Launceston for the second time by myself I was joined by a second, third, and then fourth partner, and the practice still grows. This illustration refutes the argument that everybody cannot afford to pay doctors fees, because in our practice we were charging 50c more per consultation and our practice was one of the largest in Launceston, if not in Tasmania, when it broke up.
People can afford to pay the extra fee and they will pay it if they are receiving the service. Do not let the Commonwealth Government ask that everyone apply the common fee. If it is going to insist on this, then this is price fixing. No-one in this community, especially members on the Government side of the House, is prepared to have anything to do with price fixing. Somehow or other, because the Government thinks this is good vote catching and it might help electorally, and because of the Labor Party’s proposition, the Government supporters are prepared to endorse price fixing for doctors. Doctors do not object to the common fee or, at least, most doctors do not, provided it is tied to an index. This is the point the Government has not made clear. It has said it is investigating. It should have investigated this point long ago and settled the matter before it came out into the open about a common fee. We are quite happy to have a common fee provided it is subject to change every 2 years. 1 do not think the medical profession will quibble about the common fee if it is tied to some index which can be adjusted every 2 years and over which the Government has no say. If the Government is going to decide what increases or decreases should be given the general practitioner will certainly have no part of such a scheme.
One has only to look at the chemists and what has happened to them in their agreement with the Commonwealth Government. The Government agreed that there would be an independent inquiry. When the independent inquiry supported the chemists and not the Government, the Government decided not to have anything to do with the agreement. Of course, we are aware of the fact that the Government cannot be trusted because of the pensioner medical service. The Government is still arguing what should be an appropriate fee for this service. I do not think it is advisable for the Government to threaten doctors, and I do not think it is good for the nation for the doctors to threaten the Government. I think there should be some method of compromise in order to settle these matters. It is unfortunate that the Minister for Health listened to his Department. He was given wrong advice. The trouble, of course, is that a non-technical minister has to accept the advice of his Department.
The Minister was told in this case that the problem with the national health scheme was that people had high bills to pay when they saw a specialist, and especially where an operation was involved. This is not so, of course, because 65% of all payments are for item 1, a general practitioner’s service, and this is the item that causes more complaints amongst the public than the fact that people have to pay a high fee for an operation. After all, when one compares the number of people who have to have an operation and the number of people who see a general practitioner, it is practically infinitesimal.
– You mean the number who do have an operation,, not the number who need an operation?
– Yes. On advice the Prime Minister stated that no-one would have to pay more than $5 for an operation. I think the amount has now come down to $5 for specialist treatment. The figure sounded good and I think the medical profession was all for it. I think the Senate select committee said that no price should be paid - that anyone needing an operation should not pay anything. This amount of $5 seemed all right but, unfortunately, since then a differential system between the services of a specialist and a general practitioner has arisen and these clash. The two are incompatible because having the maximum payment of $5 means the end of the general practitioner’s practice. Why should a person go to a general practitioner when he can obtain the same treatment from a specialist and the Commonwealth will pay for the treatment?
– Did you not say that the patient would go to the doctor he preferred, anyhow?
– Yes. But a difference exists between preferring a general practitioner and preferring a specialist. One has a choice in general practitioners and a choice in specialists and one would go to whichever doctor one preferred in either case. But if a person thinks he is going to get something better for which he does not have to pay he will then go straight away to the specialist. This is going to make the cost of this national health scheme astronomical because there is no doubt at all that a surgeon will be rushed with operations which, at present, general practitioners do. The surgeon will immediately increase his price and in time the common fee for that operation must also increase. Again the Government has to foot the bill above $5.
– Would you consider enlarging my mind on the problem that exists in the country where you have group practices? Are doctors who are members of the group practice general practitioners for the purpose of this proposition, or are they specialists?
– There are two types of group practices. I do not hold with the one where there are specialists. We tried this ourselves. If you are going to have a group practice, I think you should be either a group of specialists or a group of general practitioners. We tried this ourselves in Launceston and gave it up because we found we were in an embarrassing position in referring everyone to our surgeon. This sounded as if we were trying to make money out of our patients. I do not think you should have that situation. I think you should have groups of general practitioners. The group practice with specialists will work, but I do not think it should be allowed.
Another point I wish to make is in regard to the differential between the fees charged for services provided by general practitioners and specialists for certain items under the proposed national health scheme. The list of items is so absurd that one finds it extremely difficult to understand how the Australian Medical Association and the Department of Health could have allowed some of them in the first place. For example, surgeons will not bother to operate on a simple sebaceous cyst, but there is a differential and if a surgeon removes it he will, because he has a higher degree, get a larger fee than a general practitioner. A circumcision is usually performed by a general practitioner but if it is done by a gynaecologist - I am not too sure how, under the definition of gynaecology, he gets into the circumcision field - he gets a higher fee. It is patently absurd. Many tonsillectomies and other minor operations are performed by GPs at present but in the future they will be done by surgeons and the GPs will become merely pen pushers.
The Government’s scheme also poses a threat to the country doctors. There are many doctors in country areas who do magnificent jobs although they do not have any senior degrees. When the President of the Australian Medical Association, Sir
Clarence Rieger, gave evidence before the Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs and he was mooting a differential I asked him whether he thought he was a worse doctor when he was a general practitioner than when he received the degree of a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. I also asked him whether he thought he should have charged less previously. He would not answer my questions. Obviously he knew that, as a general practitioner, he was doing just as good a job as some of the surgeons with an FRACS degree and that he should be paid the same amount of money.
The common fee will not be a common fee throughout Australia because each State will have its own common fee. In South Australia the common fee will be lower. South Australia may lose many of its doctors as a result. I do not say that it will, but there is a chance that some doctors will transfer to New South Wales where the common fee is higher. It will be difficult to entice doctors into the country areas of Tasmania and the other less populous States if the common fee is not the same throughout Australia. But it would be difficult to achieve a common fee throughout Australia. I do not know whether the medical profession would agree to such a proposal. New South Wales has the largest number of members of the profession. If the common fee applicable in each State were averaged out I suppose New South Wales would have to reduce its common fee. I do not think it is proper that there should be a common fee applicaable to each State.
Articles which have appeared in the Press would make it appear as though doctors are greedy. One of the reasons why doctors are seeking higher fees is taxation.
General practitioners are in the highest taxed group in the community. We all know that the middle income group is the heaviest taxed. The medical profession is at the top of that group. The Treasury has admitted that these people are taxed unjustly, but it has not done anything to assist them. It may be that if the medical profession paid less taxation it would not want to increase its fees as often as it does. I pointed out earlier that I was much better off in 1936 when I was charging $1 for a consultation than I am today when I am charging $3.50. I mention these points only because I think it is time we had some clarity.
The Government cannot insist that the medical profession adhere to the common fee because it would be tantamount to price fixing. If it insists on price fixing the whole of the medical profession will drop out of the scheme and it will fail. I do not approve of the Government threatening the medical profession. Society is as bad in its actions. 1 think there must be some compromise in order to get the scheme working. The most important thing is to have a scheme and to have the doctors who are working in it happy to be a part of it.
– What determines the qualifications of a specialist? Are they self proclaimed or is it by virtue of a degree?
– By virtue of a degree. But there are specialists and there are consultants. The consultants do not go out into the streets looking for patients but the specialists do. They will take anyone who comes to their door and will charge specialist fees. It is rather absurd to think that a person with a boil on his ear will go to an ear, nose and throat specialist and be charged accordingly because he thinks it is an ear problem, whereas he could go to a general practitioner and be charged the ruling fee for his services. The GP would probably be just as efficient. If the Government wants an economic health scheme it should take note of the fact that not one country in the world will deny that the cheapest form of a national health scheme is a general practitioner service. The Government started off with such a scheme but, unfortunately, it is now departing from its principles.
I do not have much time at my disposal to debate this subject because, although my time is unrestricted, I know that other honourable senators want to raise certain matters. But before sitting down I wish to refer briefly to drugs. On a previous occasion I moved an urgency motion on this matter, but I was brushed off by the Minister responsible for the portfolio of Health in this chamber. It was said that nothing should be done. Since then the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse has been set up and the public is becoming more aware of the drug problem. But before discussing this matter any further I want to say that I am sick and tired of this business of talking to the Minister who is on duty in the chamber. With due deference to the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton), who is on duty at this stage, I would like to say that when there is a debate on the AddressinReply to the Governor-General’s Speech or an appropriation Bill every Minister should be present in the chamber. How often do honourable senators refer to matters concerning different Ministries and no-one cares two hoots about what they say? I have been a Minister. Therefore, do not tell me that Ministers are so busy that they cannot sit in the chamber and listen to the debates. We sat for only 50 days last year. Surely it would not inconvenience them that much. I concede that the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) almost always sits in the chamber during debates, although today is an exception. He is usually here regardless of whether he is on duty. If he can do it so can the other Ministers. No-one minds them going out of the chamber for a short period. At present we have one Minister on duty in the chamber, but no-one cares two hoots about what is said. I know that the portfolio held by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin is not Health, but as she represents the Minister for Health in this chamber she should be here. Other Ministers should also be here during such a debate.
I believe that there should be a complete ban on the manufacture in Australia of LSD - what is called ‘acid’ by the young people.
– It is not legal.
– It is not legal, but it can be made. More stringent steps should be taken and heavier penalties should be imposed upon anyone who manufactures or peddles it in Australia. Although LSD has some medical use its use is limited. It has a far greater potential for evil than any other drug. Therefore, it should be completely abolished. A complete ban should be imposed on its use. I do not think the medical profession should be allowed to use it. The number of people who benefit from its use is so small when compared to the great harm it can do.
– There is very little legal production of LSD in Australia, is there not?
– Yes, but any chemist can make it.
– But it is illegal to do so.
– I stress that higher penalties should be imposed on anyone illegally manufacturing it.
– Does the honourable senator think that is a solution to the problem?
– 1 shall deal with the question of whether prohibiting its production is the answer. After raising this matter on a previous occasion I received a letter from a young girl who was a patient at a Melbourne private hospital. I shall read it because I think it is pertinent. Her doctor advised her to have LSD treatment for her psychiatric condition.
– Was he a psychologist or a psychiatrist?
– A psychiatrist. She said:
I had no idea what would happen to me after the drug was administered in a Melbourne private hospital. However, after 30 minutes or so it began to take effect. At first there was a feeling of fearful wonder, then a sensation of sheer terror and I began to feel myself gradually losing control of all my faculties and becoming alienated from myself and from everything. As the evening progressed the feeling of terror intensified. It was as though I were on a plane of different and dreadful existence- but it is a feeling completely indescribable in more words, doctor. I can only say I was in a state of terror beyond tenor beyond terror, if that makes some kind of sense. Then the ghastly hallucinations began, increasing the dread, horror and fear. This continued all through the night.
At intervals the doctor came in to note my reactions. I felt an almost uncontrollable impulse to tell him never to use the drug again - that it was wrong, terribly wrong. It was an intuitive feeling, almost a warning, but in spite of all, I felt it would be presumptuous to tell a professional gentleman what he should do, or should not do. And I believe at that stage the drug was considered harmless. However, the feeling of ‘warning’ the doctor intensified. Still I could not. I could speak quite rationally with him, and the effects of the drug lasted all night until tablets were given to me the following morning. Now that the drug is receiving so much adverse publicity, I feel more strongly that what I felt was a warning was not merely intuitive. I firmly believe it should never be used, even in psychiatric research. Although it is some years since I had it, I have never forgotten the inculcate terror - the worst nightmare, the worst horror film could never equal it, or come within reach of it; consequently, I feel so vehemently that everything possible should be done to ban its use. I am not a religious fanatic - far from it - but I believe that the administration of the drug to either ill or well persons is inhuman and anti-Christ. This feeling predominated all through that never-to-be-forgotten night, although I realise of course it was given to me’ completely innocently by a doctor for whom I have great respect.
Of course, this is only her own personal reaction, but it is the sort of thing that can happen. I believe that people should have nothing whatever to do with this drug, that they should cease taking it.
The reason why I mentioned this matter was that I want to deal with pot or marihuana or cannabis or whatever one likes to call it. What should we do about pot? Should we let the young people have it, or should we not? This is a very vital question and one on which I think we ought to make up our minds one way or the other.
When I spoke about this matter previously I said I believed that marihuana should be banned but I am not so sure now that it should be banned, because since that time I have read far more about it - even the book on marihuana which was banned by the Department of Customs and Excise. I do not know why it was banned, although it did tend to be biased towards the use of marihuana. How the Department of Customs and Excise could ban it, so help me. Pot does give one a feeling of euphoria. It gives one the feeling that life has some meaning. Therefore I suppose that in the immature person it has some purpose. That is why the young, who after all, are immature, have taken up using pot. Who are we, the oldies or the squares, to tell the young that they must not smoke pot?
– Do you not think that the oldies have a responsibility to tell the young not to do things?
– Yes, we have, but I have not finished. Are we to tell the young not to smoke pot when we drink alcohol?
– As a doctor, do you know the long-range effects of taking pot?
– I will come to these points shortly. The argument which the young use is this: ‘When you want to escape, you go to alcohol, you go to your bottle. When we, the young of this generation, want to escape we go to cannabis or to pot or to marihuana.’ This is their argument, and it is a very difficult one to disprove, because we do not deny ourselves alcohol. Most of us take alcohol in some degree - some to a greater degree than others. We continue to take alcohol which does tremendous harm to domestic relations. Doctors see the harm which alcohol can do - how it can break up homes, especially when the wife starts to become a dipsomaniac or an alcoholic.
– Are there any cases where a person has a predisposition to become an alcoholic? Has anybody a predisposition to become addicted?
– I have to conclude my speech by 12.45 p.m., so I will not answer any more interjections. I had always believed that the use of pot should be made illegal, but I have changed my mind because people in the medical field cannot prove that pot is a drug of addiction. Once you rule that out, then there is no real argument against using pot. The only real argument is that the sort of person who will take up pot is the sort of person who will try LSD. Of course, the pushers get more profit from LSD, and the argument is that if a person goes to them for pot they will try to get that person onto LSD. If the Government made the use of pot legal, then of course there would be no pushers. The Government could ensure that it had sole control over the manufacture and sale of pot, and it could impose a high sales tax on pot and charge what it liked. In that way people who wanted pot could have it. That is only a suggestion.
– Would you advertise it, too?
– I am trying to get onto the question of smoking.
– It took doctors hundreds of years to find that smoking had harmful effects. You do not know whether pot has.
– That may be true, but how can we tell the young they must stop taking pot when at the present time we do not know of any known danger in taking pot.
– No known or suspected danger.
– The honourable senator is right. What Senator Cavanagh says is right. In 100 years we may find that pot, like LSD, has some effect on the genes; I do not know. 1 am not advocating pot, but I am saying that it is difficult to tell the young not to take pot when we drink alcohol. I want to see a sympathetic attitude adopted towards people who smoke pot. It is rather absurd to try to eliminate pot when we are facing a problem in regard to alcohol. On the other hand, we should do everything possible to make sure that no-one gets hold of acid.
I cannot deal with all the aspects of smoking in 5 minutes, but I want to make the point that although it has been proved for 2 or 3 years that smoking has harmful effects, not only in increasing mortality but also in increasing morbidity, nothing has been done about it. We are told that we will educate the children in the schools, that this is the way it should be done. All the suggestions which the medical profession have made are useless, according to the Department of Health and the Government. They say that we will educate the children in the schools. What is the Government doing in the schools today? It is letting children smoke in one school after the other. Surely the Government should have realised by now that education is not the answer for the prevention of smoking.
– Would you change the publicity to pot?
– No. I do not advocate pot at all, but I believe that we cannot argue against the use of pot in the same way as we can argue against the use of LSD. We can argue against smoking far more than we can against the use of pot. That is why I am trying to link these matters up. We impose fines on people who use pot, but we do not impose fines on people who smoke cigarettes. But on the other hand, we have proof today - we do not have to wait 100 years - that smoking has harmful effects. What does the Government do about it? All it says is: In the national health service we are considering the patient.’ The Government is not considering the patient at all. It is merely thinking of the effects which these matters have on the electorate. If the Government were thinking of the harm which smoking caused to people it would abolish smoking. We know that is impossible, but at least the Government could do something. It could do the simple things which it has been asked to do by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the AMA and others. It could prohibit cigarette advertising, but it will not do so. It will not do anything. The Government has been asked to provide that the tar content in cigarettes shall be disclosed on cigarette packets, because everyone knows that it is the tar content which affects people who smoke cigarettes; but the Government will not do anything about it. You are weak, you are killers, that is what you on the Government benches are, because you will not do it. You will not face up to your responsibilities. Year after year you will go out and pursue these people who smoke pot although it is less harmful than smoking cigarettes.
– Have you stopped smoking yet?
– I stopped smoking long ago, except cigars. I am trying to conclude in the time which is available to me, so I will get off smoking.
– Keep going because you are interesting.
– I will come back to this matter later because I have a bit more to say on it. Will the Government tell us why it will not provide that the tar content in cigarettes shall be disclosed on cigarette packets? What is the reason? I ask the Minister for Housing (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) to ask this question of the Minister for Health, whom she represents in this chamber. It is very difficult for us to get replies from any Minister. The Minister for Housing has more access to other Ministers. This is what the Government should be doing. Why does it not do it? Why does it not advertise the fact that only two brands of cigarettes - I think Hallmark and-
– Which is one of the worst sellers.
– Hallmark is one of the brands of cigarettes which has a low content of nicotine. If people want to smoke, they can smoke 5 Hallmark cigarettes to every Rothmans cigarette. Yet the Government allows people to continue advertising cigarettes which are killing people and making them as sick as can be with various illnesses. The Government does nothing about the matter, although it complains bitterly about it.
I pass now from cigarette smoking to air pollution. One would think that at a time when many nations have the ability to land a space craft on the moon something could be done about the emission of fumes from buses in the streets. Fumes are pouring from buses travelling on our roads but nothing is done about finding a solution. Some honourable senators who will not listen to the argument put forward on cigarette smoking say that air pollution is just as bad. If that is the case why does not the Government introduce legislation to correct the position? The answer will be that it is a State responsibility. As a lead to the States the Commonwealth could ban buses or other vehicles which emit diesel fumes.
Sitting suspended from 12.46 to 2.15 p.m.
– Prior to the suspension of the sitting I had made some caustic remarks about Ministers not being present. I wish to apologise ‘ to Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin because I understand that she was listening to the blower and heard every word that I said. I am pleased to know that some Ministers do listen, even if they do not attend here. The second point is that I might have given a wrong impression in regard to the smoking of pot. I do not believe that anyone should smoke pot. I do not believe that we should bring another social disease into the community. I might have been carried away by the fact that I was leading up to the point that the Government, which uses the whole of its weight and legal processes to condemn those who smoke pot, does nothing about a practice which is a killer. Pot has not been proved to be anything more than the equivalent of alcohol.
– That went to pot a long time ago.
– I agree. Some people apparently have the wrong impression that I was favouring the smoking of pot. This is not so. However, I do emphasise that all the processes of law are against the young boy who smokes pot but not a thing is done about the young boy who wishes to smoke ordinary ciagrettes which are a far more potent danger to the youth of Australia. But I do not want to keep on with the subject of smoking because I have gone over my time.
I shall finish by dealing with the treatment of people who use the air services of this country. Those of us who have to do a lot of travelling notice this treatment, but to those who go for an occasional trip only I do not suppose it matters. Both organisations, Ansett Airlines of Australia and Trans-Australia Airlines, are equally guilty in their treatment of the public. I had always understood that the difference between a charter company and a licensed airline company was that the licensed company had to set up a timetable and had to keep to it unless there was some accident or some explanation for not doing so. But this is not so. With regularity one can book on a plane and find later that the flight has been cancelled. This happens more between Melbourne and Launceston than anywhere else, but it happens also between Melbourne and Sydney. Once upon a time a person could make an appointment in another capital city and know that he would arrive in time to keep the appointment, but today one does not have that assurance. Admittedly the Melbourne to Sydney services are better than any others, but even this morning I rang to book 2 weeks ahead on a flight from Sydney to Melbourne and was told that the flight was cancelled. I replied that when I had wanted to travel on that plane a fortnight ago I was told that it had been cancelled and that the timetable did not mean a thing. If that is so, why issue a timetable? It is a crime to issue timetables and not adhere to them.
– I would be happy to have complaints about this matter from the honourable senator so that I can refer them in due course to those concerned.
– I am coming to something on which I want the Minister to act. I understand that 2 or 3 years ago there was so much uproar about aircraft of both airline companies leaving at the same time that a committee or some other body was appointed to inquire into the matter. I do not remember the result of that inquiry, but whatever it was the flights still leave at exactly the same time. The whole of the travelling public condemns this practice, yet the airline companies do nothing about it. If, for example, 7 o’clock is the best time, surely it would be simple to allow one company to operate a flight at that time for 6 months or 12 months and then to allow the other company to operate a flight at that time. I asked a question about the number of passengers carried because I think the time has come when the Government should review its two-airline policy so that we may avoid this monopoly tendency of the two companies in which they could not care less about the travelling public. The companies will operate under the agreement until 1977. So I presume that in about 1976 things will become a bit better. But it will take a very energetic and a very strict Minister to make sure that something is done at present.
I understand that a licensed airline company has no right to cancel a flight once the flight is listed on its timetable. What does the Department of Civil Aviation do about it? Even the local managers for the airline companies do not know. I remember arriving at Launceston airport on one occasion and finding that my flight had been cancelled. I spoke to the local manager about it and he said: ‘Yes, operational requirements today. We had trouble with it.’ I said: ‘But it was cancelled a fortnight ago when I rang up. They told me then that the plane was not going.’ He said: ‘Is that so? They did not tell me.’ We get this gumph everytime. After arriving at an aerodrome nothing is more annoying than to learn at departure time that a flight has been cancelled. It is not announced beforehand; it is suddenly announced at the time of departure that the plane on which one had booked is to be delayed 1, 2, 3 or 4 hours, or is not going at all. Surely a passenger has a right to try to get other airline transport if the other company has a flight operating. If the aircraft operated by one company cannot be used, is unserviceable or has been delayed, surely the customers have a right to know so that if possible they can switch to the other airline in order to keep an important engagement.
– Ansett always does.
– It does not. That is nonsense. I travel with Ansett practically all the time. I have complained to the manager time and again about this. In fact I have a rule now that if I am not called for a flight within 10 minutes of the scheduled departure time I ask the reason for the delay. Then we have the situation where a flight is cancelled but the company does not even bother to advise its passengers. Only last week I luckily arrived early at the Ansett terminal. I had booked on a flight scheduled to leave at 12.15, but when I arrived I was told that the flight had been cancelled and that I had been put on a flight leaving at 12 o’clock. I said: ‘How did you know that I would be here in time to catch the 12 o’clock flight?’ It was just guess work on their part. As I was walking to the departure door to board the aircraft I saw a doctor from Launceston. I asked: Which way are you going?’ He said: ‘I am waiting for the 12.15.’ I said: ‘It has been cancelled.’ He said: ‘No-one has told us anything about this.’ Luckily I managed to get him onto my flight. Because the customers do not matter, he otherwise would have had to wait in Launceston for 3 hours because he would have missed a connection. These things should not occur.
We are told that as members of Parliament we receive special treatment, but I find that they take us for granted. Why should we get special treatment? Why should not the ordinary customer using the airlines have the same right to know that a plane is not going? Why should not the Department make sure that the companies keep to their timetables or not issue a timetable at all? In concluding I wish to say that I am supporting the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply and am opposing both amendments. It was obvious that the Australian Labor Party would oppose the amendment proposed by the Democratic Labor Party and that the DLP would oppose the amendment proposed by the ALP. So it will save time if I just support the Government.
– In other circumstances I would have liked to devote a suitable amount of time to the many facets of a debate on the motion for the Address-in-Reply, but in what one of my colleagues called a spirit of co-operation, and because I understand that the programme for the day has been defined, as nearly as it can be in parliamentary circumstances, my association and involvement with the Address-in-Reply debate will be brief. A debate on the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply provides the opportunity for a wide range of subjects to be discussed and debated, but also it enables us to take advantage of some of those older forms of expression and some of the formalities to express our loyalty to the Sovereign and to express our thanks to the Governor-General.
I heartily, happily and enthusiastically associate myself with the terms of the motion which has been moved by Senator Rae. In simple terms it means that we express our loyalty to Australia, to the forms of the Parliament and the opportunities which the Parliament gives us to acknowledge His Excellency the GovernorGeneral. Sir Paul Hasluck has applied himself to his duties with all the abilities of his person and all the capacities of his very fine mind. We in South Australia have known the pleasure of his company for the Adelaide Festival of Arts over the last weekend and he is returning to Adelaide on this coming weekend in connection with an observance known as the Highland Games, as well as for a visit to country areas in South Australia. In this way and in many other ways he is identifying himself with all sections of the community. This is being manifested through all of the States of Australia.
The role of a modern Governor-General requires an approach which I suggest is rather different from that of many, if not all, of his predecessors. A new flexibility of approach, a fine balance between the formal and the informal in the carrying out of his wide range of duties is essential, and 1 think we are fortunate to have a person of the calibre of the present incumbent of the Governor-General’s office. During the course of his Speech His Excellency referred to the royal visit. This is something which is giving all Australians a great deal of pleasure, especially those who live in the parts of Australia which are to be favoured by the presence of the royal family. As a South Australian I am bound to say that I have some disappointment that no member of the royal party, which consists of four members of the family on this occasion, is coming to our State. I expect that the same applies to my friends from Western Australia.
For myself, I recognise the importance of the bi-centenary of Captain Cook’s arrival in this country and of the celebrations and circumstances associated with an occasion of this kind. Of course it is necessary and proper that the territory concerned should receive the favour and honour of a royal visit. However I would make the observation that if a very considerable area of Australia is to be involved in an honour of this kind - this is the kind of thing that is applying this time - I am sure that honourable senators from that area appreciate the feelings of the remainder of the country. But for all that, I hope and 1 am sure that the royal visit will be a very great success and that everyone, particularly Her Majesty the Queen and the members of her family, will enjoy it.
His Excellency’s Speech referred to .a very busy programme that is contemplated and that is ready to be set in motion by the Government. To my mind this disposed instantly of the nonsense that has been propounded in the last few weeks by various media and the Opposition regarding what they call ‘inactivity’. Maybe the Parliament has not been in session but one glance at the Government’s programme will indicate that there has been anything but inactivity. After all, legislation referred to in one portion of the Governor-General’s address was flowing through the other House within 24 hours of His Excellency’s presence here. A glance at the material that already has been presented to Parliament, a glance at the Governor-General’s Speech and what we know is coming forward as a legislative programme, indicates that if the Parliament was not meeting certainly the Government was meeting and conferring with all sections of the community. When we gathered here on 3rd March a very large and extensive programme of legislation was prepared and ready and, in fact, is flowing forward even now into the Parliament. So the Speech has foreshadowed not only a multiple programme of legislation but legislation that is active, progressive and beneficial. ‘I make the observation to anyone who has been critical about the absence of parliamentary sittings since we last met at the end of November that if we apply ourselves to the programme of legislation with any degree of assiduity we probably will be very glad of a break from parliamentary duties at the end of the autumn session.
Associated with the establishment of this Parliament and this session has been a considerable amount of attention and reference to parliamentary committees and to Senate committees in particular. These have acquired a new status and a greater value in the Parliament of Australia and indeed, if I may put it this way, within the public life of Australia because they provide opportunities for senators, in particular, to apply themselves in addition to parliamentary duties to various areas - either those in which they are interested or those to which they are assigned by the Parliament in the course of their election to the various committees. The committees are interesting and important, and I think they provide for the Government a valuable reflection of what the Australian public is thinking about in any given area of discussion. Already quite a deal of notice has been taken of reports of Senate committees, and I only add the hope and plea that the material which is brought forward by later Senate committees will receive even greater attention and recognition from the government of the day.
Senate committees impose certain situations related to parliamentary activity. If the Senate committee system is to grow, then I hope that at some time someone will give some consideration to the relationship between the sittings of committees and the sittings of the Parliament. At the present time Senate committees do not and cannot sit while the House is meeting, a course of action with which I have some considerable measure of agreement because we are here for the sittings of the Parliament. But if we are to undertake any consistent application to the duties of committees the time factor becomes involved because a member is here for a considerable portion of the week, and we have a relationship also to our constituents and to our States. All of this involves certain problems.
Additionally in the mechanics of it there is the question of accommodation. I have been distinctly disappointed these last couple of weeks to find that the secretariat of the committee of which I am privileged to be chairman has been moved out of this building altogether simply because, with the number of committees which have been established, we require more committee rooms. The removal of the secretariat from this building not only means a great deal of inconvenience to the secretariat and to members of our committee but also it interferes with what I would describe as the efficiency’ of the committee, particularly as in this case we are moving towards the preparation of a report. However those matters and others related to it, I am sure, will receive attention in due course. I make the observation for the record here so that one may express feelings as a chairman of a committee which has been active for well over 12 months.
Into the Parliament the GovernorGeneral came and delivered a Speech reflecting the Government’s programme, and now we are involved in the adoption of an Address-in-Reply. In the course of this we have heard maiden speeches from Senator Donald Cameron and Senator Brown, and I offer them my congratulations on their entry into the Senate and their involvement in this debate. Within 24 hours of the closure or apparent closure or likely closure of the debate, the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) brought in an amendment - a most extraordinary amendment indeed, if I may say so.
To start with, it is a very long amendment but in particular do I describe it as extraordinary’ and ask whether someone will explain to me, and indeed to the Senate, why this amendment was brought in. If the amendment assumes such importance and if it is of such vital necessity to the motion which has been proposed, why wait until within 24 hours of the closure of the debate before bringing it in? If the Opposition felt so strongly about the Governor-General’s Speech, if it felt so keenly about the Government’s programme, if it had such definite and incise ideas in relation to all sorts of critical things it might raise about the Government’s programme, why wait until the closing stages to have a kind of rearguard action, as it were, when through these last few days the Government’s programme has received, not only in the Parliament but throughout the nation, very positive support? What is the substance of a report that I read about an attempt to get Labor senators to support another amendment which is before the chamber? What was behind the speech of an Opposition senator when he referred to the Australian Democratic Labor Party in terms of hypocrisy or temerity?
All of these things make an interesting background to an amendment which was brought in only 24 hours before the closure of the debate. In the few minutes that I have left I want to look very quickly and briefly at a couple of facets of that amendment. Fourteen or fifteen items are listed in it. Heading the list is a reference to defence. This comes in after the Minister for Defence (Mr Malcolm Fraser) has made a statement which obviously sets out the Government’s line of action. It is one of the most distinct and all-encompassing lines of defence action we have seen for very many years. If one wants to obtain a reflection of public opinion on it one has only to run through the leading articles in the newspapers. They reflect public opinion on the positive steps set out in Mr Malcolm Fraser’s statement, which was read in this place by the Leader of the Government (Senator Anderson).
I wonder whether it is the line in which the Minister says that we reject the concept of detachment or isolation that is worrying some people. Here the Minister, on behalf of the Government, has affirmed for all the nations of the world to understand that Australia is not isolated but, as the Minister has said, accepts the risks of involvement. This is part of the promotion of a very good form of national stewardship, or international stewardship if you like, on the part of the Australian Government. To my mind, that answers very clearly the reference in the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition to foreign policy. The Minister has pointed out that foreign policy today is not something that is developed quickly to meet a given situation or something that is established in any emergency. A foreign policy, defence policy or defence programme today is a concept of international politics. It is a concept of being involved in the world of diplomacy. It is part of a programme of international aid. As far as Australia is concerned, in my view it is. related to regional stability. We are part of a region in which we have a very great contribution to make to regional stability.
The other part of the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition to which I want to refer is in the last clause. It relates to something he mentioned in his speech last evening, namely, pollution. He referred to the Senate Select Committee on Air Pollution which has presented its report. He knows very well that currently there is a Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution. [Quorum formed.] Let me refer to what is already being done in the interests of dealing with pollution and the preservation of the environment. I have heard pollution described as ‘that murky newcomer to the number of public and social issues that are going through newspapers and across discussion boards today’. Nevertheless, the Australian people have become aware that there is a very real necessity for the preservation of their environment. A whole lot of public interest has been awakened. This has a regenerative effect throughout Australia at both the State level and the community level. I am sure that a great deal of this interest has stemmed from the fact that the Commonwealth Parliament, through its committee system, has established a couple of committees that have applied and are applying themselves to the prevention of pollution and the conservation of the environment.
The Committee of which I am Chairman deals with water pollution. We are required to bring in a report by 30th June this year. That means that the Committee, representing all parties in this chamber, has had a very busy and intensive tour of duty. It is becoming increasingly busy as it endeavours to put together a report based on material that has been presented to it throughout Australia by all sections of the community. Our terms of reference are very broad in scope. I have before me a statement that we issued shortly after the tabling of an interim report in the Senate last year. There has been without doubt a stimulation of public, professional and official interest in the whole problem of water pollution. At present the responsibility for dealing with this problem is within the authority of the State governments. It is not without significance that several of the State governments have set up committees of one kind or another to investigate and deal with pollution - air pollution, water pollution or pollution of the total environment.
The activities of our Committee have attracted a considerable amount of editorial comment and are continuing to attract a considerable amount of public interest. Over a period of months witnesses have drawn attention to a number of matters which they think could be helpful in solving the water pollution problem. They have dealt with legislative and administrative machinery matters and what some people have been pleased to call public education or public responsibility. There has been considerable emphasis on introducing social studies on pollution at all educational levels so that not only this generation but also the next may be aware of the problem.
The maintenance of the quality of our water, its conservation and its use are a subject to which every Australian must apply himself. I am sure that when the Committee’s report has been brought forward the Government will take cognisance of it and will follow through, in such ways as are open to it, the material that the Committee will place before the Senate and the Parliament. We cannot afford to indulge in the luxury of using water only once and letting it go in the form of effluent. The whole matter of the use and reuse of water must engage the attention of industry as well as governments and legislatures.
In making our study of this problem and working on a committee of this kind we are endeavouring to reflect - I am sure that we are reflecting - something of the attention that is being given to it throughout the world. In other countries the pollution of water in streams, rivers, bays and harbours and also underground water is a matter of the most serious consequence. It is costing countries such as th e United States enormous sums of money. The position is similar in Europe and Japan, where a great deal is being done. We are taking advantage of the researches which people in those countries are undertaking and have undertaken.
Having made that passing reference to pollution, the next subject with which I should deal is something on the positive side; and that is the conservation of our environment and particularly the conservation of our water resources both in quantity and in quality. But, as every honourable senator knows, with the legislation coming forward as part of a busy programme of legislation, there will be an opportunity to say something about that at a later date, and that is when I will devote my attention to it. For now I content myself with these observations. I reject completely the amendment that the Leader of the Opposition has brought forward, and I lend my support to the motion before the Senate.
– I do not think it is any surprise to listen to Senator Davidson’s remarks in which he complains about a lack of courtesy or lack of attention on the part of the Opposition in not applying itself to moving an amendment until very late in the debate. In the first instance, let me point out to him that we have had only four working days of debate since the Governor-General’s Speech was delivered. Secondly, I point out that all the items in the Australian Labor Party’s amendment represent policies of our Party which are well known to the honourable senator. They are well known to every member of the Parliament and to the public. The Labor Party presented these issues to the people in the general election campaign last year, and as a result was very narrowly defeated by this Government. There is no reason to say that honourable senators opposite have not been warned about the great issues. Senator Davidson referred to Senate select committees and questions surrounding pollution. Senator Marriott referred in his speech to the formation of Senate select committees. Of course, whether honourable senators opposite like it or not, the real reason why a lot of attention is being paid to Senate select committees is that the Opposition in the Senate, led by Senator Murphy, gave a new impetus to the move.
We are in fact the main force which has persuaded the Senate to set up Senate select committees. Senator Marriott referred to what Senator Henty had said. It is true that Senator Henty supported the proposition, but the record will show that the impetus came from Senator Murphy. Senator Marriott may complain about Senator Murphy’s speech, but it was his interest that caused the change in Senate practice and the setting up of select committees. Since his leadership in the Senate we have had a great example-
– His leadership of your Party.
– Of course. Obviously he is the leader of our Party in the Senate, and is a good leader. It is always strange to hear honourable senators opposite talk about Labor leaders who have been changed or are dead. When Chifley was alive he was said to be a bad leader. The same was true of Curtin. We heard Senator Marriott say what a great leader Senator McKenna was in the Parliament. He said the same of Senator Willesee, who led our
Party in the Senate. But these compliments are always paid when the officer has ceased to perform the function of leadership. Senator Willesee served his term as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and did a good job. Now he is Deputy Leader. Every time a Liberal member compliments a Labor leader it is done after that Labor man has finished his term of office. That is very significant. No honourable senator opposite ever says a good thing about a Labor leader when he is leading the Opposition.
The comments made by Senator Marriott about Senator Murphy are quite uncalled for. Obviously he is required to put up the policies of the Party. Senator Murphy spent a good deal of time discussing our policy on Vietnam. He is required to do that, because it is Party policy and because he believes that it is a proper policy, as I do. I have noticed that in this debate honourable senators opposite have spent little time on the issues of the nation or on what the Governor-General might have said. I expected Senator Davidson to discuss some of the issues concerning South Australia. Some great problems are confronting South Australia but they have not received the attention of this Government. I do not think that because we have entered the dying hours of this debate we should be satisfied that the great issues have been diminished. They have not been diminished. I remind honourable senators that on 25th November last the Governor-General spoke in this Parliament 200 words prepared by his advisers. He spoke 200 words about nothing and we were then dismissed and placed in the hands of providence.
– Divine providence.
– Yes. On our return this year, as would be expected because of the annoyance of the population at such wasteful expenditure and the failure of the Governor-General to mention the great issues in the nation, we heard another speech by the Governor-General, this time a greatly padded speech. The only two positive statements I have noticed in the Speech are those concerning the introduction of the metric system and the support of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) for the proposed Industrial Development Corporation. Since the Governor-General delivered his Speech I have noticed that some branches of the Liberal Party are attempting to make sure that the proposed Industrial Development Corporation does not come about.
I was amazed last night to hear Senator Marriott talk about the great Prime Ministers who have come from the Liberal Party. There is no doubt that moves are being made to ensure that the present Prime Minister’s stay in the position is only temporary.
– Tell us about that.
– The honourable senator knows what has happened. I have no doubt that he has been active. As a West Australian he will recall that the skids were placed under his colleague, Mr Freeth, who was Minister for External Affairs.
– By whom?
– Senator Sim knows by whom, because it was publicised that the Democratic Labor Party had exerted great pressure on the Government to change its policy. After it had supported the policy of the then Minister for External Affairs and of the Prime Minister there was a reversal of form and the result was that the policy was changed. Senator Gair claimed that the pressure exerted by him was the reason for the change. Mr Freeth was defeated at the last general election and has now been appointed as our Ambassador to Japan. These things are well known. They are not just stories. Senator Sim must know that there are controversies in his Party. Senator Marriott last night referred to divisions in the Liberal Party. It is quite a pleasant change to note that the Press is paying some attention to divisions in the Liberal Party rather than trying to exploit what is happening in the Labor Party. The Labor Party is democratic and its policies are always discussed in public. Our federal conferences are open to the public.
– But you will not let Mr Harradine go to them.
- Mr Harradine of Tasmania has been the subject of public controversy. We do not have very much to hide, but the Liberal Party has, and Senator Marriott knows that as well as I do.
– What about Mr Fairbairn?
– Of course. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack served excellently as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on the Container Method of Handling Cargoes. Then he became Chairman of the Government’s Foreign Affairs Committee, but because of divisions in the Liberal Party he was deposed.
– He was stabbed in the back.
– Yes - by one who contested the Prime Ministership. Significant changes have taken place in the Liberal Party. Great stresses have occurred. No real programme is being brought before the Parliament to do the things on a national scale which ought to be done. Prime Minister Gorton has done a little bit of good on national issues. Honourable senators will remember that he decided to make sure that the business of MLC Ltd was not taken over by Americans. He was greatly criticised by his Party and a change was made by a number of people whose names are well known. He was again criticised when he gave his support to ensure that the Australian National Line would enter into overseas freight carrying, a policy advanced by Labor and supported by the Department of Shipping and Transport and the Department of Trade and Industry.
– Is that true?
– It is true. It has been reported as public information. I think Senator Young was a member of the Federal Exporters Oversea Transport Committee. I think he was one of the people who agreed that the Australian National Line should enter the overseas shipping trade and I am sure he will accept that it has been one of the long standing aims of the Labor Party. The Liberal Party does not believe in government run enterprises. It believes in quick profits and free enterprise, but because of the way the economy is organised today it must face up to having some government enterprises operating. These issues are kept in the public eye by the Labor Opposition, which points out that the Government is not doing the job it should be doing.
It appears to me to be quite clear that Prime Minister Gorton has done one or two good things, but it also seems that bis
Party will make sure that they will be emasculated. When the legislation referred to in the Governor-General’s Speech is introduced, it will contain no real benefits. The Industry Development Corporation will be quite limited. It will not be able to do what it ought to do but, as Mr Whitlam said, when the Labor Party takes office we will see that the legislation becomes an effective part of Labor’s policy. I say quite clearly that nobody can challenge the principles contained in the Labor Party’s amendment. They are well known. We fought the election on the health policies of each Party. The Government reluctantly was forced to accept most of the recommendations contained in the report presented by the Committee under the chairmanship of Mr Justice Nimmo. The Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) has sharply criticised the Australian Medical Association. Dr Turnbull did not deal with this matter during his speech, but it is quite obvious that the AMA intends to jack up against the Government. The question now is whether or not the Government is strong enough to make sure that the doctors take their place in the community in the same way that members of the work force and the unions have been made to take their place in the community. Senator Wheeldon referred to this matter at question time. The Government should tell the doctors what they must do under the national health scheme.
– All the doctors will be in Parliament.
– We have our share of doctors now. Because they are doctors they are specialists on this subject. The Minister for Health is having trouble with the doctors. He admits it. The Government is bringing a substantial amount of pressure to bear on doctors to get them to agree to a scheme which will not work. During the election campaign the Labor Party’s scheme received a lot of attention. We know that the main reason for the support we got in the election was the proposals contained in our health scheme.
– It is a comprehensive scheme.
– It is a comprehensive scheme which, in the final analysis, will be applied. I do not want to say much more on the subject, except that I do not think anybody could say that the programme outlined in the Governor-General’s Speech, which of course is the Government’s outline of works, is a particularly comprehensive one. The programme offers no solution to the rural problems. The Government still does not have a solution for the wheat crisis. There are other issues, such as utilising the capability of Australian manufacturers, to be faced. Over the years a number of honourable senators, including Senator Poyser and myself, have advocated the placing of orders with the Australian aircraft industry, but the orders were not given by the Service departments. The Minister for Defence (Mr Malcolm Fraser) said that in future S60m worth of orders will be placed with Australian industry. The offer is a belated one. If the Government had taken the advice of the Labor Party, the capabilities of our own productive forces - both government and private - would have been utilised properly. We still advocate that the placing of a certain proportion of the orders with Australian industry should be part of the policy of any government. At present the Government says that it accepts the need for offsetting orders. It certainly has not formulated a policy about not placing orders overseas.
– The Government talks about it but does nothing.
– As Senator Devitt pointed out, the Government talks about it but does nothing. We want to ensure that in future there will be a requirement that, when orders are placed overseas, Australian manufacturing industries will get a share in the orders. The Government ought to insist upon it. That ought to be the policy of the Government. It certainly would be the policy of a Labor government. We certainly would ensure that the abilities which Australians have are used properly.
I know the debate is concluding, but I also want to say a word or two about Vietnam. The truth about the Vietnam issue has to be raised in this Parliament. The Labor Party believes that a futile war is being waged in Vietnam. Australia should not have taken part in an expedition such as this just because a Liberal government believed from the start that there was a military solution to a civil situation. That goes back to the time of Prime Minister Menzies. In the first instance he made an agreement with the Americans to send advisers to South Vietnam. Later, because of some pressure from the United States of America, he agreed to send Australian troops to Vietnam. Our military activities in Vietnam have proven to be futile. They are futile because the system of government in South Vietnam has not improved greatly. When I visited Saigon in 1 964 there had been fourteen successive military juntas in control of the country, including the junta of Diem. All those juntas were unable to persuade the civilian population that their activities were such as to encourage the proper development of South Vietnam, nor were they able to establish any kind of relationship with the Vietcong or with the North Vietnamese to arrange a peaceful expansion of the South as well as some future for the whole of Vietnam. As Senator Murphy said last night, we must start off with the concept that Vietnam is one country and not two countries. It is divided. The argument that we used and still use is that, if South Vietnam is to challenge the intrusion of the Vietcong or of some people who want to reject the government in control, it has to have a democratic government. The facts are that the successive governments in South Vietnam were not democratic. Averell Harriman and Vance, both of whom are American advisers and specialist peace negotiators, have taken part in the current negotiations with the North. Both have denounced the present leader of the South Vietnamese Government.
– Is it your Party’s policy that aggression is all right if one country invades another so long as there is no clearly defined boundary between the two countries?
– Trying to interrupt a speech by interjecting is an old trick and the honourable senator ought to know it. The Government is building up a man of straw in order to knock him down into its own image. The honourable senator ought to know that. I repeat what Senator Kennelly said last night. We would expect that the honourable senator, as a lawyer and as one who believes that it is necessary to send young people to fight, would take an interest in the defence of Australia or in the activities of the Australian troops in South Vietnam. That is the kind of thing we did when we were his age. If he believes that young men should go to South Vietnam to fight aggression then he should take an active, conscientious stand on the matter. Then we would respect him for his arguments which at present do not seem to us to be arguments about the defence of Australia but rather jingoisms which do not do the honourable senator much credit. He is a very intelligent young man. We hope that, as he grows older, he will become more mature and will see the true position.
Only last night Professor FitzGerald, an expert on Asia and China, pointed out that military occupation troops are aiding the Communists. We have been saying that for a long time. We have been telling the Government that a military solution to Vietnam is quite wrong. A military effort will not solve anything. A military solution will be like the Fills; it will collapse in a heap around the Government, with the result that Australia will lose a certain amount of its prestige. Australia has a great reputation in this area of the world. 1 was surprised to hear people trying to compare the present situation with what happened in the struggle against Fascism. The two are entirely different. The struggle in Czechoslovakia today against the Russian occupation is a struggle against a great power. The situation in Vietnam is one of civil intrusion and civil wars. Unless the people are prepared to take part in the struggles, we cannot solve the problem. Military occupation is strengthening the policies and the prestige of the Communist forces which want to make an issue of Vietnam.
Honourable senators opposite talk about the Laotian situation. They say ‘Look at what has happened in Laos and Cambodia’. The Head of Slate in Cambodia is a neutralist, lt is true that in Cambodia many people have been attacking the embassies, but at the same time Prince Sihanouk is inviting the North Vietnamese Head of State to Cambodia. The Prince is still prepared to talk to the North Vietnamese.
– A good bodyguard would be needed.
– That might be so, but the Australian Government has been keen to keep good relationships with both these neutralist countries, Cambodia and Laos, because the Government believes that it is worth while. Both these countries are led by neutralists. Honourable senators opposite talk about the North Vietnamese infiltrating into Laos. I agree that they are. They are infiltrating.
– Because they are being encouraged.
– Yes, because they are being encouraged. They are encouraged to do so because of the intrusion of military occupation. At the same rime as they are doing this Prince Souvanna Phouma, who was a Social Democrat in the old French tradition and who was fighting his half brother Prince Souphanouvong, has said that he is still prepared to meet his half brother while the war continues on the Plain of Jars in an effort to negotiate for peace. This is what we should be doing. But the Government has never made any positive statement about this. The last statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) about the withdrawal of troops of any consequence was in December. The Prime Minister still maintains as he dkl then that when the Americans have made a more positive withdrawal Australia will participate in the next reduction of forces - when that comes - but the extent and timing of that participation remain to be settled by discussions with the government concerned. In one speech the Prime Minister said the Government concerned was that of South Vietnam, and in another speech he said it was that of the United States of America.
As Senator Murphy said last night, the position in the United States is becoming critical for the American Government. No longer will people put up with a so-called military solution which is not a solution, and which results in large numbers of people being killed. I would like to read to the Senate a short paragraph which appeared in the ‘Courier-Mail’ yesterday. It states:
Whatever our pigheaded Commonwealth Government might think, this is not a war in which Australians will readily accept a rising rate of casualties at a time when US troops are in the process of withdrawing, and US casualties are markedly declining.
The report goes on to say, bringing the issue right home to the Government:
The Australian task force commander in Vietnam last week was quoted as saying that ‘now is the time to hit the enemy harder.’ Another Army spokesman spoke of ‘a continuing plan to bring the Vietcong to battle.’ Why?
Some people have argued that the pacification solution in Vietnam is having some benefit and the situation is becoming stabilised. I suggest the situation is no better today than when I was there in 1964. The whole method of trying to solve the problem in Vietnam is not being effective and the only solution is the Labor Party’s policy.
Without taking up too much time I want to move on to a couple of associated questions. 1 want to raise the issue of why the Government and Government supporters say: ‘Yes, you have to do these things. You have to send the boys overseas.’ But every time there is a need to give proper repatriation benefits or something of this kind to national servicemen there is always a great resistance to it. May I remind the Senate that on three occasions it has carried resolutions which argue that there ought to be an investigation into repatriation matters. Honourable senators have clearly established in this chamber that ex-servicemen are not getting a fair deal. The Senate carried three resolutions because it thought there were good reasons for them. Nothing has yet been done.
Let me raise another matter which is important and which 1 have raised with the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair). National servicemen who were employed in railway industries are being sent overseas. While they are overseas their dependants are not entitled to railway passes for interstate travel. If these young people were working in the railway service they and their families on annual leave, if they wanted to, could enjoy a railway pass. They would receive this benefit while they were in railway service. If these men become national servicemen which ought to give them some sort of prestige - the Government says it does - they lose something and their dependants lose something. The Minister for Shipping and Transport states: ‘Well, it is a matter for the Australian Council of Commissioners to decide.’ The Minister, if he wanted to, or the Government ought to say: ‘Well, at least in respect of our own railway’ - that is the Commonwealth Railways - ‘we will make sure that you get your interstate travel privileges while the boy is in the Army.’ That is one of the things the Government ought to do. This matter of the travel privileges is a long standing complaint. The railway unions have written to the Government and I have written to the Government about it but nothing has been done.
I come back to some of the matters 1 referred to after Senator Davidson had spoken. 1 said that I was rather surprised he had not raised at least two of these important State matters. The first matter is a long standing complaint by South Australia about the need to standardise the South Australian railway system. This is very important to South Australia. Large sections of the South Australian community including such respectable groups as the Adelaide Chamber of Commerce have complained about the failure of the Federal Government to settle the question of the rail connection between Adelaide and the standardised railway system. In 1964 Premier Playford of South Australia suggested a scheme to the Federal Government not just to standardise the link between Adelaide and Port Pirie but to do what was agreed upon in the 1949 railway agreement to which the Federal Government committed itself - the standardisation of the northern parts of the railway service in South Australia. This scheme was refused.
The South Australian Labor Governments led by Premier Walsh and Premier Dunstan put forward the same proposition. It was rejected. During the currency of the Hall Liberal Government consultations were had with the Commonwealth Government but the only result obtained from the Commonwealth Government was an arrangement that consultants would examine the most efficient way of connecting Adelaide with the standardised system. South Australia has a standardised system completed from east to west which is, at the present time, carrying a large number of passengers and which means that cargoes can be carried in competition with the shipping trade. This is an important service. But Adelaide is still isolated and we have the 1949 agreement which, in fact, obligates the Commonwealth Government to connect Adelaide with the standardised system. Representations on the connection of Adelaide have been led by Premier Playford, two Labor Premiers, and latterly by a Liberal Premier. 1 do not think the Liberal Premier of South Australia has fought hard enough for what should be done. I think he is simply being conned by the Federal Government to accept what was a consultant’s survey whose report will not be available for some weeks yet. When the report is made it is possible that the only connection with Adelaide and the only standardisation work in South Australia will be between Adelaide and Port Pirie. The result will be that important railways lines will still suffer the same disabilities as. in fact, apply now to break of gauge stations. Where important commodities are to be shipped from other areas of the State they will have to suffer double handling because there will be a break of gauge. There have to be bogie exchanges.
The Federal Government is obligated to standardise the system as agreed upon. Some part of the work has already been clone in the south eastern section of the State which was converted. When South Australia receives standardisation it will have to bring the 5 feet 3 inch line back to 4 feet 8i inches at its expense. Although the Governor-General mentioned what Government policy was. the statement in the Speech is simply that the Government will support standardisation. It does not say that the Government accepts the need to convert the related lines which carry important traffic to Adelaide and other places. These will bc in the same position of disability as exists at the present time. This is a very vital question and the Federal Government ought to be strongly criticised. I suggest, too, that the South Australian Liberal Government has not fought hard enough for the needs of the State and the requirements of the South Australian Railways Department. South Australia has a very efficient Railways Department.
I know time is going on and lor that reason I will restrict some of the other observations I intended to make. One of the matters related to railways which I think I should mention is one which I have raised before and that is the need to have some sort of backing up facilities for the Commonwealth Railways. A great service exists now in the Indian-Pacific service but the Commonwealth Railways still do nol have a sound workshop which can produce the requirements of the railways system. The Commonwealth Railways has been purchasing its locomotives, passenger carriages and rolling stock from sources outside Australia for many years. In some cases they could be made in Australian workshops, including the workshop of the South Australian Government Railways at Islington, but the orders are given to the Japanese. In recent months the New South Wales Trades and Labour Council has made representations to the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) for a restriction on tendering by the Japanese, lt is thought that the Japanese are successful with some of their tenders because of the great interest Japan has in Western Australia.
At a time when a large number of our heavy engineering workshops are not getting the work they need to keep their skilled staffs going, it is believed that there should be a policy of ensuring that equipment of this nature is made in Australia. If it cannot be made by the Commonwealth Railways surely it can be made by private manufacturers. I would like to see the size and scope of the Port Augusta workshop increased so that it can build the modern passenger cars which are now required. 1 understand that the workshop has the skilled men, including some who have migrated from the United Kingdom, to carry out this work if the workshop is modernised. If the Government is of the opinion that it would be too expensive to commence work on constructing passenger cars there immediately it could place orders for their construction with the Islington workshops in South Australia, which are the most efficient workshops in Australia and which have specialist staff with many years experience in this sort of manufacturing work. There is no reason why the work could not be done at Islington. The only reason why Islangton is not given the opportunity to do the work is that the Government does not take the matter seriously.
No railway organisation can work properly unless its employees are paid proper wages. Workers will not work on the trans-continental railway line because of the isolation and poor wages. A change of attitude by the Government is necessary in relation to the wages it pays the workers, particularly those men who work in the fettling gangs. Those people who were lucky enough to travel on the inaugural trip of the Indian-Pacific service would have seen for themselves the sort of isolation which many of these families experience.
– We were not invited.
– Perhaps the honourable senator was not invited, but I was. I think I was invited because I was secretary of Labor’s transport committee. I would have liked the honourable senator to be invited. I think he would have enjoyed the trip as much as I did. I am familiar with the railway industry because I was an official of a railway organisation for 20 years. In recent years it has been very difficult to keep staff in this industry, which is understandable because the wages are not very high. The turnover in staff is large. The railways departments try to compensate their men for their low wages by giving them overtime, but this is not a very satisfactory system. They should give them special rates in addition to the small zone allowance which is paid. The staff turnover in the Commonwealth Railways in 1965-66 was over 3,500; in 1966-67 it was again 3,500; and in 1967-68 it was nearly 3,000. The figures I have indicate that up to the end of last year, which would be a period of only 6 months, 2,000 workers left the Commonwealth Railways. 1 shall not mention the issue of the Eyre Highway because representations have been made, and the Chowilla project is a subject which, I hope, I will have an opportunity to debate at a later stage. The South Australian Government and the members of the South Australian Parliament have for many years discussed the need to bituminise the Woomera road. The matter has also been raised in this Parliament. We know now that there will be extra activities at Woomera and, as a result, there will be more traffic on the Woomera road, but the South Australian Government cannot get a penny from the Commonwealth Government to seal the road. During the winter months and at other times when there are heavy downpours the road is impassable to the Commonwealth and other vehicles which wish to use :t. We have been told that a large communications station will be established at Woomera and it will play a role in tracking spacecraft. It has been alleged that the new communications station will be connected with the antiballistic missile programme of the United States of America. Regardless of its function, the fact is that the centre is sometimes isolated because of the poor road and the Commonwealth Government is not prepared to put in a cracker towards servicing it. It should do so because of the increased demand.
I conclude by saying that there has been a great deal of speculation about the industrial relations which might obtain in Australia in the early part of this year. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Snedden) said that there will be periods of great industrial unrest in the first quarter of the year. Although he did not mention that his statement was in any way related to Bob Hawke’s ascendency to the presidency of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, some people have suggested that this will be a reason for industrial unrest. In my opinion Bob Hawke will perform for the ACTU the same sort of great service as Albert Monk performed. I know that Bob Hawke has great capabilities, as did Albert Monk, and I know that he will perform the job for which he is paid and which he believes in - ensuring that the workers in Australia get a fair share of the country’s wealth. One of the main reasons for the industrial unrest which exists in Australia today is the very bad decisions which have been given by the industrial tribunals. They have rejected the claims not only of the blue collar workers but also of professional and scientific people.
– They could not even give uniformity on meal allowances.
– Of course not. The decisions which have been given are well known and therefore it is unnecessary for me to quote them. But the professional and scientific sector as well as the ordinary trade union organisations are challenging the decisions of these tribunals on the ground that they are too ready to echo ihe policies of the Government. Unless some share of the increased productivity in the nation is returned to the workers, whether they be blue collar workers, tradesmen, tradesmen’s assistants, scientists or public servants, a situation of unrest will exist. Every time an organisation demands increased wages the argument should not be put up that the demand can not be met because it will place an increased burden on the production activities of the farming sector or something like that. The rewards of our increased primary and secondary production should be passed on to the people who are entitled to them.
The most glaring injustices I can think of were the decision in the professional engineers case and the Government’s rejection of a claim by Commonwealth public servants for 4 weeks annual leave. Commonwealth public servants have not had a decent increase in their basic conditions since the days of federation. They receive 3 weeks annual leave whilst their State colleagues receive 4 weeks. In fact, daily paid workers in South Australia arc now in receipt of 4 weeks annual leave. Why does the Government reject a relationship which existed at federation? If one reads the early debates in Hansard on the Commonwealth Public Service one finds that it was accepted by everybody on both sides of the Parliament that Commonwealth public servants were entitled to conditions which would justify their relationship with the Administration. As a result they received 3 weeks annual leave at a time when most people were receiving 1 week’s annual leave and in some cases no regular leave at all. Today Commonwealth public servants are behind the rest of the field. Complaints have been made about the amendment which has been moved by the Labor Party. Of course, there is no reason why the Labor Party should introduce an amendment in the early stages of a debate. lt is entitled to consider all the matters that might be introduced into the debate. The amendment, which was moved yesterday, is a good one. It all represents matters which are contained in the Labor Party’s policy, and everybody knows that policy. lt has now been attached to a document which is well known. In my opinion, there is no reason why anybody should complain about the length of the amendment.
– This is a rather belated intervention in a debate that probably will conclude late this afternoon or early tonight. The matter which is before the Senate arises from one of the most significant presentations that at any time can be made to this Parliament. There are a number of significant presentations, one of which is the annual Budget. And another equally important one is a document of the character of the one we are now discussing, the Address delivered by His Excellency, the Governor-General, representing the Queen, lt sets out the Government’s policy projected for the current and subsequent sessions of the Parliament. Such a document has always been regarded as being highly significant and important. On this occasion it has a particular significance and, for reasons which 1 shall detail later, is almost unique.
The Parliament has always regarded the Governor-General’s Speech in a particular light. When it was desired to make an assessment of it, and more particularly when it was desired to criticise it, the Opposition has taken the opportunity to do that in the most formal manner available under the forms of the Senate. The GovernorGeneral’s Speech has always warranted such attention, and in very many cases the official Opposition has sought, by proposing a formal specific amendment, to detail its dissatisfaction or disagreement with the propositions contained in the Speech and embodied in the . document which is presented and circulated to the Senate. On this occasion the Australian Democratic Labor Party has accepted the traditional role and has set about presenting an amendment in the most formal terms to indicate the extent to which it disagrees with the propositions which were exhibited in the Governor-General’s Speech. Normally that is a function which is entrusted to the official Opposition, because of its tactical situation. It has the first call. It has the first opportunity to express the official point of view of honourable senators who sit on the non-Government benches. Traditionally, the Opposition - the Australian Labor Party in more recent years - has presented such a disagreement in a formal manner. On this occasion the Democratic Labor Party presented the official disagreement in the formal amendment which we have moved, and there was a particularly good reason why this should be done.
I have listened to many speeches from the Throne. I have heard speeches of various lengths - from very short speeches to speeches of medium length. I do not think I have ever listened to a speech which was so embracing in its propositions and so wide in its recitation of past performances and future projections as was the Speech delivered on this occasion. It must be accepted as a comprehensive summary by the Government of the totality of its programme. If that is so, we in this chamber were entitled to conclude that the Government had very little more to say, and that if a matter was not contained in that Speech it was being given no priority by the Government, it would get no attention by the Government, or it was being pushed aside by the Government. On this occasion there was a particular responsibility upon the Opposition to draw attention to the important matters which in its opinion should have been, but which were not, contained in the document. That is precisely the point of view of the Democratic Labor Parry. We intended to do that because we felt that that was our duty as honourable senators sitting as a party on this side of the chamber.
We candidly did not expect that we would have an opportunity to propose the first amendment to the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, and for almost a fortnight it was the only amendment. We thought that surely the official Opposition would arrogate to itself its customary role of presenting its own proposition in a formal amendment. This was not done. Of course, it may be said now that there are certain general matters, which might emerge later in debate or argument, which it was not necessary to incorporate in any formal document. The approach of the Democratic Labor Party was not merely that we should present this formal dissent but, more than that, that we should express our dissent over a number of areas in specific terms. After all, we know that the mere dissent is not in any executive sense effective, that it does not affect the programme of the Government. But honourable senators will notice significantly that at least two propositions in the Democratic Labor Party’s formal amendment have also found reference in specific notices of motion now resting on the business paper.
The first one is in relation to the setting up of a joint parliamentary committee on Commonwealth-State relations, and the second one refers to the setting up of a royal commission into rural industries. We thought that those two matters in particular required immediate attention, that their necessity should be registered in our formal amendment of dissent. Those matters are now before the Senate. Let not the official Opposition for one moment try to pretend that those matters are unimportant. Why, only today in the Senate we found two of those matters to be the subject of specific intervention by members of the Opposition - during question time and in the giving of notices of motion. Senator Brown asked a question regarding employment in Victoria resulting from the depreciated and deteriorated condition of country towns following a deterioration in the level of activity in rural industries. Senator Willesee gave notice of the discussion of CommonwealthState relations as a matter of public importance. In other words, the Opposition now acknowledges the importance of two of the propositions which are in our motion of dissent. But it was only after the Democratic Labor Party had taken both those stands that the Opposition was stimulated to do anything of that kind.
– Would you go out to the country on these matters?
– I shall answer Senator Mulvihill who, as far as I can gather, led the debate for the Opposition. He did not give any attention to any of the issues which are now considered by the official Opposition, in the belated amendment which it has presented, to be great issues.
– What about national health?
– Yes, I agree that one or two matters were mentioned, but in the whole sweep of the debate, these questions have not been mentioned by honourable members on the Opposition side. What was the immediate reaction of the Opposition to Senator McManus’s amendment when it was presented on behalf of our Party? Senator Mulvihill had spoken before the amendment was presented. Senator Cavanagh spoke after it was presented, and 1 shall quote from his speech. He opened his speech substantially by making an attack on our amendment. Later on I shall detail the attack which was made by Senator Murphy on our amendment and his approach to the whole debate. But Senator Cavanagh said:
The Australian Labor Party does not oppose the adoption of the Address-in-Reply that is to be conveyed to the Governor-General but we do nol support the amendment of the Australian Democratic Labor Party which we consider to have been moved for political propaganda purposes rather than for any other purpose.
I should like to assess the subsequent amendment in the light of that proposition. He continued:
It is simply a matter of hypocrisy.
I shall assess also the Opposition’s amendment in the light of that concept. Senator Cavanagh continued:
We can amend the Address-in-Reply to condemn the Government without achieving anything. While the Democratic Labor Party suggests that we condemn the Government because of this and that, it also has on the business paper proposals relating to the establishment of a royal commission or the setting up of Select Committees on most of those items. The Opposition will take a stand on those items when we are considering the appointment of such committees. The Opposition can see no value in simply condemning the Government for not introducing something such as a national insurance scheme without any suggestion as to what the scheme might be. Had the Government introduced such a scheme it might have been one that would be condemned by ihe Opposition.
That was the first attack on our amendment and it was made by Senator Cavanagh, a not insignificant member of the Opposition - we acknowledge that. He saw no virtue in our proposition and he saw no reason for it. It was stimulated by hypocrisy; it was only a political gesture. He implied that that was the interpretation to be put on any such formal amendment which was presented by an Opposition to the AddressinReply in this place.
After a lapse of some days another amendment appeared. Once our amendment was presented the Opposition found itself in real trouble. We had had a demonstration at that time of parliamentary incompetence elevated almost to the position of a profession. I have never witnessed such total parliamentary incompetence as 1 witnessed on this occasion from the official Opposition. It was an occasion when the official Opposition could, on a most comprehensive Government statement, have taken a strong stand to give a national lead. The official Opposition totally failed to do this and it was left to the Democratic Labor Party to step into the role. That is an exhibition of political incompetence. Even when the amendment was presented the immediate reaction by those who see no virtue in anything that comes from the DLP was to condemn not only the terms of the amendment but the fact of its existence and the concept of it altogether, lt was useless, worthless and hypocritical.
Eight days passed, as Senator Marriott said last night. They were, I am sure, 8 soul searching and agonising days for members of the official Opposition because it was faced with an amendment every proposition of which was rational and reasonable. Do not accept my word that that was the type of proposition and the way it was to be construed. Let us compare the propositions we put up with what emerged after those 8 agonising days. Last night, after speaker had followed speaker, an amendment emerged from the official Opposition. The 5 propositions in our amendment are: (0 an adequate statement on Australian Foreign Policy:
Let us compare, at least in part, the amendment that finally came from the Opposition with our proposals. The Opposition’s amendment includes:
Item (e) is not only a reproduction of what is in our amendment but is the substance of the notice of motion given by Senator Willesee today to investigate the whole matter of Commonwealth-State financial relations.
– That is now five similar items.
– That is right. The Opposition’s amendment also includes:
We have a specific motion for investigation of primary industries by royal commission, apart from this being in the amendment to the Address-in-Reply which we have proposed. Wc find an exact reproduction in the Opposition’s amendment. The last proposition in the official Opposition’s amendment refers to burdens on families in a very off-hand manner. We have a specific proposition for adequate measures to promote family life, etc.
The Opposition therefore cannot dismiss our proposition in toto, quite apart from its concept. Our amendment was said to be worthless or useless but every proposition in it appeared in almost identical terms in the official Opposition’s own subsequent amendment. Therefore we would expect that at least pro tanto we would have the support of the official Opposition if our amendment gets to the Senate for decision, because every proposition in it is embodied in the official Opposition’s amendment. lt is not unfair for us to expect that the official Opposition should give us at least to that extent the support which those propositions deserve, having been accepted by that Opposition.
As I say, 8 days went by. lt is now public property what happened in the intervening period. In spite of the immediate reaction of Senator Cavanagh - speaking apparently at that stage for what was to emerge as the official Opposition point of view - if we are to believe the reports in the newspapers the Parliamentary Labor Party executive decided otherwise. Newspaper reports have
Hn uncanny knack of being true even though they deal with the very conclaves of the parties. The majority of the executive led by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and apparently supported by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) agreed that our propositions should be supported. That recommendation went to the Parliamentary Labor Party - again 1 am relying on newspaper reports - and the proposition was overwhelmingly rejected and a rebuff thereupon given to the executive.
– It was browned off, was it not?
– I do not know. I am not drawing any conclusions like that. J am merely reciting the facts as they are now public property. That left the ALP Opposition in this chamber in a very difficult position. It then had to set about doing what competence demanded it should have done days before and in a similar form to present its own proposition to the Senate. Why it was not done before I will never know. But as I say, it can only be construed as total political incompetency by the Opposition because the people look to the official Opposition more than to anyone else to register mass disapproval - if it is there - of Government policy, and it should be registered on every occasion and in the proper way and in the most formal manner. There are very few opportunities given to us like the one on this occasion of which advantage was not taken. Therefore the Opposition was faced with this dilemma of our acceptable proposition without an amendment of its own.
Last night we saw this compendious amendment presented to the Senate. The extraordinary thing about the whole presentation was this. The official Opposition’s function, I would imagine, is primarily to find fault with the Government. The amendment purports to find fault with the Government over many heads of disagreement but the attack launched by the Leader of the ALP as he presented this amendment was not on the Government at all. It was on the DLP for having the effrontery to present an amendment in terms every one of which was accepted finally in the Opposition’s own amendment. This was an extraordinary situation and it obviously reflected the attitude of the Party, as stated by Senator Cavanagh here, that our proposition, because it came from the DLP, could not be supported. That obviously was the impetus that was responsible for the attitude of the Opposition in rejecting our amendment. It was not because of the terms which were acceptable to the Opposition and embodied in its own amendment. Because of the origin of our amendment under no circumstances could it be accepted. If that is the situation it is plumbing the very depths of parliamentary irresponsibility and it is a line of action that has never been taken by this Party and has always been disavowed.
– You check the facts.
– I will check my facts. I have here a list of many propositions which were presented by the ALP over many years and supported by the DLP and which, without such support, would not have been accepted. Let me mention some of them. I refer to the rejection of the Post and Telegraph Rates Bill at the instance of the ALP which was supported by this Party. That Bill was rejected twice. A motion was passed requiring the President at the request of a majority of the whole number of senators to reconvene the Senate in accordance with any such request. This was supported by the DLP. The Senate was reassembled in accordance with such a request and disallowed the postal regulations. That action was supported by the DLP. The Opposition took the Government to task on the VIP flight issue. This was a matter raised initially by the DLP and publicly exhibited. Even though the ALP raised the issue in the Senate it was supported by the DLP and as a result we had the VIP flight expose. Again, the DLP, not worrying about the source of the proposition but looking at the merits of it, supported the ALP. Another one was the preventing of the Chair from terminating question time at the request of the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) and dissenting from the President’s ruling in the matter. Again this was carried with the support of the DLP. The DLP moved amendments, which were opposed by the Government, to 8 Bills. The DLP proposals on 4 were finally agreed upon and passed into legislation. The DLP was responsible for the appointment of 3 new select committees and did all in its power to present proposals for 6 others.
Now we come to the more recent examples of support given by the DLP on the merits of a question and irrespective of the source from which the proposal came. There was the appointment of the Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse. That was a matter that we raised, but obviously the formal resolution came from the ALP. It was supported by the DLP and given effect. There was the rejection of the Air Navigation (Charges) Bill. That was a matter in which DLP support enabled the proposition to be rejected, the ALP having initially objected to the proposition. Then there was the siting of the new and permanent parliament house. There was the question of the merino ram export ban and the question of the tabling before the Public Accounts Committee of reports relating to the Fill aircraft. There was also the disallowance of Ordinances in the Australian Capital Territory. I could go on.
We have never entertained that implacable dislike of the Australian Labor Party which would induce us to destroy one of its propositions merely because it came from that Party. But such an implacable dislike has the Labor Party for the DLP that whatever the merits of a proposition and however much it may be in the interests of the people, that proposition will be destroyed merely because it comes from our Party. That not only is plumbing the depths of political irresponsibility but also is a betrayal of the interests of the Australian people, particularly those whom the ALP purports to represent here.
The present situation raises very interesting complications, all of which I do not wish to canvass. But let us look at the consequences of these extraordinary days and the incredible situation which we have witnessed, with a great deal of amusement and not without concern. We have seen the Democratic Labor Party elevated to the position of the official opposition in this chamber as the major, first, and formal critic of the Government. We have seen the Australian Labor Party elevate the Democratic Labor Party to a position where it and not the Government must attract the first and greatest attack. If, as we hear, the Liberal Party’s political philosophy is coming closer to Australian Labor Party thinking, and vice versa, then we have seen examples of it in this debate. We have seen it displayed in relation to the industrial development corporation which the Labor Party accepts as being a conscionable part of its policy and which is eschewed by many conservative Liberals as being very close to Labor policy. J know that there has been some concern in the Australian Labor Party for years that it might become another Liberal Party - I have heard that expression used - and it could well be that members of the Liberal Party are afraid of becoming another Australian Labor Party. It is most significant that the only Party that obviously is preserving a separate political dignity is the Democratic Labor Party.
Let us look at the consequences of the Labor Party’s attitude. As a result of the Australian Labor Party’s resolve to reject our proposition the Government has been given an immunity from assault, an immunity from criticism and an immunity from censure that it would not have had if the
Australian Labor Party had followed the recommendations of senior members of its own executive.
– And its Leader.
– Yes. If we were to support this resolution the Government would not come under censure on five major heads of Government policy, but because of its intense opposition to the DLP the Australian Labor Party is guaranteeing immunity to those whom it claims to oppose. It is not so much of concern to me and it may not be of much concern to honourable senators who are interjecting, but if I were a member of a responsible political party in this situation I would be seriously embarrassed by the public humiliation of my leader. That is precisely the position to which Mr Whitlam has been exposed. The Australian Press today is full of his personal humiliation on this issue at the hands of his own Party. That is the interpretation that is put on it by every organ of publicity in Australia. The worst feature of it is that it is based on the Australian Labor Party’s refusal to accept anything that comes from the Democratic Labor Party. If this situation continues, as Senator McManus has said publicly, the Australian Labor Party in this chamber will find itself in an extraordinarily difficult position. If members of the Australian Labor Party allow their judgment to be so clouded by this aura of bitterness that they refuse to see what is best in the interests of the nation and the people they represent and, if their eyes are clouded by this miasma of hate for the Democratic Labor Party, they will continue to default in the trust that they owe to the people who put them here. Finally the people will call them to account and they will deserve to be called to account. Let us consider the individual attitudes of at least one honourable senator on this question. We can imagine that when the vote is taken the Australian Labor Party will vote for the elimination of the words that we seek to insert in the motion. What will Senator Cavanagh do?
– And Senator Brown, who supported him?
– At least I will say for Senator Brown that his argument had a basis of logic. He did not think the amendment was warranted for reasons which 1 think put a strain on logic; but Senator Cavanagh was against it because, he said, it was a matter of hyprocrisy and because it would have no impact on the Government. An amendment has come in precisely the same terms and for precisely the same reason from the Opposition, of which he is a member. I ask Senator Cavanagh what he proposes to do. If it is hypocrisy on our part, it is hypocrisy on the part of the Australian Labor Party. Senator Cavanagh said that our motion was an empty gesture and would achieve nothing. But what would be the effect of the amendment proposed by the Australian Labor Party? When the vole is taken, whatever the Party does - obviously it will vote against our amendment - I would expect Senator Cavanagh at least to support the proposition which he was so vocal in articulating in the course of his speech.
This has been an extraordinary week. It is not often that we see an exhibition of parliamentary incompetence. It is not often that we see an Opposition walk out on the responsibilities which by law and by tradition belong to it. That is precisely what has happened in the most blatant form on this occasion. If the Democratic Labor Party has assumed a significant role on this occasion as it has on other occasions, it is not unexpected. It is now coming to be recognised that the issues which come before this Parliament receive the support or the dissent of this Party on their particular and individual merits. On that basis we will continue to approach all problems. I believe that that is the function of a Party such as ours. It is a function which in its discharge is receiving the approval of the Australian people and it will continue to receive it by the confirmation of the presence of our retiring senators in this place at the Senate election later this year.
– I rise to express my accord with the sentiments contained in the proposed Address-in-Reply and to indicate that I support the motion for its adoption. I also use this occasion to congratulate those who have delivered their maiden speeches. The Address-in-Reply is worded very shortly in this way:
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
I think that this is an occasion on which the Parliament should express the formal thanks which the Address embodies because on all sides the Governor-General’s Speech has been conceded to be comprehensive. Indeed, I think the Parliament had every right to expect that it would be comprehensive because Parliament has not sat, apart from one day which was a constitutional necessity, for approximately 5 months. The Speech which has been delivered represents the activity and the industry which has been displayed by Ministers of the Crown in attending to the various matters within their jurisdiction. I think that what is contained in the Governor-General’s Speech represents a proposed legislative programme. I cannot say that it is unique but it is certainly unique in my short experience and it provides a very substantial coverage of those matters which ought to require the attention of this Parliament.
I must say that I sympathise with the members of the Labor Party in their difficulty in determining whether they should move an amendment to the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. I sense that the difficulty they experienced was due to their inability to phrase a suitable amendment. I am fortified in that view when I consider the generality and the lack of precision in the amendment which Senator Murphy proposed, lt has all the appearance of a last minute collocation of things which the Labor Party has talked about, without ever being precise about them, over the past 12 months and one can only suppose that the real purpose of the amendment was, as Senator Byrne suggested, to put one over the Australian Democratic Labor Party. I have some sympathy for the Labor Party in what has been quite clearly evident - its difficulty in determining a suitable form of amendment to a most appropriate and comprehensive motion.
– You will be able to express your sympathy to Senator Georges when he moves over and votes with you.
– I will be delighted to do that. One other aspect to which I would refer is the reference in the Speech to the preparation of proposed legislation because of the shortage of experienced parliamentary draftsmen. I think the draftsmen must have been working at high pressure over the past few months to have enabled the Government to introduce in the first 2 weeks of the session something in excess of twenty Bills, lt has long been recognised that the staff of the Parliamentary Draftsman is inadequate to cope with the standard and the pressures of the legislation which has been brought forward. I think all honourable senators have appreciated from time to time the way in which those difficulties have been experienced. In his Speech the GovernorGeneral said:
The prompt preparation of legislation is the basis of effective parliamentary government and so that such preparation may bc expedited my Government proposes to establish by statute an Office of Parliamentary Counsel and to take administrative steps which it is hoped will lead to availability of such experienced draftsmen. 1 think that the experience we all have had of legislation to give effect to Cabinet decisions being produced in the last week or 2 weeks of the session has been contributed to in the greatest measure by the difficulties of the draftsmen in coping with the mass of work which is involved in any parliamentary session. One can hope that in the long term - 1 do not think it is a short term solution - some beneficial results will accrue from the changes which are proposed. I think that the Senate, through its Regulations and Ordinances Committee, has had its attention drawn to the problems which have been experienced in the processing and promulgating of the financial regulations of the various Services. The twentyfifth report of the Committee which was presented late last year directed attention to the fact that there have been inordinate delays extending in some cases to periods of 5 years in relation to which retrospective payments are authorised by regulation. The Committee has indicated its objection to this course. The investigations which took place indicated that, in many of these cases the delay was due, firstly, to improper instructions being given to the Parliamentary Draftsman and, secondly, to delays in the Draftsman’s office in providing regulations.
Another area in which I think we should be concerned relates to the lack of availability of the statutes of the Commonwealth and the lack of availability of the regulations of the Commonwealth bound in such a form that details which are desired to be investigated can be ascertained readily. I think that the last bound volume of the statutes of the Commonwealth is the volume for the year 1967. lt is high time that we bad a procedure which enabled the bound volumes of the statutes and the bound volumes of regulations and ordinances to be made available far more speedily. I believe that it is necessary that there should be constant consolidation of the various amended Acts so that tor the pui pose ‘of a ready understanding of the legal provisions one can have recourse to them.
I would have thought also that there was scope for improvement in the presentation to the Parliament of amending Bills. It is beyond the time or the ability of most of us to determine precisely the effects of a 1 or 2 page amending Bill which is designed to amend an earlier Act which, over the years, might have been amended by earlier amending Acts. In due course if we can have the staff of the desired quality in the Draftsman’s office I hope that the Bills which are presented to the Parliament will contain the existing legislation and indicate how the amendment will affect that legislation, together with simple straight forward explanatory notes of the effect of the amendment. These are matters which I think should be our concern. My interest in this hitherto has been tempered by my recognition that the Draftsman’s office was not in a position to cope with these matters. One can only hope that what is here proposed will produce the long term benefits which are sought.
The problem is not an easy one. lt is not a matter in respect of which blame is attachable to any government or to any particular individual. The basic problem is that parliamentary draftsmen are persons who require the greatest aptitude and inclination for the work they do. There are many legal graduates, there are many practising lawyers - I think there are about 8,000 throughout the Commonwealth of Australia - but very few of them have the inclination when they graduate to undertake work in the Draftsman’s office. If the shortage of staff is not due to lack of inclination or aptitude it is due, in the case of those who have the ability, to the lack of remuneration and status. I hope that what is proposed will certainly do something to overcome the lack of status. 1 trust also that when the hiving off of the drafting section from the AttorneyGeneral’s Department takes place and it is put into the hands of the Parliament under a Parliamentary Counsel, due consideration will be given to the desirability of taking the whole of the staff of the Parliamentary Draftsman out of the control of the Public Service Board. I appreciate that this is a decision of high policy consequence but I sense that the Parliament must be served, and the nation must be served, by having available and readily accessible the Acts, regulations and explanatory material which makes these things capable of being understood. I hope that the start which can be made by taking the drafting section out of the control of the Public Service Board so that the staff of the section can be paid appropriate remuneration, will be considered seriously by the Government. I would go further and say that if, as a consequence, it means that other areas of the Public Service can be given special and separate treatment from that which they receive under the classifications of the Public Service Board, the step which is taken will be regarded as a precedent.
I believe that many of the industrial problems we are experiencing at the moment within the Commonwealth Public Service are due not to a lack of goodwill and not to a lack of desire on the part of people to ensure that fair remuneration and reasonable conditions exist but to the spreading dead hand of a Public Service Board which is the employer of more than a quarter of a million personnel. 1 hope that in some way there may be a breaking down of what must be the deadening effect of an employeremployee relationship which cannot have any humanity whatsoever in it.
I turn now to another matter that I consider should be the concern of all members of the Senate. The Government and those who support it have been challenged constantly by members of the Opposition because, as they say, we have not had the courage to justify and support the Government’s attitude in maintaining that the security of South Vietnam is an appropriate cause for people who desire liberty and democracy throughout the world to espouse. In the Speech that His Excellency delivered he said:
In keeping with our aim to achieve enduring peace my Government believes that aggression must be seen to be unsuccessful. Australia will therefore continue, in co-operation with the United States of America and other countries, to assist the Republic of Vietnam in its struggle to repel aggression and allow its citizens to live under a Government of their own choice.
My Government will continue to give military and economic assistance to the Republic of Vietnam and will continue its Civic Action Programme.
My Government is glad to note that the increasing capacity of the South Vietnamese to defend themselves has already permitted the withdrawal of some Allied Forces. Should the future situation permit a further substantial withdrawal of troops - beyond those announced by President Nixon on 16th December 1969 - then in consultation with the Government of the Republic of Vietnam and the Government of the United States, some Australian troops will be included, at some stage, in the numbers scheduled for such withdrawal.
My Government deplores the continuing threat posed by North Vietnam and strongly supports the continuing efforts which are being made to achieve a just and lasting peace through negotiation. 1 have been surprised - possibly I should not have been as surprised as 1 have been - by the attitude of members of the Labor Party in defence of the posture they have maintained for a long time with regard to Vietnam. I recognise that there can be legitimate difference of opinion as to whether Australia should be engaged in this activity. But we have heard constantly from members of the Labor Party unreasoning, personal and generalised attacks which have not really advanced the argument in any way. There has been no better example than what we have heard over the past 2 days to illustrate what I have in mind. The Labor approach has been based on a mixture of untruths, half-truths, lies and misrepresentations.
Last night Senator Murphy categorised the war in Vietnam in highly emotive terms - as immoral, unjust and illegal. I ask: Where is it immoral? ls it immoral to go to the aid of a country that is being invaded and opposed by another country which, by force of arms, terror and insurgency, is determined to break it down? Is it unjust to go to the aid of a country whose people desire to have a government of their own choice and to live in some form of freedom as they evolve it and which is being menaced by another country that seeks to impose the Communist yoke upon them? Where is it illegal? I must say that Senator Murphy has never given the Senate the benefit of his legal knowledge as to how this war, which he has many times called illegal, is illegal. I suggest that neither in terms of law as we know it in Australia nor in terms of international law is there any illegality attaching to any action that has been taken by the United States command or by the Australian command in Vietnam.
Senator Murphy, in a further grand sweep which suggests that he is not concerned with facts but desires to build up emotive arguments, claimed that we were involved in a war like the Opium War. That is an expression which is used solely to indicate the way he thinks about something and which has no real relevance to the facts of the situation. He said that there was an Australian association with massacres, with the dropping of bombs and with the killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians. He said that we were associated with a murderous adventure. All war appals humanity, and it ought to appal humanity. But T have not heard from members of the Labor Party any condemnation of the inhumanity involved in the bombings and the massacres of hundreds of thousands of civilians during the Second World War. Do members of the Labor Party say: ‘If we are fighting against a clear and known enemy whom we happen to agree is a clear and known enemy, only then will we regard it as something sufficient to condemn’? In the case of Vietnam the desire of members of the Labor Party to categorise what the Americans are doing there in terms different from those in which they categorise what the Allied forces did between 1939 and 1945 indicates a sympathy with the cause of those who are aggressing in South Vietnam.
That is the only way in which one can understand this constant reiteration of references to the massacres and the bombings. Of course they are horrible. All war is horrible. But what seems to me to be significant is the way in which these things are singled out as being the fault only of the South Vietnamese and the Americans. Not a word comes from the Australian Labor Party about the massacres from which the Americans and the Australians went into South Vietnam to protect the South Vietnamese people. That is and always has been the essence of why Australia has been engaged in this conflict.
Then we have a further preposterous statement by Senator Murphy. I mention these statements because they indicate to me the bankruptcy of the approach made by members of the Labor Party on this matter and the blame that must attach to them for the way in which these statements pass through the community so that many gullible people are taken in. Senator Murphy said that no more is being done in Vietnam by the North than was done by Abraham Lincoln. He likened the conflict in Vietnam to the Civil War in America.
Is that the way members of the Australian Labor Party desire to put the conflict in Vietnam to the Australian people? If it is, why do they deny history? Why do they ignore the truth? Why do they persist in misrepresentations and half-truths? That is what is involved in a statement such as that made by Senator Murphy. Let me state a few facts. It seems to me that facts are the last things the Labor Party wishes to hear. The facts have been stated over the years, of course; but the Labor Party, because it has a great preconception about this matter or has some ulterior motive, has decided to ignore the truth.
The fact is that South Vietnam was recognised as a separate national entity by the Australian Government in February 1950.
Opposition senators - No.
– That is the fact. Honourable senators opposite can look up the records. The Republic of South Vietnam applied for admission-
– For the purpose of being rehabilitated.
– That is not so. If the honourable senator will read the records he may, if he is willing to be convinced, be convinced by what he reads. I repeat that the Republic of South Vietnam was recognised by the United Kingdom Government, the United States Government and the Australian Government in February 1950. In September 1952 the Republic of South Vietnam was denied admission to the United Nations by one vote - the veto of the Soviet Union. The United Nations would not have allowed South Vietnam even to get to the threshhold of being admitted unless it had all the requirements of an independent nation. In December 1952 the General Assembly, with one vote in opposition agreed that South Vietnam should be admitted to the United Nations, and it asked the Security Council to take note of its decision. However, with the veto of the Soviet Union, South Vietnam was denied formal recognition. Had it been granted 1 suppose it might have been able to silence some honourable senators opposite who are prepared to read and take what they read as true.
There was a general conference at Bandung in 1954 to which both North Vietnam and South Vietnam were invited. To the Geneva Conference from April to July 1964 North Vietnam and South Vietnam were both invited. Yet still we hear this hoary half truth, untruth, lie, or whatever you care to callit, that this is just a civil war in Vietnam in 1970. The record, for people who care to go to it, shows the correct position. Senator Cavanagh and Senator Georges have said that in some way - whether they mean Australia or the United States is never made clear - we denied the free elections, or the eleotions which were supposed to be held under the Geneva Accords. In the first place, the United States was not required to conduct elections; nor was Australia; nor was North Vietnam; nor was South Vietnam. The elections were to be conducted under the Geneva Accords, the final declaration of the Geneva Conference, by an international control commission which consisted of India, Canada and Poland. If anybody wants to find out why the elections were not held, why does he not go to the body that was to conduct those elections and ask?
On countless occasions I have heard from Labor Party spokesmen the untrue statement that South Vietnam was in breach of the Geneva declaration in failing to hold those elections.
– I hope that after Senator Georges hears the facts from me we will not in future hear him make that claim. The fact is that South Vietnam never signed the Geneva declaration. It was never a party to it. The United States never signed the declaration and was never a party to it. There was only one agreement at Geneva and that was the agreement between the French and the North Vietnamese to cease fire. There was a declaration which all the participating parties except the United States and South Vietnam were prepared to sign and in which they stressed their views for the future. So that whilst North Vietnam may be tied by what it agreed to do in respecting the seventeenth parallel, no one can properly say that South Vietnam is in breach of any agreement; not only because it has never crossed the seventeenth parallel but also because it never signed an agreement itself. In looking to the declaration to determine whether in some ways South Vietnam was supposed to hold free elections, it becomes clear that there is nothing in that declaration which bound South Vietnam to do anything.
At the time the declaration was made South Vietnam publicly announced on several occasions that it did not regard the declaration as binding on it. Any honourable senator who is interested can discover from the records that on 21st July 1954. the final day of the conference, Mr Tran Van Do, who was South Vietnam’s delegate to the conference, made a statement.
– From what are you about to quote?
– From a book written by Sir Alan Watt, former Secretary of the Department of External Affairs, in 1967. Sir Alan Watt wrote:
On the same day Mr Tran Van Do made a further statement which was also distributed to all delegations, the full text of which can be obtained only with difficulty. This statement protested against the fact that the South Vietnamese proposals had been ‘rejected without examination’: against the ‘hasty conclusion of an armistice agreement by the French and Vietminh High Commands containing many provisions detrimental to the political future of the Vietnamese people: and against the fixing of the date of future elections. It concluded as follows: the Government of the State of Vietnam requests that this Conference note that it. does protest solemnly against the way in which the armistice has been concluded and the conditions of this armistice, without taking into account the deep aspirations of the Vietnamese people, and it reserves its full freedom of action in order to safeguard the sacred right of the Vietnamese people to territorial unity, national indepedence and freedom.
That has been part and parcel of the South Vietnamese approach through many years of adversity from the time when an agreement was decided upon, which they did not sign and to which they were not a party. It is well known, even though people are inclined to forget it or to seek to discount it, that from 1956 right through to 1970 the South Vietnamese nation has been subjected to insurgency, terror and the tactics of a country which has never concealed its desire to bring South Vietnam under the control of North Vietnam. That has been the pattern of the last 14 years.
I have some reluctance in raising these matters although they are part of the history of this country. I want to make the point because I hear constantly from members of the Australian Labor Party a version which is contrary to the facts in the record, and contrary to what has occurred. That was strikingly illustrated last night by the unfortunate remarks of Senator Murphy. There has been a misrepresentation of the Australian and United States purpose in Vietnam. We hear from time to time, and we heard in the course of this debate, the suggestion that all that the United States is doing in Vietnam is in some way maintaining its economy. Never let it be forgotten that President Eisenhower sent American troops to South Vietnam prior to the Geneva declaration.
– They were advisers.
– I agree that they were not combat troops. They were advisers. A contingent was sent by President Eisenhower with a view to assisting the South Vietnamese Government. In 1961 the same number, of advisers was in Vietnam as had been there 7 years earlier. There had been no increase. Until people started to write books and reveal what President Kennedy had said, some people were inclined to take the view that President Kennedy was not in support of the Vietnam conflict. In 1961 President Kennedy wrote a letter to President Diem. I propose to read that letter. For the benefit of Senator Georges, the reference is a book entitled Why Vietnam?’ written by Frank N. Trager. I wish to quote the letter because I feel it is important that people hear the facts and that they be shown in the record. On 14th December 1961 President Kennedy wrote: 1 have received your recent letter in which you described so cogently the dangerous conditions caused by North Vietnam’s efforts to take over your country. The situation in your embattled country is well known to me and to the American people. We have been deeply disturbed by the assault on your country. Our indignation has mounted as the deliberate savagery of the Communist programme of assassination, kidnapping and wanton violence became clear.
Your letter underlines what our own information has convincingly shown - that the campaign of force and terror now being waged against your people and your government is supported and directed from the outside by the authorities at Hanoi. They have thus violated the provisions of the Geneva Accords designed to ensure peace in Vietnam and to which they bound themselves in 1954.
At that time, the United States, although not a party to the Accords . . .
– Was this President Kennedy or LBJ?
– This verifies, if the honourable senator wants verification, what I said earlier. The letter continues:
In accordance with that declaration, and in response to your request, we are prepared to help the Republic of Vietnam to protect its people and to preserve its independence. We shall promptly increase our assistance lo your defence effort as well as help relieve the destruction of the floods which you describe. I have already given the orders to get these programmes under way.
The United States, like the Republic of Vietnam, remains devoted to the cause of peace and our primary purpose is to help your people maintain their independence. If the Communist authorities in North Vietnam will stop their campaign to destroy the Republic of Vietnam, the measures we are taking to assist your defence efforts will no longer be necessary. We shall seek to persuade the Communists to give up their attempts of force and subversion. In any case we are confident that the Vietnamese people will preserve their independence and gain the peace and prosperity for which they have sought so hard and so long.
I suggest that there was basis for the increase. The increase was not very great in the early years but, as the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong mounted their attacks in later years, the increase continued.
– Did not the increase begin after the Gulf of Tonkin incident?
– The Gulf of Tonkin incident certainly led to an increase in the number of United Slates forces, but that was not the crucial cause of an increase which had been developing already. The Gulf of Tonkin incident merely brought all the United States people behind the United States effort. In 1964-65 there had been a build up of some 60,000 Vietcong and North Vietnamese troops all engaged in guerilla activity. To meet that type of insurgency, with generally accepted odds of 10 or 12 to 1, as General Taylor said, a massive increase in the South Vietnamese and American troops was called for. It was in that way that the assistance was developed. I have mentioned these matters only because they put into perspective what history reveals. America supported South Vietnam because South Vietnam was being menaced by aggression from the North. 1 sense, with some feeling, that the Labor Party’s approach, insofar as we have heard is expressed in this chamber by some honourable senators, is an approach based on untruths, half truths, lies and misrepresentations.
The second aspect of the Labor Party’s approach is that it is based on appeasement - peace at any price. Indeed, this is pari of the language contained in Senator Murphy’s amendment. 1 would have thought that the argument for peace at any price in our time was discredited by events prior to 1939. The Australian Labor Party still puts forward the same platitude with much the same disregard for the facts of life. The Labor Party says that we must have peace in Vietnam as though this will lead to some panoply of peace throughout the world. We do not achieve peace by hoping and wishing that we will be able to avoid war. War is to be avoided by being prepared to fight aggression. Honourable senators opposite argue constantly for peace at any price.
– The South Vietnamese are fighting only to the last American and to the last Australian.
– I hear Senator Mulvihill and I think that what he says is typical of the cheap approach that is adopted by the Labor Party. That approach does not have anything to commend it because it ignores arguments and does not advance any proposition any distance at all. If the Labor Party seeks to have peace then it has to be prepared to resist those who would be aggressors.
– We could always have peace like there is in Czechoslovakia.
– The Czechoslovakians would have been prepared to resist, but they recognised the enormity of the odds against them. They recognised that they would have fine resolutions and encouragement from the Australian Labor Party and from hosts of other countries, but they knew that they could not get any of the real assistance which would enable them to resist. So they had to succumb. The South Vietnamese Government is prepared to resist and is prepared to call on its allies to assist it. We have given assistance. We sought to preserve security and peace by the hard way, which is involved always. The Australian Labor Party seems to have a clarion call: ‘Get out. Get out and produce peace’. That call is made as though the mere removal of the Australian forces will produce peace. Is the Labor Party prepared to accept that if Australia and America get out of Vietnam the South Vietnamese, unless they were able to defend themselves, would be overrun by the Vietcong and North Vietnamese?
– The Labor Party told us 18 months ago that if the bombing of the North were stopped there would be peace.
– I am coming to that. The Labor Party’s case is quite an interesting one. The success which has attended the efforts of the South Vietnamese, the Americans and their allies in South Vietnam is now at the testing stage. We should not forget that success has attended these efforts, because the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese have been thwarted in their attempt to take over South Vietnam. I hope that the Labor Party agrees that that is a good thing. As a result of thwarting the attempt to take over South Vietnam, we have been able to give increasing security to the South Vietnamese. As a result of events in South Vietnam over the past years the number of North Vietnamese and Vietcong activists in the field has been reduced. Also as a result of what we have been able to do in South Vietnam, there has been an overall reduction in the conflict and in the number of casualties.
These are marks of success. We must be satisfied that we have achieved that success. The results of that success should be maintained and secured. That would involve, as I see it, maintaining our will to continue, as we have been continuing, in order to preserve not only our position but also the strength and development of the South Vietnamese.
I note that no member of the Opposition referred to the views expressed by Sir Robert Thompson when he was in Australia recently. He would be one of the world’s greatest experts on counter insurgency. He was head of the British Military Advisory Commission in Saigon in 1961. He had wide experience, successful in its outcome, in Malaysia in the early 1950s.
– That was the Malaysians versus the Chinese, lt was not members of the same country fighting each other.
– Senator Mulvihill may disparage Sir Robert Thompson if he likes, but Sir Robert’s background and record speak for themselves. There is no need to suggest that what he did in Malaysia is in some way less effective or that his reputation is in some way less worth looking at because it happened to be a conflict as was described by the honourable senator. During an interview Sir Robert said:
The present position in South Vietnam is very much a test of will and resolution, lt is not only a question of American resolution or the resolution of the allies of South Vietnam. It is a question of South Vietnam’s resolution and if South Vietnam sees her allies wobbling, she is likely to wobble. And I would say that this year is very much a test of resolution rather than a test in the military sense.
Sir Robert was asked:
Do you think the military effort in South Vietnam is wobbling?
No, 1 don’t. 1 think the military situation at present is better than it has ever been. I was not against a partial Australian withdrawal in line with the Americans. The question put to me was about total withdrawal, which 1 said would be psychologically bad. Partial withdrawal is a matter for discussion between your Government, South Vietnam and the United Stales.
He was asked again about withdrawal. His answer was:
What I am getting at is that during this year we are seeing as much a test of will as we are seeing performance on the battlefield. While the improved situation allows a measure of troop withdrawals which President Nixon is carrying out, this does not mean that one wants any total withdrawals by anyone at this present moment, because that shows a loss of political will.
Sir Robert then made a statement which I think satisfactorily answers what is often said about the domino theory. I think I should refer to his statement. Sir Robert Thompson said:
If there was a total withdrawal you would get a total crumbling of the free world in South East Asia. A threat to Australia would develop. It would take a period, but it would happen. I believe in the domino theory because I ask the dominoes all the time and they believe in it too.
Possibly the dominoes ought to ask the Australian Labor Party in Opposition and they might then change their minds. Those are the comments of a man whose experience and expertise in this field is to be acknowledged.
One then comes to another aspect of the Labor Party approach which 1 would say is based on misconception, preconception, and many self-delusions. I understood that the Labor Party policy in 1966 was that, as a means of bringing the war to an end, Australia should forthwith stop the bombing of North Vietnam, it should recognise the Liberation Front as a party to negotiations and it should transform the operations in Vietnam into what are called ‘holding operations’. At that time and in that situation that view was not shared by the Government nor by the Australian people. But with a change in events over the period we have now seen a cessation of the bombing of North Vietnam, a recognition of the Liberation Front as a party to negotiations, and a transformation of the operations in South Vietnam to holding operations. But have we an end to the war? Of course we have not. 1 ask: What do we find the Labor Party now says? The Labor Party now says that we should pull out of South Vietnam immediately. If we pull out immediately, irrespective of what the United States of America or the South Vietnamese Government may think, I suppose the Labor Party will say that there would be an end to the war. I am not sure if it, in fact, says that would be the end to the war because I suppose it is really not interested in what happens to the South Vietnamese people. All it is concerned about is obtaining some cheap political advantage and being in line with certain elements which, unfortunately, are showing increasing influence within the ranks of the Labor Party. What surprises me is the fact that here is a party which in its origin and in many stages of in early history was concerned with thi cause of self-determination and people having the right to determine where they shall live. I have always fell that Dr Evatt made that sort of piea in 1948 but one finds that that is an ideal which the Labor Party long ago left behind.
So much of what is heard from the Labor Party today is directed - as T have sensed it has been directed - in somewhat despicable, personal manner, attributing faults and discreditable motives to people who do not happen to agree with it. I have sat. here and I have heard this today from Senator Bishop; T heard it the other day from Senator Kennelly and Senator Cavanagh; and I have heard it from Senator Georges. 1 think.
– You did not hear it from me.
– I accept what you say unreservedly and 1 withdraw any suggestion that you said it. The question is asked: Why do 1 not go to Vietnam? As if that in some way aids the argument. It does not aid the argument. 1 listened to Senator Kennelly the other night and 1 felt he was grossly offensive. I should think he would not have often used the forms of the Senate in the way he did on that night. One is not without some feeling, but it does not advance the argument to suggest that my head is covered with blood or my hands are white, or that I am in some way war thirsty. Senator Rae was subjected to the same sort of insult and attack. All I say is that it does not advance the argument. I am not going to be intimidated by remarks which can only have as their purpose the desire to embarrass, to silence and, in fact, to stop one saying what one believes it is one’s duty to say. Not very long ago I heard Senator Wheeldon stating baldly and, it would appear, taking pleasure in the stating- of it, that 1 took amusement in the fact that some 300 Australians had died in Vietnam. Again I say that is despicable, untrue, and it does not advance the argument. ft is not for me to tell the Labor Party its business but I believe that the Labor Party should get rid of this hatred which Senator Byrne was referring to and should begin to approach issues on the basis of whether they are right or wrong and whether a stand can be supported by an argument good or bad. When it uses that sort of approach debate in this chamber will then be uplifted. I sense that it has not been to the prestige or the credit of the Senate to hear remarks such as those bandied about by Senator Kennelly the other night in a way which he must know in his heart is not true and which does not raise or elevate his contribution to debate. I can only say that the other night members of the Opposition felt far more tender about the feelings of the Head of State of Yugoslavia than they did about the feelings of honourable senators who were sitting in this chamber. If that is the way they want to do it, of course they have the opportunity to have their point of view made known throughout this country. I assure them I will make it known. But I suggest the debate on these issues can be conducted on a far higher level than that.
– Do you question our sincerity? You have to take it back. You did it to the postal workers. You defamed them one night and we gave it to you back, and you should noi squeal.
– I have not. I have not and I hope I never shall pour any abuse or scorn on any individual senator in this chamber for the basic reason - if one puts aside the question of decency - that I. feel debate in the national forum should be conducted on a higher level. Because I believe in national service training and the commitment in Vietnam I support it and 1 am proud to support it. J shall act in accordance wilh my beliefs and I shall take whatever opportunity I can to expound and justify as best I am able the Government’s action and the reasons why it has committed troops to Vietnam. I do this not only because I believe in it but because I believe the Australian people are entitled to know as fully as national security can permit the reasons why we have put people into Vietnam. If the reasons which the Government has advanced are nol good reasons then I think it is up to those who oppose us to show better reasons - 1 underline the word ‘reasons’ - and arguments why the Government is wrong. That is something which the Opposition has disdained to do.
– Have you ever been denied the right to express your views?
– I am not suggesting I have been denied the right to express my view, but I am suggesting that when people engage in the sort of abuse and offensive personal tactics which members of your Party engaged in in this chamber - not only against myself but against Senator Rae - the only purpose they can have is to embarrass and to silence. All I say is that those remarks can be made as much as people want to make them but I shall not be silenced and I shall not be embarrassed.
I am taking this time, because it is open to me, to stress what I feel is the unfortunate approach which the Labor Party has followed. The approach which it follows is more and more identified as being in keeping with the line followed by the Communist Party and by organisations whose views one reads in publications put out by Communists and others associated with them. What 1 am saying is that if one follows a line which becomes increasingly identified with the line which is followed by another Party, then one will find there is an association built up in the public eye. It is all right if, when that association is built up, you are prepared to accept and acknowledge that you have a common policy, but so often there is a denial that there is a common policy. All I say is that members of the Labor Party in this place have been saying that they have fought the engagement in Vietnam from its commencement. That is the sort of view one reads about in the Tribune*. In 1966 we heard from the Australian Labor Party: Stop the bombing’. That again is the view of the other Party. When the bombing stopped we heard: ‘Pull out the troops’, and that again is the view we have heard from the other Party. When real achievements have been made and there is some prospect of the original purpose of the engagement being met, we then find that the Labor Party wishes to put it all in jeopardy. It is tragic that significant sections of the Australian Labor Party are influenced by the Communists in the trade union section of that Party to pursue a line which will serve the interests not of the Party but of those who put up these policies.
– Name them.
– I will. To indicate the point 1 am making I point out that on 15th December 1969 a meeting was held in the Fitzroy Town Hall in Melbourne which was chaired by the President of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party. The meeting was variously estimated to consist of from 200 to 300 trade unionists representing 32 unions. A resolution was passed at that meeting which called upon national servicemen in Vietnam to lay down their arms and mutiny. In fact, it urged them to desert their colleagues and commit treason in the face of the enemy.
– It is not true.
– It is true.
– It is not true.
– It is true. I do not wish to embark upon an argument which consists of me saying it is true and the honourable senator saying it is not true when I know from the record that it is true. I know also from the record that the Leader of the Australian Labor Party, Mr Whitlam, expressly repudiated that resolution.
– What was wrong with his repudiation? One minute the honourable senator condemns him and then he goes the other way.
– All I am saying is that this resolution was carried by a group of unionists in Victoria, presided over by the State President of the Australian Labor Party. May I say in passing that not one of those unions would have tolerated an individual unionist who, in pursuit of what he believed to be his conscientious belief or right, chose not to go along with his colleagues. He would have been called a scab and pushed out of the union. Worse may have happened to him. These unions were calling on national servicemen to scab on their fellows - to use a word which I have heard used in this place - although they would not have permitted one of their unionists to do it in his own union. I mention this fact because Senator Milliner asked me to give an example. The President of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party has, as I understand it, never since repudiated that resolution. He said that he chaired the meeting in his capacity as a union president or union secretary and not as president of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party; yet he owes his position in the Victorian Labor Party to the self same unions because a ticket is put up before every State Council meeting of the Victorian Labor Party and that ticket is selected not by the rank and file of the Australian Labor Party, diminishing as it is with so many expulsions, but by a group of unionists and within that group of unionists are men who owe their position to the control which is exercised by the Communists.
– They owe their position to the Trades Hall Council.
– That is another matter. They owe their positions to the Communist secretaries and executives; that is where the control really lies in Victoria. One can speak, as one does, to individual branch members of the Australian Labor Party. They know the position. They cannot make any headway in the organisation as they know the control rests in the organisation behind the executive. It is an organisation which is strongly Communist influenced and it determines who the major office bearers will be. That is where the menace lies in so many of the approaches the Labor Party puts forward. This is the sort of thing which does not get a public airing.
Only 2 years ago the same Victorian Executive was criticised by the Leader of the Labor Party, Mr Whitlam, as disruptive, disloyal and destructive of all that the Australian Labor Party stood for. That was at the same time as Mr Whitlam was espousing Mr Harradine’s complaints that there were Communist friends within the ranks of the Australian Labor Party who were trying to silence him. This is the sort of thing which, without any change in the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party, Mr Whitlam now swallows. He espouses so many of these views about Vietnam because he believes that this is the way to power. I think he feels that when he attains power he will be able to achieve things which will make him independent of his rulers at the present time.
– Is the honourable senator accepting the fact that he will be Prime Minister?
– All I am saying is that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) survived the last general election and has come back with renewed strength. May I say that he has - and the honourable senators opposite may dislike my statement as much as they like - the loyalty of all who sit behind him. He deserves that loyalty and his conduct encourages it.
– Mr Whitlam did not get loyalty yesterday.
– I do not know what happened in the Labor Party Caucus yesterday. I do not know whether the Press was there. But I understand that Mr Whitlam did not have nor did he encourage the sort of loyalty which the Prime Minister can command from within his own ranks. Senator Cavanagh informed us last week that the Labor Party is now taking leadership of the protest and the dissent about the engagement in Vietnam. That leadership, together with the activities of the Australian Council of Trade Unions will be, no doubt, centered on the moratorium which is to be held in either April or May of this year. One should remember that the moratorium originated in East Berlin. I refer to an address given by Mr Tran Kim Phuong, the Ambassador of Vietnam to Australia, on 24th January this year. He said:
The real objective of anti-war demonstrations and moratoriums is not to stop the war but to use public pressure to the utmost and the concentration of psychological warfare to force an immediate and total withdrawal of Allied troops out of South Vietnam before the South Vietnamese are ready to lake over.
It is not a surprise for people who know that the original decision to promote and organise Moratorium Day all over the world was taken in East Berlin last year by the Congress of Communist Youth. It is only unfortunate that many well-meaning people have eulisted their support without realising that the faceless Communist backroom organisers are manipulating from behind.
Moratorium demonstrations have occurred in the United States of America. We are now following the American pattern. I suppose we will have them here. Already one sees the propaganda and the pamphlets which are put out by the various bodies which espouse, for example, solidarity with the National Liberation Front. The ACTU has now gone in behind these bodies. I suspect that the Australian Labor Party, by the decision of its Federal Executive last week, is proposing to do the same. We know that the moratorium has been supported by a document signed by sixty-eight members of the Labor Party, including members of Parliament, and, in particular, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator
Murphy). We find also that around this moratorium movement is gathering a group of people whose objectives must be suspect. I refer to the Melbourne ‘Sun’ of 2nd February 1970, and in particular to a report of a meeting at the Richmond Town Hall concerning the Victorian moratorium campaign. It reads:
Mr Rod Quinn, an executive member of the Vietnam Co-ordinating Committee, moved that the meeting change the statement-
This was the statement concerning the moratorium campaign - to remove the words-
And I ask the Senate to take note- that all actions taken be of a peaceful, nonviolent nature’.
The article continues:
He said plans to take over Melbourne streets as part of the moratorium were a form of violence, although he hoped that the demonstration would proceed peacefully.
One speaker said that the stoning of the US Embassy by demonstrators on Independence Day, July 4, 1968, had been an effective form of protest.
Because of it, our protest went around the world’, he said.
A university student said: ‘The war in Vietnam is violent, and the violence will be extended to us by the other arm of the Government, their policemen.’
Are we to be asked to lie down while the police ride over us?’
The chairman of the editorial board of the Catholic Worker’ newspaper, Mr John Ryan, was heckled loudly when he spoke in favour of nonviolence.
Mr Jim Newell, of the Society of Friends, said: We know of some people who have gone into demonstrations with the clear intention of provoking violence.’
Mr Quinn’s motion was carried 102 votes to 86.
What are we to expect when this moratorium takes place? What are we to expect from the Australian Labor Party? I was disturbed to hear Senator Cavanagh recently say - and it is in the record - that the sort of violence and activities which flow in these demonstrations - the provocations that occur - were due to the fact that the Government would not repeal the National Service Act. It is a misuse of the word provocation’, but if that is the stance which is taken, then obviously if you remain silent, your silence is provocation. You just do nothing, and that is provocation. It is a misuse of words. 1 have taken the time of the Senate, and I make no apology for doing so. I think it is important that on an issue such as this - I have heard successive members of the Labor Party get up and say that this is a great issue - we on the Government side should be prepared, as we all are prepared, to sustain and expound the policies which we follow. We have nothing to hide from the Australian people, and we believe that when the Australian people know, and are given the means of knowing, what the Government is standing for, we will have their overwhelming support. So long as the Labor Party follows the tactics and methods which it is adopting, and continues with the associations which either wittingly or unwittingly it permits itself to have, then it will find itself increasingly regarded as not being concerned with Australia’s best interests. I think that the way in which the Labor Party is currently conducting this anti-Vietnam agitation reflects no credit on it and certainly does nothing to aid a proper and sensible appreciation of the issues in this country. I have pleasure in supporting the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply.
– I should like to congratulate Senator Donald Cameron and Senator Brown on the very able way in which they delivered their maiden speeches in the Senate in the last few days. It was very refreshing to hear two newly elected senators express ideals and ideas of a practical nature and, with the courage of their convictions, put before the Senate a way in which Australia should live in the future. It was an alternative to the negative way in which this Government brought Australia to a stage where people at every level are uncertain. Our primary producers are extremely concerned about their means of existence. Their markets are being frittered away by the cost spiral. We are seeing the sell-out of our natural resources.
Every level of government - State government, local government and semigovernmental instrumentalities - is experiencing some difficulties because of the inflationary spiral. The Australian people are looking for a lead, but nothing is forthcoming from this Government. The Governor-General’s Speech gave no hope to the people who are so concerned about the future. But inherent in the speeches of Senator Donald Cameron and Senator Brown was an outline of the way in which the Labor Party believes that this country should be directing its energies. The Senate has an asset in these two newly elected senators who down through the years will continue to make their contributions.
This afternoon in the Senate we have been exposed to a series of speeches which have done no credit at all to the status or dignity of this chamber. We have heard a series of imputations and sneers thrown across the chamber. I believe that when they concluded their speeches, honourable senators who were responsible for this conduct must have felt lesser men for having indulged in that type of activity in the Senate. Charges of parliamentary incompetence and opportunism were directed at the Opposition because of the amendment which was moved on our behalf by Senator Murphy. After so much smoke, it is interesting to note that, apart from the 1 day sitting of the Parliament last year, the last occasion on which an amendment was moved to the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply, was in 1961. This illustrates that any stick is good enough to beat the dog politically, but we should like honourable senators opposite to try to keep to the facts occasionally when they make such attacks.
Of course, it is quite easy to understand the attitude adopted by the Australian Democratic Labor Party. This is an election year for the Senate, and possibly two members of the DLP will conclude their terms in this Parliament on 30th June 1971. Members of the DLP have come into this Parliament under a false banner, and I think the Australian people have reached the stage where they are satisfied that nothing which the members of the DLP have said or done during their period of trial here justifies their remaining in the Senate. The DLP is a form of political life which needs a host. It is not a self supporting entity. It hovers between the Government and the Opposition like a swarm of honey bees. On this occasion it does not suit the DLP’s plans to feed off its favourite host, the Liberal Party, and it felt that because this is an election year for the Senate it would change and have a bit of a suck at the Labor Party. The members of the DLP thought that they were being politically clever by adopting this expediency of introducing an ineffectual, apologetic amendment, and that they could force us to support the amendment.
Senator Byrne referred to occasions on which members of the DLP supported the Austraiian Labor Party, but he conveniently forgot to mention the many important occasions on which they returned and put their little fangs back into their old host, their protectors, their political friends, their political bedmates. When a vote is to be taken on an important issue we never expect to receive the support of the DLP. The members of the DLP were shown up in their true colours when they made a lot of fuss and bother about Mr Gordon Freeth’s statement on Russian presence in the Indian Ocean, but when election time came their preferences went to their old hosts, their good friends. It was rather interesting to hear Senator Byrne, who usually does not become emotional when making a speech, refer to the ALP bitterness, but I think he did this because we did not fall for the thimble and pea trick which the DLP expected us to fall for on this occasion. The DLP claims that it has been elevated to the position of official Opposition. If its representatives are so politically naive as to claim that because they were able, through a series of tricks, to beat the official Opposition in presenting an amendment in this chamber, and that not only the people in this Senate but also the people outside the Senate can place any credence in their sincerity, they have a lot to learn about politics.
We have introduced our amendment in our own time, exercising our prerogative as the Opposition in this chamber. Before I elaborate on some of the very important features of this amendment I would like to say a few words about Senator Greenwood’s apologia for the Government’s military adventure in Vietnam. He spent a lot of time trying to explain the Government’s invidious position at the present time with its friends falling away - the few that it had when it originally embarked on this adventure in Vietnam. Some of them are leaving token troops in Vietnam and others are withdrawing altogether. Many of the original signatories to the Geneva Convention would not have anything whatever to do with the Government at the military level when this step was taken. I would like to ask Senator
Greenwood why he has to put on this mock front if his Government is ashamed to declare war. He knows very well that we are involved in a war. All the features of war are present - it is costly, murderous and immoral. Yet his Government is not prepared to do the right thing and declare war. It is hiding behind every semantic trick in the book just to be able to fool the public about what it is actually involved in. So as to enlighten Senator Greenwood I will quote from a document signed by Australia at the Geneva conference.
– Which document is this?
– This is the Geneva Accord signed al the Geneva conference.
– A document that Australia signed?
– Yes. Clause 6 of the document reads:
The conference recognises that the essential purpose of the agreement relating to Vietnam is to settle military questions wilh a view to ending hostilities, and that I he military demarcation line should nol in any way be interpreted as constituring a political or territorial boundary. . . .
I do not think that Senator Greenwood realises that this is part of the agreement. He continues to draw a line of demarcation. He has confused it with the unilateral agreement of the United States of America. Clause 6 continues:
Clause 7 states:
The conference declares that, so far as Vietnam is concerned, the settlement of political problems, effected on the basis of respect for the principles of independence, unity, and territorial integrity, shall permit the Vietnamese people to enjoy the fundamental freedoms, guaranteed by democratic institutions, established as a result of free general elections by secret ballot . . .
I would like to refer to the American ceasefire agreement which was not officially published but of which the main provisions were outlined by M. Mendes-France and Mr Eden and published by the British, French and United States Press.
– America signed no such document.
– This is one that America supported. I am trying to put the honourable senator on the right track. He is trying to confuse the Senate. That document states:
Partition of Vietnam. The State ot Vietnam would be partitioned into two approximately equal areas by a demarcation line near the 17th parallel, the northern part (including the ports of Hanoi and Haiphong) passing under the control of the Vietminh Government and the southern part remaining under the control of the Vietnamese Government.
This was the arrangement made to perpetuate the colonial history of Indo-China. I do not have to reiterate this history which goes back 900 years during which the Vietnamese people, a gallant and proud race, defended themselves against all-comers. The Chinese invaded Indo-China and tried to impose their will on the people who, through their own efforts, with the same grit and the same courage as they are displaying today, threw out the invaders. We see the results today. The greatest power in the world is engaged in Vietnam. It has there 500,000 troops with all modern equipment, with napalm and all of the other murderous modern weapons. In spite of the destruction of the ordinary life of the country, the burning of villages, the maiming and murder of women and children, the Vietnamese people are resisting. Where are they getting the will to resist if the cause of the foreigners - including ourselves - on the soil of Vietnam is just? This is the question that we have to ask ourselves. This is the point that the Australian Labor Party makes. This is an immoral war for a sophisticated country such as Australia.
– Where does the immorality come in?
– The immorality arises because we have no right to be there.
– We were asked to go there.
– We were not invited to go to Vietnam. During World War II the Japanese, of whom Bao Dai was a puppet, took over Indo-China but the people cleared them from their country. The British came in immediately after the war and assisted the French to return. The French were hated by the indigenous Vietnamese people. We assisted the French to go back. The Vietnamese people fought the French, as we know. They were able eventually to drive the French out by defeating them at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.
– That is not so.
– This is so. The honourable senator is distorting the situation when he says that the Communists were involved. Despite the Australians, Americans, English, Indians and Japanese Ho Chi Minh has been fighting the battle of the Vietnamese people.
– He was a Communist.
– It is apparent from the tributes paid to him from all over the world that he was a beloved Vietnamese. That is the point that must be recognised. Merely because a man is a confirmed Communist we have no right to adjudge that he is the devil or has no capacity or good qualities. The honourable senator is a young man, but possibly even he was only too glad to have the assistance of the Chinese, the Russians, the Czechoslovakians and Polish as gallant allies during World War II.
– They did not start off as our allies.
– We will have a discussion on that at some other time. The position in which we find ourselves now is that we are involved in a war which is immoral and which we cannot win. As a result we are dissipating the goodwill which has been built up by Australians. I am not referring to Government supporters, the hawks and the bloodthirsty warmongers that we have in our community. They and similar people in the United States, Germany and other parts of the world love wars because they can make fortunes during wars. Great fortunes are made during wartime. They see this as a great opportunity to pour arms into Vietnam, to have their factories and machines of war churning out their products, lt keeps them in business and we never know when a really big war might break out.
Another problem which we must bear in mind is that while we are involved in Vietnam and have our sights set on Vietnam other trouble spots could envelop us in a much worse catastrophe. There has been a tremendous amount of misrepresentation by the Government of the situation in Vietnam to justify our participation in the war. Senator Greenwood has said that we did not sign the agreement and that the United States did not sign it, but this is a mere technicality which is announced to the Australian people in order to confuse them. Our reason for being in Vietnam is to try to buy the assistance of the United States for our future. There is no doubt about that. We are not there because of the Vietnamese people; we are there because the United States is involved and we feel that in becoming involved with the United States we are buying time for ourselves and assistance for ourselves if ever the occasion should arise when we need it.
The policy of the Australian Labor Party has been well advertised. It has been expressed on numerous occasions. We believe that the solution of this problem of the war in Vietnam lies in giving the Vietnamese people the opportunity to solve their own problems. The United States has realised this and it is the policy which has been adopted by the United States over the last couple of years. It was brought about by the American people realising the situation they had been led into and realising that they had not been properly informed. By getting out into the streets and demonstrating against the war in Vietnam they were able to excercise influence on the President of the United States so that for the first time in the history of that country a President had to resign his position. He realised the hopeless position that he had led his country into; so he resigned and got out. He was succeeded by a man who campaigned about the country on the platform that he was going to withdraw United States troops from Vietnam.
– He said he would end the war.
– He was seeking to end the war and one of the steps towards that end was to stop the bombing and withdraw the troops. They were both parts of the Australian Labor Party’s policy. We find this statement in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech:
My Government is glad to note that the increasing capacity of the South Vietnamese to defend themselves has already permitted the withdrawal of some Allied Forces. Should the future situation permit a further substantial withdrawal of troops - beyond those announced by President Nixon on 16th December 1969- then in consultation with the Government of the Republic of Vietnam and the Government of the United States, some Australian troops will be included, at some stage, in the numbers scheduled for such withdrawal.
– ls that a positive statement?
– No, it is not a positive statement. It is an evasion by the Government of its responsibility and it was said to give some credence to what the people were told during the election campaign. lt is what the people have been led to expect of this Government. If the United States indicates that it will withdraw its troops, I believe that Australian troops should be entitled to know when and how they will be withdrawn in the same proportion. It is a nebulous statement to say that some Australian troops will be included at some stage. This is just a mockery of the responsibilities that we have towards the Australian people and the Australian troops.
The general attitude of the Government over our involvement in Vietnam has been to try to cover up its great mistake, its great miscalculation and its great misjudgment in becoming involved in Vietnam. As long as the Government continues lo follow its negative policy it will continue to lead Australia into disrepute in the area of the world in which we have to live. We are here irrevocably. For geographical reasons we must live here. There is no way in which we can move from this part of the world, and we would not want to do so. But at least we should be building up goodwill with our neighbours to the fullest extent. In my view the people of South East Asia - the Indonesians, the Filipinos, Malaysians, Indians, Pakistanis and other people in this area who have seen what has gone on in Vietnam and the devastation which has taken place - must be fearful that the policy that we have been following might some day be adopted in their country. We feel that the Government has failed to face up to its responsibilities. It has failed the people of Australia by not giving them a constructive lead out of the morass into which they have been led. The amendment that we have proposed is, we believe, of very great importance and it should receive immediate attention.
The first part of the amendment to which attention has been drawn is the failure of the Government to provide a programme for adequate defence equipment and industries. In the ministerial statement on defence we heard an announcement about defence equipment which had been promised. I should like to compare the paucity of this programme with the programme in part of the Pacific area to which we must give serious consideration. I refer to Japan which is now the world’s third industrial power. Despite Article Nine of the Japanese Constitution, Japan’s defence forces are expanding at a rate which, I should think, necessitates a very close examination by countries in the Asian area. For the purpose of comparison let me refer to projected increases in our forces and relate them to increases in Japan’s forces.
– Make it a passing reference because the statement you have is before the Senate.
– I can refer to it without going into detail. I have here an article written by Mr Swadesh R. de Roy of Tokyo which states:
The sixties have placed Japan firmly on the summit of the non-Communist world, with an economy second in size only to the unsurpassable United States.
That is a most important observation because our natural resources are playing their part in the tremendous increase in the economy of Japan. The author refers then to the coming decade - the 1970s - which will see Japan matching its economic strength with a military strength. Although the build up in Japan’s armed forces will appear constitutionally only as a build up in its defence forces, it nevertheless will have a very big impact on the balance of power not only in the Pacific and Asian area but also throughout the world. Inside Japan I understand that there is quite a lot of opposition to this rearmament but 1 have never heard one mention in this Parliament of any concern about it. After all, it is one of the facts of history that our gallant allies in one war become our enemies in the next. War is one of mankind’s activities with mankind not always knowing who its next opponent will be. In Japan there is not sufficient opposition to the contravention of Article Nine of its constitution which states specifically that Japan is not to rearm.
Australia’s experiences with Japan were such that we should insist that any development in armaments, such as has been referred to in this article and which are big enough to make Japan an influence on the world balance of power, should be known in Australia and discussed openly in this Parliament. The forces in Japan are described as self-defence forces. They are supposed to cope with localised or small scale invasions, sharing the task of strategic defence with the United States which in turn is responsible under the mutual security pact for strategic offensive roles.
On paper Japan cannot be belligerent but even though Mr Sato, the Prime Minister of Japan, has been able to keep criticism down to a very low key, rearmament has in effect been going on in Japan for 15 years. All three Services have developed on a steady scale and their infrastructure has been developed in proportion. Japan makes 97% of its ammunition and 84% of its aircraft, tanks, guns, naval craft and other military equipment. It is spending 5 billion yen which in turn gives Japanese industry plenty of scope to expand its defence manufacturers. The 3-year plan which is now in operation in Japan authorises manpower to be augmented to a total of 180,000. In order to increase the mobility of its land units, 30 large helicopters, 53 medium size helicopters, 160 armoured transport vehicles and 10 transport planes will be added. To replace obsolete tanks, 280 medium size tanks of the 61 type will be obtained.
Turning to Japan’s maritime force, efforts will be made to strengthen defence along the coasts, straits and in other sea areas adjacent to Japan, and also to increase the ability to secure the safety of maritime traffic. Some fourteen destroyers, including a 3,900-ton vessel equipped with ship to air missiles, and two 4,800 ton destroyers carrying helicopters, five 800-ton submarines and 35 other vessels will be constructed with a total tonnage amounting to 48,000 tons. In addition, 46 anti-submarine patrol planes, 14 anti-submarine flying boats and 33 antisubmarine helicopters will be added. In Japan’s Air Force 2 Hawk ground to air missile battalions will be formed and preparations made for the formation of another battalion. In addition, 2 Nike Hercules missile battalions will be organised and preparations made for the formation of one more battalion. Nike Hercules missiles and Hawk launchers and missiles will be produced in Japan.
Let me compare that situation with the increase in our defence equipment. Here is our effort: One light destroyer (patrol) detailed design to cost S5m; 84 observation helicopters to cost $23m; 42 utility helicopters to cost $31m; 11 vertical take-off and landing aircraft for fire support to cost SI 3.2m; the construction of a naval communications station at a cost of $3. 8m; the overhaul and modernisation of gun mounts for the guided missile destroyers to cost S8.1m; the provision of 2 Oberon class submarines, 6 low cover radars, 1 logistic cargo ship for the Army, 10 additional Skyhawks for the Navy and 2 twin-engined support and training aircraft, all of which will cost $81m. Here we have the Government in a very loudly heralded defence statement outlining what it intends to do to defend an area the size of Australia, and on the other hand there is a country which is prohibited from rearming and which openly can boast an increase in its weapons of war to the extent that I have mentioned to the Senate.
We have had propaganda thrust upon us often by the mass media - sometimes for political purposes, of course, but it is part of the whole machinery of keeping people fearful - to the effect that our potential enemy will be Red China or some other country far distant from Australia. We know very well their inability to launch an invasion by sea but here we have Japan, a country which we remember very vividly attempted to overrun us in the past, and still we are content not only to overlook the ominous undertones of rearmament in Japan-
– You should be careful. You are departing from the Party line. You are becoming a hawk. You will be supporting national service next.
– I would not be surprised if we did not hear loud cheers coming from the little corner group at this rearmament, and support for” the move by the present Prime Minister of Japan to delete Article Nine and for Japan to become a fully fledged military and economically strong nation again. This lesson of history may fall on very deaf ears as far as the Government is concerned, but I believe that it is one about which the people of Australia should be properly advised. The Government adopts all these postures, participates in foreign expeditions, establishes
Australia as a military nation and, although it is not prepared to declare war, embarks on a war with all the consequences of a war; yet it has no policy of internal defence other than the measly and very mediocre contribution it is making.
We claim to be an affluent society. We claim to have vast untapped riches, reserves undreamt of and contracts running into hundreds of millions of dollars for the sale of our raw materials; but too much of our wealth is being directed into the effort to make Australia a military power as well as a strong economic power. This Government is so short sighted that it is prepared to follow exactly the same pattern as it did before. We should look after ourselves and the continent in which we live instead of dissipating our energies in other parts of the world, as we have done so often in the past. So, there is a big lesson to be learnt. It is a lesson of history. It is one to which our attention should be directed. The failure of the Government to provide adequate defence equipment and industries in this country is something for which it should be condemned. 1 have already spoken of our attitude towards Vietnam. Despite the attitude of the Government at the present time, it will never be able to convince me. I am sure that the Australian people more and more will come to see the negative nature of the policy adopted by the Government over the years and will be ashamed that we had a government that led us into this war. There is only one objective that we can possibly pursue in an attempt to compensate in some way for the tremendous destruction and tremendous misery that we have brought to this segment of humanity.
I said before that our enemies in the last war are now our allies. But fundamentally these people are human beings. They have the same hopes, ambitions, wishes and desires as we have. They want to live within their family environment. They want to bring up their children. They have hopes that their children will inherit something better than they themselves inherited. They believe that their children are entitled to education and health facilities. They want to be able to elevate their standard of living and their dignity. These are entitlements that they should have equally with us. But what have we done towards that end? We have not done one thing. Our whole engagement in Vietnam has been of a negative nature. We have been engaged in genocide in Vietnam. We have been engaged in systematically decimating a species of the human race.
– What about the North Vietnamese? What are they doing there?
– Possibly they are doing the same. But that does not excuse us.
– Who went there first?
– The Vietnamese were there first. This is a case of the chicken and the egg. We have to give an explanation to the generations of people who will follow us in this country. We also have to face up to the people throughout the world who will evaluate us as a race.
– -Is the honourable senator talking about the Communist world?
– We cannot pull the blind down. We have to admit that many people throughout the world are Communist. Cannot Senator Greenwood realise that we do not have gas ovens to put the Communists in; that we cannot do what was done- in Indonesia when the coup occurred there? Certain people were able to get the Army to move around the country. They were able to have any person they suspected either shut up or put into the concentration camps that were scattered around Indonesia. That is how they solved their problem there - if they have solved it. I do not think they have. That is the way they got on top of the situation temporarily.
– Who wants to do anything like that here?
– In view of the way the honourable senator is pressing his point of view, that is the ultimate solution - the Nacht und Nebel’ system of Hitler. He thought that he could solve the Jewish problem by annihilating the Jews. I have yet to hear the honourable senator say clearly that we will solve the problems of the world by co-existence. I do not think he believes that the goodies and the badies, the free world and the unfree world, or whatever he likes to call it. will ever be able to exist together.
Part of Democratic Labor Party policy is for Australia to have nuclear arms, to be armed to the teeth and to be able to take a posture by which we will make all the other nations of the world quiver. The DLP expects the Government to arm Australia with nuclear arms. That is the negative type of solution that it would have us adopt, lt was even opposed to Australia signing the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty which was signed by the sensible countries quite a considerable time ago. Those countries have agreed that human beings have to come to agreements such as this and that human beings, for their own self-preservation, must agree not to proliferate nuclear weapons.
Yet the DLP and the Government were reluctant for Australia to sign. They put up all the excuses in the world until just after the election. They were not prepared to go before their judges at election time and speak in favour of signing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. But as soon as they got the election over and done with they realised very well that they were only becoming foolish in the eyes of other people throughout the world by not signing the Treaty. This is the sort of alternative that the Government is trying to put forward. This is the negative attitude of our Government.
I believe that certain forces are already organised within the United Nations. The United Nations is the only hope of mankind, but our Government will not support it. Our Government is supporting little rumps and negative sections of the United Nations. This is our great problem.
– If the honourable senator intends to keep speaking we can rise at 5.45; but if he concludes soon we can finish this debate before dinner.
– I did not think we could finish before dinner.
– If the honourable senator stops speaking now we can finish before dinner, I hope; otherwise we will rise at 5.45. The honourable senator can make his own judgment.
– I have quite a few notes, but I will compromise. I will have the opportunity to develop these matters on other occasions. Let me say this in conclusion: The amendment that we have moved is constructive and imaginative. We make no apology to the DLP for giving full consideration to the matters we have raised in our amendment. We are under no obligation to the DLP to support its amendment. Down through the months and the years members of the DLP have shown to us that they are further to the right and more reactionary than members of the Government parties. Any time they seek our support it. is for their own political purposes. Therefore, we do not propose to support their amendment. We ask the Senate to give our amendment its full support. We hope that our amendment will be carried because in carrying it we will be entering a path along which the people of Australia can see a little hope for the future instead of the path of negative policies on every level along which the Government is leading this country.
– I will be brief. 1 wish to reaffirm the message of loyalty to the Throne in terms of the motion moved by Senator Rae and seconded by Senator Munsell. I congratulate them on their contributions to the debate. I also offer my congratulations to Senator Donald Cameron and Senator Brown who delivered their maiden speeches. We have all been through that ordeal. I am sure that now they have placed it behind them they will feel more relaxed in the work of the Senate.
The Address-in-Reply is an address on a conspectus, or a comprehensive survey of the proposed legislation of the Government. The Speech from the Throne embraces the views of the executive Government. It enunciates a number of vital government policies which are, in the view of the Government, in the best interests of the people of Australia, lt foreshadows and forecasts the legislation proposed for the impending sittings. The Speech reflects the views of the Government in relation to foreign affairs, defence, responsibility to our territories, and our domestic economy.
During the debate that has proceeded for 2 weeks these aspects have been covered. It is true that a significant emphasis has been placed on Australia’s involvement in Vietnam, and that perhaps over emphasis has been placed on the totality of foreign affairs tied up with that question. Nevertheless, I believe that the debate has given a foretaste of what these sittings will involve. I say that much of the matter in the Speech and that mentioned in this debate will evolve more thoroughly in depth in the ensuing weeks. It is significant for instance, that Senator O’Byrne has spoken on defence matters. I read to the Senate a statement on defence matters which took 1 hour 10 minutes to read. It is a comprehensive statement. We took note of it and it will become a vehicle for quite a comprehensive debate.
Two amendments have been moved to the motion, firstly by the Democratic Labor Party and subsequently - and surprisingly to me and to the Government - by the Australian Labor Party, the official Opposition. I feel bound to say that I felt we were moving away from tradition and away from what we had always regarded as the traditional approach to this type of motion. It has been the practice for the Opposition to make its point of view strongly known at the outset and to speak from that base. For much of the debate we were speaking from the base of the Speech, as far as the Government was concerned, and the amendment moved by the Democratic Labor Party. However, I want to make it clear that the Government does not support the amendment moved by the Labor Party, the first amendment on which we will vote. As we see it, it is not an amendment to the amendment proposed by the DLP. If the amendment proposed by the Labor Party is not accepted, as I hope and believe will be the case, we will then vote on the amendment moved by the Democratic Labor Party. The Government will also vote against that amendment. I have explained that situation because of the requirements of the mechanics governing this procedure. Over the years this has been the traditional way of dealing with these matters in the Senate. The amendment moved by the Australian Labor Party states:
Leave out all words after ‘but’, insert: ‘the Senate is of opinion that the Government has shown lack of leadership in foreign policy and defence as well as in internal affairs, and the Senate deplores the failure of the Government to provide a programme for -
adequate defence equipment and industries:
peace in Vietnam;
an acceptable health scheme;
a national superannuation scheme;
equitable financial arrangements for carrying out the activities of the States and local government and semi-governmental authorities;
the substantial uplift of the members of the Aboriginal race;
speedy settlement of industrial grievances and for four weeks annual leave and equal pay for its public servants;
rehabilitation of primary industry and reimposition of the embargo on the export of merinos; and
the great social issues of pollution, interest rates, housing and land costs, poverty, education and the burdens of families’.
Much of the argument on the proposed amendment - and it has been a short argument - has been wide of the mark. For instance, in dealing with the question of Australia’s adequate defence, coming in the face of the statement on defence which I read to the Senate, Senator O’Byrne chose to make comparisons between what is being done by the Austraiian Government in a progressive programme of defence procurement continuing since World War II, and the course followed by Japan. Of course, Japan has certain responsibilities and limitations in its defence programme because it is really just commencing that programme, lt seemed to me that the honourable senator drew quite a wrong conclusion about our defence programme. I have to be careful not to conflict with the requirements of the business paper. The Australian Government has announced a defence procurement programme which will add tremendously to our capability for defence in our geographical position in South East Asia.
The next matter to which I wish to refer in the ALP amendment is also touched upon in the amendment moved by the Democratic Labor Party. I refer to our rural industries and the problems they have encountered. When Senator McManus dealt with the rural industries he, oddly enough I thought, gave part of the answer to the problem himself when he referred to the situation in other parts of the world. The British Labour Prime Minister is being haunted by irate farmers, and farmers are making protests in the United States and other parts of the world.
– It is a world wide problem.
– That is so. In Australia we have had a decade of drought. In some parts it has been the worst in our history, but we have survived. It is true that our primary industries have some problems, but that has to be put against all that this Government has done persistently and consistently over the years for primary industry. The contribution made by the Government can be recognised in any field of primary industry. One of the most resent contributions by the Commonwealth has been to diminish what could have been tremendously adverse effects of the devaluation of sterling. The matter has been studied since December 1967 and a sum of about $70m has been set aside to assist statutory bodies involved in marketing primary products, and primary industries, to withstand the problems they have encountered. The Government gives support by providing various bounties. It is significant that huge grants have been made available to enable Australia to be better equipped to deal with the problems of productivity which face primary industry. Time will not permit me to develop this argument now. Our record is one of which we can be proud. Matters relating to primary industry can be debated when the relative legislation is introduced. 1 repeat that the Government will vote ‘No’ on the Australian Labor Party’s amendment and, subject to that being negatived, we will vote ‘No’ on the Democratic Labor Party’s amendment. I would like a vote to be taken now if that is the will of the Senate.
That the words proposed to be left out (Senator Murphy’s amendment to Senator McManus’ proposed amendment) be left out.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin)
Majority . . . . 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
That the words proposed to be added (Senator McManus’ amendment) be added.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMuIlin)
Majority . . . . 44
Question so resolved in the negative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Anderson) agreed to:
That the Address-in-Reply be presented to His Excellencythe Governor-General by the President and such honourable senators as may desire to accompany him.
– I will ascertain when His Excellency the Governor-General will be pleased to receive the Address-in-Reply. When the time is fixed I will advise the Senate.
Senate adjourned at 6.10 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 12 March 1970, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1970/19700312_senate_27_s43/>.