27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration. Has the Minister read an article in the “Commercial News and Shipping List’ of 3rd April 1970 which claims that the Commonwealth Government’s decision to transport the bulk of migrants by air means that migrants will have to consign their household effects through freight forwarders? Has the Minister also noted the further allegations that the British freight forwarders are charging exorbitant rates to consign unaccompanied migrant baggage to Australia? Will the Minister give assurances that effective steps will be taken to combat such excessive profiteering?
– ] did see the report mentioned by the honourable senator, and after seeing it I took the matter up with the Minister for Immigration. He has given me quite a considerable amount of information, which I think will be useful to the Senate, concerning travel expenses and charges for baggage. 1 inform the Senate that it has been made quite clear in pamphlets and in correspondence with migrants that unaccompanied baggage charges, handling and freight charges in Britain, and clearance and delivery charges in Australia must be met by the migrant. However, as much information as possible is given with regard to the steps a migrant should take to avoid any exploitation. A pamphlet, known as Preparing For Your Journey’, gives considerable information concerning this. T will just give some points from this pamphlet which says that it is to the migrant’s advantage to obtain more than one quotation and to compare prices. It suggests confirmation of quotations in writing and that when migrants have selected the firm to look after the goods they should clearly state their requirements and the address to which the goods and the bill of lading should be sent. This would avoid delays and misdirection. It points out that the financial responsibility for shipment of migrants’ goods rests with them. Still following up the various points raised in this article, I have been informed that shipping companies convey free of charge 40 cubic feet of baggage for each adult, but only personal effects can be taken as free baggage. A specific list of items has been prepared. Certain household items are excluded from the 40 cubic feet. I think the honourable senator would be interested to know that over recent years it has been noticed that most migrants travelling by sea do not ask for anywhere near the 40 cubic feel to which they are entitled. As 1 think the honourable senator knows, the majority of migrant air travellers come on charter flights and are entitled to 88 lb of baggage per person. If a migrant is to travel on a commercial flight then 44 lb of the 88 lb may be carried with him on the commercial flight. The remaining 44 lb will follow on a charter flight soon after his departure. The experience that the Department has had to date indicates that most families do not use up to the 88 lb provided per person, and in the circumstances the increased movement by air should not create additional difficulties.
In view of the honourable senator’s question and the concern that he has shown, I will certainly ask the Minister to ask the Chief Migration Officer in London to inquire whether there are any instances of exploitation. If one or two firms have been exploiting migrants there is no doubt that ways and means can be found to convey this information to migrants. The Minister also informs me that in the past there have been, in relation to the number of migrants who come to this country, very few complaints concerning this matter.
– My question is directed to the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities. I seek clarification concerning articles appearing in today’s ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ apropos the development of Alice Springs for tourism. The Minister is reported as having said that American desert resorts such as Las Vegas and Palm Springs could provide the model for the development of Alice Springs. The Minister is further reported in this way:
Senator Wright said the core of development plans for Alice Springs would be preservation of the natural environment.
I cannot reconcile those statements with the newspaper’s editorial which suggests that the Minister envisages intensive development. Do any of the proposals for Alice Springs in fact take the form of high rise building development?
– I was indeed disappointed to see the sub-editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald’ this morning attributing to me proposals to implant on Alice Springs high rise development which the article describes as very ugly in some of the American cities and in Honolulu. Of course, some of us are mortified with the high rise developments that appear outside the former editorial offices of the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ which have banished such lovely spots as Buring’s Olde Crusty Cellar and have interfered with such lovely haunts as the Adams marble bar. It is most unfortunate that the editorial did not even take into account the contribution made to the same issue of the newspaper by the journal’s representative in the Parliamentary Press Gallery who was good enough to report me as saying:
The core of development plans for Alice Springs would be preservation of the natural environment, with tourist facilities blended into the landscape.
He went on to report:
I would never dream of having even 1 tree cut if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.
The reporter no doubt did not have the space to go on and add what I then added, that the glorious row of ghost gums leading into Alice Springs was of invaluable beauty to that area. I reached on my shelves for the glorious publication by the Australian natural painter, Stan Kelly, an engine driver of Ballarat, which contains illustrations of our Austraiian eucalypts and in which he portrays with lovely artistry 240-odd specimens of eucalypts and states that they would be used to beautify the environment of Alice Springs.
Our proposals for Alice Springs involve - I should have thought that the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ having had a copy of the expert report that we have received for the development of Alice Springs would have known this - a restriction on the height of any building to be erected under our approval to not more than 3 storeys, and a proviso that any building will be composed mainly of local stone and timber to blend into the landscape. So I am happy to take this opportunity to refute any suggestion that intensive development proposed in Alice Springs involves a violation of the environment such as has been suggested here. For the information of the writer of the editorial I point out that I have visited Switzerland and its lakes and mountains, just as I have visited Tasmanian lakes and mountains, and also Vienna. But I would willingly adopt his suggestion that I take another tour to Switzerland and Vienna to remind me of the loveliness that should be preserved in natural lakes and mountains.
– My question is directed to the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities. I thank him for telling the Senate about his trips overseas and that he would like to trip again. I ask him what he and his colleague the Minister for Civil Aviation are doing for the ordinary citizen of Australia who wants to travel to these overseas places, such as Vienna, Rome and Mexico, and does not want to pay extremely high fares. Is it true that the fares across the Pacific, for example, are the highest per passenger mile in the world? Have experts on these matters said that they seem to be unreasonably high? What is being done about this by the Minister and his colleague? In particular, can he tell us what steps are being taken to see that the ordinary citizen can have reasonably reduced fares without having to go through the farce of joining some club or other and entering into all sorts of unnecessary arrangements instead of being able to obtain a ticket at a reasonable price?
– The honourable senator, by his use of extravagant and argumentative language, betrays a complete ignorance of the subject to which he refers. He would know that the maintenance of proper air facilities to and from Australia depends upon maintaining as the fundamental base an economic viability for the airlines concerned. He would also know that air fares are the subject of international arrangements through the relevant international organisation. I wish to inform him that during my occupancy of the office of Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities the question of air fares across the Pacific has been the subject of comprehensive investigation by a former Minister for Civil Aviation. As those fares are high they came under my notice on my recent tour to such an extent that I have asked the Australian
Tourist Commission to make an analysis of the various air fares, particularly those between Australia and America in comparison with some that are available from the American mainland to Hawaii and from Japan to Hawaii, which give those routes an advantage. 1 propose, when that analysis has been made, to take the matter up with my colleague the Minister for Civil Aviation and to consider in relation to the airways interest whether or not reductions can be arranged. Senator Murphy referred to group travel arrangements as a farce. He would know that the arrangements for group travel afford many people an opportunity to travel at fares much below the scheduled fares and have been a great boon to the tourist industry. As at present advised, I would be advocating an extension of that form of travel wherever it was possible to arrange it.
– By coincidence, my question also is addressed to the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities. I believe this indicates the impact my Tasmanian colleague has made both on the tourist industry and the interest in tourism in the Senate.
– This is a real Dorothy Dix question.
– As a matter of fact, it is not. In the course of the Minister’s recent overseas visit I believe he included Las Vegas in his busy itinerary. Has he reached any conclusion as to what, if any, value could come to the growing tourist industry in Australia if gambling casinos were permitted to be operated in this country?
– lt is true that my itinerary included Las Vegas. My interest there was not to examine casino facilities, although quite obviously the casino facilities are the basis of the real development of that place, but to examine the possibility of transforming a desert environment into an improved, beautiful and scenic location. I am firmly of the view that casinos and their sequelae should not provide the basis of any tourist attraction in Australia, however much they might conduce to further income.
– My question is directed to the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities. I refer to the sub-leading article in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ which reported that the Minister, having returned from his study tour, was convinced that Alice Springs could bloom like Las Vegas and that the Great Barrier Reef could become a second Honolulu. I refer to the battle being waged to save the Barrier Reef. I ask: What part has the Australian Tourist Commission played in withholding approval for drilling operations in that area? What planning authority is presently set up or envisaged by the Minister or by the Commonwealth to ensure that Alice Springs and the Barrier Reef will not be despoiled, polluted and exploited as so many glorious pleasure resorts in the past have been at the hands of private entrepreneurs?
– The Australian Tourist Commission has maintained an insistent and strong attitude, urging on all possible occasions the Government’s interest in the preservation of the Great Barrier Reef and has put forward proposals regarding the actual measures lo be taken in that respect. Honourable senators will know that the Government has announced the establishment of an Institute of Marine Science located at Townsville which will have, as one of its first responsibilities, an inquiry into matters pertaining to the Barrier Reef. Honourable senators will know also that the Prime Minister has arranged with the Premier of Queensland to set up a special committee to inquire into the problem of the crown of thorns starfish. Honourable senators will be aware also that the Prime Minister has intervened for the purpose of setting up an inquiry to prevent even the slightest risk of damage from mining or drilling operations in the Barrier Reef area. Other proposals have been announced by the Government to assert Commonwealth jurisdiction in regard to the continental shelf, as indicated in the Governor-General’s Speech. Surely these are practical indications of the positive steps being taken for the purpose of preserving the Great Barrier Reef.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. With over-border trading in wheat taking place and with the danger of spreading noxious weeds from one State to another, I ask whether the Minister for Primary Industry will discuss with the respective State Ministers the necessity for road transports loaded with wheat or grain to have a way-bill or bill of lading naming both the consignor and consignee, if the transports travel interstate. Would not this procedure enable the authorities to keep a check on the overborder movement of grain and prevent the spread of noxious weeds which could have an adverse effect on many rural areas? Further, would not this procedure also enable authorities to find out who are involved in the over-border trading of wheat, which could endanger the whole structure of the Australian wheat industry?
– Yesterday I replied to a question on notice by Senator Young regarding over the border trading. His question today goes a lot further, and I will have to discuss it with the Minister for Primary Industry. So I ask the honourable senator to place his question on the notice paper.
– I ask a question of the Minister for Works, and I do so having regard to a campaign in which I was associated with him some time ago. Prior to any action being taken for the erection of a new parliament house in terms of the recommendation of the Joint Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House, that the new parliament house will provide accommodation for up to 108 senators and up to 450 members of the House of Representatives - that is 4 times as many members as senators - will the Governent and the Minister pay due regard to the people’s recent referendum decision, that the number of senators should continue to be half the number of members of the House of Representatives? Can the Minister assure us that it is his view, as Minister for Works, that accommodation for the members of each House should reflect the people’s decision? Is this recommendation regarding the number of members an attempt to use the erection of the new parliament house as an argument for breaking the nexus between the two Houses?
– I regret to inform the honourable senator that he invokes from me an answer to a question regarding a matter which is not in any respect within my jurisdiction. I do not use that as an excuse to avoid giving an answer. I would explain simply that the site for the new parliament house has been the subject of parliamentary discussion, and the actual implementation of any decision to build a new parliament house would, I conceive, come under the responsibility of the National Capital Development Commission, and the Department of Works would be associated with the project only if it were invited or engaged by the Commission to do the actual work.
Having said that, I recall, with a great degree of appreciation, the campaign to which the honourable senator has referred regarding the preservation of the nexus now in the Constitution, of 1 to 2 in the number of members in the Senate and the House of Representatives, and I, for my part, will need no reminder to keep that fact well in the forefront of any consideration which is my responsibility.
-Is the Minister for Civil Aviation aware that hostesses employed by the Government controlled company, Trans-Australia Airlines, do not receive the same advantages or benefits as do hostesses employed by the private company, Ansett Airlines of Australia? I refer to concessional allowances for hostesses for overseas travel, which apply after a period of 9 months employment with the private airline, whereas employees of TAA have to wait a period of 27 months before they receive such concessions. I also ask the Minister whether he will look into the policy on travelling allowances and meal arrangements for TAA hostesses who receive the bare minimum conditions when compared with the more decent and humane approach adopted by the private company. Will the Minister look into these matters which may appear to him to be minor but which are of great importance to the excellent hostesses employed by TAA?
– It is an engaging proposition to have to answer a question from the other side of the chamber which refers to the fact that the market economy airline grants distinct advantages to its employees over those granted by the airline which is operated by the Government. But I shall certainly take up the point which Senator Fitzgerald has raised. I do not know that this is the case. I accept his assurance that this is what he has been told. I shall make inquiries for him regarding the question of concessional arrangements for overseas travel and meal allowances. But I would not want it to be thought that it was my view that TAA hostesses were any less attractive than those employed by the other airline, because I do not believe this is so.
– Is the Leader of the Government familiar with Commonwealth financial provisions under which loan money is made available to the States at preferential Interest rates together with loan repayment deferment periods of several years so that the States can conduct plantings of softwoods and other forests? Will the Minister agree that this Government supports the principle that there is benefit in having private enterprise placed in a position reasonably competitive with that of Government instrumentalities? Will the Commonwealth consider making finance available to private individuals and companies who have demonstrated an interest and an ability in this nationally important business of developing forests so that they will have the ability to compete with governments in the production of forests?
– Yes, I am in the generality aware of the preferential arrangements that are in existence and the broad concept of the objectives of such a policy. As to whether the Government would enter into some new arrangements in relation to individuals or companies would be a matter which would first need to be looked at by the department with which the responsibility lies; secondly, it would need to be looked at from a Treasury point of view; thirdly, it would need to be looked at in relation to the Commonwealth’s role vis-a-vis the role of the States. Finally, it would be clearly a matter of policy and for that reason I think the proper thing to do would be for the honourable senator to place the question on the notice paper. 1 will then have it processed through, I would imagine, the Department of National Development for a reply to the honourable senator.
– I would like to ask the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities a further question on the Barrier Reef. Can we expect, as a result of his overseas trip a greater initiative by his Department to protect the Great Barrier Reef as a tourist attraction? In particular, is he or his Department prepared to make a submission to the proposed royal commission that it is in the best interests of Australia to have a tourist attraction and not an oil industry in this area?
– I welcome the suggestion by Senator Georges that the Australian Tourist Commission should make a submission to the proposed royal commission with regard to the involvement of oil drilling in its relation to the preservation of the Barrier Reef as a tourist attraction. My recent trip, particularly in relation to developments in Hawaii and such places as San Diego, was oriented with a view to seeing the type of tourist development that has been attracted to the coasts of the various islands of the Hawaiian group. That is basic to the consideration that we are now developing to assess the proper form of preservation and development of the various islands in the Great Barrier Reef in co-operation, of course, with the Queensland Government which has chief responsibility there, for the purpose of making that area a really significant area of attraction for international tourists.
– Will you make the submission?
– I said I welcomed the suggestion.
– Has the Minister for Civil Aviation seen a report that Ansett Transport Industries Ltd has announced plans for a multi-storey building in Adelaide with facilities for a terminal, a motel and other office accommodation? Can he say whether or not Trans-Australia Airlines has any plans for the extension of its facilities in Adelaide or whether his Department would be involved with other departments in the construction of a Commonwealth building in Adelaide?
– Yes, 1 saw the announcement that it was the intention of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd to construct a new complex in Adelaide. I have not seen any information or plans which indicate that Trans-Australia Airlines has any proposals to follow suit. This would be a matter for the commercial judgment of the airline, operating as it does as a statutory authority and doing its best to improve its profitability and share of the market. That is a matter for its judgment. I am not involved in plans for a proposed or suggested Commonwealth Centre in Adelaide. 1 thank the honourable senator for his question and I shall take the opportunity to try to acquire more information about the matter. If I discover anything which might help the honourable senator and South Australia, he can be sure that I will ensure that he is made aware of it.
– I remind the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry that some days ago I directed to him a question concerning the report by the Australian Dairy Produce Board on the serious damage suffered by Australian cheese producers through substantially increased imports of Cheddar cheese. Has the Minister had an opportunity to study this question? Is he in a position to supply me with information on methods which might be adopted to counter imports of cheese from countries which themselves have quite stringent restrictions on the importation of Australian goods?
– 1 passed the honourable senator’s question to the Minister for Primary Industry for his comments. I have not yet received a reply. However, only yesterday 1 made further inquiries and was assured that I will receive an answer very shortly.
– Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate seen reports that the National Advisory Committee on Drugs has recommended certain amendments to the laws relating to drug offences, including increases of certain penalties? Can the Minister assure the Senate that no action will be taken by the Government to introduce amendments to the laws relating to drug offences until the report of the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse has been presented to the Senate?
– I imagine that the predominance of any legislation that the Commonwealth could introduce or apply to the importation of drugs, as with the importation of any other goods, would have application through the provisions of the customs law.
– And in the Territories.
– Yes. The penalties that are written into the Customs Act are geared to the importation of drugs and prohibited imports. I would imagine that any other proposals would be within the responsibility of State law. However, 1 accept the point made by the honourable senator as to the Senate Select Committee, which is working very hard and doing a good job in examining the broad problem. Any amendments to State or Commonwealth laws in the climate of the inquiry being conducted by the Committee would appear on the face of it to be incorrectly timed. 1 cannot accept any responsibility for the actions of the States. The Commonwealth would have to look at the matter in the light of the nature of the situation in which it became involved. The point made by the honourable senator is acknowledged and I will at least acquaint the Government with the views he has expressed.
– In directing my question to the Minister representing the Treasurer I refer to the latest increase of i% in the bank interest rates, which it has been decided is not to apply to primary industry. With a lower borrowing rate of interest for primary industry than that applying to other borrowings, can the Minister say whether there is likely to be any resistance by banking institutions to the lending of money to the primary industry sector? Can the Minister give an assurance that steps will be taken to ensure that primary industry will not be penalised by lending institutions through a preference to advance money to those sectors which would pay higher rates on overdrafts?
– The honourable senator’s question relates to a decision by the banks to extend preferential interest rates to primary industry. The honourable senator suggests that in view of that decision to apply a preferential rate it would be essential to ensure that there is no falling away of the amount that banks will make available to primary industry. It would be early days to make any comment about the quantity of finance to be made available to primary industry against the background of that new decision, but I would be very surprised if there were an adverse effect of the kind contemplated by the honourable senator. Action of that kind would be in direct opposition to the intention in applying a preferential rate. Finance would be made available to primary industry by the banking institutions in a situation where the banks have an equity in the organisations and farms in rural areas. In other words, it may well be that assistance would be given to rural industry in areas where it is already being given. In that situation it would be in the best interests of the bank as well as the primary industry to ensure that a primary producer remained viable and capable in his industry. I do not imagine that what is postulated by the honourable senator will happen. I am quite certain that the history of banks and the banking institutions in their assistance to primary industry would make such a possibility unlikely. However, I shall refer the question to the Treasurer.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. In the light of criticism by the Australian Capital Territory National Parks Association of a decision by the Department of the Interior regarding the Black Mountain reserve in this morning’s ‘Canberra Times’, will the Minister ascertain whether such information was available when he replied to me on the adjournment debate 2 nights ago when I raised this issue among a number of other matters involving Australian Capital Territory land tenure? In effect, did the Department of the Interior in its briefing to him omit anything about Black Mountain which apparently had been sent to the Australian Capital Territory National Parks Association some time ago?
– I shall certainly find out. I expect in these circumstances when I am asked a question and I represent another Minister to be given the information which allows the Senate to be adequately informed on the matter.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Have approximately 5,000 architects, engineers, surveyors and draughtsmen employed by the Commonwealth applied a ban on all overtime? Is this ban a result of a decision of the Public Service Board which destroyed the wage relativity of this section with tradesmen? Will the Minister confer immediately with the Association of Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Draughtsmen of Australia with a view to restoring the pre-existing relativity and a peaceful industrial relationship?
– Knowledge of this matter has come to me in my capacity as Minister for Works and I answer the question from my knowledge in that capacity. I am aware that there is complaint by this professional body as a result of recent industrial awards. The matter is at present under consideration in the usual industrial processes and I am hopeful that a solution will be found at an early date.
– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government who represents the Prime Minister in this place. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to the plight of the Andamooka opal mining settlement in the far north of South Australia arising from a desperate shortage of water which has resulted in the population of 1,500 people having to rely on a water ration of a gallon per day per person? Is there any provision or precedent under the drought relief arrangement whereby Commonwealth assistance can be rendered to outback communities not engaged in rural production which are suffering acutely from the effects of drought and are subject to the heavy costs incidental to long distance water haulage?
– It is my understanding that the Commonwealth intercedes where it is considered the conditions in a particular area constitute a national disaster.
In those circumstances it would be competent for the Commonwealth to consider any request for assistance. The request normally comes from the Premier of the State concerned and is usually as a result of representations to him from the area affected. Where a national disaster occurs within its own Territories the responsibility for the initiation of such a request lies somewhere within the Commonwealth Government’s own organisations. It is completely a matter of judgment whether assistance is granted when disaster conditions arise as a result of some act of nature. The honourable senator raised a query in relation to a particular area. May I say that I have been there and it is a fascinating area. If it is considered that disaster conditions exist in that area it is perfectly competent for some responsible person, organisation or government to make submissions to the Commonwealth for assistance. The submissions would be directed to the Prime Minister.
– J ask the Minister for Civil Aviation: Does Australia impose the highest or, in any event, close to the highest landing charges in the world on international aircraft? Is this a contributing factor to the high fare structure? Is a reduction in these charges something which may help to reduce fares? If so, what is the Minister doing about the matter?
– It is sometimes said that Australia does impose the highest landing charges in the world. When I was in New Zealand prior to the commencement of this session of the Parliament I took the opportunity of talking to my counterpart in that country and he told me that he often made comments in New Zealand about how much better the Australian airlines were treated internationally and domestically than the airlines in his own country. In his view, Australia is an example of a country with a reasonably based charge system, lt is equally true that the provision of aviation facilities in Australia is a very expensive business and the expense is increasing at a very fast rate. The Government is attempting to recover part of this expense from the people who use the facilities. Nonetheless, the question of the Leader of the Opposition has certain features which are important and of interest. 1 ask him to put his question on the notice paper because I want to make more inquiries about the comparative figures for Australia and other countries.
– I wish to ask a series of questions of the Minister for Civil Aviation. 1 asked similar questions of him in the debate on the Address-in-Reply to the Governor-General’s Speech and he stated that he would obtain the answers for me. He may have the answers now. I ask: What is the Government doing about the present practice of both major domestic airlines having the same departure times on the same routes? What is being done about the lack of information which is given to travellers when aircraft are known to be late? ls the Government doing anything about the non-adherence of airlines to timetables issued weeks in advance? Finally, is the basic difference between a licensed airline and a charter company that the former must adhere to a timetable?
– I took pains to see that the points the honourable senator made in his speech on the Address-in-Reply debate and his comments on various features of civil aviation were directed to the Department of Civil Aviation and f asked for a detailed reply. This I have not yet obtained but I shall again remind the Department that we are expecting such a reply. It is true there is some slight inconvenience experienced by air travellers because of parallel times of departure of aircraft of both operators. The two airlines have adopted more or less parallel timetables because the times of departure that they have decided upon are those at which people want to travel, and if any great change were made in the timetables many people would have to travel at times later than those that suit them. I am also concerned that from time to time changes are made in timetables without sufficient information about them being given to the public. All in all, I suggest that the honourable senator leave the matter to me and I will once again chase up the information he is seeking.
– I wish to direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise. 1 refer to a statement made by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp), wherein he stated that price rises in petrol in Australia would be minimal. I ask: Is it not a fact that the penalty on imported petrol is to be raised from 2.5c to 7.5c per barrel? Will this not result in a rise in the price of Australian petrol which will be much more than minimal as was stated by the Minister?
– I am unable to answer that question on the basis of my own knowledge in this place at this moment. I would ask Senator Georges to put his question on the notice paper.
– Is the penalty to be raised from 2.5c to 7.5c?
– Do you recall my saying that I am unable on the basis of the knowledge I have to give you an answer? One thing I do not want to do is give answers which are not accurate. I do not intend to do so.
– I wish to direct a question to the Minister for Civil Aviation. The Minister may recall that some short while ago he said, in response to a question I asked as to moves which were being made or contemplated to extend the standard of the Wynyard and Devonport Airports in Tasmania, that action which would subsequently be taken depended, to some extent, on a knowledge of the plans of the major commercial airlines so far as those airports were concerned. I now ask the Minister whether he is in a position to give me any further information on that and, further, what initiative the Department of Civil Aviation is taking to ensure that the information comes to hand so that the necessary planning for the upgrading of these 2 airports can be undertaken?
– Yes, I do recall the question and I recall the answer. The Department of Civil Aviation has not yet obtained from the major commercial airlines any indication of what their traffic expectations are. Since then I have not written asking the airlines to let me have this information, but. prompted by the honourable senator, I shall take the matter up with the companies.
– Is the MinisterinCharge of Tourist Activities able to inform the Senate, following earlier representations made to him by Senator Rae and myself, whether any of the sailing ships from other countries visiting Australia for the Captain Cook bi-centenary celebrations will be able to visit any Tasmanian port while they are in Australian waters?
– I remind the Senate that arrangements have been made for sailing ships from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Japan, Indonesia and Norway to visit Australian waters during the Captain Cook celebrations. On the present plan it is possible that one of these vessels will go to Tasmanian waters. It is probable that units of the British Navy will visit Hobart. I would suggest, though, that if it is desired that the sailing ships visit Tasmania, this should be arranged through Admiral Oldham who has been especially appointed to co-ordinate any arrangements in connection with the Captain Cook bi-centenary celebrations. If a practicable plan were proposed which could be integrated into the Australian visit I have no doubt that it would be considered. I point out, however, that a very great deal of effort was necessary to get these ships to come to Australia and I would expect that their programme was restricted by their schedules already fixed.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science. Is the Commonwealth study scholarship awarded to Aboriginals valued at $26 a week and do Aboriginals receive only $21 a week? What happens to the other $5? What is the weekly allowance paid to Asian and African students studying under the Colombo Plan and the special African assistance plan?
– The first part of the honourable senator’s question would be more appropriately directed to my colleague, the Minister representing the MinisterinCharge of Aboriginal Affairs. The whole question involves some detail as to which accuracy is necessary, so I ask the honourable senator to put it on the notice paper.
– I address my question to the Minister for Civil Aviation. In view of the fact that we are reaching the era of the jumbo jets and because of the great increase in the number of charter flights, will the Minister advise the Senate, either now or as early as is possible, what airports in Australia are capable of handling jumbo jets and what action is contemplated to bring to the necessary standard airports which jumbo jets may desire to use on charter flights?
– There are quite a number of airports in Australia capable of handling jumbo jets so far as directional aids, safety devices, the length of runways and taxiways and general facilities are concerned. One of the problems is that jumbo jets carry a tremendous complement of passengers, and facilities for clearing passengers through customs, health and immigration areas naturally are not as advanced in some airports as they are in the major centres. Nonetheless I will have inquiries made - I will need to do this - into what action is contemplated to bring those airports which have sufficient runway length up to the standard necessary to accommodate jumbo jets. I think one should say also that the larger aircraft tend increasingly to arrive at certain centres. Because of their size and complexity the airline operators arc not eager to have them land at a great number of places. However, I am anxious to find out more about this matter and I will get additional information for the honourable senator.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service advise whether any moves have developed to improve the workers compensation legislation of Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia so far as overseas dependants of migrants are concerned, following the meeting of State Ministers for Labour and Industry on 17th March?
– I point out to the honourable senator that no problem arises in the Commonwealth area and in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania with regard to the payment of compensation to overseas dependants of migrants. However in the other 3 States mentioned by the honourable senator there are restrictions dating back probably to the origin of workers compensation legislation which limit the payment of compensation to dependants within the areas of those States. The Minister for Labour and National Service and his Department have been pursuing this matter with their State counterparts. The matter was discussed as recently as yesterday at the meeting of the Departments of Labour Advisory Committee. Action is in train which, it is hoped, will result in the removal of the present restrictions so as to relieve any concern or anxiety of migrants here with regard to their dependants.
– Does the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service know whether it is correct, as alleged by a South Australian trade union secretary, that the Australian Council of Trade Unions has, under its new president, invited certain Communist unionists to visit this country; that the ACTU proposes to spend union raised funds to finance this visit; and that no such invitation has been issued to non-Communist unionists from the United Kingdom or the United States of America? If this is correct, is there or will there be any statutory right for objecting unionists to require this matter to be referred to the constituent State trades and labour councils or to individual unionists prior to the expenditure of union raised funds against the strong wishes of a significant section of those who provide those funds?
– I have no knowledge of what invitations have been issued by the ACTU and the countries that might be represented by its invitees. I am not aware that there is any statutory right on the part of the constituent bodies of the ACTU to interfere in the expenditure of their funds.
– I rise to order. My point of order is that it is contrary to Standing Orders to ask questions that seek legal opinion, as does the question that has been asked by Senator Rae. I believe that to seek legal opinion is contrary to Standing Orders.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - I think it is actually within the discretion of the Minister.
– When the interruption occurred I was simply answering a factual question which was asked of me, namely, whether there was a particular statutory right. I am not aware of any statute that gives to the constituent bodies of the ACTU the right to intervene in a decision of the management of that body as to the expenditure of their funds.
– I direct a question to the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities. In the event of the Australian Council of Trade Unions inviting such an august delegation of Communist trade union leaders from Communist countries, will the Minister make such delegation acquainted with the tourist attractions in Australia, as that may attract subsequent visits by other high ranking delegations from Communist countries?
– Yes, with very great pleasure.
- Mr Deputy President, I ask you a question because your latest ruling leaves me a little confused. As I understand it, you just ruled that Senator Wright was to be the arbiter of whether a question was seeking legal opinion and whether he should answer it. Could you help me by referring to standing order 99? It says that questions shall not ask for legal opinion and a little later says:
The President may direct that the language of a question be changed if it seems to him unbecoming or not in conformity with the Standing Orders of the Senate.
It seems, Mr Deputy President, that on this occasion your ruling gave Senator Wright a discretion. You left the decision to the Minister answering the question. It seems to me that your ruling clashes with the relevant standing order. The standing order makes it quite mandatory that such questions are out of order. Mr Deputy President, you are aware that the standing order also refers to other matters. The objection raised by Senator Wheeldon seems to me to be perfectly valid. The standing order says that questions shall not ask for legal opinion. If that is the case, I think the ruling ought to come from the President or from his Deputy who is in the chair at the time and that a decision should not be left to the discretion of the Minister.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - I think it is for the Chair to decide whether the Minister is giving his legal opinion about a question.
– That was the very point raised by Senator Wheeldon. The Chair should rule. I thought your ruling was that it was left to the discretion of the Minister. The Chair should rule whether or not the question sought legal opinion. Mr Deputy President, I do not think you have any course open to you other than to rule the question out of order. Leaving it to the Minister to say whether or not the question sought legal opinion contravenes the standing order.
– I take a point of order. I do not believe that Senator Rae asked for legal opinion or for an interpretation of the law. He asked whether or not there was any law or statutory provision which would allow the Australian Council of Trade Unions to take the action that it contemplates taking.
– I asked a question. I did not raise a point of order. I asked for clarity on the Deputy President’s ruling. Mr Deputy President, I have asked you a question. It is in your discretion whether or not you add to what you have said. That is the end of the matter. The point of order raised by Senator Wheeldon gave rise to my asking the question. This is not now a discussion as to whether or not Senator Rae asked for legal opinion.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - It is very difficult for the Chair to decide. I do not know what answer will be given by the Minister. In this regard it is almost impossible to say whether the Minister will be expressing an opinion.
– I take a point of order. The standing order is quite clear.
– As a layman, I did not think we were discussing the point of order.
– I have just raised a point of order. Senator Marriott has pointed out that he is a layman. I think we are all well aware of that. The point of order that
I raise is that the standing order is perfectly clear. It says that questions seeking legal opinion shall not be asked. The question asked by Senator Rae sought legal opinion. I seek a ruling from you, Mr Deputy President, as to what procedure is to be followed in future. The standing order provides that questions seeking legal opinion shall not be asked. As I understand it, Senator Rae asked whether there was any statutory provision which allowed certain things to be done. Clearly that is a question of law. He asked whether there was a statute which provided for something or whether there was not such a statute.
– The words used by Senator Rae were ‘is there or will there be’. Does that make any difference?
– If he said ‘will there be’, I would agree that that is a different matter. It then becomes a matter of policy. I understood that the question was: ‘Is there any statutory authority?’. If it was ‘will there be’, that is another matter. The question then is about Government policy, and such questions normally are not answered. If Senator Rae asked ‘Is there or will there be’, that is 2 questions. To ask: ‘Is there any statutory authority’ is to ask a question which seeks a legal opinion. The words will there be’ seek a statement of policy. That is a separate question. But I would suggest that it is out of order to ask whether there is any statutory provision preventing or allowing something, because this is clearly a question relating to the law, and if it is not seeking a legal opinion, then with all due deference to Senator Marriott’s deep insight into these matters I am unable to understand what is a question seeking a legal opinion.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order! I consider that it is in the discretion of the Minister to decide whether a question seeks a legal opinion or merely involves the giving of information. On that basis I must rule it out of order.
– We do not agree with you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I have ruled it out of order.
– What are you ruling out of order?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT - The point of order which you have raised.
– I merely asked you a question. You are not ruling the question out of order, surely.
– Senator Wheeldon raised a point of order.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- This is the answer to Senator Wheeldon.
– In view of that ruling, would it be possible to get the Notice of Question paper reprinted, because standing order 99 is set out on the back of that paper, and it is quite clear - almost mandatory - that a question shall not ask: (a)………… (b)…………
Quite obviously, if it is up to the Minister and the Minister is not a legal man, although he may have some other profession, he would not have the legal knowledge to know whether or not he was giving a reply to a legal question. With all due respect, I suggest that this rule on the back of the Notice of Question paper should no longer be included.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Perhaps it might be suggested to the President that this question should be considered by the Standing Orders Committee. If that is acceptable to honourable senators, I will see that it is referred to the President for consideration.
-I desire to ask a question of the Minister representing the Attorney-General. Is it lawful to advocate the defiance of Commonwealth Acts of Parliament?
– I think that the honourable senator, on reflection, would consider that to be asking an opinion on a question of law, and 1 would not in any case, as a matter of discretion, offer such an opinion at this stage.
(Question No. 11)
Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
-The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 35)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
What areas of land and buildings are owned, leased or rented by the Commonwealth Government on or adjacent to the foreshores of Sydney Harbour.
– The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question -
The following areas of land on or adjacent to Sydney Harbour arc owned or leased by the Commonwealth -
In addition, the Commonwealth still holds title to properties at Shark Point (one acre) and George’s Heights (32½ acres) but these two areas are in process of transfer to the State of New South Wales.
(Question No. 93)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
In connection with the disaster to the oil tanker in Torres Strait, will the Minister carry out an investigation to see whether it is possible for oil tankers to use a route other than the one they are using inside the channel of the Great BarrierReef area.
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Investigations into this matter have been carried out, and it is possible for tankers to use routes that avoid the Great Barrier Reef area to a large extent. However, such routes generally involve considerable extra steaming distances and are therefore commercially unattractive.
(Question No. 94)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
In view of the well-established international hazards created by the operation of oil tankers, and the Minister’s own admission that it will be 2 or 3 years before effective legislation might be introduced with respect to effective compensation, will he ask the Department of Shipping and Transport to consider the establishment ofa special maritime unit with mechanical and other devices which could be applied in instances such as that which occurred in Torres Strait, so as to effect repairs, prevent discharge of oil, or otherwise control the oil, to prevent pollution, with the costs of the operation of such units to be negotiated with the operators of tankers using Australian waters.
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The proposals set out by the honourable senator appear to have considerable merit, and the need for a special body to do some of the things mentioned has already been the subject of discussions between Commonwealth and State officials. The Minister for Shipping and Transport has assured me that his Department will keep the honourable senator’s suggestions in mind.
(Question No. 106)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
It has not been established where the young person purchased the shirt although it is understood to have been purchased in Victoria. However, it is not proposed to conduct further investigations concerning the sale of the shirt.
(Question No. 134)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– The Minister for the Interior hasprovided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, I present the report relating to the following proposed work:
Stores Complex for 2 Base Medical and Dental Equipment Depot at Randwick, New South Wales.
– by leave -
Prior to the Easter recess, honourable senators will recall that in a reply to a question from Senator Bishop I advised that when Parliament resumed I would make a comprehensive statement on the Australian aircraft industry, including reference to ‘offset’ arrangements. In dealing with this subject I think I should attempt firstly to give a brief indication of the size and nature of the defence aircraft industry in Australia.
It is concentrated substantially in three main production organisations:
The Government Aircraft Factories which are operated by my Department at Fishermen’s Bend and Avalon in Victoria.
Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd at Fishermen’s Bend, Victoria.
Hawker de Havilland Australia Pty Ltd at Bankstown and Lidcombe in New South Wales.
There are other contractors associated with the industry, but the organisations I have mentioned constitute the main production capacity. Currently the industry employs about 8.000 persons. The ‘at cost’ value of the fixed assets of the three main organisations approximates $38m.
The Government Aircraft Factory at Fishermen’s Bend has staff and plant to handle the design, manufacture, assembly and testing of airframes and guided weapons. Final assembly and flight testing of defence aircraft is carried out at the Avalon facilities. Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd has capacity for the design, manufacture, assembly and testing of airframes. The company also has facilities for the manufacture and overhaul of jet engines. Hawker de Havilland Australia Pty Ltd operates facilities which are capable of airframe and limited engine work. It is considered by my Department that the industry, as now established, has a range of technological and manufacturing resources and facilities not inappropriate to the need to provide effective peace-time support to the Services, with some reserve capability for a war situation.
There have been problems in matching workload to available capacity, and a great deal of attention has been given to developing new projects suitable for the industry. At the same time my Department has devoted considerable effect to examining ways of achieving greater effectiveness, stability and economy of operation. It could be said that the problem is threefold: Firstly, there is the need to maintain basic defence aircraft facilities capable of supporting the Services; secondly, there is the need to ensure that the technologies of the industry are upgraded in line with the latest developments; and thirdly, there is the need to achieve economy of operation, which in itself not only involves developing projects for the industry but also rationalising effort. It is the continued policy of the Government to maintain a basic defence aircraft industry in Australia which will develop in line with Australia’s future needs. With this in mind let me now deal with how we see the forward prospects of the industry.
A problem of the past has been major fluctuations in workload as manufacture under licence of aircraft such as the Canberra, Sabre and Mirage has brought the need for rapid production build-up, comparatively short periods at high levels of production and then a sharp drop in activity level as each project was completed. Added to this, usually the major projects have been separated by several years of low level of activity with consequent increases in cost, drop in efficiency and loss of key technical staff. Build-up for new projects has been accompanied by major recruitment problems, and inefficiency during build-up and learning periods. As opposed to that situation, we find a fairly steady and continuous workload arising from spares manufacture, repairs, overhauls and modifications. Locally designed projects such as Jindivik and Ikara have also resulted in a long term workload. A total of 380 Jindiviks has been built and 210 have been sold overseas to earn an export income of $20m. Orders for a further 54 are in hand. Ikara will provide work into 1974 at least and is expected to earn export income in excess of S3 Om.
The aim is to attain a workload situation that reduces the peaks and troughs and supports an effective, viable and economic aircraft industry. This involves considerable effort by my Department and also by the industry itself. This workload will need to flow from a combination of local project design; manufacture of aircraft engines and guided weapons under licence; spares manufacture and repair and overhaul work; coproduction, offsets and sub-contracting; and commercial work. I will deal with each of these in that order. I will refrain from mentioning all proposals in prospect but will quote examples only.
An essential element of the industry is a capable design and development organisation. Honourable senators will be aware that Cabinet recently approved the development of Project ‘N’ at the Government Aircraft Factories. Initially the project will involve an estimated expenditure of $3.2m for the manufacture of two flying prototypes and a test, airframe of a light, twin engined, multi purpose aircraft. The first of the two prototypes should be flying by mid 1971. Project ‘N’ is intended to meet a number of roles for the Australian forces, chiefly in a variety of support roles. It is designed specifically for operations involving short, unprepared airstrips and minimal maintenance support facilities, and will have a flexibility of layout to accommodate a wide variety of payloads. The manufacture of these prototypes will stimulate the design group of the Government Aircraft Factories and will help prevent the loss of key design personnel. If Project ‘N’ meets our expectations it could yield a useful workload for the local aircraft industry, and particularly the Government Aircraft Factories, for some years. At the present time, there are no plans for local manufacture of the engines, but if sufficient orders for the aircraft were received to make such manufacture economical, further consideration would be given to this possibility. As I have said, the aircraft was originally designed to satisfy our service requirements but we are hopeful that with modifications it will hold appeal for commercial interests and the armed forces of other countries.
I have advised the Senate previously that the Government Aircraft Factories, in consultation with industry, are designing and developing a small pilotless, target drone known as Turana. This drone is based on the successful Australian designed Ikara anti-submarine missile and should provide the Government Aircraft Factories and industry with a useful but small design and manufacturing workload. There will not be a large demand in Australia for the drone, but as with Jindivik and Ikara interest has been shown in it overseas and we are hopeful that there will be export sales. The project is still in the design and development stage.
Turning now to the second category of workload, that is manufacture of aircraft, engines and guided weapons under licence, the two main proposals in early prospect are the manufacture of a light observation helicopter for Service requirements and an anti aircraft weapon system for the Army. In his recent defence statement, my colleague the Minister for Defence (Mr Malcolm Fraser) indicated that it was planned to purchase 84 light observation helicopters for the Services and that the final selection of the type of helicopter will be made on the basis of the best prospects for local manufacture. Proposals are now being sought from selected overseas manufacturers on the basis of a programme of both military and civil helicopter production with a substantial Australian content. The decision on the anti aircraft system is not expected until late in 1970, but a detailed study based on substantial manufacture in Australia has already been undertaken. The Senate will appreciate that the replacement for the Mirage aircraft is still some years off and that the decision in that regard will not assist the current situation. If New Zealand adopts the Macchi trainer aircraft, we have offered to fulfil its requirement from Australian production.
I will now deal with the third category of workload prospects, namely spares manufacture and repair and overhaul work. A steady workload can be expected in this category to support aircraft, engines and missiles in service. Senators will appreciate that the requirement in this regard in .elation to engines is more constant than on airframes.
The fourth category of workload is coproduction, offsets and sub-contracting. I might mention here that the term ‘offsets’ seems to be finding loose application in an attempt to describe all those classes of work under this category. Strictly the term applies only to those circumstances where the customer, for some reason, does not undertake part manufacture of the item he is buying overseas but requires other work to be allocated to him as an offset. The term co-production’ applies to those circumstances where the customer undertakes either to manufacture a part of the item he is buying or perhaps the same part not only for the quantity he is buying but for the full production programme of the overseas supplier. The term ‘sub-contracting’ applies to circumstances where local companies are seeking sub-contract work which is in no way related to a buying programme. I think it important that we realise these distinctions, otherwise coafusion will occur.
Negotiations with the United Slates Department of Defence have resulted in a policy designed to encourage the opportunity for Australian industry to seek work from United States firms engaged on defence contracts. Honourable senators will recall earlier arrangements whereby a United States Defence procurement officer was located in my Department and a post of Trade Commissioner, Supply, was established in Washington. As announced by my colleagues - the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) and the Minister for Defence - and me during the Easter recess, the Government is to set up new machinery to work closely with Australian industry in an effort to increase its participation in this work. The new machinery to be created will consist of a Standing Committee of the three departments principally involved, Defence, Supply and Trade and Industry, and a new advisory committee of businessmen which will be appointed at an early date.
The Committee of Departments will have the task of developing and carrying out a co-ordinated programme of work to promote increased overseas sales of Australian built equipment and components; to encourage co-operative research and development projects between Australian and overseas industry; and to encourage firms to take on work in Australia for overseas firms wishing to build up the Australian content of items offered for sale to the Australian armed forces and to seek sub-contracts from United States defence contractors. In this task the Government will have the advice and assistance of the proposed advisory committee of businessmen. lt is the Government’s policy to increase where practicable the proportion of defence equipment produced in Australia, and the present programme of seeking orders overseas should assist in the maintenance and development of Australian defence production capability and the upgrading of our industrial technology. This, indeed, applies particularly to our defence aircraft industry. There are current prospects in all three classes of work - coproduction, offsets and sub-contracting - and these must all be pursued vigorously. 1 will not go into these prospects at the present time. Senators are aware of visits by overseas companies to Australia and by Australians to overseas companies in relation to certain proposals.
The final category of workload is commercial work. It is not an easy matter to find commercial work of a nature appropriate to the capability of the aircraft industry. The type of commercial work required is not so much that which results in a diversification of activities but that which utilises the administrative and productive skills of the people who, together with the physical facilities, represent important defence potential. Such work must also be able to bear the relatively heavy overhead costs provoked by this type of activity. Ideally, the defence aircraft industry should become more involved in civil aircraft work of a like nature.
As I said earlier, my Department has devoted considerable effort to examining ways of achieving greater effectiveness, stability and economy of operations. It is believed that there is some scope for rationalisation of activities, particularly in relation to the Government Aircraft Factories and Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd at Fishermen’s Bend. My Department, in consultation with other appropriate departments, will be actively pursuing this possibility in the coming months. 1 emphasise that our aim will bc to achieve a more effective organisation that can be built onto as Australia’s future needs in the aircraft field dictate. In any rationalisation scheme that might be adopted, full consideration will be given to the interests of the employees concerned.
Summing up, I make the following points in answer to Senator Bishop and for the information of the Senate: lt is Government policy to maintain an effective defence aircraft industry in Australia, (t is considered that, in the interest of the future of the industry, there is some scope for rationalisation of activities in the Fishermen’s Bend complex. This matter is being actively pursued. A great deal of effort continues to be put into developing suitable design and other projects for the industry and placing the industry in a position where it can participate in co-production and offset arrangements and pursue sub-contract work. Developments, in this regard, as announced during the Easter recess of Parliament, include the setting up of an inter-departmental committee and an advisory committee of businessmen. In concluding, I wish to emphasise to the Senate that there will be no magical flow of work to the aircraft industry from all these arrangements. The progress achieved to date has been as a result of long and persistent effort by all concerned. This effort will need to be continued. I move:
– I should like to indicate that I think it is the intention of a number of honourable senators to study this document and to speak to it in relation to some important matters which are proposed by the
Government. I thank the Minister for Supply (Senator Anderson) for introducing this comprehensive statement on an important matter in respect of which we have for a long time sought a blueprint. Although I have not had an opportunity to study the paper, in moving that the debate be adjourned I should like to mention that the aspect of rationalisation mentioned by the Minister causes me some concern. We of the Opposition would rather see a policy in which the Government insisted upon external orders being related to our defence productive capacity. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later date.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– by leave - Before the Easter rising of the Senate and in answer to questions raised by Senators Mulvihill and Poyser I made a statement to the Senate about an incident at Essendon Airport on 28th February concerning the late Mr Pugh, an Australian Broadcasting Commission reporter. This statement was made only after a most comprehensive investigation by the Department of Civil Aviation and after a study of reports of the various witnesses to the Commonwealth Police. Not withstanding the most confusing nature of the incident and the conflicting evidence of the reports to the Commonwealth Police, I did say to the Senate that if Pugh had been struck, the act was not premeditated or done deliberately and that the prime cause of the incident was the method of the late Mr Pugh in attempting to gain access to a prohibited area. Subsequently, Senator Poyser raised the matter again during the adjournment debate and, in reply to what he then said, I said I would look into the further information, the queries and the additional points raised, as well as the charges and that I would expect a full report on the matters he had raised. I went on to say that when I did get the report, I would make a further answer and would decide what action would then be taken. I now have that further report and proceed to make the following statement.
Senator Poyser has said that the matter was of a serious nature. I agree with Senator Poyser in that the matter is a serious one and, as I previously said, this matter has been taken seriously and still is. In going over the evidence and conclusions, the following facts emerge quite clearly. The Department of Civil Aviation has a responsibility, in the interests of safety, to protect passengers and other people from being injured at airports, and particularly in the case of passengers when they have disembarked from aircraft or are about to embark.
As honourable senators would know, unless strict control of crowds is maintained, the possibility of people walking into rotating propellers or being injured by jet blast or jet intake is quite a real one. Moving around in these restricted areas are also many aircraft servicing vehicles which could quite easily cause bodily harm to unauthorised persons and those inexperienced in these quite dangerous areas. As far as the Press is concerned, the Department of Civil Aviation has always tried to maximise the availability of people to be interviewed and have given reporters, photographers and other newsmen as much leniency as possible.
On the night in question, there were so many reporters and photographers wishing to interview and photograph Mr Burchett that Trans-Australia Airline’s assistant airport manager felt obliged to instruct the Press that, in the interests of those concerned, only photographers would be allowed to meet Mr Burchett as he alighted from his aircraft, but there would be an opportunity for the reporters to interview Burchett in the terminal. DCA traffic officers, Commonwealth Police and other TAA Officers were instructed to form a barricade in the ‘finger’ or ‘walkway’ to prevent anybody else, including the reporters, from walking onto a restricted tarmac and so possibly endangering themselves or other people alighting from Mr Burchett’s aircraft. The late Mr Pugh was well aware of these instructions and acknowledged them in his written statement to the ABC, a copy of which was given to the Commonwealth Police. Department of Civil Aviation airport traffic officers and TransAustralia Airlines officers had been present at a briefing which I previously referred to and subsequently formed a human corden to prevent anyone passing them.
In spite of these instructions, the late Mr Pugh rushed Airport Traffic Officer Kelly shortly after Mr Burchett alighted from his aircraft and was approaching the finger. Mr Pugh had his recording apparatus and microphone held in such a position that he apparently struck Kelly in the chest, as he made his attempt to get past. Kelly who had been holding on to a stanchion with his right hand, impulsively brought his arm down to protect himself and as he did so I believe Pugh was struck. But as I previously informed the Senate, this was an involuntary action of a man attempting to protect himself and, at the same time, carry out his job. During the scuffle that ensued, there is little doubt in my mind that Pugh deliberately or unintentionally struck Kelly in the groin with his knee. Subsequently Pugh was led from the scene by Constable Hendry of the Commonwealth Police.
This is the extent of the incident and there was certainly no bashing of Pugh, a fact which I believe is confirmed by a medical certificate which mentions treatment for a headache only and permitted for absence of duty by Pugh for 1 day only. As far as Airport Traffic Officer Kelly is concerned, he has been counselled and told that in no circumstances can the Department condone actions of striking and that despite the extenuating circumstances of this incident, should it occur again, he would be dismissed from his post. I might add, in Kelly’s defence, however, that his record has been a good one and at no time, other than the incident in question, has there been any suggestion of aggressiveness in his behaviour.
I should however inform the Senate that the problem of controlling crowds at airports is a very real one and, in many instances, quite onerous. It is difficult to be as helpful to the Press as they would sometimes wish, while at the same time, maintaining a high standard of safety. In situations where emotions run high, every reasonable effort has to be made to restrain people from entering restricted areas where they may injure themselves or cause injury to others. Safety at airports is one of the prime purposes of the Department of Civil Aviation and airport traffic officers are employed to carry out just this task. For the last 25 years they have done their duty, in association with others, in an admirable fashion and I do not believe that an isolated and involuntary act should be assessed for anything more than just that.
To sum up, the incident was an unfortunate one, but I do not believe it would have happened at all if the late Mr Pugh had not disobeyed carefully given instructions and tried aggressively to go past an airport traffic officer, whose job it was to try to maintain order and safety at airports. There was certainly no ‘bashing’ and Pugh was not seriously hurt, as the medical certificate attests. Again, I repeat that I have taken a serious view of the matter and the Department has counselled the airport traffic officer in question. In all circumstances, I believe 1 have given accurate and fair statements to the Senate and the incident should now be considered closed..
– In the absence of and on behalf of Senator Wood, I move:
I seek leave to make a short statement.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The motion reads:
Thai the following regulations be disallowed:
Regulation 1 of the amendments of the Military Financial Regulations, as contained in Statutory Rules 1969, No. 112, and made under the Defence Act 1903-1966;
Regulation 1 of the amendments of the Naval Financial Regulations, as contained in Statutory Rules 1969, No. 113, and made under the Naval Defence Act 1910-1968; and
Regulation 5 of the amendments of the Air Force Regulations, as contained in Statutory Rules 1969, No. 117, and made under the Air Force Act 1923-1965.
Notice of this motion was given following the twenty-seventh report of the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances. It was stated in the report that the subject matter of the regulations should more properly be embodied in substantive legislation. The notice of motion has been before the Senate on a number of occasions and it has been postponed on each occasion. 1 understand that yesterday the Acting Minister for Defence (Mr Hulme) introduced in the other place a Bill for an Act to carry out the matters now done by the regulations about which the Committee is concerned. It would appear to me that the Government has accepted the Committee’s contention. However, the Committee has not been able to meet since the introduction of the legislation in the other place. In those circumstances, and in the absence of Senator Wood, it is desired that the matter be postponed to enable the Committee to consider the position in the light of the legislation which has been introduced in the other place.
– by leave - On 19th March 1970 I expressed concern at the delay in the consideration of this motion of which notice had been given. 1 did so on the ground that the Senate had before it a series of regulations in respect of which notice had been given of a motion to disallow. On 23rd September 1969 the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances reported that it was of the opinion that extension of the annual allowance to the officers covered was a matter which should not be dealt with by the regulations. Under the Acts Interpretation Act the Senate has the responsibility of overseeing these regulations. The Committee has taken a certain view of these regulations and its Chairman has given notice of a motion to disallow them. In these circumstances, it seems to me that the Senate should deal with the matter.
It does not seem to me to be right, especially as the regulations are being implemented and moneys are actually being paid, that the regulations should continue in force without the Senate having an opportunity to consider the motion for disallowance. It is all very well to say that a Bill has been introduced in another place and that the Parliament will have an opportunity to consider whether the payments concerned should be made. But the Bill may not be passed. The Parliament may take the view that it will not adopt the legislation when it comes to consider it. In this instance it is not a question of validation; it is a question of payments being made at present.
– It is a question of the appropriate form and the legal authority.
– The Minister for Works interjects to the effect that it is a question of the appropriate form, which is important so far as the regulations are concerned. The question at issue for the Senate in relation to this motion would be whether the regulations should be disallowed because regulations are not the proper means by which to deal with such a matter. The legislation which has been introduced in the other place would be, of course, in the proper form. But then one has to take into consideration the merits of the legislation and whether the Parliament would want to adopt it. 1 think it is very wrong to postpone consideration of this motion. If the regulations are such that they should be disallowed - certainly one of them should be - the Senate ought to have the opportunity of expressing its view. The matter should not be delayed simply because legislation which was introduced in the other place may or may not come through to the Senate and the Senate may or may not have an opportunity to decide whether such payments should be made in the future. It seems to me that the motion the notice concerning which is before the Senate should be considered. If the Senate took the view that the regulations should be disallowed then they should be disallowed. If the legislation which was introduced in the other place is approved by both Houses and it is decided that certain payments should be made in the future that course should be followed.
– Does the Leader of the Opposition not think that the Senate would be helped by the Committee being able to consider the position in regard to these regulations now that legislation has been introduced in the other place? That was the purpose of seeking the postponement.
– I think we should allow the Leader of the Opposition to deal with it on the basis of a debate and if we wished to speak we can.
– I think we should pass a formal motion to debate this matter.
– With respect to honourable senators, I do not think we should do so. The question involved in this motion is the simple question of whether the method adopted is inappropriate. This is a substantive matter, lt is quite apart from the question of whether the legislation is proper on its merits, lt seems to me that the reason advanced for delaying the motion is not a sound one. I think the Senate should go ahead and consider the motion. It is on quite different grounds from the question of whether the legislation should be passed. In considering the legislation we will decide simply whether we approve of the payment of an allowance. We may or may not agree to it. These regulations are sought to be disallowed on the ground that the allowances should not be in any event-
– That is the ground. The expression ‘in any event’ does not come into it. There is no other ground.
– That is right. It is on the ground that as a matter of principle the allowances should not be granted in this way.
– The question of liberty is involved.
– There may be other matters, but the disallowance of the regulations is quite distinct from the legislation, which may or may not be approved by the Parliament. If the Committee considers that these regulations should be disallowed it seems to me that we should consider them and determine whether they should be disallowed. I do not suppose the Senate could have done anything about disallowing them in September of last year.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
– If the suggestion were that this motion be postponed because of Senator Wood’s illness or for some similar reason that would be a different matter altogether. As I see it, that would be a reason which concerns the Senate and there would be no hesitation of our part. But we ought not to have this matter confused by any such consideration. I am dealing with it on the basis that the postponement is suggested because some legislation has been introduced into the other place. It seems to me that this is an important matter, that public moneys are being paid under certain regulations. If the Senate goes ahead and deals with this matter today it may disallow the regulations. As I said when we discussed the matter on the last occasion, a view is being taken, and it may prevail, that the regulations should not be used for the payment of appreciable amounts of public money.
I do not see why wc should delay dealing with this matter. Either the regulations ought to stand or they ought to be disallowed. If somebody brings in a Bill to provide for the payment of these amounts that Bill can be dealt with on its merits. It seems to me to be as simple as that. I see no reason why we should postpone this matter. In fact, I firmly believe that the motion ought to be dealt with.
– by leave - In the last few minutes Senator Murphy has confirmed an argument which he put before the suspension of the sitting and which goes to the very substance of the function of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee. What he is saying is that when that Committee meets and comes to a conclusion that a regulation should be disallowed, the Senate should, when the Committee’s recommendation comes before it, proceed without delay so to disallow the regulation. The purpose of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee is not to sit in judgment on matters of substance. Its purpose is to act as a watchdog, to satisfy itself that the Executive is not doing something by regulation which the Parliament has not had a proper opportunity to consider and decide upon. The Committee says: ‘We consider that what is being done should not be done by regulation. If the Government wishes to do this it should bring in a parliamentary enactment which the Parliament can look at and debate and make a judgment upon’. That is the function of the Committee. Its function is not to say: ‘We do not think these allowances should be paid’.
– That has not been argued.
– I want to get to the result of what Senator Murphy is proposing. I ask the honourable senator to allow me to develop my point. Ever since the Regulations and Ordinances Committee has been in existence, to my conscious knowledge, it has from time to time, in the exercise of its role as a watchdog, moved in the Senate for the disallowance of a regulation and has said to the Government, in effect: ‘We consider that these things should not be done by regulation. We believe that if you want these things to be done you should proceed by introducing substantive legislation.’
Senator Murphy now proposes that we should depart from that traditional practice.
He suggests that when the Regulations and Ordinances Committee puts a motion before this Senate we should proceed immediately to a decision. It may well be, as he himself has pointed out, that the Senate will say after proper consideration of the matter: We will disallow this regulation.’ Then something that had been done by the Administration would cease to be operative. If we consider the application of such a decision in this case, if the regulations are disallowed certain allowances which have been paid to heads of defence forces would then be disallowed, so they would not be receiving those allowances. There would then need to be some kind of retrospective legislation.
– The allowances operate right up to now. They cease from the time we disallow.
– Here we have a classic example. When the movement for disallowance was brought before this Senate I took the matter to the Government and said: ‘It is the view of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee that this should not be done by regulation.’ The Government looked at it and said: ‘We think it is proper to do it by regulation but if this is the Senate’s view we will bring down substantive legislation.’ I have a copy of the Bill before me. I am trying to persuade Senator Little so I suggest, Senator Murphy, that you pay attention while I am trying to do so. There is, in fact a Bill in another place. It was brought down last night. I can give only the title because I cannot debate the Bill. The title is: ‘A Bill to amend the Defence Act 1903-1966 in relation to the Remuneration of Certain Officers of the Defence Force’. That Bill will come before this Senate next week.
– Do we know whether it covers the same matter as the regulations?
– I can only give the honourable senator my assurance that so far as I am aware that is the intention of the Bill.
– The Minister misstated what I put. He suggested that if we disallow this regulation today our decision would operate backwards so that the payments which have been made would be invalid. Is that not so?
– I think there is a certain possibility that that is so.
– That is not so.
– I made that statement on the advice given to me just before I commenced this debate, but even if it were not so, if we moved for disallowance today and that motion were carried, in Senator Murphy’s view it would operate forthwith. Then next week a Bill would come before this Senate and if it were carried the payment of the allowances would recommence. We would then have an absurd situation in which, to make a show of strength, the Senate would have disallowed a regulation knowing that what was done under the regulation was going to be regularised a week later in a Bill.
The practical position is that the Regulations and Ordinances Committee looks at a regulation and says: ‘We do nol believe it is proper to do this by regulation. We are not arguing whether it is a good or a bad thing in itself. All we are saying is that it should be done by substantive legislation.’ That is what the Committee has suggested in this instance. I have gone to the Government, as is my responsibility as Leader of the Government in the Senate, and the Government has said: ‘If that is the way the Senate feels we will bring down legislation. We think it is a matter of judgment, but we are prepared to accept the Senate’s view. This is what we will do.’ The Government is proposing to do that. In earnest of its good faith I gave an assurance last week that we would do that. I thought that would have been sufficient, but we even went further than that and so that there could be no argument today I saw to it that the Government last night put the legislation at least on the business paper in another place.
Are we to have the situation that the Regulations and Ordinances Committee, which is doing a good job as a watchdog, will be forced into the position that every time it suggests something that suggestion should be carried? Very often there will be a hiatus with a switching on and switching off attitude of mind. The Committee has fulfilled its function. It has pointed out to the Senate that a certain thing should be done by legislative enactment. The Government has acknowledged that and has set about to do that very thing.
– The Committee has not said that it should be done by legislation; it has said that it should not be done by regulation.
– Very well. If you do not do it by legislation and you do not do it by regulation, how do you do it?
– But we might not agree to the Bill.
– Now the honourable senator is coming to the argument of substance. He is destroyed by his own interjection because the very purpose of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee is to indicate, not on the argument whether certain people should receive allowances, because that is Government policy-
– The Committee said that this should be disallowed.
– The Committee said that this should be disallowed because it believed that it should be done by legislative enactment.
– The Committee did not say that.
– Of course it did. Go and read the purposes and objectives of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee. For what purpose was it created?
– The Committee did not say that it should be done. The Committee said that if it is to be done at all it should be done by legislation.
– The honourable senator is playing in the field of semantics and he knows that he is. The very purpose of the existence of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee was to establish whether things should be done by regulation or prevented from being done by regulation because in the judgment of the Parliament they should be aired and the Parliament should have the opportunity to look upon them and to make a judgment upon them. You know that that is written into the constitution of this very wonderful Committee. That is why it came into being. It is doing its job, and when it has done its job and has disposed of that responsibility I think that it is silly to suggest that the recommendation should be applied automatically because you do not give Government the opportunity to do the very thing you are asking it to do. That is the point. So something which has been done by regulation, inadvertently or unwisely if you like - it could be the most wonderful thing for thousands of people because it might mean giving them some special allowance - is destroyed, on Senator Murphy’s proposition, until such time as the Government rushes about and has it redrafted in legislative form. Over the years the Regulations and Ordinances Committee has said: ‘We put you on notice; do something about it’ and the Government has to face up to it. We were put on notice in relation to this and we did something about it.
– When was this report brought in?
– A long time ago, in September 1969.
– That should have put the Government on the alert.
– But after all, we had the dissolution of the Parliament; we had an election on 25th October; we had a 1-day sitting in November and we had a period of delay. As you know, it is all based on the number of sitting days. Let us assume that you have a regulation in relation to the Social Services Bill or some health legislation; let us assume that certain benefits are given by regulation and let us assume, in order to get an idea of the magnitude of this proposition, that 20,000 people are getting the benefit. Let us assume also that the Regulations and Ordinances Committee has examined it and has said: ‘We are not interested in the benefit but surely this should be done by Act of Parliament so that it can be debated’. The Committee submits its report and it becomes blatantly obvious that it should be done by Act of Parliament. What Senator Murphy is saying is that you should then proceed to disallow it. But during the period in which you disallow it and the period when the Government faces up to getting a new piece of legislation in front of the Parliament, getting it passed through both Houses and getting the royal assent there is a hiatus.
– Twenty-four hours.
– Twenty-four hours, nonsense.
– What about the other day, when that was done with legislation relating to prisons and navigation?
– Again the honourable senator is not being consistent with his own knowledge of parliamentary procedures. He knows as well as I do that there must always be a period for the Draftsman to draft legislation; there must always be a period for the legislation to be dealt with in the other place; there must always be a period for it to come here by message to be dealt with in this place. It could easily be that we might be in recess or not present. A whole host of things could happen. AH I am saying is that what has been evolved with the Regulations and Ordinances Committee is a very fine procedure. The Committee looks at a thing and it carries out the role of the Senate. I think you are weakening the value of the Committee if you argue the proposition that once the Committee brings the matter into this place we, as the Senate, should proceed to deal with it forthwith and force the Senate into disallowing something which might be a very valuable and wonderful thing for the community at large, thus destroying it until such time as the Parliament can bring in a piece of legislation. I think that it would destroy the fundamental capacity of this Committee if we sustained an argument such as that.
Coming back to the case before us, Senator Greenwood has suggested a deferment for 1 week. We bring in this Bill next Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. If the Senate does not like the Bill the Senate can knock it out but the position of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee would still exist and its timing for a continuation of the disallowance would not be destroyed. Any way you like to argue this, I cannot see the merit of Senator Murphy’s argument. This particular case hardly comes into it. What Senator Murphy is really arguing in depth is that the procedures that we have had with the Regulations and Ordinances Committee over a lengthy period - ever since it was created - should be brushed aside and that when it moves to disallow we should proceed in the Senate almost automatically to a vote. I do not agree with that and I ask the Senate not to go on with it.
– by leave - Any matter concerning the functioning of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee is a matter of particular interest to the
Senate and of considerable interest to me as one who had the pleasure of being associated with the Committee for some years. The function of the Committee is to consider matters which should properly be within the legislative preserve and by some process fall into the regulatory ambit. The Committee is very conscious of and very sensitive of trespassing outside the proper bounds of regulatory action. The matters that can come within. the ambit of regulations and within the scrutiny of the Committee can be matters such as the one which is embodied in this regulation that may impose a charge on the revenue. The authorisation of payments or the imposition of charges is a proper matter for legislation. Of course there are matters that can fall outside that. For example, there was the matter that came before the Committee years ago relating to the responsibility of members of the armed Services for damage caused by them to civilian property in the course of their duties. That imposes no immediate obligation on the revenue, and therefore it the regulation was wrongly imposed and should have been the subject of legislative action there is then no immediate charge on the revenue improperly imposed.
This regulation is in a different category. It has the effect of imposing a charge on the revenue. When the regulation was scrutinised by the Committee, the Committee found that this was within perhaps the top area of its sensitivity, and therefore after investigation it brought in this motion to the Senate for disallowance of the regulation.
– This is the method the Committee has of bringing this matter before the Senate as a whole.
– Exactly. Business of the Senate takes precedence in certain circumstances. I read the following from Mr Odgers’ thesis:
The following Business is placed on the Notice Paper as ‘Business of the Senate’ and takes precedence of Government and General Business for the day on which it is set down for consideration:
A motion for leave of absence of a Senator-
One can see why that should be a matter of some urgency -
A matter of obvious urgency -
In other words, a report from the Regulations and Ordinances Committee, like any motion for disallowance even in private hands, is considered to be a matter of prime importance to the Senate. For the reasons I have indicated one can see why that should be so. If that is the case, as soon as the Committee comes to its conclusions and presents its report - and perhaps even before the motion for disallowance is tabled - and that comes to the knowledge of the Executive Government, if it is quite probable that the conclusions of the Committee have validity the Government should be particularly scrupulous to move quickly.
Whilst I do not agree with Senator Murphy’s attitude for reasons I will indicate, I believe that the Government, on the face of it, has not moved with the promptitude that this situation demanded. This regulation should not have been allowed to operate once the Government was aware that it was under challenge, and probably correctly under challenge. The Leader of the Government (Senator Anderson) assures us that legislation has been introduced. That seems to confirm the opinion of the Committee. Those facts, if known to the Government, should have stimulated prompt and early Government action. This situation would not have arisen if the Government had responded in the time that was available to it. The Minister mentioned in a general sense the Intervention of a general election. I recognise all those things. But obviously a matter of this sensitivity should and could have been handled earlier than this.
The Committee has always operated in relation to the Senate with a great deal of common sense. I can remember two particular cases. In one I introduced a personal motion for disallowance of a regulation in relation to increases in telegraph retransmission charges. On the day that motion was to come up for discussion in the Senate the Postmaster-General of the day asked whether he could meet with me and he undertook to amend the regulation, if my recollection is correct. There was the Executive Government meeting the situation and meeting it in time, because in that case there was no charge on the revenue. The second case concerned Air Force regulations. When the regulation came up for discussion and disallowance it was withdrawn. The Executive Government therefore met the acknowledged views of the Committee, as demonstrated by its report and the tabling of the motion for disallowance in the second case and by my personal motion in the first case.
I believe that once the Government has responded to the views of the Committee, as apparently it has in this case, belated as it may be, it is not proper or prudent for the Senate to pursue the discussion of this regulation, just as I believe it would not have been prudent to have had discussion on my motion for disallowance in the circumstances in which the Minister said: I will withdraw the regulation*. It would be purely an academic exercise. It is most unfortunate that the Senate finds itself in this position and that the Government, so belatedly and rather hesitantly, has moved now to accommodate the views of the Committee. With respect to Senator Murphy - and I admire his solicitude for the position of the Senate in relation to this and similar matters - I do not believe that any purpose is to be served. We now having received from the Leader of the Government an assurance that the Bill which is to be introduced or has been introduced in another place purports to cover the matters that are of such concern to the Committee, I cannot believe that this matter can be pursued by discussion of a motion for disallowance with any great benefit.
Senator Murphy says that the disallowance of the regulation would not have retrospective effect. Of course, that is correct. That is all the more reason why the Government should be sensitive in situations such as this. If this discussion produces no other benefit, at least in future it will put the Government on the alert that this position can develop and that, when a report from the Regulations and Ordinances Committee is presented and even before a motion for disallowance is tabled, if the Committee indicates its dissatisfaction the matter should receive immediate Government scrutiny and, if the expert technical advice tendered to the Government is that legislative action is warranted, that action should be taken promptly.
Therefore, I cannot support Senator Murphy’s attitude in this matter. I support Senator Greenwood’s motion. I believe that there should be a postponement of the discussion on this regulation pending the introduction of the legislation and the scrutiny of it by the Committee. If the Committee finds that there is still a lacuna and that the legislation does not cover all the matters that met with its disapproval, the Committee can bring in a further report and the regulations pro tanto can still be discussed and disallowed to the extent to which the Committee still disapproves of those things which are not the subject of the legislation. For those reasons I support Senator Greenwood’s motion and find myself out of consonance with the attitude of Senator Murphy.
– by leave - As a representative of the Opposition on the Standing Orders Committee 1 consider this debate very important. I believe that I should contribute to it in relation to the attitude of the Opposition members of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee. As one of those Opposition members, I believe that we are very keen to know what are our responsibilities and what is our responsibility to the Committee when its reports come up for discussion in the Parliament. Never yet to my knowledge have Opposition members on the Regulations and Ordinances Committee had occasion to oppose decision of the Committee when it has come before the Parliament. As we have been told, the Committee submitted a report which was tabled on 23rd September 1969. Despite the fact that the Parliament did not sit for a long period, there was a long period which would have permitted the passing of enabling legislation to overcome this difficulty.
The Regulations and Ordinances Committee, which the Leader of the Government (Senator Anderson) has described as the watchdog committee, recommended to the Senate that these regulations should be disallowed for 2 reasons. One is that it is doubtful whether they are properly auth.rised by the statute. In other words, it is doubtful whether the Governor-General or whoever made the regulations had the power under the enabling legislation to make them. Therefore a vital question arises namely, whether if payment has been made under these regulations it is a legal payment. The position is not conclusive. There is a difference of opinion. If there is any validity in the first reason given by the Committee, the earliest action should be taken to discontinue what may be an illegal payment. it is obvious to members of the Committee that, having decided that this is not appropriate action to be taken by regulation, we have a bounden duty, which the Standing Orders give us, to bring on the matter on the first available day and not to permit delays in considering reports of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee recommending disallowance of regulations or ordinances. This is a watchdog committee which has a responsibility to see that things are not done improperly by regulation. To agree to an adjournment in the Senate for any reason is to continue what we consider is not appropriate action to be taken by regulation. If we do not deal with the motion for disallowance we permit that inappropriate action to continue because the regulations continue to operate. The Committee has taken a sympathetic attitude when the Government has sought to correct the position by legislative action or by some other means. In the case of altered regulations, we have been tolerant. Whether or not this is the proper approach is another matter. I am a member of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee. In future I do not think we should agree to the adjournment of debates on recommendations to disallow regulations. If the regulations are improper, action should not be taken under them. Since 23rd September 1969 no action under these regulations has been taken.
The other reason why the Committee decided to recommend disallowance of these regulations was that, apart from any previous regulations that may have been issued under the regulation-making power of the statute, the provision of this annual allowance - and these were regulations to make provision for an annual allowance - is not an administrative detail but is an important innovation more appropriate to substantive legislation. On no count does the Committee say whether or not the allowance should be paid or whether it is right or wrong to pay the allowance. That is a matter for Parliament to decide. This is a new innovation. Parliament should decide whether or not it be adopted. Parliament has not yet decided. If the Committee thinks that Parliament should decide whether or not the payments should be made, any payments made before Parliament reviews the position are payments made in opposition to the opinion of the Committee. We took early action. We adopted a generous attitude in relation to the departments. On 2 previous occasions Senator Wood sought the adjournment of the debate. This is not the first application for adjournment. On 2 previous occasions the Senate has agreed to the adjournment of the debate. We are asked to agree to the adjournment to permit legislation to be introduced. 1 do not think we should agree. I should be surprised if the legislation to which the Leader of the Government in the Senate referred did not cover the position and did not overcome the difficulty.
– On the last occasion I indicated our concern.
– The honourable senator may have done that.
– This is where the fault lies. It takes so long.
– -That could be so. On previous occasions, after regulations were considered by the Committee and recommendations made, we were prepared to adjourn the debate on the disallowance of the regulations to permit the Government to introduce legislation to put the matter in order. This is where the fault lies.
– When Senator Wood sought the adjournment, apparently he put the view of all members of the Committee. I thought Senator Cavanagh indicated that he did not.
– Before each occasion on which Senator Wood moved the adjournment of the debate - and I believe that he will speak for himself after I have completed my speech - he referred his intention to the Committee and received endorsement of his action. He has not acted contrary to decisions of the Committee.
– I wanted to make that clear.
– I am sorry if I created a false impression. I consider that, when Senator Wood has moved for the adjournment of the debate, I have acted properly in agreeing to his request to permit the adjournment. If the Committee has decided that under the regulations certain things should not be done they should not be done unless Parliament makes an alternative decision. Parliament should have the earliest opportunity to say whether the Committee was right or wrong. If this watch-dog Committee, which has the responsibility of supervising the regulations, decides that it is wrong to take certain action under the regulations, then it is wrong to take such action until such time as Parliament disagrees. The earliest opportunity must be afforded to Parliament to decide, ft is only after the discussion today that I have come to the conclusion that we should oppose adjournments and make the government departments take more precautions so that the regulations and ordinances that they publish shall be in accordance with the guidelines that the Committee has laid down in 16 or 17 reports submitted to Parliament.
– by leave - I am sorry that I was not able this morning to move that the debate be adjourned. At my request. Senator Greenwood acted on behalf of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee. It is most unfortunate that the Committee, which usually holds a meeting on a Thursday morning, was not able to do so today. The Committee is a Committee of the Senate, comprising members of the various Parties. The Opposition had called a meeting, which made is impossible to have the usual Thursday morning meeting of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee. I have been Chairman of the Committee for a record period now. It is a Standing Committee of The Parliament. To my knowledge, during my time as a member, the Committee has never considered matters on a Party political basis. In fairness to all members of the Committee, they have operated according to the very highest parliamentary tradition that the Parliament runs the country, not the Executive or civil servants by means of regulations and ordinances. I shall refer to various aspects of the Committee’s work.
The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) mentioned that something is being done in this instance. The Committee thinks that this should be done by legislation. Senator Byrne mentioned other aspects of the Committee’s work. He referred to the rights and liberties of individuals and civilians. Each department comes under the scrutiny of the Committee, which decides either to move for the disallowance of a regulation or to let it stand. In this case the Committee thought that the matter should be rectified by legislation. This is a very important aspect of our deliberations. We know that certain people in departments and probably certain Ministers like to do things without having their actions under close parliamentary .surveillance. This happens. It is a human characteristic. Parliament should ensure that certain things are done by the Parliament. Honourable senators will remember that parliamentary allowances, allowances for judges and allowances for certain civil servants are fixed by Parliament. For some reason, allowances for the armed Services, under the Minister for Defence, are fixed by regulation.
I think that the Minister for Defence (Mr Malcolm Fraser) has been responsible for this new thinking on the matter. To my way of thinking, he is guilty of contempt of the Committee. I am quite sure that he was contemptuous of the Committee because of the delay. I felt rather awkward about moving for the adjournment of the debate. In fairness to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, I know that he has leaned over backwards to try to get the matter adjusted by the Minister concerned. No blame attaches to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. 1 think that the Minister for Defence has been contemptuous of the Committee. To my way of thinking, this is a very serious matter from the point of view of the work of the Committee. If it had not been for the delay, probably this criticism would never have been levelled. Senator Murphy has given me a new thought so far as the work of the Committee is concerned. I believe in keeping an open mind in relation to matters of this nature. There is no question about it. Senator Murphy has put into my mind this thought: If a regulation is wrong, it is wrong. If the Committee makes a judgment that a regulation is wrong, we should disallow it.
– The Committee should recommend its disallowance.
– Yes, the Committee should recommend its disallowance. If it is wrong, there is no reason why we should carry it over with a series of adjournments or postponements.
– When you say wrong’, do you mean in the application of the regulation?
– Yes. In some cases the Committe might think that a regulation was unjust and unfair to the rights and liberties of individuals. The regulation might cause the Committee to believe that it should be abolished immediately. Senator Murphy’s statement has given me, as an individual, a new thought.
When we debated this matter prior to the the recess, I said that we should adjourn the matter because the Leader of the Government would talk to the Minister concerned to ensure that something would be done to alleviate the present situation. Legislation has been introduced in the other place. Not having had a meeting today and having adjourned the debate for such a long period of time, as Chairman of the Committee I would not be prepared to vote that there be a postponement on this occasion. 1 want to make it quite clear that having given my word and not having a meeting of the Committee this morning, where I, as Chairman, could move anything to the contrary, I cannot support the motion for postponement. But I want to make it quite clear that I believe the matters which have been raised by Senator Murphy, regarding the Committee’s work in this direction, have given the Committee something new to think about. I think that he is entirely correct.
– 1 think there is some confusion as to whether you said you were supporting Senator Murphy or Senator Greenwood’s proposal to postpone consideration for 1 week.
– Senator Greenwood, on my behalf, has moved that consideration be postponed for a further week. I am supporting the motion for the postponement of the matter, because I know that the Leader of the Government in the Senate has done a lot of work on this matter, but I am letting the Senate know that as a member of the Committee I think that Senator Murphy has given us something to think about in the future, so far as the working of the
Committee is concerned. 1 know that sometimes people outside have tried to disparage the working of the Committee. I know that in this Parliament the Committee’s work is considered very highly. But I know that in certain places outside the Parliament it has been stated that the Committee does not disallow many regulations. The reason for this is because of the co-operation which we have given to the Government on certain occasions. However, as I have said, I think that this debate will be good for the future working of the Committee. I do not take a party line on this Committee, because once the members of the Committee take a party line the Committee’s work is destroyed. As I have said, I know that Government supporters and in particular members of the Opposition on the Committee have never taken a party line during the period for which I have been a member of the Committee.
– by leave - My purpose in rising is to acquaint the Senate, as 1 believe it is entitled to be acquainted, with certain aspects of this matter which are very important because of the fact that the Senate is making history, so far as the role of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee is concerned. Senator Wood, I think, indicated quite clearly in the course of his remarks that a new attitude might very well be taken to similar questions in the future. But I think it is important that 1 should point out to honourable senators, who naturally will be wanting to know what the circumstances of this matter are, that there are 2 distinct questions involved in this matter.
Firstly, the Regulations and Ordinances Committee was asked to deal with a regulation based upon the provisions in section 124 of the Defence Act which give to the Government power to make regulations concerning rates of pay, but which do not give to the Government power to make regulations concerning the payment of allowances to members of the defence Services. This is where initially the problem arose. I suggest that had there been included in the provisions of section 124 of the Defence Act a power to make regulations concerning allowances, there would have been no problem at all. This is what gave rise to the report of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee, which was tabled in the Senate by the Committee’s Chairman, Senator Wood, on 23rd September last year after all the usual and normal inquiries which are made by this Committee had been undertaken in order to reach some sort of an understanding of the position bo that proper consideration could be brought to bear upon the question. It was the considered opinion of the Committee that there was in fact no power to make such regulations under the provisions of section 124 of the Defence Act.
Clearly, I must support the view that has been put forward by Senator Cavanagh, that if there is no power in law to authorise the making of a regulation of that kind, anything that tends to proceed from the assumption that there is power under ;hat regulation is out of order, is quite incorrect, is quite improper and is in fact unsupportable. I am not speaking now as a member of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee because the Committee discharged its function 6 months ago when it tabled its report in this Parliament. I speak now from a particular knowledge of the matter which I gained in the course of my association wilh the Committee, which it is quite proper for me to pass on to the Senate and upon which it is quite proper for the .Semite to make a determination. So I want honourable senators to be clear in their minds that I am not talking as a member of the Committee, but as a senator in this chamber who has a particular knowledge of the matter and who is obliged and bound by my position to make the facts of the matter known. 1 can understand a good deal of the argument which the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) submitted on this question. I see some validity in his statement that the matter has come to the stage where substantive legislation will be introduced shortly. I understand it will cure the problems and will in fact give effect to the considered opinion of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee. It will give effect to the intentions of the regulation which we are now debating, and none of us would agree with this principle. It is not a question whether the allowances should or should not be paid. Honourable senators ought to be aware of the fact that there are 3 ways in which to give effect to the intentions of the regulation. Firstly, it can be done by the introduction of subordinate legislation which runs the gauntlet of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee. I understand that another means of achieving this objective is to include in the annual Estimates the sum necessary to cover the particular contingency. The third means, and the one which we believe to be the proper one, is to introduce into the Parliament, for passage through the Parliament, a proper enactment giving effect to the intentions of the regulation.
I return to the point that I made earlier, that if the provisions in section 124 of the Defence Act do not include the power to authorise the payment of allowances to these people, then clearly the payments are not legal and they cannot be supported.
– What happens if there is a conflict of view as to whether the provisions have the capacity or have not the capacity?
– Surely this fact has been accepted by the Government which has now introduced the necessary legislation.
– I do not want to interrupt you, but to make the point quickly, the Government might think that the provisions have the capacity and the Regulations and Ordinances Committee might think that they do not have the capacity, so to put the question beyond doubt and to meet the objections of the Senate, the Government might decide to put the provision in a legislative form.
– In answer to that proposition, I suggest that substantive legislation was enacted in a similar case in the Public Service.
– For First Division officers.
– Yes. I believe that there must have been a precedent and there must have been some sort of understanding on the part of the Government that it was necessary to introduce legislation in the form of an exactment to give effect to a decision in one area, and I believe that the situations are not so dissimilar as to suggest that the payment of allowances such as we are discussing today should be validated simply by means of subordinate legislation. I should have thought that there would have been sufficient precedent and knowledge of past procedure to make it fairly clear that this sort of decision could not be upheld, but if that point of view were to be sustained, I think the proper procedure would have been to write into the provisions of the Defence Act, a clause concerning the payment of allowances. The whole thing seems to me to hinge on whether the procedure that has been followed up to date is in fact correct, whether it is legal.
The Minister may say as he just did that it is arguable whether the words ‘may make regulations as to rates of pay’ also involves or embraces within that expression an authorisation to include allowances as well. But as I understand it legislation does exist where the 2 terms are spelt out and provision is clearly expressed as to rates of pay and allowances. But in this instance there is no mention whatsoever of allowances and there is quite a distinction because rates of pay attract taxation and allowances do not.
– I would not like you to think that I was arguing that the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances was doing the wrong thing.
– I am arguing from my own point of view because I am not persuaded that the Act gives power to award allowances. Perhaps I ought to end on this note. I am yet to be persuaded that there is an authorisation in law for the award of allowances under the provisions of section 124 of the Defence Act, which is quoted as the initiating legal authority for the making of awards of this kind. If the Senate makes up its mind that the payment of these allowances under the existing provision is illegal it can do nothing else but vote for disallowance of the regulation.
– I seek leave to make a short statement.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - Is leave granted?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Leave is not granted.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 7 April (vide page 568), on motion by Senator Anderson:
That the Senate concurs in the resolution transmitted to the Senate by message No. 7 of the House of Representatives relating to the appointment of a Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs;
That the provisions of the resolution so far as they are inconsistent with the Standing Orders have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing orders; and
That the foregoing resolutions be communicated to the House of Representatives by message.
– This debate concerns a resolution transmitted from the House of Representatives for the setting up of a Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and the agreement of the Senate to certain clauses. Later I will move amendments to the motion. Until 3 years ago the Australian Labor Party would not nominate members to sit on this Committee because the terms of reference of the Committee were not acceptable to it. Therefore, it decided not to take part in any deliberations of this Committee. The Australian Labor Party was severely criticised from time to time because it would not participate in the activities of this Committee and many Government supporters continually said that the Australian Labor Party was not interested in foreign affairs and had in its platformno policy regarding foreign affairs. But I feel that this was unjust and unfair criticism because the Australian Labor Party has always been and always will be interested in foreign affairs and how they affect the Australian continent. Three years ago the then Minister for External Affairs in consultation with the then Leader of the Opposition proposed certain changes in the structure of the Joint Committee and although they were not all that the Australian Labor Party desired they were accepted.
It was at that time that we decided to take part in the activities of this Committee for the first time. Although the changes were not all that we desired they did help to alleviate some of the fears that we held as to how any agreements made by members of the Australian Labor Party on the Committee could cut across the policy of the Labor Party. I was one of those who were selected to sit on this Committee, together with other members of my Party in the Senate and in another place, and J feel that the Committee did give us some information and some knowledge of what was going on as far as foreign affairs were concerned. But meetings of the Committee were conducted under an oath of secrecy and although we had this information we could not impart it to our colleagues and to my knowledge never at any time was any information that we received while sitting on this Committee brought back to our caucus or imparted to any of our colleagues. The Australian Labor Party believed that if there was some knowledge to be obtained from participation in the activities of this Committee at least same of it should be brought back and imparted to the other members of the Party. Therefore we believe that the motion should be amended. I move:
At the end of paragraph (1), add - subject to the following modifications:
This would make paragraph (1) read:
That a Joint Committee be appointed to consider foreign affairs generally and to report to the Minister for External Affairs upon such matters as are referred to it by the Minister and to report to the Parliament on such matters as are referred to it by either House of the Parliament.
I do not think that the adoption of this amendment would in any way alter the structure of the Committee, nor would it mean that the Committee would take over the role of policy making in foreign affairs. I believe that if the proposed amendment is agreed to the status of the Committee will be upgraded and it will be assisted in its discussions and forming of recommendations. Paragraph (1)(b) proposes an amendment to paragraph 8 which, as it stands at present, reads:
On behalf of the Opposition I move the following amendment:
That paragraph (8) be left out with a view to inserting the following paragraph in place thereof:
I and my colleagues believe that if the amendment is carried the ability of the Committee to conduct secret hearings when necessary will not be interfered with. The proposed amendment clearly states that the Committee may resolve to conduct in secret its own proceedings or those of a subcommittee. I have served as a member of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, together with other members of my Party. A great deal of information has been conveyed to us and we have learned a lot. Although many criticisms have been levelled at the attitude of the ALP to the Committee, 1 fell that Labor members of the Committee have contributed a great deal towards its successful operations, equally with members of the Liberal Party and Country Party serving on the Committee. I believe that my colleagues have acquitted themselves well as members of the Committee.
When the Foreign Affairs Committee was first formed as a joint parliamentary committee, Senator Sir Magnus Cormack was its Chairman and Mr Kim Beazley. the honourable member for Fremantle, was its Vice-Chairman. Many people gave evidence to the Committee and it was proposed that it should extend its activities. Honourable senators will remember that the report of the sub-committee which inquired into the situation in the Middle East, under the chairmanship of Mr Kim Beazley, was presented to the Senate. It was a very good report. Another sub-committee was set up to consider Australia’s role in the Pacific, under the chairmanship of the late Senator Laught. He did a remarkable job in that position. Because of his untimely death last year I had the privilege of being elected Chairman in his place. As the general election intervened in 1969 the Committee, not having completed its deliberations, put before the Foreign Affairs Committee an interim report. When the Foreign Affairs Committee is reconstituted I believe that that sub-committee will be given an opportunity to complete its deliberations. In that event I am sure that it will present a report that will be of great benefit to the Parliament. I now move the second proposed amendment, which is as follows:
At present paragraph (3) reads as follows:
– That is really a machinery amendment?
– I believe that the amendments I have moved will assist the Committee to function more efficiently. Members of all parties represented in the Senate, and Senator Turnbull, should be given an opportunity to attend the sittings of the Committee and to observe how it functions.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Dame Ivy Wedgwood) - Is the amendment seconded?
– I second the amendment.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Is it the wish of the Senate that the 2 proposed amendments be debated together and voted on together? There being no objection, that course will be followed.
Senator Sir MAGNUS CORMACK (Victoria) [3.23] - Before I address myself to the generality of matters raised by Senator Drury I wish to comment on some points which interest me in relation to their effect on the Senate. I refer particularly to the allembracing type of provision in paragraph (16) of Message No. 7, which states:
I am afraid that yesterday afternoon, quite unaware of any possible complication, in a discussion with Senator Willesee, who was acting then for the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Murphy), I drew his attention to standing order 300 which forbids a Senate committee to hold meetings while the Senate is sitting. I mentioned to Senator Willesee that I had in mind to proceed to change that situation by circulating a proposed amendment. However, there was no committal on this point and I think Senator Willesee understood the position. I pursued the matter with the Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon) whom I discovered to my discomfiture was leaving today to attend a meeting of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East in
Bangkok. Therefore 1 decided not to raise the matter in a formal way in the Senate in addressing myself to consideration of Message No. 7. However, I think I should draw the attention of honourable senators to the fact that a problem is involved concerning honourable senators who are members of select committees or joint committees and may wish to attend proceedings of those committees while the Senate is sitting. This is a problem which bears upon the Opposition and upon the Government. The Leader of the Opposition or the Leader of the Government is involved constantly in seeing that the sanctions of the Senate are carried, and are carried in terms of numbers. This Parliament House is vast and sprawling, so if the Leader of the Opposition wishes to have the numbers behind him in order to enforce a sanction which he considers proper, or if the Leader of the Government wishes to have the numbers behind him to enforce a sanction which he considers proper, the Whips are involved in trying to look for people.
This is an old Standing Order that has been in the Senate for a long time. I think the matter could be served best by my drawing the attention of honourable senators to the existence of standing order 300 in the context also of paragraph 16 of the message. There is involved in the Senate acceding to paragraph 16 of this message the problem that it overrides, I assume, standing order 300. But apart from whether or not standing order 300 should be overridden by the Senate acceding to paragraph 16, 1 think it is improper that honourable senators should be sitting on committees when they should be in their place in this chamber. 1 make that comment merely as a passing reference. I suggest that the proper way for this to be dealt with would be by the formal procedures of the Senate, by referring the consideration of this paragraph to the Standing Orders Committee for examination and report back to the Senate. In saying that, I hope that Senator Willesee will forgive me for any embarrassment that I might have caused him in my discussions with him. They were the normal discussions that take place between members of Parliament relating to the wellbeing of the chamber of which they are members. If I have caused the honourable senator any embarrassment 1 hope that he will forgive me.
I address myself in general terms to the proposition put forward by Senator Drury. The honourable senator said that there is no intention in the amendments that are being moved to take away from the executive component of government the management of foreign affairs. I think that mixed up in this is a misunderstanding. Unconsciously we seem to become involved in conceptions as to how Parliament - the House of Representatives in Washington or the Senate in Washington - operates. In the United States of America there is not a total exclusion of the conduct of foreign affairs between the President and the Congress because there are inside the Congress, and particularly in the Senate of the United States of America, certain constitutional proprieties which the Senate particularly is charged with observing. For example, the Senate in Washington moves into the area of presidential powers by the constitutional propriety which it has to observe with its power over the appointments of ambassadors. Also it has powers over the appointment of commanders. So the United States Senate has a constitutional entry into the area of foreign affairs and defence through its own placita, if I may use an Australian word in the context of the American Constitution.
– And treaty making.
Treaty making and a few other things. However, I do not want to embark on an enlargement of the United States congressional powers in this context. It is undeniable that the conduct of foreign affairs and defence under a Westminster system of Government such as we follow in Australia, with power over foreign affairs and defence, is totally and exclusively an executive power. The executive power over foreign affairs and defence under our system of government, or the House of Commons procedure, is curbed by the fact that the Commons may discbarge a Ministry, or the House of Representatives in Australia can discharge a Ministry, if it does not agree with the conduct of foreign affairs and defence. This is the sanction that Parliament exercises over government. 1 think it is proper that we should have it clearly in our minds that foreign affairs and defence are an executive function and not a function of parliament. However, it was recognised - I think properly - by Lord Casey when he was Minister for External Affairs that a modern parliamentary system demands at least an acknowledgement and a deeper understanding of what is involved in foreign affairs. Lord Casey was responsible for setting up the first Committee of Foreign Affairs in this Parliament. There were reasons which I do not intend to canvass - they might have been proper reasons, but at least there were reasons subject to argument and debate - why this Committee should not operate other than with enlarged terms. Successive governments of that time refused to enlarge the powers of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Commonwealth Parliament, as a result of which Australia suffered because for many years there was no Opposition representation on the Committee.
I make my next remarks in no form of egotism whatever, but mention that the present Governor-General, when Minister for External Affairs, acceded to the argument which I placed before him that some concessions should be made to the demands from the Opposition for some change in the form of procedures of the Foreign Affairs Committee which would allow the Opposition to join the Committee without feeling that it had acted with some political impropriety. Therefore, some 2i or 3 years ago Opposition members of this Parliament decided, because of a change in the terms of reference, to join the Committee. I should like to think - 1 am sure that what 1 am saying is true - that this joint committee has worked very well and very effectively, but I agree, totally and unequivocally, that the time is not proper, nor is it constitutionally proper, for Parliament to begin to intrude in the minutiae of an examination of foreign affairs, for two reasons. The first reason relates to secrecy. If we do not have an area of secrecy, which I was glad to hear Senator Drury acknowledge was proper, immediately we cut off a great deal of the flow of information to members of Parliament. I feel that the reason for this does not require much elaboration, but the basic reason for it is that in the gathering of high grade information it is totally important to protect sources. The sources in these areas and in this context are sources in other and foreign countries. It is proper that there should be an area of secrecy. That is undeniable.
The second reason is, in generality, that most proceedings of the Foreign Affairs Committee should be heard in camera and in committee because it is an old American concept, which was first enunciated by President Wilson and which I have mentioned in the Senate before, that foreign affairs should be conducted on the basis of - I use the President’s words - ‘open covenants openly reached’. It is just a fact of life that you cannot conduct foreign affairs in the glare of publicity, either national or international. Therefore the maintenance of in camera proceedings of a parliamentary committee on foreign affairs is paramount. If one reads the message carefully one finds that there is no real impediment to the Foreign Affairs Committee hearing matters in public. It may be done with the consent of the Minister. Paragraph 8 of the message transmitted to the Senate by the House of Representatives reads:
That the committee and its sub-committees shall sit in camera and their proceedings shall be secret unless the Minister at the request of the committee otherwise directs.
I think it is a fair and proper restriction to place on a parliamentary committee. In a period of perhaps substantial danger to the nation the Executive should be able to exert power over the Foreign Affairs Committee so that it cannot, by an adventitious majority inside the Committee, proceed to hold hearings in public which could restrict the capacity of the Executive to carry out its proper functions or, because again of the operations of an adventitious majority in the Committee, inflame the public mind. I disagree with the amendment proposed by the Opposition to the effect that there should be, as it were, a reversal of this paragraph of the resolution, which is what is involved in the amendment proposed by Senator Drury. Paragraph I (b) of this amendment states:
That paragraph (8) be left out with a view to inserting the following paragraph in place thereof: ‘(8) That the committee and its sub-committees shall sit in public unless the committee resolves that its own proceedings or a sub-committee’s proceedings shall be secret, whereupon they shall sit in camera.’
The amendment, as I say, involves in fact a reversal of the existing paragraph 8. I do not think the amendment should be supported. I think that the Executive, regardless of its hue, should retain this sort of control over the conduct of matters touching foreign affairs, particularly in relation to high grade and secret information. 1 add this warning: I think any Foreign Affairs Committee composed of members of both Houses of the Parliament would find itself in a position where the government of the day would tend to cut off information which could flow to it, if this amendment were adopted. I think it would do so regardless of the fact that the majority membership of the Committee were according to the hue of the government of the day. At present the flow of high grade information to the Foreign Affairs Committee is very free. If the present situation were to be reversed, which has been proposed by Senator Drury and 1 presume the proposal will be supported by his colleagues, the tendency will be - in much the same way as a snail retires into its shell when exposed to unwelcome temperatures - that Government will tend to let the flow of information fall off.
If honourable senators wish to ascertain the truth of my remarks they have only to examine some of the proceedings of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States Senate. There is a great withholding of information either at the presidential level or the State Department level because of the very fact 1 have mentioned. What makes it worse in the United States of America is that, as Americans live in a highly libera: society, events which are supposed to be heard within the privacy of a committee are enlarged until they become public property. Often the facts are twisted and distorted in the process of enlargement. As a result, enormous penalties are imposed upon the conduct of the United States Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. The people of the United States may be able to live with this fact, but at the present juncture in Australia we cannot live with it. Finally, I wish to say in this context - and I say it quite humbly as a senator who has sat on this Committee for some years now - that I do not think that as a nation we have reached a level of maturity where we can consider foreign affairs matters in the glare of publicity in which they are considered in the United States of America.
– Maturity in this field.
I am in no way deprecating the distinguished lady senator and the other distinguished honourable senators and members of the other place who sit on the Committee or implying that they are less competent than members and honourable senators in other jurisdictions or of other nationalities. 1 think anybody who has sat around the table of the Foreign Affairs Committee will agree that we have not reached the level of maturity in the conduct of international affairs that has been reached in the older societies. Only a few years ago the Department of External Affairs was a miniscule organisation. I think Sir Keith Waller said the other day that there were only five staff members in the Department of External Affairs when he joined it, and now it has something like 3,000. It has grown very quickly. When I first came into this Parliament we were following the foreign policy lines which were laid down in the United Kingdom. They were accepted as a part of Australia’s foreign policy. In the last 15 or 16 years Australia has had to carve, to hack out, at least the beginning of a road into its own foreign policy. The members of Parliament who are involved in this self education process would, I suggest, be very unwise to seek fuller parliamentary power over the area of conduct of foreign affairs matters. I do not think that I can accept the amendment which has been moved by Senator Drury in this regard.
– The honourable senator is writing down the Parliament.
– I am not writing down the Parliament. If honourable senators were to go through the journals of the Senate they would see how many statements on our foreign policy which have been made in this place have not been debated. I think this is a fair illustration to give. We do not have a preoccupation with foreign affairs, but I hope we will have one in the future.
– We should have.
– I know that we should have, but the Parliament cannot move any faster than what is in its belly. I agree with Senator Turnbull that we should have a preoccupation with the subject of foreign affairs. Although we have a place in the world as a growing society we are still narrowly preoccupied with ourselves.
I refer to the portion of the amendment which proposes that the Foreign Affairs Committee report to the Parliament on such matters as are referred to it by either House of the Parliament. A piece of pragmatism is involved here. The Foreign Affairs Committee can initiate an examination of any matter and report on it to the Minister. There are no problems in this regard. The membership of the Foreign Affairs Committee is drawn from both chambers and from the 4 Parties of the Parliament. It is possible within the Committee to initiate an examination of any matter which the Committee considers proper, lt does not require a resolution of either House to provide the subject matter of an inquiry. If the amendment is supported it will mean a reversal of the situation which exists at present whereby the Foreign Affairs Committee may examine matters referred to it by the Minister. As Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee I have taken advantage of this provision and asked the Minister to refer a certain matter to the Committee. In the case of one quite momentous report, I asked him to refer the area of examination to the Committee. This was the first real examination which the Committee was charged with conducting on a reference by the then Minister for External Affairs. It was an area of great sensitivity. The inquiry was conducted under the chairmanship of the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley). The Committee’s membership was mixed. It produced a first class report.
An interesting thing about this paragraph is that if the Committee reports to the Minister on a matter referred to it by the Minister the Minister must report to the Parliament his receipt of the report and the Minister must make a copy of it available to the Leader of the Opposition. I think it comes back to the original remark that the Parliament itself is well covered and well protected. If the Minister wishes to try to manipulate the Foreign Affairs Committee by trying to obtain a sort of rubber stamp report from it the Parliament will be protected, because the Minister must report to the Parliament that he has received such a report and a copy of the report must be handed to the Leader of the Opposition.
The second part of the amendment moved by Senator Drury is a procedural matter. It requests that at the end of paragraph 3 the following words be added: with a request for the concurrence of that House in the Senate’s modifications of the Resolution transmitted to the Senate by the House. 1 admit to favouring some theoretical concepts of the amendment which has been proposed by the Opposition, but in terms of practice and experience, both as an individual member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and as its chairman for nearly 3 years, I consider it would be unwise and improper to attempt to use the Foreign Affairs Committee as a cockpit and a bearpit for partisan politics.
– The Senate is debating a motion moved by the Minister for Supply (Senator Anderson) that the Senate concur in the resolution setting up the Foreign Affairs Committee. An amendment has been introduced by Senator Drury which, while it leaves in the word ‘concur’ makes it clear that the Australian Labor Party does not concur because it proposes to make alterations. I am glad that the matter is going to be settled at last because the Foreign Affairs Committee, in my view, is a very important Committee. Although Parliament was elected last October, here we are in the middle of April and no meetings of the Committee have been held.
I hear an interjection to the effect that the Chairman should have called the Committee together. He can not very well call the Committee together until the conditions under which it is to meet have been determined, and up to date they have not been determined. I regret that this delay has occurred. I am indebted, not to any official representative of the Government or the Opposition, but to the newspapers for the information that the hold-up in appointing the Committee has been due to the fact that representations have been made to the Government by the Opposition, and the Government and the Opposition have indicated their respective views of those representations. As my Party, the Australian Democratic Labor Party, is represented on the Foreign Affairs Committee I would have hoped that it would at least have been apprised of what was going on. But instead of that I was able to learn from the newspapers that it was likely that a request for more representation on the Committee by the Australian Labor Party was going to be agreed to. I was apprised that the Opposition was to move these amendments and that if it were defeated it would still go along with its representation on the Committee.
I find the situation most interesting. The whole future of the Committee is being determined behind the scenes by 2 parties without any regard for the views of the other party involved and without any attempt to consult that party on its viewpoint. We come to the situation where these representations, negotiations, or whatever one calls them are going on behind the scenes and another Party which is represented on the Committee is completely ignored. Apparently if the representations were successful our Party was going to be faced with a fait accompli.
It is quite obvious from what we have all heard that as a result of these behind the scenes negotiations the Government is firm that it is not going to accept the amendments which have been moved by Senator Drury. Therefore the position would be that if the Senate carried these amendments either the Committee will not meet or its meetings will be postponed for many months while further behind the scenes discussions take place to which my party will not be privy. I think it is time we got on with the job. The Opposition has put forward a claim and has indicated that this claim is not going to be supported in the other House. If we carry amendments here all we will do is delay the whole thing or entirely prevent the Committee from meeting. Because my Party believes we should get on with the job it is not prepared to support the amendment which has been put forward on 2 fronts, firstly, in regard to the Committee sitting in public, and secondly, in regard to the reference of certain matters to the Committee by either House of Parliament.
I think Senator Sir Magnus Cormack has put forward some obvious reasons why it is better to retain the .present situation where the Commitee may, at the request of the Minister, be empowered to meet publicly. If the other system suggested is introduced the Committee could run into some complications. It could run into the possibility that the discussions in the Committee would become highly party political in a way which I would not like to see happen. Once the Committee meets in public prima donnas on . either side will seize the opportunity to use the Committee meetings for political purposes. I would always hope that this would be a Committee in which matters are approached on the basis that all members are residents of the Australian community, rather than essentially members of parties. For that reason, and other reasons advocated by Senator Sir Magnus Cormack, I will not support the proposal to alter the present system under which the Committee may meet in public on a particular matter with the approval of the Minister.
On the question on reporting to Parliament on such matters referred to the Committee by either House of Parliament, I do not see that much is to be gained by that. At the present time I suppose nothing would be referred to the Committee by the other House if the Government did not approve of such referral. If the Senate referred a certain matter to the Committee I do not know that a great deal would be gained because, after all, in my experience on the Committee where the different Parties have been represented there has never been any problem. Any member on either side who has considered a particular subject should be debated has been able to have it debated. If the caucus of the Australian Labor Party or if the caucus of the Government - I do not know whether the Government likes the word ‘caucus’ applied to its deliberations - felt that a certain matter should be considered there would be no difficulty at the present time in seeing to it that the Committee examined that matter. Therefore I think that, to a certain degree, this proposal is quite unnecessary because opportunities exist at the present time for the Committee to consider matters which representatives of either party feel should be considered.
I do not feel inclined to hold up the deliberations or the meetings of the Foreign Affairs Committee for several more months while matters are being considered which could not reach any other conclusion than the one contained in the submission sent to the Senate from the House of Representatives. I do not for one moment suggest that there should not be an improvement in the organisation and functioning of the Foreign Affairs Committee. I do think a lot could be done in that direction. I hope that one of the early meetings of the new Foreign Affairs Committee will be devoted to consideration of ways and means by which the method of deliberation and the method of dealing with matters might be improved. I also point out that it is quite possible that a different kind of Foreign Affairs Committee will be established. Proposals are going to come before the Senate for the establishment of certain Committees. These may include a new Foreign Affairs Committee along new lines. We will then be in the situation of having to debate the method under which that particular Committee should function. Therefore I feel, if we are going to look at improvements in the methods of deliberation and organisation of the Committee it is better to get the thing going. When it is going let us have a look at the method of improving its organisation. Obviously, if the proposals of these standing committees are accepted the Senate will be in the position of having to examine the whole system under which the Committee shall operate. As I said before and as I have stressed again, it is nearly 7 months since the election and there has been no meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee. I am not prepared to support any proposal to prevent the Committee meeting any longer.
– Before Senator Willessee who is the next speaker commences I rise to a point of order. I looked at the amendment moved by the Opposition. Perhaps Senator Willesee will wish to clarify this. The first paragraph of that resolution says that the Senate concurs in resolution so and so. The amendment says ‘subject to the following modifications.’ In other words, it is a contingent concurrence. If the qualification is defeated you are left not with a concurrence but with an opposition. I understand that the attitude in the other place was that the Opposition proposes to serve on this Committee. Therefore I think the Opposition may wish to look at the terms of its amendments so that their purpose can be actually established. If the point is taken I merely direct attention to it.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Senator Byrne, do you want a ruling on this or are you seeking an explanation?
Sentaor Byrne - I merely wanted to bring it to attention so that the Senate would know what it would be voting on ultimately.
– by leave - I want only to answer this matter. There may be something in what Senator Byrne is advancing. The matter was put forward in the other place in exactly this form. I think there is considerable sense in what Senator Byrne has said. His form of words is-
– I have not any particular form of words. I just wanted to raise the matter to see what was actually proposed.
– Would ‘with the following modifications’ meet the substance of it?
– I merely directed attention to the fact that what was sought is concurrence. The amendment says ‘concurrence subject to the following modifications’. If the amendments are defeated in this place then the concurrence goes out with them because it is contingent concurrence. The amendment would then resolve itself into an opposition to the motion to serve. The Opposition would be rejecting it. Whether that is intended I do not know.
– No, we are not intending that.
– No, you are not intending it but I feel that that is the effect of the amendment in the terms drawn. You have given a contingent concurrence and once the contingency is destroyed you emerge with an opposition, not a concurrence.
– Are we not asking for concurrence in our modification? Although we are putting something further, when it goes back to the House of Representatives it may then concur in our modifications.
– Presuming that this does not go back to the other House your modifications are destroyed. What is your attitude then?
– When we come to the vote we will tell you.
– But if they are carried?
– We will ask the other place to concur. On further recollection it seems to me that it is probably workable as it stands. That is all we are seeking, to set up something which if carried would require the concurrence of the other place in what we have done.
– by leave - I want to deal with one or two matters. I appreciate that Senator Byrne has raised this. It is good to have these things raised so that we do not get into a knot later on. I think Senator Murphy has made the position clear. What we are asking for is what we believe to be an improvement. If the Senate in its wisdom carried this we would ask the House of Representatives to concur in our additions, addendums or alterations, whatever term is used. If that were so and the House of Representatives did concur, that would be it. That would then be the modification that we suggest. If the Senate in its wisdom rejects it, then the Australian Labor Party intends to support what the Government has put forward.
Firstly let me say how much I appreciate the fact that Senator Sir Magnus Cormack was wide enough awake to pick up the point that was quite innocently put in by the House of Representatives but which ran slap bang into standing order 300 of the Senate. We have an absolute rule which, unless dispensed with, provides that no committee may sit while the Senate is sitting. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack has expressed the view that he agrees with that and would not like to see it altered. He intended to move an amendment which would have held the status quo for a period and we did intend to support it but, as he has explained, for the convenience of the Minister who has important engagements in Bangkok, he will hold his hand for the present with the assurance that the Committee will not be called together while either House is sitting. I do not think that it is necessary for me to express an opinion at this stage on whether the standing order is good or bad. What I think will happen and what I would like to see happen is that this Committee will be established. It can then consider this matter itself. It can make a reference to the Standing Orders Committee, if it so wishes, to have this standing order altered. I think that would be the right and proper way to deal with this matter.
Several things have been imported into this, and I think it is a good thing that that should happen. When I first came into this place anyone who wanted to talk on foreign policy was regarded as a bit of a nut. Today Senator McManus and others are deploring that we are not talking enough about foreign policy. I think this is all to the good. If we suddenly find a situation in which members of Parliament are undoubtedly being goaded by their electors into taking a greater interest in foreign affairs, that is a very good thing.
I do not think that I have to go over the whole position. The Senate knows the two amendments that we are putting. The third is merely machinery. The first is to the effect that meetings of this Committee should be in public unless the Committee itself decides to hold them in camera. The second is that the Minister be not the only person who can refer matters to the Committee. Whatever Senator McManus and Senator Sir Magnus Cormack may say, the day will come when the three of us may be out of this Parliament and the Parliament will accept almost unanimously what is being put up to it. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack, inferentially at least, said ‘At present the Committee is not mature enough’ How does maturity come about? Maturity does not come during your school days. They are your learning days. Maturity comes when you are thrown into the pool and made to swim. I believe that we are underrating the Australian public when we say that the Committee is not mature enough to move into public hearings.
We are politicians and we know that the Government has a particular interest in protecting the situation which it must talk about at election time and which the Minister for External Affairs, whoever he may be, must bring before the Parliament from time to time with some degree of candour while withholding certain information relating to external affairs. Do not forget that the Committee has the right to nominate the subjects upon which there will be public hearings. Could any problems arise in a public hearing on Vietnam? I do not know what could be more public than what we have been hearing about Vietnam in all sorts of ways over the past several years. There never has been an international situation which has been the subject of wider public debate, which has been more divisive, which has been ‘the cause of more teach-ins and lectures, and on which more authorities with widely diverging and strongly held views on the pros and cons and the solution to the problem have spoken. It seems to me that if you were to codify this and have people before the Committee who at present probably are regarded by the public as persons of great authority, you would be able to test that authority, and whether that authority was justified would be shown very quickly. I believe that that would be a means of sorting out what has been said in relation to the situation in Vietnam.
The situation in the Middle East is defying everyone. It is a running situation in relation to which the experts, as I read their statements, say that there is a very real danger of a third world war. What would be the danger to Australia’s interests to hear experts, or so-called experts who would be tested by the Committee, on the situation in the Middle East? Let me come nearer to home and refer to the Malaysia-Singapore situation in which we are involved in no degree of conflict. Certainly there are some divergences on the way in which we should handle ourselves, whether troops should be there, how many troops should be there and whether the troops should be in Malaysia or in Singapore. Surely this would not embarrass a government. Even if it would embarrass a government, what we are trying to write into the charter of this Committee today is not just for the lifetime of this Parliament but for all time. This will operate in respect of all governments, whatever their political colour might be and whatever system of control might operate. We have a very peculiar situation in the Senate at the present time, and it seems that it could well continue for a period of years. So we could have the political colour of a government modified by the situation in the Senate.
Is it not true that today people are becoming more involved in the politics of Australia? The students are more vocal than ever before in history. University people are stepping out of the halls of the universities and making utterances on various matters. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack has been a very able chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. I regret that he will not be the chairman in the future. I believe that he has shown a great deal of maturity. With reference to the people who will be appointed to this Committee, I believe that Senator Lacey was completely correct when he said by way of interjection: ‘You are underrating the Parliament’. The people who will be appointed to this Committee are being underrated. After all, any institution will fail if it has bad or incompetent people on it. If the cricketers in a cricket team cannot play cricket it will not be a good cricket team.
If we do not have on this Committee people who are devoted and able it will fail. But such committees have not failed in other parts of the world. Whatever people may say about .the American system and ,the American institutions, I believe that one thing that has probably saved them from great disasters is the open society. Their inquiries are held in an amazing way. Another amazing aspect is that, when a President returns from an overseas trip, if it happens to be in this part of the world he is met at San Francisco by the television cameras and there, off the cuff, the American people are told immediately what is happening generally.
There is a conservatism in man. I suppose that it is born into all of us. Members of the Government parties hate to alter anything. They do not want to have public hearings. I am one of those who have wanted this Committee. I have wanted it for a long time. The final answer to people who do not want public hearings is that if we have them - I emphasise that they will be at the discretion of the Committee - we will revolutionise the Committee itself and also parliamentary practice in Australia by bringing into the fold all the voices from outside. As Senator McManus pointed out, we already have on our books for consideration a proposal for committees in which experts will be brought before us.
Is it not obvious that as the world becomes more complex it is just a sheer impossibility for members of the Parliament to deal with all the technological, engineering, ecological and other problems that are confronting us? While I was just sitting here I was thinking that it probably was not a very great problem prior to 1917 when the decision was made to build the east-west railway. Technical and financial advice would have been necessary. But it was an engineering and financial problem, which would have come within the purview of the layman and would have been easily grasped. But it is not so easy when one has to deal with matters such as the statement on space, which was read only the night before last, and the control of the continental shelf. These matters will demand all sorts of technical and technological consideration. Therefore, it seems to me to be strange that in every other sphere we say that we want all the expert advice we can obtain, but when we come to foreign policy we seem to take this attitude: ‘My mind is made up. For goodness sake do not confuse me with the facts. I do not want to listen to anybody else on it’.
Senator Sir Magnus Cormack dealt with the possibility of this matter getting out of control. I point out to him that, whatever party is in power, it will have a majority on the Committee. To be fair to him, I must mention that he spoke of an adventitious majority that might occur. I cannot visualise how it could occur, unless a disgruntled member of the government suddenly decided that he wanted to embarrass the government, or something like that. But surely that is a pretty remote possibility, and we cannot legislate for everything that might happen under the sun. After all, I take it that any government would appoint to the Foreign Affairs Committee people who were pretty loyal and pretty decent and were pretty well in touch with their political party. If one of them did happen to go bad, I would say that it would be a pretty rare occurrence because they would be people who were handpicked by the government of the day.
Even if an inquiry put the government of the day in an embarrassing position, what would be the result of that? The result would be the abolition of the Committee. The people involved would destroy themselves. I believe that we are merely holding back the tide. This is something that will come. It will come in other parts of the world, and I believe that it is a great pity that it has not come here at this stage. This is a sphere which is developing more and having greater interest taken in it than probably any other sphere.
Senator Sir Magnus Cormack referred to the confidential information that must keep flowing towards the Committee. It certainly must. He said that the Parliament cannot have this information and should not be interested in it. I suggest that that would not be the case. The information that normally comes to this Committee is not the subject of debate - not all of it, anyway. Some of it is background information. It involves keeping up with the day to day situation in various places. This information would not come to the Parliament. Our proposal would merely mean that the Parliament would have the power to refer to the Committee certain matters in which it was interested.
Another spectre that is raised is that the Committee will put a very high ranking official, an Army officer or an intelligence officer on the stand and that he will have to tell the whole truth, withholding nothing. This does not happen. In fact, this is one of the complaints of people such as Senator Fulbright. These men say: ‘I am sorry, Sir; this cannot be revealed’. I do not want to sidetrack myself, but the American practice of interviewing ambassadors and putting them before the public immediately they return has involved the American people to a tremendous degree. Perhaps it has embarrassed the American Government on the question of Vietnam because the people have been involved. But if we believe in democracy we should believe that this sort of information should not be confined to a few people.
One of the things I have said in the field of foreign policy is that there is a grave danger of people in the Department of External Affairs getting too much of a tubular vision. We choose people and train them. As in the case of all other groups of people, it is very easy for them to fall into a given pattern and to start to look at things with tubular vision. The Americans overcome this problem pretty well by taking a very large percentage of their ambassadors from outside their civil service. I agree with this practice. I believe that it is very good to have this flow into and out of the civil service. I have recommended this before. We should develop the practice of bringing people from the universities and other spheres, who have a tremendous interest in this field, into the Department of External Affairs for a period of time and then putting them out again. I believe that there would be a 2-way flow as a result of which the Department and the Minister would be kept in touch with the outside world and the outside world would be kept in touch with what was happening.
– There is a partial development in that field now.
– Yes. I believe that it is all to the good. I do not say that these people should come merely from outside the civil service. I do not see anything wrong with moving some of the senior men from the Department of Trade and Industry into the Department of External Affairs and then sending them back to the Department of Trade and Industry. There are all sorts of ways this idea could be implemented. One of them is by the Foreign Affairs Committee holding public hearings and another is by allowing not only the Minister but also the Parliament to refer matters to the Committee. At the moment the Government is nurturing the suspicion that the Department of External Affairs is a very close preserve. I remember in the days of the Labor Government, the Liberals - of those days the old United Australian Party - said that foreign policy was the province of one man - Bert Evatt. He was the only man who ran foreign policy. Nobody else had a say in it. That is what the UAP said. The Government has only to develop the present situation a little further and people will be saying the same about this Government. They will say that the Government is developing a hierarchy in the Department of External Affairs and that the employees of that Department are a bit superior to other civil servants. The very charge that the UAP levelled against us will be levelled against the Government. Employees of that Department are becoming restrictive and are developing a bureaucratic approach, which will spread into other sections of the Public Service. This situation is bad. The Government thinks that the situation should be enlarged in every possible way.
– It is the last stronghold of the establishment.
– The Department of External Affairs, yes. Irrespective of the fate of the amendments, we will support the motion. I thought that Senator Drury led very well for the Labor Party. For a long time the Labor Party did not have members on this Committee. Some people thought that we should. They thought that the Committee should be enlarged. Others thought that it was not worth while having representatives on the Committee until it was expanded. That was the reason why the
Australian Labor Party did not have members serving on the Committee for some years. Over the years the Government has come around to our way of thinking. It has moved into the grey area. We have members on the Foreign Affairs Committee. The Government ought to go further. What I say is in no way intended as an attempt to destroy the Committee. My suggestions are put forward to make the Committee worth while. I repeat, because Senator Sir Magnus Cormack was not here at the time - and I would like him to hear this - that the day that we move into the field of public hearings of the Committee and the day that we create a very outgoing and a very open kind of society is the day that the Government will revolutionise the whole attitude of Parliament to the Australian public. The Government will have the strongest committee in history and will have one of the strongest institutions in history. This does not mean that the Committee will make policy decisions. Every time that the Cabinet has to make a decision on cost evaluations and that kind of thing, the members of Cabinet make up their minds on all the facts placed before them. They do not make decisions on the spot. They finally make up their minds on all the facts placed before them. If the Committee held open hearings, it would know what the public was thinking. It would know the thoughts of university people, the thoughts of the common man and the thoughts of all parliamentarians.
– I go half way with you on this. The Foreign Affairs Committee, as reconstituted and in accordance with this motion, can without much modification or by exerting the pressures that are inherent in it have public hearings.
– It can. I am not accusing the honourable senator of being against public hearings. An expression of opinion in that regard will help. An expression of opinion by the Senate will help. The Committee could still have hearings in camera. Every sensible committee would do so. We know perfectly well that certain people would want to give evidence in camera. People from other countries would not want to be identified because of hostages held in their homeland. The names of these people would not be revealed. This is common sense. I thought Senator McManus rather overstated his case. He said the the re-appointment of the Committee had been delayed by negotiations between the Government and the Opposition. He said that it was 7 months since we had met. That is true. I think he should have been fair enough to say that it is only 4 working weeks since the Parliament met. I do not approve of Parliament not sitting for 5 months, but it is only 4 weeks since Parliament met. The only suggestion we put to the Government was accepted. We suggested that, because of the enlarged number of members of our Party, there could be a greater contribution to the work of the Committee by having more Labor members on it. The Government accepted that suggestion and increased the number by 1. That is the only negotiation that has taken place. That would not have delayed anything. The other propositions are put forward now to be dealt with today. If the Democratic Labor Party wanted to negotiate with the Government, it could have done so. I understand that it had no problems before in getting with the Government an open door policy on foreign Affairs. I doubt whether the DLP would have had any trouble on this occasion if it had asked for a representation of 50% of the Party instead of 25% of the Party on the Committee. That is a matter for the DLP. I am not advising it one way or another.
– Would the honourable senator support that suggestion?
– I am not advising the DLP. We did not include the DLP in our negotiations. I cannot see the DLP including us in its negotiations. I would have no say on this. I think the propositions contained in the amendments are sensible ones. I instance the open hearings and the matter of referrals. Only 2 nights ago the Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon) in another place and Senator Anderson in this chamber brought down a statement on special aid to Indonesia. They brought down that statement quite properly so that the foreign affairs statement, the defence statement and this statement could be embraced in a cognate debate. Aid to Indonesia has a political appeal. The situation in Indonesia is very confused. A lot of articles that have been written do not give the true situation in Indonesia. This is one area in which expert advice could be sought without any political overtones at all. The Govern ment has not introduced a Bill. The Government is free to seek this advice. Surely, instead of taking the advice of a section of the Department of External Affairs, would it not be better to prove that that section was right? Would it not be better to prove that this aid is the best type of aid that we can give at present? The information suppliedby the Department could well be right.
I support the amendments moved by Senator Drury. He is an experienced man on this Committee. He is already in the middle of a job examining a section of the world which everybody seems to have forgotten but which is so close to Australia - the Pacific basin - and which will be thrust under our noses very much more in the future. Not only did he lead for us but, because he has complete faith in the proposals contained in the amendments, he moved such amendments. As I said at the outset, I am a conservative man. We are shying at shadows. If the Minister accepted the proposals contained in the amendments, he would immediately throw off his shoulders the suspicion about this kind of secret society in which employees in the Department of External Affairs work. Parliament could refer to the Committee certain things for examination. How the Committee dealt with them would be up to the Committee. It might or might not call witnesses. It might make a decision on the voices around the table. That would be up to the Committee to decide. It is only a matter of time before the Committee will have open hearings, which will then foster the kind of open society that I believe has been the strength of the American nation. I understand that the amendments will be rejected. I regret that. I make this forecast: In time to come, whether the people debating the matter today are here or not, open hearings of the Committee will be accepted with open arms by the Senate.
That the amendments (Senator Dray’s) be agreed to.
The Senate divided. (The President- Senator Sir Alister McMullin)
Majority . , . . 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Consideration resumed from 8 April (vide page 645).
– During the adjournment the opportunity has been taken to consider the suggestions made by honourable senators concerning the provisions of clause 15, and once again I must express my thanks for the thoughtful way in which honourable senators have approached the problems connected with that clause. I feel that I should particularly mention the fact that I appreciate the points raised by Senator Rae, Senator Cavanagh and Senator Murphy. They, together with other honourable senators, have helped to lay the foundation for the proposed amendment.
I would not want it to be thought that in proposing the clause in its present form the Government lacked any consideration for the rights of an individual. Lest there be any doubts on that point, however, I am content that the situation be clarified by making an express provision in the clause that the interests of an accused person should not be prejudiced. To this end I propose an amendment, to add to clause 15 a third sub-clause. It has not been possible to circulate copies to all honourable senators, but 1 have seen that copies have been given to the leaders of the Parties. I have a few more copies with me. It is possible that other copies will be available before I finish speaking, but if they are not, I would seek the indulgence of the Senate to proceed with the matter and to have the copies circulated later.
As I understand it, honourable senators accept the necessity for admission of the statements made in a document certified by the Attorney-General for the purposes of extradition proceedings. The amendment is, therefore, confined to proceedings for offences under the Crimes (Aircraft) Act, and provides expressly that a magistrate or court shall not admit documents of the type we are discussing where it appears in all the circumstances it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so. The amendment is cast in these terms because they are expressions well known to us, and long accepted by courts.
I am confident that if the occasion arises for the application of this provision, a court will faithfully observe the traditional concepts of our system of justice and ensure that a trial or committal proceeding is conducted in a manner which is scrupulously fair. Honourable senators will observe that the amendments provide for regard to be paid to all the circumstances surrounding the question of an admission of the document. An instance where a court might exclude the document is where a witness could be readily available to give oral evidence if called upon. An example of where part of a document might be excluded is where that part contains matter which is irrelevant or unduly prejudicial to the accused.
On the other hand, the document might contain the statement of a person who was injured in the accident which led to the inquiry and who subsequently dies from that injury. In these circumstances the document would be admissible in some parts of Australia without this provision, but it seems desirable to provide that the court should at least consider its admissibility in all parts of Australia. As Senator Byrne has mentioned, the document may contain evidence in exculpation of the accused person which he wishes to have admitted in subsequent proceedings. In ail cases the fact that an accused person had not been present at the inquiry would be a highly relevant factor for the court to consider in deciding whether to admit the document or not.
In all the circumstances, therefore, it appears to me proper that such matters should be left to the determination of courts whose function it is, in our system of justice, to determine these issues. Accordingly, I move:
In clause IS, add the following sub-clause: (3.) In proceedings under the Crimes (Aircraft) Act 1963 the magistrate or court hearing die proceedings shall not admit in evidence a document referred to in the last preceding sub-section, or a part of such a document, unless it appears to the magistrate or court that, having regard to all the circumstances, it would be contrary to the interests of justice not to do so.’
J feel that the inclusion of this provision would go further than the addition to clause 10 (4.) which was suggested last night by Senator Greenwood as a possible solution of the problem. Therefore, I do not feel it ‘is necessary for me - and I think honourable senators will agree with me - to comment further on that suggestion. I see that copies of the amendment have now been circulated. I conclude by thanking the Senate for its consideration of this matter and say that I do not feel it is necessary for me to say anything more. The matter has been very carefully considered. As honourable senators are all aware, there has been quite a lot of consultation. Once again, I thank honourable senators for thenconsideration.
– Does the Minister want this amendment to be taken with the other amendments which have been proposed?
– If that is appropriate, I should like it to be done, so long as it does not interfere with any honourable senator’s right to speak to the Bill.
– Does the Committee agree to that procedure? There being no objection, that course will be followed.
– I rise just to express my appreciation of the solution which was found to this problem. After some discussion with the
Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton), the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) and officers of the Department of Civil Aviation we finally came to a wording which it was thought might cover objections raised in the Senate by myself and others. I want to express my appreciation of the manner in which the Minister tried to seek a solution to this problem and for the very cordial discussion we had in the lunch hour with the officers of his Department when finally a solution was found. I think it clears up all of the matters in dispute and removes the fear that I had that there may be some infringement of human rights and liberties. The very important thing to be learned from this legislation which was drafted and submitted to both Houses of Parliament - I think it went through the other place without amendment and possibly would have done the same in this place unless someone-
– It originates here. It has not yet gone to the other place.
– I did not know that. But I do not know what would have happened if someone had not detected that there could be some breach of common law or human rights. As a result of discussion it has been sufficiently agreed by all that it was so much at fault as to necessitate 4 amendments to get over this question of protecting the accused and giving him a fair and proper trial. This shows the necessity - whatever our interest in the subject - for some scrutiny of legislation by someone in this place to see that these things are picked up. I believe that with the co-operation of the Minister the justice we seek will now be found in this legislation and any offender who would do damage to an aircraft or its passengers will be punished. But we are equally sure that he will get the sort of trial that we have become accustomed to in our society.
– I also rise to express appreciation, as did Senator Cavanagh, of the way in which the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) has responded to the wishes of the Senate in this matter. I have only just seen the text of the amendment which is proposed and I wonder whether consideration has been given by the Minister to whether this amendment has not rendered nugatory the purpose which was intended by the combined effect of clause 10 and clause 15. I say that because it did appear to me to be the intent of those 2 clauses that, in certain circumstances, evidence which is taken at an inquiry into the facts contemplated by clause 10 would be admissible in any of the proceedings to which clause 15 applied. I have assumed that it would be so admissible notwithstanding that in its form and possibly in its substance it would not be evidence which otherwise, according to ordinary principles, would be capable of being admitted, because I would have thought there was fair reason why, in particular circumstances, that should be the case. I equally shared the concern which both Senator Cavanagh and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) expressed that it should not be mandatory upon the court to accept this evidence and to give it an undue weight; that justice would be denied in cases where an individual would be under hardship. But I invite the Minister’s consideration of whether or not the sub-clause (3.) which is now to be inserted is not a sub-clause which positively says that the document shall not be admitted, and provides as a proviso that it shall be admitted only where there are some exculpatory circumstances such as those to which Senator Byrne drew attention. I say that because it appears to me that it is the normal rendering of the proviso contained in the words: * . . . unless it appears to the magistrate or the court that having regard to all the circumstances it would be contrary to the interests of justice not to do so.’ One could visualise that the only circumstances in which it would be contrary to the interests of justice not to do so would be where, by withholding the document, an individual was to be prejudiced. If I should be right in that view - and, as I say, I have only had the opportunity of perusing this document for 2 or 3 minutes-
– Why should this be so? If justice is to be served every guilty man shall be convicted and no innocent man shall be convicted. That would be the principle of justice both ways, would it not?
– I appreciate that when one looks at it in the sense in which Senator Byrne has mentioned that would be a fair rendering of the words, but I sense that when one comes to construe them in the way - as he would appreciate - in which courts are inclined to construe them what is contrary to the interests of justice is looked at, as properly it should be looked at, from the viewpoint of the individual. I have the very strong feeling that the rendering of these words, if they ever should be called upon to be rendered by a court, would be that this document shall not be admissible unless having regard to all the circumstances it would be contrary to the interests of justice not to admit it. That would involve considering who is going to be hurt unless this document is admitted, and that would be the individual who is being charged. I certainly feel that it goes a very long way towards providing that protection about which concern was initially raised. I raise this, not because I am unappreciative of what has been said, but because I do suggest very earnestly to the Minister that if there is an intent in the purposes of clause 10 and clause 15 then this language may thwart that intention. I appreciate that the Minister has his advisers and that the advisers have undoubtedly drafted this clause, but in my judgment it stands as a provision which nullifies the intent which was expressed.
– lt seems to me that Senator Greenwood takes his suggestion too far. After all, the clause, as it will be left, is quite free of what I might describe as a proviso so far as the proceedings under this Bill and those under the two extradition Acts would be concerned. This does not touch those. It relates only to the Crimes (Aircraft) Act 1963 and it does so because of the concern that it would be applying to the trial proceedings as distinct from proceedings anterior to that for movement of the person and so forth. We were very concerned about what is a departure from the ordinary course of the law - a rather extraordinary departure - and we have been concerned to put some restrictions upon that. I must say that I had some discussion with the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) and with his advisers and I am partly responsible for the final form of the amendment, in fact putting it in that way: ‘. . . unless it would be contrary to the interests of justice not to do so’. I was responsible for making the suggestion. My own feeling was that really unless there were to be severe qualification we ought to be opposing the application of this kind of clause to the Crimes (Aircraft) Act altogether. Together with the Minister we have been endeavouring to come to some compromise with, I would think, a little bit of reluctance from both sides - if I might put it like that - there being no partisan approach in this matter. It has been entirely free of that.
– What was the idea of the slight change here? What was the exact purpose of putting in the double negative?
– There is a difference in emphasis. The two negatives do not cancel out and there is a difference. We are speaking now of a man who may be on trial for his life - or he may be accused of a lesser offence - and the court is faced with the decision: ‘Should this evidence be admitted?’ In the way that the provision was originally framed the court would say: We will admit this evidence’.
– There were no negatives in the original framing. It said: “where it appears contrary to do so’.
– I would like to reframe what I was saying. As the provision stands now the court would be faced with the evidence and would have to say: ‘We will not admit this evidence unless you can show us that it would be against justice not to admit it’. We are considering evidence which may be taken under peculiar circumstances, perhaps in the absence of the accused person. It may be contrary to the ordinarily accepted notions of justice. The tribunal may say: ‘You must satisfy me that it would be unjust not to admit this evidence’. It may be that a death has occurred or that it would be impracticable or terribly expensive to bring back a witness to give evidence.
– I wonder whether the alteration has not defeated that intent, whether you have put the onus the wrong way.
– If one reads it, the onus is quite clear. The tribunal says: ‘I will not admit it unless it appears to me that it would be contrary to the interests of justice not to admit it’. It is quite clear that he will not admit the evidence unless it appears to him, having regard to all the circumstances, that it would be unjust not to admit it. That is what it amounts to. We think this provision as amended would generally act in the interests of an accused person, but it may in some circumstances act the other way. The prosecution perhaps could satisfy the tribunal that it would be unjust not to admit the evidence, that it would go against the interests of justice.
– In other words, it is admitted unless that is established?
– No. I direct Senator Byrne’s attention to the beginning. The tribunal shall not admit it unless it appears to the tribunal that it would be unjust not to admit it. Perhaps it would be clearer if the honourable senator examined it in the light of the preceding provision, in clause 15 (2.), which refers to the admissibility of evidence. The tribunal would not admit it under the Crimes (Aircraft) Act, and only that Act, unless it appeared to him unjust not to admit it. Clearly the provision as it is proposed to amend it, would be generally available in the interests of the accused person, but it may be available in the interests of the prosecution, if it satisfied the tribunal that it would be unjust not to admit the evidence. That is the simple test.
Senator Greenwood has said that in most cases the courts would lean in the direction of the accused, but they would act on proper principles and the proper principle here is that they would say that they would not admit the evidence unless they were satisfied that it would be unjust not to admit it. If the satisfaction is there, the evidence will be admitted and it will be up to the prosecution, if it wants to avail itself of the evidence, to so satisfy the tribunal. I have some reluctance about the matter because we perhaps would have preferred to have sub-paragraph (b) deleted altogether and to wait until the Bill included a strict provision setting out the circumstances in a clearer way, perhaps dealing with the Crimes (Aircraft) Act itself. However, we think it is reasonable to accept the provision in the way that it has been accepted by the Minister. We are prepared to vote for it and to vote for the amendments.
– I do not wish to prolong this debate because the matter has received intense and lengthy scrutiny. However, I think that the modern situation is highlighted by the difficulty we face in this measure. I refer to the reconciliation of individual rights with community rights. We are considering a violent assault against the rights of a number of people in an aircraft and against the community at large. Against that there is the entitlement of an individual to his rights under the law. The reconciliation is never easy. The great modern problem is to what extent and in what way those 2 entitlements can be reconciled. In giving this matter the consideration that the Senate has given it, we have touched upon a matter of intense modern importance. It is to the credit of the Senate that this aspect was appreciated and it was considered worthwhile to give it this type of scrutiny.
It is still a rather complex sub-clause, in my estimation, as is always the case when double negatives are used in draftsmanship. I can only hope that the terms of drafting will reflect where the emphasis in vulnerability might lie, because undoubtedly the vulnerability is on the side of an accused person. But we must not forget the question of community rights and that justice is justice to all, not only to an accused person but also to people who have been injured. The community at large is entitled to see that offenders against the public law are punished.
– But that does not arise here as the issue. We have to balance on the one hand the cost, trouble and inconvenience of bringing witnesses back to Australia, and on the other hand prejudice to an individual if evidence is not presented. It will always go in favour of an individual.
– I agree that possibly, in a sense, it could be interpreted in that way. It is one of the dangers inherent in this type of matter, as Senator Greenwood has pointed out. We can only hope that a court being called upon to apply these clauses and. sub-clause in the particular circumstances would have regard for the overall serving of justice with due regard to that slightly greater attention which is so often given to an accused person in courts of criminal jurisdiction. This is an important matter. This legislation to some extent represents the good name of Australia in its international negotiations under the Tokyo Agreement. I think it is salutary and shows a serious approach to our accession to that Agreement that we have considered it in this way and in this detail. I am sure that the Minister and his Department will feel fortified in their international negotiations that the Parliament has considered this legislation to be of such importance. I support the amendment.
– I support the amendment as it stands. As drafted it accords with the general principle which I suggested last night as the way in which it would be best to act to overcome the problems, but I am still a little confused by the amendment as finally drafted and as explained by Senator Murphy. It seems to me that the practical effect of the amendment - Senator Murphy has mentioned that he was responsible for changing the sense of the last part of the sub-clause - is to reverse the onus of proof. As I understand it, this is what was desired in that more often than not it will be the prosecution which will wish to have evidence admitted and more often than not it will be an accused person who will wish to have evidence excluded. Whoever wishes to have evidence admitted carries the onus of proof to cause a trial judge or magistrate to exercise his discretion to admit the evidence. I rather think, looking at the matter in that way, that that entirely overcomes the point which was made by Senator Greenwood that the amendment renders nugatory the provisions which he mentioned. It seems to me to be perhaps a departure from the approach better known to the law in relation to things such as the Judges Rules in relation to the admission of statements made by an accused person. I should think that it was perfectly acceptable to say that it shall be admissible except where some reason can be shown why in fairness it should not be admitted. But since this agreement has been made and since it is acceptable to the Minister, I do not intend to pursue the point further, except to say that it is perhaps going further than is necessary and may, in the words of Senator Byrne, leave the community at large at a disadvantage. If there is a doubt, let us give the benefit of that doubt to the person who may be on trial.
The other point to which I would draw attention in passing is that the amendment as drafted states:
In proceedings under the Crimes (Aircraft) Act 1963 the Magistrate or Court hearing the proceedings shall not admit in evidence a document . . .
The Bill contains no definition of ‘court’. Probably it is unnecessary to define ‘court’, although it is common in legislation of this sort to define a court where there are different types of courts and different types of proceedings being referred to in the legislation. It may be that on further consideration by the Minister and his staff at some later stage it might be thought desirable to take that point into account. I simply draw attention to it in passing, not in any way suggesting that the passage of the Bill should be delayed for that purpose.
– Honourable senators will all be very conscious of the fact that in these circumstances a Minister relies a great deal on his advisers. I am indebted to my advisers. This amendment has been scrutinised by them and the suggestion made by honourable senators also have been carefully scrutinised. The amendment is regarded as acceptable, in no way delimiting the processes of the Bill, and accordingly I accept it as such.
As I have listened to the debate this afternoon I have realised, as I think I realised long before, that we reach a stage in all these things when the arguments advanced on all sides must contain considerable quantities of speculation as to what might happen. I do not think we are really in a situation to bring down legislation which in reality can cover the whole field of speculation and the whole field of human interest, and varying opinions may be given in varying cases by varying authorities. I content myself by saying that I am convinced that the amendment will not render nugatory the provision referred to. It will limit the cases where documentary evidence may be admitted, but the amendment is accepted as a necessary safeguard to the rights of an individual in a particular case. In answer to Senator Rae, it is not considered necessary to define ‘court’ in clause 15 (3.) because it can refer only to a court which is hearing proceedings under the Crimes (Aircraft) Act 1963. Once again I thank honourable senators and, while not moving accordingly, it is my considered view that it is time that this question was put.
Amendments agreed to.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported with amendment; report adopted.
Motion (by Senator Cotton) proposed:
That the Bill be now read a third time.
– I speak on the third reading merely to congratulate the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) on his efficient and patient handling of this very complex matter which is his first Bill.
– Thank you.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from 7 April (vide page 568), on motion by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
-Dealing with this Bill is a sort of exercise in the field of social services in respect of which the Opposition’s main criticism - this is the difference between the Opposition and the Government approach to this matter - is of this fragmentary approach rather than of the broad overall scheme to meet the various ways in which the Commonwealth can assist the States. The Minister for Housing (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) used the term ‘approved eligible organisations’ at the beginning of her second reading speech. I should like information on that point. Who will decide which organisations come within the definition of ‘approved eligible organisations’? In raising that point I ask honourable senators to consider the situation in the big metropolitan areas. The vast majority of people engaged in this work certainly deserve our hearty commendation, but there are always the few bad apples. I recall one instance in Sydney where an organisation was masquerading as a benefactor for groups of aged persons and the Chief Secretary’s Department of New South Wales had to bear down on that organisation very heavily when it endeavoured to float an art union. But the least said about that the better.
Will the Minister confer with some appropriate State authority, like the Chief
Secretary’s Department or its equivalent in the other States, to ensure that the Commonwealth is not subsidising a group which to some degree might be feathering the nest of its executive officers? I emphasise again that those who do this are very much in a minority, but they do exist in some cases.
When we consider the history of Meals on Wheels in most capital cities we realise that in many cases the lord mayors have played a very effective part. In the inner suburbs of Sydney the present leader of the State Opposition, the Honourable P. D. Hills, as Lord Mayor of Sydney played a very important part in activising the various groups. In most capital cities Meals on Wheels have become a regular thing, and in many middle class suburbs the scheme has been very effective. Perhaps the suburb in which I live, Concord, would come within that category. I am not arguing this matter on the basis of a social rating of suburbs, but I am trying to establish that there could be other suburbs, which are growing and developing areas, where people do not have the time or leisure to become identified with such a scheme. To be blunt about this, it could be argued that the Concord or Drummoyne councils in metropolitan Sydney are able to provide the basic local government facilities and over and above that are able to provide facilities to activise local groups, whereas in other developing suburbs - I instance places like Blacktown or perhaps Bankstown - they have so much to do and the people in the area are doing so much for younger groups or, young mothers with children through baby health clinics that it becomes a matter of priority and they are not able to do so much for aged groups.
When the Minister refers to groups which are in operation, I am inclined to feel that it might be argued that we are giving to groups which are already reasonably selfsufficient. I might do no better than to quote that leading British socialist writer, G. D. H. Cole, who said: ‘A little for many rather than a lot for a few.’ But I go further. In Britain a considerable amount of research has been conducted over the past 12 years and one of the conclusions reached was that in providing aid to county authorities or other authorities, the equivalent of our local councils, it would be better if all the authorities had the one all-embracing plan.
Some social problems can be quite fascinating. I know that often people can get more lonely in the big cities than they can in smaller country towns or quiet suburbs. One frequently finds pockets of poverty in the large capital cities. It is the people who live in these areas who are in need of assistance. The Opposition will not stand in the way of any advancement in the field of social services, but it is of the opinion that if the Government had access to social surveys or studies which have been made of the broad picture which exists in the various capital cities and it consolidated them the Government might find that useful practices are followed by social service organisations in Perth which are not followed elsewhere or it could learn from errors made in Sydney which are not made elsewhere.
The Government has more or less decided to adopt a system of granting a subsidy of a certain amount for a certain number of meals which are provided. The Opposition is of the opinion that a more detailed study should be carried out. The adoption of the proposals will result only in a propping up of some of .the existing organisations. The Opposition’s approach is that we should strive to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. I respectfully say that I think that some organisations are living off their fat. In using the term ‘fat’ I mean that they are operating in suburbs in which there is little serious need. Even in the 19th century when Britain was the workshop of the world there were always ladies in Britain who were going around and handing out food. We are trying to avoid this idea of paternalism. I think it will always be argued in Australia that the scale of social service benefits should be improved.
I would much prefer the Commonwealth or State system of distributing relief to the system which was in force in the United States of America at the turn of the last century when, to be quite blunt about it, it was left to the political parties to buy votes by giving people coal in the winter and ice cream in the summer. Politics should not enter the field of social services. Eligibility, not patronage, should be the vital factor. One should not take advantage of the empty stomachs of the people to buy votes. In making donations to existing organisations the Government is reversing the course of history. I would like the Department of Social Services to undertake top level consultations with the various State departments on the subject of social services. I am using Sydney as a means of describing areas of need, but I should imagine that Melbourne would have its counterparts to, say, Enmore or Newtown in Sydney. I would imagine that Footscray would be something like those suburbs. Although some migrant groups are in a position to look after their elderly people, one often finds persons who do not come within the usual Anglo-Saxon or ethnic or religious groups which are behind these Meals on Wheels projects who are in need of assistance. Some people are loners.
I have outlined some of the points which the Opposition is concerned about. We are of the opinion that the Government could learn something from conducting social service studies. In some instances there may be small organisations which are only just ticking over and a little infusion may be worth while. I think the second reading speech of the Minister for Housing, who represents the Minister for Social Services in this chamber, could have been a little more detailed. It could have indicated, for example, that discussions had been had with the appropriate welfare organisations in the various States and that they had come up with certain recommendations and indicated what I will call the particularly depressed areas for want of a better term. I notice that the Minister did say that the number of meals delivered in Australia at present is of the order of 2 million. I am curious as to how this figure was arrived at. Was it obtained from voluntary organisations or governmental bodies? Although my remarks have been in the main directed at the position in the outer western suburbs of Sydney, I suppose a similar situation could exist in some of our mining communities as a result of a decline in mining activities.
I assume that the Department of Social Services will be responsible in some degree for the implementation of this legislation. Although the Opposition does not oppose the Bill, it believes that careful consideration should be given to the manner in which assistance is rendered. I have no doubt that when this proposal becomes a reality the Government will be stuck with the problem of deciding whether there are other organisations in existence which have the same motives as the qualifying organisations, and it will have to determine how these organisations can qualify for any subsequent handouts.
– I commend the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) in the other place and the Government for the introduction of this legislation. I regard the activities of the Meals on Wheels organisation, which this legislation sets out to assist, as one of the finest instances of community service by people who desire to help their fellow citizens who require kind consideration. The subsidy of $1 for each 10 meals served will be a boon to the organisations in the cities and larger provincial towns of Australia. In Adelaide we have in mind, with a deep sense of gratitude, the work which was done by Miss Doris Taylor about 15 years ago when she instituted a system of home care which provided meals to needy citizens. It was called the Meals on Wheels organisation. She pioneered an avenue of community service which, over the years, has proved to be of real value in the maintenance of an atmosphere of thought and consideration for those people who needed the kind consideration of others. At the time of the establishment of the Meals on Wheels organisation in Adelaide Miss Taylor said:
It is not a charity; it is a social experiment. It is an attempt to solve the problem of the care of the aged under modern conditions. It is, I hope, the beginning and centre of a home service scheme, a scheme which could meet all the needs of the aged and enable them to live their lives as part of the community with the maximum of independence, freedom, and comfort possible to old age.
This worthy lady went on to say that institutions for aged persons - old folks homes and institutions of that nature - were not the answer to many of the problems of the aged because the provision of only a few rather minor forms of assistance would enable these people to continue as residents in their own homes. I am very pleased to see that reference is made in the legislation to the fact that part of the Government’s home care programme is designed to provide housekeeping, home nursing and other services to the aged with a view to maintaining them in their own homes for as long as possible.
Senator Mulvihill referred to this division of interest, as it were, in home care as being something of a fragmentary scheme. I cannot agree that there is anything detrimental in the various aspects of assistance which arise from this endeavour in the social services field. In South Australia the State Government provides $5,000 a year to the Meals on Wheels organisation. An amount of $17,000 was made available over 3 years to meet the capital requirements. The amount of 30c is charged for a meal delivered in Adelaide and the larger country towns. The subsidy of 10c a meal will assist very greatly in improving the service now being given.
– Who will obtain this assistance? The State Government or the organisation delivering the meals?
– This is a direct subsidy to the approved organisation.
– The State Government is supplying the meals but it will not obtain the subsidy?
– At the present time the Meals on Wheels organisations provide the meals and therefore they will be eligible to receive this subsidy.
– But do they provide the meals?
– Yes, the organisation does provide the meals. The governmental assistance provided at the present time is $5,000 per year. By button days and various other fund raising activities the organisation is providing the necessary funds so that the meals can be provided at a cost of 30c to the recipient. I am pleased to note that meals supplied last year will attract the subsidy under the legislation. I note in the Minister’s second reading speech that the first payment will be made in respect of meals delivered during the 1969 calendar year.
I say again that I warmly commend the Government for its interest in assisting those organisations whose purpose it is to assist others. I have much pleasure indeed in supporting this Bill.
– The Australian Democratic Labor Party supports this measure. I am very pleased that Senator Laucke outlined some of the principles of Meals on Wheels because we should not get bogged down in some of our old thinking and make a comparison of this idea with some of the old charitable ideas and the poor houses and like institutions of the past. I think Senator Mulvihill in suggesting that this was a fragmentary idea was speaking of the needs of a community today which are decidedly different from those of earlier communities, because by medical knowledge and other knowledge human life is being preserved much longer and with this is coming a whole crop of quite new and distinctive problems. It is in an endeavour to meet these new problems that these sorts of ideas have been sponsored. They will not all be 100% successful but the Meals on Wheels organisation has made a considerable impact on what was a big and growing problem amongst aged people in the community. There is here a physical necessity and a mental need at the same time. Meals on Wheels contributes to the satisfaction of both. It is hard for us in the vigour of our years to appreciate at the moment that at some time before our own lives conclude we will pass through a phase of life when, mentally, we will not respond to the same stimuli to which we respond today.
I have known elderly people go down the street to do their shopping. They have done this all their lives. They have successfully reared families. Then they get to a stage in life when they go down the street but then forget what they went there for. They go home loaded with stuff which is of no great nutritional value at all. When it comes to preparing meals they are fighting desperately against this loss of mental capacity which comes with advanced years which most people in bygone ages and generations probably would never have reached. Meals on Wheels assists in this problem. It assures that a good nutritious meal is available at reasonable cost to people who may be going without a meal, not because they cannot afford one in some instances-
– They will not prepare them.
– That is right. The preparing of the meals, with all the purchasing of the proper ingredients, gets a little beyond their mental capacity. They have other days when they can cope quite well. Of course, this organisation fulfils a tremendous need particularly for widowers who have never prepared meals for themselves. They lose their wives very late in life and suddenly they have to try to live on their own resources. They have no skill and no capacity for cooking a nutritious meal. They are very much inclined to live on things which are easy to prepare but which are not giving them the value for the money they spend or the nutritional value necessary to maintain their lives. Their mental powers which are fading in any case and which are being eroded by time itself, become still further weakened by a diet which is not sufficient to maintain them as it should. Do not let us confuse this with the old situation of charitable handouts to the poor. There is much more involved in this.
I believe an intelligent step is being taken by voluntary organisations which are entitled to the encouragement of local governments, State governments, and now the Federal Government which has seen fit to enter the field and offer not a bounty but an encouragement. That is how I look upon this. It is an encouragement to organisations which already exist. I am sure that the problem outlined by Senator Mulvihill is a real problem. In the very new suburbs where most of the people are very young there must be pockets where elderly people are not receiving quite the same attention as in those suburbs where the average age is much higher and the need has become more obvious to the community, this has stimulated the formation of organisations necessary to give .this sort of care. But in their turn those newer suburbs will realise, as the magnitude of their own problems grow, the necessity for this. I believe that this sort of encouragement now must surely do more to promote further society to form and councils to take up the idea which has been so successfully sponsored and carried out by those who have pioneered the idea. The Democratic Labor Party feels that this, as a beginning, is a very worthwhile subject. It compliments the Government and fully supports the measure which it hopes will have a speedy passage through the House.
– My remarks will be very brief. I too commend the Government for introducing this measure which, as the Minister for Housing (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) has said in the second reading speech provides another opportunity for voluntary organisations and other bodies to participate in the programme of caring for people in need of community support. I have acted as chauffeur in driving my wife around and I suggest that Meals on Wheels has opened up a completely new and interesting field of community work and Commonwealth Government responsibility. Often, to a person who comes into the scope of Meals on Wheels, the organisation’s representative is the only visitor they ever have. There is a great amount of comfort in this, particularly for the type of people who engage in these community activities which should be encouraged because they give that little bit of extra brightness to the lives of the people who are in the twilight of their lives.
Looking through the explanatory material one can see that the number of meals on wheels delivered annually is in the order of 2 million. The approximate cost for the first year was $200,000. It is expected that something like 5 million meals a year may be necessary before the situation is reached where the needs of those requiring this service are being adequately met. As that is 2i times $200,000 it seems that somewhere or other along the line those responsible for this service, whoever they may be, are being subsidised with very efficient catering because the type of meal which is delivered to these people is, in most cases, a very substantial one. In my State we have a different arrangement. From what I can gather one can never really find out who provides the meat, the vegetables and the other physical things which are in the meals on wheels. I know the organisation in Tasmania which cooks them and I know the organisations which distribute them, but somewhere along the line a much more substantial subsidy than 10c a meal is going into this. At some time in the near future I believe that the State governments or whatever organisations are concerned will have to be compensated for the expenditure in which they are involved. After all, the States have only a partial responsibility in the field of social welfare. It is the responsibility of the Commonwealth to look after aged people. The facilities of the State governments in this field will be strained to the utmost when the number of delivered meals is increased from 2 million a year to 5 million a year.
There is another point. The aged people whom I have seen receiving these meals are very careful about hygiene. They wash the crockery and the little containers in which the meals are delivered, but those items still have to be taken to a central place and washed. Sometimes replacements are necessary. As the scheme develops all of these activities will need to be coordinated more efficiently than is the case at present. I think that Senator Mulvihill had that aspect in mind when he spoke about this as being a fragmentary piece of legislation. It is designed to assist something which has grown up and which has a very great potential if the fullest benefit is to be gained in the ultimate.
The classification of certain organisations as suitable organisations for subsidy purposes was done in different circumstances. It is possible that those same organisations are responsible for the care of aged people. I have in mind those which provide housekeeping, home nursing and other services. I think this aspect should be looked at very carefully. The Red Cross might be operating in some of the larger cities but in other areas there are service organisations which I believe could be encouraged to adopt this as a project if they understood how to go about obtaining meals. In a small community you would not have available the hospital facilities which often are used in the larger cities for the bulk preparation of the meals, so the meals would have to be sent from a larger centre in heaters or cooked locally. These are all problems which would have to be solved.
I should like to have on record that I advocate that the whole proposal of expanding this really wonderful facility which is available to old people should be examined in greater depth with a view to more funds being made available so that the work of distribution could be bandied by charitable organisations although the cost of the food provided under the scheme should be borne by the Commonwealth. This is a wonderful innovation. It has had a magnificent response from social welfare organisations which feel that they are really doing something worthwhile when they visit aged people and supply them with something that they need so badly. I know that some of the recipients of these meals were suffering virtually from malnutrition because of their sheer physical inability to cook a meal. I have seen the difference in their appearance. The fact that substantial meals are being delivered to them has given them a new lease of life. It was a really wonderful experience for me to see what is being done.
The subsidy of 10c a meal is a good start but in this day and age with inflation, the high cost of food and so on, I hope that the subsidy will be increased, particularly as it is proposed to multiply by 2i times the number of meals delivered. I hope that there will be a change in the present system whereby so much of what is being done is voluntary and being subsidised at different stages along the line. It would be of interest to me to know the actual cost to State governments to prepare the food.
– Not only the preparation of the food is involved. There is also the purchase of the food.
– Yes, but I think that is added to the hospital costs.
– They are not all run by hospitals.
– No, but I believe that whatever organisation supplied the food would be hard pressed to pay its way. The chef has to be paid and the food and vegetables have to be bought.
– It is all voluntary.
– In some places it is voluntary and in other places it is not. This scheme must be an overall Commonwealth responsibility. It should not be fragmented as at present. Now that the Commonwealth has become involved to this extent it necessarily will become completely involved because the wider the field of application the greater the worth that will be found in it. I should like the Minister, if she can do so, to give a brief outline of how the Government intends to deal with these problems as the plan develops to the stage at which 5 million meals will be delivered. I think the number will be even greater than that because a lot of people would like to be able to obtain the meals. Even though they submit their names to the organisation concerned they are subjected to something like a means test. They have to be graded to see whether they really are eligible to receive the meals. It would be well to have the Minister’s views on these aspects when legislation like this is before the Senate.
In principle this is a splendid measure and I am very glad that the Commonwealth is entering the field. I only hope that on the next occasion when similar legislation is before the Parliament the whole idea will have been expanded and that many more people than are at present receiving this excellent service will be receiving it. I commend the legislation.
– I wish to add my congratulations to the Minister and to the Government for this piece of legislation which will provide to many needy people in our community perhaps a higher level of service than has been possible in the past. The principle contained in this Bill is excellent. I believe that it is a basis upon which other facilities could be provided to age and invalid people by religious and other organisations which have a charitable or benefit objective. This measure indicates that in Australia where we claim to have such a high standard of living - perhaps higher than that of any other country in the world - the Government is attempting to bring to the less fortunate something of that high standard which we are achieving. Hearty congratulations are due to the Government for bringing forward this measure. It emphasises to me that effect is being given to the statements made by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) when he first took office that one of his aims was to see that there would be increasing benefits of a social service nature. This is certainly an instance of a promise kept.
I know that the subsidy will apply only to delivered meals but I hope that in the foreseeable future it will be extended in respect of meals which organisations, in many instances, provide on the spot to pensioners and needy people in the community. I do not know whether that aspect has been considered by the Government. It may be that such a proposal would be difficult to implement at the present time. Certainly it must be expensive to deliver a meal, but I am sure that every honourable senator knows of the great work which church institutions are doing in providing on the spot 3 times a day a parcel of food for homeless men and others in the community. Those institutions would not be covered by this legislation. I suggest that the basis has been laid for giving considerable encouragement for new organisations to develop in this field.
The Bill lists the types of eligible organisations. Obviously the list covers those which we know are engaged in this work at the present time. The definition of eligible organisation’ reads: eligible organisation’ means -
That provision means that a government instrumentality will not receive any benefit; but I can envisage circumstances in which a government may appoint persons to run an organisation and that government may not have any influence in or make any contribution to that organisation, which would be excluded under the definition of eligible organisation’. The eligible organisations are religious organisations, charitable or benevolent organisations, defence force organisations and organisations determined by the Minister to be eligible organisations. Those eligible organisations can become approved organisations. Local governing bodies will also be eligible organisations.
There is an important point on which I would like to give some advice which might well be accepted. By this measure, in which contributions are being made to the public, as well as in a number of other areas of social service benefits that this Government has made available, it must attempt to make public throughout Australia - certainly in the capital cities and to municipal organisations - the fact that this Commonwealth money is available. I believe that this has not been done to the full in the past. I strongly recommend to the Government that in this instance some money be set aside so that all members of the public can be notified that organisations which become approved organisations receive this contribution which will support at least part of the cost of the operation.
One other point that I make is that I do not see any provision in this Bill for a report to the Parliament on the organisations that become approved organisations. I for one would appreciate it if it was mandatory for the Parliament to be informed, perhaps in the annual report of the Director-General of Social Services, of the organisations that eventually receive this benefit. I have great pleasure in congratulating the Minister and the Government on this piece of legislation.
[5.38] - in reply - I thank all those honourable senators who have spoken on this Bill. We all meet on the same ground, with a very real desire to assist the aged or infirm people who, under this legislation, will benefit through the very fine Meals on Wheels organisation. This is one more part of the care that this Government is endeavouring, through its home care programme, to give these people who are able to continue to live in the familiar and happy surroundings of their own homes and to bring into their own homes the special care which makes all the difference in their living and maintaining a good standard of health- I have had a long association with this kind of work and with the people who have done this work both in this country and overseas.
As honourable senators were speaking here this afternoon, I recalled the words of the late Marjorie Warren, the great geriatrician, who said that one thing that was tremendously important in the care of aged people was that they should remain in their own homes as long as possible and that one of the greatest ways of helping them to do that was to ensure that a good nutritious meal was brought into the home daily. She said that the importing thing was not only the meal but also the cheer that came with the person who brought it. This has been mentioned here today. I believe that it is something which cannot be measured in money values or in reports that we see but which is tremendously important because of the assistance that it gives to these people. I believe that this legislation is a very important part of the association of government with church and charitable bodies in assisting people who need care.
A number of points have been raised. I will answer them as well as I can. Perhaps I should start by replying to Senator Webster, who was the last speaker, so that one earlier speaker may have time to return to the chamber if he wants to hear my reply. Senator Webster spoke about the need for publicity. I have been informed that there will be special publicity concerning this assistance as soon as the Bill is passed. This is a very good point. But I have found that ever since the policy speech was delivered reference to this scheme has been observed very well by all the people who are interested in it. They are awaiting this legislation. So, I believe that the publicity has really started, but it will be added to after the Bill is passed.
Senator Webster also asked whether assistance could be given to people who wanted meals but were not in their own homes to receive them; in other words, if they had the meals somewhere else. I inform him that meals at senior citizen centres are covered by this legislation. That shows that assistance is being given to the aged in this way, whether the meal is taken to the home or provided at a senior citizen centre. Was that the point the honourable senator raised?
– Yes, but I did not read that into the Bill.
– The definition of ‘delivered meal service’ in clause 3 of the Bill reads: delivered meal service’ means a service for the provision, wholly or mainly for aged persons or invalid persons or both, of meals that are delivered from the place at which they are prepared to the homes of the persons for whom they are intended or to other places at which it is convenient for those persons to consume them.
– On that point may I ask-
– It might be easier to deal with the question at the Committee stage. I am not trying to brush the honourable senator off; I just think it might be easier. He also referred to the eligibility of government organisations. Local governing bodies are one group of eligible organisations.
I think it was Senator O’Byrne who used the term ‘means test’. I want to make it very clear that the only requirement in order to be assisted in this way is the requirement of need. This assistance will be given to people who need it because, for one reason or another, they cannot prepare a meal themselves or go out for a meal. Senator O’Byrne also spoke about the cost of meals. He said quite rightly that in a number of instances the meals are provided by hospitals. When the organisations buy the meals from hospitals the average cost to the organisations is in the region of 25c a meal. Senator O’Byrne and other honourable senators including Senator Mulvihill spoke about the expansion of facilities. I remind them that the capital costs of establishment are already subsidised under the home care programme for which, as honourable senators will recall, the Senate passed the necessary legislation some time last year, I think it was. Senator Laucke said that the first payment is to be made in respect of meals delivered in 1969- I remind the Senate that the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) informed the other place that reasonable evidence of the number of meals served in 1969 will be accepted. Honourable senators will realise that this is new legislation and that the records of some organisations may not be as detailed as they will be in future when they know what is required. Reasonable evidence of the number of meals served in 1969 will be accepted. This will assist many of the voluntary organisations in the first year of operation of the legislation.
Senator Mulvihill raised a number of points. He asked for a definition of an eligible organisation. An organisation is required to be approved before it can receive a subsidy. Approval will not be given without full knowledge of the aims and activities of such an organisation. Where an organisation seeks approval as a charitable or benevolent organisation, the State authorities are consulted. Clause 4 of the Bill states:
The purpose of this Act is to assist in the establishment, expansion, improvement and maintenance of delivered meal services.
Expansion is one of the purposes of the legislation. That answers not only Senator Mulvihill but also Senator O’Byrne who spoke about the desire to have the services expanded. Senator Mulvihill spoke of the need for consultation with the State authorities. Although grants under this Bill are made direct to organisations, contributions towards capital cost of establishment of services for home care, as I mentioned in reply to earlier questions, are made under the States Grants (Home Care) Act. The Bill adds one more section to the Government’s very important home care programme. Senator Mulvihill asked where we obtained the survey figures for the number of meals. Senator Laucke rather assisted me by giving a reply to that in his speech. Estimates of meals required were based on a survey in South Australia where MealsonWheels Incorporated provides service to most parts of the community in Adelaide. It was on these figures that the overall estimate was made. With perhaps the exception of one point on which Senator Webster is not yet quite clear, and about which I will endeavour to supply further information if he asks the question in the Committee stage, I think I have answered all questions. I thank all honourable senators who have indicated that they will support the legislation. I believe it is one more step in a very fine programme in helping the aged and infirmed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from Committee without amendment or debate.
Motion (by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) proposed:
That the Bill be now read a third time.
[5.49] - I rise to answer a question which I thought Senator Webster intended to ask me. I expected him to ask it in the Committee stage. Apparently there was a little misunderstanding. I draw the honourable senator’s attention to the clause in the Bill which defines a delivered meal service, li reads: delivered meal service’ means a service for the provision, wholly or mainly for aged persons or invalid persons or both, of meals that are delivered from the place at which they are prepared to the bornes of the persons for whom they are intended or to other places at which it is convenient for those persons to consume them:
That clause makes it possible to bring into the area of assistance senior citizens clubs and centres where meals are available to senior citizens.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) - by leave - agreed to:
That the Select Committee on Securities and Exchange consist of 8 senators, 4 to be appointed by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 3 to be appointed by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and 1 to be appointed by the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party
That the Committee elect as Chairman one of the members appointed by the Leader of the Government.
The Chairman of the Committee may, from time to time, appoint another member of the Committee to be the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, and that the member so appointed act as Chairman of the Committee at any time when the Chairman is not present at a meeting of the Committee.
In the event of an equality of voting the
Chairman, or the Deputy Chairman when acting as Chairman, have a casting vote.
That the presence of 3 members of the Committee shall be necessary to constitute a meeting of the Committee for the exercise of its powers.
That the foregoing provisions of this resolution, so far as they are inconsistent with the Standing Orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders.
Sitting suspended from 5.52 to 8 p.m.
Debate resumed from 4 March (vide page 58), on motion by Senator Sir Magnus Cormack:
That the Senate take note of the statement.
Senator Sir MAGNUS CORMACK (Victoria) [8.0] - Mr Deputy President, I think that I should recall to honourable senators what occurred when the ministerial statement on Papua and New Guinea was presented on 4th March, which is over 1 month ago. Honourable senators will recall that the statement referred to the appointment of Ministerial Members of the House of Assembly in Papua and New Guinea and to the additional responsibilities which will accrue to those Ministerial Members.
On that occasion the Minister for Works (Senator Wright), who represents the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) in this chamber, made a long and very fair statement, explaining the reason why it was thought necessary that the Papua and New Guinea Act should be amended. The statement made it clear, I thought, that it was proper in the context that if we were obedient to the Australian policy that has been enunciated by this Government over the last 10 years, we would accord independence to Papua and New Guinea at a time which was considered proper by the indigenous people of the Territory. It was pointed out that that was a first step towards overcoming the problems which would face any emerging country in the context of independence. Therefore, it was pointed out that the Papua and New Guinea Act was to be amended to provide that additional responsibility should accrue to the Ministerial Members of the House of Assembly in Papua and New Guinea.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), in acceding to the amendments set out in the statement, in a short speech said that it was the Opposition’s policy to agree that amendments of this nature should be made in the planning, as it were, of the ultimate independence of Papua and New Guinea. I think that there appears to emerge, from the statement of Senator Wright in support of the amendments which originated in another place and the reply by the Leader of the Opposition in accession to the proposed amendments, oddly enough a divergence of philosophy and policy between the two major parties, both in this chamber and in another place. That view has been re-inforced, of course, first by the statement of the Leader of the Opposition in which the general outline - no more than a general hazy outline - of the Opposition’s policy in relation to Papua and New Guinea began to emerge, and the subsequent statements of the Leader of the Opposition in Papua and New Guinea.
The Leader of the Opposition, in support of the proposed amendments, referred to matters such as the determination existing under the United Nations Charter, the problems arising because, perhaps, Papua and New Guinea will have to be granted early independence and the fact that Australia would be prepared to continue massive subventions of one sort or another to the people of Papua and New Guinea. All of this subsequently was sharpened by the visit of the Leader of the Opposition to Papua and New Guinea, in which the categorical statements were made that independence in Papua and New Guinea should be accelerated to a very much greater degree than the Government was attempting to achieve, that the people could automatically accept the problems arising from independence - and those problems are great - and that this acceleration should be pursued to the extent that independence should accrue to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea by 1976. That is to say, it should accrue 5 or 6 years from now when we are debating what may be regarded as an inconsequential statement but which is, in fact, a statement of major importance, because the alternative government of Australia has stated in very broad and, 1 suggest, fairly ruthless terms that independence has to be awarded to Papua and New Guinea, whether the people like it or not, by a date not later than 1976.
I am alarmed at this state of affairs because both the speech of the Leader of the Opposition in this place, in the context of the proposed amendments which we are discussing to the Papua and New Guinea Act, and the statements of the Leader of the Opposition in New Guinea indicate that there is a vast and vital divergence of opinion between the Government and the Opposition as to how this problem - and it is a problem - facing Papua and New Guinea has to be treated by the Australian Government. The Government has publicly expressed its desire to accord independence to Papua and New Guinea based upon the concept that the people of Papua and New Guinea should have their independence when they feel it is proper for them to have it, and the Leader of the Opposition declared in Papua and New Guinea that the people of that Territory will have independence by 1976 nolens volens - in other words, whether they like it or not.
This conflict between the Government and the Opposition in this place, as to the fundamental policies that should accrue to or be acknowledged in the context of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, can, I think, be best explained and expressed on several levels. The first one is that a Committee inside the United Nations, known as the Committee of Twenty-Four, is demanding that independence for Papua and New Guinea has to be awarded, whether the people of Papua and New Guinea like it or not. This Committee of Twenty-Four is also known as the Committee on Colonialism.
I say here without any feeling that I am breaching any confidence, that in the middle of last year I was invited to entertain 2 members of the Committee of TwentyFour, from which Australia, I believe, has properly and completely resigned. I was told that it was the duty of the Australian Government to grant independence to Papua and New Guinea, whether the Territory was ready for it or not. Yet in the last report of the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations, it was acknowledged that Australia was doing a pretty good job. The report acknowledged the fact that, irrespective of the ideology of the rabid members of the Committee of TwentyFour, which, I believe, is half mad half the time and completely mad three-quarters of the time, experience indicates that we must hasten slowly. That is the first thing that I wish to say.
The second is that the Australian Labor Party as a party of ideology is a curious sort of party because it has historically in Australia carried with it some of the early Labour Party philosophy of the United Kingdom. This is easily understood because we are a population of migrants here in Australia and it was quite natural for us to carry into Australia in our fathers or in our grandfathers political qualitites that originated in the country from which they derived. So the Australian Labor Party had, in my early days and on my first entry into this Parliament, some of the characteristics and qualities of the sturdy Labour Party of the United Kingdom. But there has also occurred in the United Kingdom since the end of the war a new intrusion into the British Labour Party which I call the intellectual level and a great number of people in the United Kingdom Labour Party are not the people with whom I have been living with all my life - people who are sturdy sons of the soil, hewers of wood and drawers of water as I have been myself. There is a whole coteril of people inside the United Kingdom Labour Party who are known as the intellectual elitists and by this curious process of osmosis to which we are exposed this situation has developed in Australia.
In the post-war years in the United Kingdom the United Kingdom Labour Party, carrying with it intellectual overtones of one sort arid another, has involved itself as a matter of policy in decolonisation, as it is called. This has spread not only through the United Kingdom Labour Party but also across some of the intellectual level of the Conservative Party. So we get it in the context, for example, of the MacMillan
Government in that famous or infamous speech - whichever way one likes to look at it - about the winds of change. Since then the process of decolonisation has been pursued with great speed not in the context of the need of the people who are supposed to be decolonised but as a matter of ideology. Therefore there has emerged the most tragic circumstances of the last 20 years in Africa, which are the net results of this emphasised, supercharged system of decolonisation. We in the Senate are all aware of the problem that has emerged in Nigeria, a federation of people from 4 great tribal areas. I admit that there were 19th century geographical lines which may or may not have split ethnically the people in this area. The forced decolonisation of this country has precipitated this terrible, terrifying war which we have viewed - a civil war in which the Biafran people, who are acknowledged by most observers to be the most advanced and intelligent people with the highest level of culture in Nigeria, have been involved, and which can be described only in terms of genocide. 1 have no hesitation in saying that there is nothing in this world which terrifies me so much as the intellectual elitists - .the selfappointed elitists, I might add - who have created the circumstances as a result of which the world has witnessed this horrible, terrifying civil war, pursued not basically in the interests of the people of Nigeria but in the interests of the ideology of the government of the day in the United Kingdom. 1 make this criticism not only as an Australian viewing it from a distance but also with the support of a great number of people in the United Kingdom who have a sense of deep guilt that they were the people who were responsible for precipitating the circumstances that ended in this terrible war in Nigeria.
Of more recent times, as Senator Sim says. We have witnessed the terrifying circumstances in the Congo. We have witnessed the terrifying circumstances in Ruanda. We have witnessed the terrifying circumstances of the genocide - and I can think of no other appropriate term- of the people of the southern Sudan. We have witnessed the problems of Kenya. We have witnessed the emergence of dictatorships in Tanzania and other African countries in which the concepts, as we understand them, of normal processes of government have been thrown over and there has been an emergence of dictatorships of one sort or another. Because we are of this generation which has witnessed these things it has been the policy of this Government to seek to avoid, in the context of Papua and New Guinea, the problems that we have seen emerge in Africa. Therefore we as a government have said - I say it as a supporter of the Government - that however much we should like to discharge the responsibility that has accrued to us willy nilly in Papua and New Guinea, in moral terms Australia cannot divest itself of the responsibility that it holds. The moral responsibility is involved in the circumstances which I have outlined to honourable senators, and that is thai it is our responsibility to see and we should exert our capacity to see that we do not create in Papua and New Guinea” the problems that have almost- destroyed the capacity of the people in Africa not only to have their independence but also to be able to enjoy the fruits of independence.
I have painted this broad canvas. The attitude of the Government is to try to create circumstances politically and economically in Papua and New Guinea so that when the people reach that stage where they feel that they can manage their own affairs we shall quite freely accord them independence with no strings attached. 1 suggest that it is in accordance with the best feeling and thinking of the Australian people that we pursue that course. But obviously there is always a view and a counter view. So the Leader of the Opposition proceeded to Papua and New Guinea early this year and there he began to make declarations. Most of them were in fairly broad terms but the significant one was that by 1 976 these people have to have their independence whether they like it or not. Although it has been said that the fault of the decolonisers in Africa was that they decolonised on arbitrary lines in terms of parallels of latitude, meridians of longitude, the flow of rivers and this, that and the other, and therefore upset the ethnic balance of the African people, the problem of Papua and New Guinea relates to the fact that it has no homogeneity whatsoever.
It has been said many times in this Senate that Papua and New Guinea is a place of 7S0 languages; that it is an island mass on one part divided by a great cordillera; there are highland people, there are lowland people and there are riverine people. All this is perfectly true, but it is also a territory of outlying islands. There are people of the Admiralty’s, there are people of New Britain and there are people of Bougainville, and these people do not even have an ethnic homogeneity. There exists therefore in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea not only an enormous disparity in ethnic terms and in terms of language but also strong regional characteristics and strong regional loyalties. Out of these 3 million people with their wide disparity in racial decent, culture and language, and divided by sea, we are seeking to create a homogeneous people During the visit to New Britain of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), in the area of the Gazelle Peninsula - whether by accident or design I do not know - he began to inflame the most articulate people in Papua and New Guinea. There is wide evidence that as a result of his visit movements have begun amongst these people to have their own government and their own nation, to be their own people.
The people of Bougainville, when considered in the twentieth century context, are of different ethnic and racial significance from the people of New Britain. They wish to have their independence. The Papuans do not quite know what to do, but they hold that if they are to be anything they should remain Papuans because Papua is a territory of Australia and more cargo will flow to them in that position than would come to Papua as an independent country. The people of the Maclay Coast and Sepik River are determined to be the top dogs. Some people claim that the Highland people are the future leaders of Papua and New Guinea. The Highland people have gone on public record, as a result of Mr Whitlam’. visit, as saying that come what may they will never submit to domination by the Tolais or the people of Rabaul, of New Britain, or by the Orakivas. Along the north coast of Papua is a highly divisive society in ethnic terms as well as cultural and economic terms.
I feel very earnestly that if we force the rate of progress to independence of these people, if we submit to the pressures of the Committee of 24 of the United Nations or the general pressures in the General Assembly, if we submit to the pressures that the Leader of the Opposition is trying to exercise in this Parliament, or to the pressures of the self-appointed elite around Port Moresby, to grant independence to the people of Papua and New Guinea before they wish it, we will commit those people of the central island and the outlying islands to a situation such as that witnessed in Africa in the last 10 or 15 years. That is just what we are seeking to avoid. Yet the policy of the Australian Labor Party would lead to the creation in Papua and New Guinea of an African situation. That could be its net effect. As a Parliament we must not be pressured, and the Australian people must not be pressured, into forcing upon the Territory of Papua and New Guinea independence before the people there feel they are ready for it.
I am disturbed by another matter. Where does the indigenous pressure for the independence of Papua and New Guinea come from? I put to honourable senators in the most categorical terms that pressure from the indigenous people in Papua and New Guinea for independence comes from the intellectual spivs we have spawned there. It does not come from the mass of the people. Reverting to the African situation, what has happened there after independence was given to the African countries - and I am not speaking rhetorically - is that more than ever a quivering mass of inarticulate humanity is being exploited by people I have described as intellectual spivs.
Senator Sir MAGNUS CORMACKPerhaps some of them are white, but that is not my point. I am not talking in terms of black and white. I am talking about what is regarded as intellectualism. 1 support this small, halting and perhaps fumbling step towards producing in Papua and New Guinea the circumstances by which the people who in time will come to power will gain the intellectual and administrative experience necessary to govern themselves. Those people, or the people who have been associated with them or trained with them, will be helped to assume responsibility. Of course, we will provide financial subventions of one sort or another.
If we hand self-government over to these people prematurely, with all the diversity I have described, we will have succumbed to the pressure of the Committee of 24 of the United Nations - although the United Nations is beginning to see the light on this matter - or the pressure of an Opposition which may be the alternative government of Australia. We would then create the very circumstance that we are seeking to avoid, and that is the plunging of the people of Papua and New Guinea into anarchy. 1 felt it proper in discussing a proposal to amend the Papua and New Guinea Act to place before honourable senators the stark alternatives thai are being presented through the ill-considered actions of the Leader of the Opposition, who may be the next Australian Prime Minister. 1 think he has been recreant to the interests of the people of Papua and New Guinea. He has become the prisoner of an ideological approach to a problem that could have no bearing on the particular problem of Papua and New Guinea. I support the proposal.
– My remarks will be very brief. 1 wish to make a few reflections on what I have gleaned from the verbosity of Senator Sir Magnus Cormack. He reminded me of the old Raj, the old colonialist, a tatty old remnant of the old order that is in its death throes. 1 was reminded of Casablanca, of the boy who stood on the burning deck. The honourable senator evoked a vision of the flames of the new order that he sees as inevitable. It will come in Africa.
– It would need to be better than in Biafra.
– It will come in Biafra and it will come in Papua and New Guinea. Despite the shibboleths and the froth and bubble released in this chamber it is inevitable that the people of Papua and
New Guinea will attain their estate and eventually will have their independence. They will overthrow the second order of colonialism. The Germans imposed upon them one system of colonialism. They stupidly taught them what is called pidgin English in order to distinguish them from any other people on earth. English is not a bad international language, but it is not really widely spoken when considered in relation to the size of the world’s population. Our administration has lasted for 2 generations. That is nearly long enough to be able to liberate the people of Papua and New Guinea from colonialism.
– They are not ready for it yet.
– I am not speaking about that. In the eyes of some people, noone is ever ready for anything. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack referred to an elite and the highly divisive elements, ethnic, cultural and economic, in the Territory community. Of course they are there. It is part of the ethic of colonialism to divide and rule. On 4th March 1970 the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) said:
In harmony with the Government’s approach indicated in the Governor-General’s Speech the Government intends to introduce some immediate changes within the provisions of the present Papua and New Guinea Act which will give Ministerial Members drawn from the Papua and New Guinea House of Assembly increased powers both individually in relation to the functions of their departments and collectively as members of the Administrator’s Executive Council.
These concessions are being given by the Government are very generous, but why are they given? It is because the people in Papua and New Guinea have seen the light. They have been kept so far behind by Australia’s colonial policy that they are now breaking through this crusty old colonialism and saying that they are going to have a share in running their own country, lt is for this reason that the Government is giving these magnificent concessions. The Minister for Works is reported to have said at page 55 of Hansard:
The Act sets out that the functions of ministerial office holders are generally to assist in the administration of the Government of the Territory to the extent and in the manner provided by arrangements approved by the Minister for External Territories under section 25. lt is about time that we made some concessions to these people, lt must be remembered that we appear in a rather bad light because of the way that we handled our own Aboriginals in Australia. It took 68 years even to write into the Constitution that our Aboriginals were human beings. Yet here we are setting ourselves up as the great administrators of another indigenous people, our near neighbours. But now, reluctantly, we are giving them a few concessions.
– ft is lucky that we do not do to them what was done in Tasmania to the Aboriginals.
– As a matter of fact in some countries they would like to do what was done in Tasmania - run over the bastards.
– The honourable senator is attacking the New South Wales Premier.
– That is right. It was the policy in Tasmania to shoot them, poison them and to get rid of them. They want now to desegregate the few who remain on Cape Barren Island because the mining interests believe that it would be better if they could get rid of these few poor unfortunate remnants of the coloured people who originally inhabited Tasmania. But the Papuans and New Guineans have some supporters outside their own country. They have support from people like those in the Australian Labor Party. They have the help of Socialists throughout the world who believe in the brotherhood of man, that all men are God’s creatures and that there is an equality of man. These are people who believe that merely because their skins are black they are not necessarily to be regarded as servants, creatures or beasts of burden. In Papua and New Guinea they are not being sold as people are being sold in Africa today into South Africa and into Rhodesia - to the raj. This is still happening in this day and age in Africa, just as it happened in New Guinea in the last generation when the Germans had colonial authority.
– You are a prisoner of your own hates.
– No, brother, I am trying to hold the torch that will give a little light to the narrow minded selfish people who have destroyed under the old system of exploitation of man by man. The Stock Exchange has now shown up this system for what it is worth. Selfishness and greed is destroying the system supported by honourable senators opposite. All your institutional establishments are crashing around your ears.
Today we are trying to find a race of people and to emancipate them from the Establishment. The Government is trying to pick out a few stooges, an elite, in New Guinea who will co-operate and perpetuate this discrimination between one section of Papuans and New Guineans and another section. The intention is to select a few people, put them among the others with their wealth or privileges and allow them to exploit the others. But this will not wash. This has been exposed. The United Nations is finding out what the Government is doing in New Guinea and what is being done under the Australian system. We are finding now that Government supporters are so minded that they have to protect their fellow exploiters throughout the world. Even in this country they are trying to break down the normal democratic processes of Parliament and are trying to implement in this country the jack boot and Fascist ideas of the world in order to keep their system going. But tonight we are discussing the rights of simple, honest, decent people who have lived for thousands of years as happy people. I have seen the people of New Guinea walking along their little soft leafcovered paths. They will meet at the crossroads, hold hands and kiss one another. These are simple, humble people.
– Don’t we do that?
– Like the devil you do! You say: ‘How can we do others before they do us?’ That is the motto today, to do others before they do you, and the numbers count. We see today the most ruthless unethical society the world has ever known, and here we are trying to impose this system on these simple, humble people of Papua and New Guinea.
My purpose in speaking was to say a few words about what I think of our administration in Papua and New Guinea. Our administration in the Territory will not last long. The Government might pick out a few stooges and keep it going for a while, but the people of New Guinea will get independence. They are entitled to it and they deserve it. We have no right to impose our system on them. We must see that they get independence as quickly as possible and we must provide them with the machinery to enable them to become independent, to take their place under the sun as equals in the community. The longer we delay in giving independence the longer we will have to suffer for the sins that we have imposed on them.
I hope the Government will take the view that it can no longer impose this system. The whole of South East Asia is fed up with colonialism and it is being pushed out everywhere. There is no room for the idea that we can exploit people who are less fortunate than ourselves. We have been talking in this place about defence. The only reason that we think it is economic to be in Papua and New Guinea is for the purposes of defence. We are not so charitable that we want to give anything to the people of Papua and New Guinea. We want to be there also for economic purposes to help the elite group that we have set up. We have gone into the Territory and taken the land from the people. We have attempted to detribalise them. But we have reached the stage now where we have not been so successful in this aim as we were during the last generation because the people of the Territory now are looking for independence. But we do not like that because it does not conform with the old order.
– The honourable senator is talking about the Labor Party?
– I am talking about the policy of this Government in Papua and New Guinea. We must face up to the situation that the days of colonialism in the Territory are numbered. We cannot impose on these people something that they will not have. Incidents in Bougainville showed that as people they have as much steel as any other human beings, that they will protect their rights.
– It was copper.
– Yes, coppers. We put coppers in New Guinea to deprive people of their rights. If this Government was worth its salt it would be setting up administrative machinery to allow the people of Papua and New Guinea to exploit their own natura) resources and in Bougainville would be helping the people to gain the advantage of their great copper resources. lt should be putting in educational facilities, schools, hospitals, roads and other aids to development. Every dollar that comes out of Bougainville should go back to help the people. If we took a. Christian approach that is what we would be aiming to do. But what are we doing? We. are allowing one of the world’s greatest monopolies into Bougainville to exploit those people. The people whom we are allowing in to Bougainville are only a little better than those who were selling people in slavery in the United States and are selling people in slavery today. That is what could happen to the natives of New Guinea.
I have seen this exploitation in the Markham Valley and at Bulolo. When they had finished with the gold mines they went into the timber industry. Working for them were young natives who were as capable as you would find anywhere. They were working on tractors or as loggers, tailerouters and doing all sorts of jobs in the timber industry. But do honourable senators realise how much pay they- were receiving? They were getting the equivalent of $5 a week plus a bellyful of rice for luch. It was beautiful rice and they filled their tummies at luch time. To them the wages were good and they regarded the employers in the company - the Bulolo gold mine company, or its subsidiary - as wonderful people because they kept their bellies full and gave them some money. As timbermen these people are just as capable as anybody you would find in Western Australia, Tasmania or anywhere else in Australia where timber is felled.
– Who trained these men?
– They trained themselves. They are intelligent young people. There is a university in the Territory. There are schools all over New Guinea.
– Who built them?
– Does the honourable senator think that we discovered education? Do we have specific rights in regard to education?
– Who built the schools? Answer the question. It is a simple one. Who built the schools?
– They did so themselves.
– Who paid for the buildings?
– I suppose members of the Building Workers Union built them.
– Who paid for the schools?
– The honourable senator did not, anyway. I do not know whether the expenditure was met by the Australian Government. The excuse of Australia for doing certain things is that it does them for defence purposes. We are obliged to do them. Our mandate requires us to do them. But Australia has not done anything to ensure that these people are provided with a suitable education so that they will know that they are not inferior to other people in the world, that they have equal rights to other people, that the law protects them and that there are people outside of Australia who protect their interests. The United Nations should ensure that there is no repetition of the events which occurred in the early days when colonial minded people in Australia like Carpenter and the other exploiters who went up there under the guise and protection of the Australian Government and took the land from the people there by using trickery in order to establish their own coffee, tea and copra plantations. These exploiters have been living off the backs of the indigenous people ever since Australia received the League of Nations mandate to look after this country.
I think it is necessary to reconsider what we are doing in the Territory. Australia is trying to build up an elite group in the Territory which will fit in wilh its policies. I warn the Government that it should take a long term view. Its present policies may last a little while, but they will not last very long. The Government should take notice of the policy of the Australian Labor Party. The Leader of the Opposition in the other place (Mr Whitlam) would be able to show the Government the way in which these people should be brought into the brotherhood of man and the friendship of nations. The policies we are discussing tonight are only short term expedients; they will not last very long. We do not want to have hatred on our borders. These people are our next door neighbours and we must make friends with them. They must be continuing friends.
– Kiss them.
– If Senator Sim had been in the Highlands of New Guinea he would have been able to appreciate the story I was trying to convey earlier, which is that these people are able to live together because they do not have any great needs, are not ambitious, are not cheer chasers and are not status seekers. They have their own position in their society and they live humbly. I think they would have been a lot better off if we had never gone amongst them. But we have sought to impose our standards and our systems upon them. We want to do so only because we feel that there is an opportunity to make a profit and for no other reason.
– What about the royal commission into the timber leases?
– As many people have been exploited by the Placer Development Co., of which the Commonwealth Government is a partner, as would have been exploited by any other international company. They are not better off nor any worse off. Placer’s shares are probably the most stable shares of any on the unstable stock market today. I suppose it is because Placer has other interests, including the Bulolo timber project, which was given to it as a result of the skulduggery which took place in 1949.
I wish to make the point that in Papua and New Guinea today - both are our responsibility and there is no difference between the two - we have to do our best to raise the standard of living of the indigenous people and allow them to participate in the great technological and scientific development which is occurring throughout the world. We should show them the way not for the purpose of exploiting them and not for the purpose of creating an elite group but for the end purpose of showing them by proper treatment that the earth belongs to everybody. But if we antagonise these people, which the Government’s policies will do in the long run, we will make a rod for own backs. I ask the Government to give thought to my remarks. It will not get anywhere simply by creating an elite group and playing one New Guinean off against another. The Government has to make the New Guineans feel that they are part of an advancing and forward looking movement and that they should be looking for the same things that we are all looking for - a better way of life, opportunities for ourselves and opportunities for the next generation. By way of education we will be able to open up the divine objective of man which he can achieve only if the restrictions imposed on him are lifted. The Government has to assist these people towards their great objective. The Australian Labor Party will do so as soon as it is able to get the present Government out of power.
Senator YOUNG (South Australia) [8.47) - Senator Keeffe has taken us on a quick fact-finding trip around the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Actually, he seemed to move from spot to spot so quickly that we did not have much time to find out many of the facts. Therefore, 1 suggest that we should discuss the situation at this stage. Firstly, 1 want to say that it should be remembered that it is only a very short time since the type of sophisticated development which we see in New Guinea today first commenced.
Senator O” Byrne has been very critical of the manner in which the type of development which has taken place has been administered. I am sure he will agree with me that it is a country of many variations. Papua and New Guinea is a country of geographical extremes. In the Highlands there is a temperate climate with high rainfall, but when one goes down to the coastal areas one experiences a hot and steamy environment with heavy monsoonal rains during certain periods. Coupled with this we have, because of the difficult terrain and the peculiarity of the country, a great variation in the degree of sophistication of the indigenous people. In the coastal areas the people have had contact with Europeans for quite a number of years, but in the Highland areas there are some indigenous people who have yet to see a white man. I am certain Senator O’Byrne will agree with my statement if he looks closer at the logic of it. He must appreciate that because of the great variations there are many problems. The indigenous people vary from what may be classified as sophisticated to basic primitive and primitive.
In these vast areas there are great extremes in the environment and sophistication. But coupled with this is the fact that one half of the population of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea live in the Highlands, which is an area which has not had contact with Europeans for very long.
This fact causes problems and imposes a lot of responsibility upon the Administration. It is all very well for Senator O’Byrne or the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Whitlam, to go to places like Rabaul, Gazelle Peninsula and Bougainville where the people have known the western way of life for a long time and to start criticising. Senator O’Byrne himself has made the point that we cannot afford to play one group of people against another. Yet tonight he has discarded that proposition because he has supported his own leader, who has set about to do that very thing.
– Who is he talking about now?
– The honourable senator will find out if he sits here long enough.
– Senator Young should distinguish between the Leader in this chamber and the Leader in the other place, if only as a matter of courtesy.
– My apologies to Senator Murphy. 1 referred to Mr Whitlam. We are faced not only with the extremes that I have already mentioned; we have also the problem of a great range of dialects within the Territory. We find some of the inhabitants speaking English. As Senator Sir Magnus Cormack said tonight, the number of dialects spoken throughout the Territory runs into quite a few hundreds.
– How many hundreds?
– I would not know. Perhaps the honourable senator can inform me. But at least the number runs into hundreds. The main point is that a great number of different dialects are spoken. We find people who can speak English fluently. Then we find others who can speak Pidgin. Then we find those who are termed in the Territory ‘one talks’. In this situation we must find problems, and we must show responsibility and patience at all times and roust give guidance to these people and assist them to reach a stage of development at which they can administer and develop their country for themselves. lt is very important in our approach to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea that we give the guidance, the leadership and support that are required, both from the technical standpoint and the financial standpoint, so that these people will lay a solid foundation on which they can develop their nation in future years. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack mentioned tonight - and I will mention it again in case his words fell on deaf ears on the other side of the chamber - the tragedies that occurred in so many countries where impatience took over. In some cases people outside a particular country encouraged the inhabitants to take over their own administration before they were ready to do so effectively. We have all seen the tragedy that has befallen such countries. This is the kind of thing that we, as a responsible government, are not prepared to allow to happen in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
The Government has been accused of being dictatorial and of having adopted a colonial approach to the Territory. I refute this statement. Honourable senators need not rely upon my refutation. 1 will give them further evidence shortly. They may refer to the responsible indigenes themselves who will contradict these charges. The policy of this Government has been, and still is, that the people of the Territory can have self-government and independence when the majority of them decide that they are ready to accept independence. In other words this Government has adopted a democratic policy. It is doing all it can to assist these people in their development, and when the people themselves consider - not when we consider - that they are ready for independence, and when the majority of the people support a claim for independence, they can have that independence. There is not one member on the other side of this chamber who can deny that this has been the Government’s policy or that it still is the Government’s policy. They jolly well know that this is so.
– What about the gerrymandered electoral system?
– The honourable senator might like to carry out some gerrymandering in this place but we are democratic and we do not believe in this system. We are not going to give such a system to the people of Papua and New Guinea. They will have a secret vote without any tickets.
Let us consider what has happened in the Territory in the short space of time in which this Government has been involved with the people there. If we look at the facts fairly and squarely we must concede that what has been done constitutes an outstanding achievement It is an achievement that not only this Government but the whole of the people of Australia can be proud of. We should all be proud to have participated in such a wonderful example of what assistance and encouragement towards self development can achieve. Let me return to a consideration of what has taken place in the Territory and is taking place today. Financial grants to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea have increased considerably. Last year we budgeted for about $96m in grants to the Territory, but this is not all thai Australia gave. We also contribute a great number of administrative officers, from patrol officers right up to district commissioners and in other fields. If we consider the monetary value of this assistance we will find that $96m would be far short of the actual amount that Australia is contributing to New Guinea each financial year to assist in the development of the territory’s social structure.
We have brought many primitive people up to various stages of civilised living, right through to a state of complete sophistication. One has only to visit the Territory to see for oneself just what has taken place. We find many indigenes holding very responsible jobs. They have taken advantage of the opportunities for education and have developed themselves to such a stage of sophistication that many of them would be able to hold down what are considered good administrative positions in Australia itself. This again, 1 believe, brings credit to the Australian Government and the Administration of the Territory.
In any country that is being developed 2 things are very important. They are education and communications. Let us look at the physical side. Roads have been built not just in the easy coastal areas of the Territory but right up through the mountainous areas of the Highlands. There are roads running right from Lae to Goroka and beyond, through Hagen and across to Mendi. Half the population of the Territory at present is congregated in the Highlands. The Highlands represent one of the most fertile areas in the Territory and perhaps I can go further and say that it is perhaps one of the most fertile areas in the world.
– Does it grow wheat?
– It will grow anything. I suggest the honourable senator go up there at some time and he will find exactly what can be grown there. There is such a variation of climate because of difference of altitude, and such a security of seasons, that you name it, they can grow it.
What has been lacking in the Territory has been communications, a means of transporting produce from the area or bringing in various requirements of life. Communications have been provided. This has been a continuous process. Roads are being continually developed. There is one area in which already an airstrip has been provided although there is no road connection. This has been done to assist development. It is a very fertile area and is now ready for the local inhabitants of the surrounding areas to move in. So one cannot discredit anything that is being done in this area for the development of the country. We know that additional roads are being constructed and that further proposals are being advanced for still more roads. We do not decide in a dictatorial fashion whether those roads are to be built. The proposals are discussed with the Administration and with the local officers to see where the priorities should lie, just as we deal with priorities on the mainland of Australia. Honourable senators opposite talk about dictatorial attitudes. I suggest that they cease reflecting upon their own meetings and turn their attention to the overall administration of the democracy which exists in Australia and is administered in the Territory through the present Commonwealth Government.
I turn now to education. I noticed that Senator O’Byrne tonight steered clear of education. Education is one of the grass roots of the development of any country. It is also one of the grass roots of a developed country. What is taking place in the Territory? In 1969-70 something in excess of $29m will be spent on education. There is a long term objective programme to provide a comprehensive education system covering the whole Territory under which any children who desire to have a primary education will be able to have it. Let us look at the field of secondary and tertiary education. What do we find there? Secondary and tertiary education has the objective of producing people with the particular technical and professional qualifications needed to meet the manpower requirements of government. I emphasise that because it spells out very clearly the aim of the Australian Government to assist these people and to educate them to the stage where they can control their own administration. As I have said, education is at the grass roots of any community. The objectives do not stop at primary and secondary education. They extend to the tertiary field.
Let us have a very quick look at what is being done in the field of education in the Territory. There are two sections in the breakdown covering primary schools which more than 213,000 pupils are attending. Some 15,500 pupils attend the Territory high schools, and there are multi-racial high schools as well. Tonight someone had the audacity to claim that there was segregation. In the Territory there are multi-racial high schools which some 800 pupils are attending. About 2,900 pupils are attending the technical schools, and there are vocational centres where students, who perhaps do not want to go into the academic field or who for other reasons cannot go into the academic field, are taught a trade. The vocational training that they receive assists them in the various fields of employment which are open to them and in their own particular environment. Some 1,400 pupils are attending the vocational centres.
Let us see what happened last year in the field of tertiary education. There were some 550 students at the university, about 140 at the Institute of Technology and 70 at the Medical College.
– How many?
– Seventy. That is 7 times 10.
– In the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I suggest that you go there and get some information for yourself. There are 40 at the forestry school and 100 at the agricultural college.
– Someone has had a go at you. You should throw away those figures.
– Yes, because they are worrying you. Large numbers of young people are taking the opportunity that is being given to them by the Australian Government and by the Administration to get an education and to advance themselves in this life. Senator O’Byrne was very critical. He claimed that commercial enterprises are taking over the whole of the Territory. Let me tell him that there are in existence already in the Territory many co-operatives which are helping large numbers of people to develop tea plantations and to engage in other fields of activity. Criticism has been levelled at the Bougainville copper project. Let us look at a few of the figures relevant to the development that is taking place at Bougainville at the present time. The Territory of Papua and New Guinea is taking up its entitlement of a 20% interest in the company at par. lt is estimated that eventually they will receive a very large sum of money. They will receive 60% of the taxable income of the company. In addition, because of their 20% interest they will receive 20% of the dividends. When the company comes into full production they will be receiving well in excess of S50m. That money will be of great assistance to them in the development of the Territory generally. It will not be taken from only 1 mining company and it will not be spent in only 1 area of the Territory. That is an example of self generating capital within a country helping the continued development of that country. 1 want to refer now to another extremely important part of the development and eventual control of the centre of administration - the Parliament. In the Territory today there is a House of Assembly in which a large number of indigenes representing their own people take part in the running of the affairs of their country. They are elected by the normal democratic adult franchise method in a secret vote. It is all very well for Senator Poyser to shake his head but what I have said is correct. The indigenous people are represented in the Parliament and they have their voice in the Parliament. If the honourable senator has not sat in the House of Assembly in Papua and New Guinea, I have. I have seen these people exercising their democratic rights as elected representatives. I have heard them voice what they consider to be the opinions of the people they represent. -
– This is a sham.
– It is all very well for you to say that this is a sham but later I shall mention something about a select committee of the House of Assembly which visited Australia and we will see whether it is a sham or whether these people are being given the opportunity to be responsible and whether the members of the House of Assembly are elected by democratic methods. If you are doubtful about this you should go there and have a look for yourself and you will learn what is going on.
– I have been there probably more times than you have.
– Yes, but it may have been a long time ago. I have mentioned that indigenous people are elected to the Parliament. They also hold ministerial portfolios. 1 do not know whether you will shake your head now, Senator Poyser, and say that these people are not given responsibility. 1 have always understood that a Minister is a very responsible person. These people are given portfolios. They are also assisted by the Administration during this transitional period.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Order! There is too much conversation in the chamber.
– If they want to carry on a debate among themselves, Mr Acting Deputy President, that is all right with me. I will continue when they finish. 1 know that this is embarrassing them, but it is time they saw the light. These ministerial members are given the opportunity to gain a lot of experience which eventually will place them in a position to conduct the government of the country themselves. So here again nothing but commendation can be given to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and particularly to the Administration for what is being done. -
A moment ago at least one honourable senator opposite shook his head when I referred to representation in the parliament of the people. We are all aware that this year the members of a select committee of the House of Assembly of the Territory came to Australia to take evidence for the very reason that they wanted to find out what type of government and administration they would like in the future, when they are ready.
– Did they inquire about our policy?
– Yes, they even saw Mr Whitlam. I will be commenting on that later. The honourable senator should not have mentioned that. 1 propose to quote from the second interim report of the select committee.
– Read out the names of the members of the select committee.
– I will table it afterwards, if the honourable senator wants me to. The report states:
The House will be aware that, following on the talks which your Committee sought with representatives of the Commonwealth Government in February last, there have been announcements in the Governor-General’s Speech and by the Minister for External Territories in the House of Representatives of steps that the Commonwealth Government intends to take immediately to give increased powers to ministerial members. The relevant part of the Governor-General’s Speech and the statement of the Minister are set out in the appendices to this report.
I will table them if Senator Poyser wants me to. The report goes on to say:
The constitutional changes now proposed are the direct result of your Committee’s Canberra talks and reflect the importance that the Commonwealth Government places on the work of your Committee.
Yet honourable senators opposite have the audacity to say that we do not show much regard for members of the House of Assembly and that they are not democratically elected. The report continues:
The Committee is now reviewing the constitutional position that has been reached and will probably propose further talks with the Commonwealth Government later in 1970.
If Senator Poyser wants the names of the members of the committee-
– Read them out so thai they can be recorded in our Hansard.
– I will read out the names for Senator Poyser. I have all the time in the world tonight. I will go through them all, although I may have a little trouble in pronouncing some of them. The names of the members of the committee are: Mr Paulus Arek, who is the Chairman; Mr Johnson, who is the Deputy Chairman; Mr Donatus Mola, who represents the Bougainville North open electorate-
– What was his name?
– Mr Donatus Mola. Senator Keeffe may have a look at it afterwards. He may not be able to read, but perhaps somebody will help him. The other members of the committee are: Mr Sinake Giregire, who represents the Daulo open electorate and is a ministerial member; Mr Matthias Toliman, who represents the Gazelle open electorate - that is very interesting because the name ‘Gazelle’ makes little noise in the ears of honourable senators opposite; Mr T. J. Leahy, who represents the Markham open electorate; Mr Ebia Olewale, who represents the South Fly open electorate; Mr J. M. Middleton, who represents the Sumkar open electorate; Mr Matiabe Yuwi, who represents the Tari open electorate; Mr Tei Abal, who represents the Wabag open electorate and is also a ministerial member; Mr Oala AolaRarua, who represents the Central regional electorate; Mr Michael Somare, who represents the East Sepik regional electorate; Mr W. A. Lussick, who represents the Manus and New Ireland regional electorate; and Mr C. G. Littler, who is an official member.
They are the names. Where Senator Poyser’s comment or criticism with regard to them is I would not know. One interesting point that I think I should mention is the comment that this very responsible committee made when it returned to the Territory. This was reported in the ‘Australian’ of 11th February this year in the following terms:
Committee members said they had not been impressed with talks they had with the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Whitlam, in Sydney.
They said they felt Mr Whitlam was voicing what had been drafted by somebody else.
I wonder for whom he is the spokesman. I believe that this is very pertinent. This is the comment of a responsible committee which a few minutes ago an honourable senator opposite appeared to question. As the members of the Committee have pointed out, our Government accepted them as a responsible committee, talked to them as a responsible committee and is prepared to have further talks with them as a responsible committee of the Parliament of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. They have spoken in these veins. They have been satisfied with and have praised the cooperation and assistance they have received from the Government, including the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton). But they turned around and passed the comment I have quoted in regard to Mr Whitlam.I believe that that is very significant. It is no wonder that honourable senators opposite are not very pleased about our having this debate tonight. The Australian Government is accepting its full responsibility to do all it possibly can to assist in the development of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
Now let us have a look at what happened when Mr Whitlam, the Leader of the Opposition in the other place and of the Australian Labor Party, went to the Territory at the beginning of this year. He went there, as he said, on a fact finding tour.
– In a VIP aircraft.
– Yes, that is right. He went there in a VIP aircraft. But what happened when he arrived in the place. He made the statement that he was going to the Territory on a fact finding tour, but the moment he arrivedin Port Moresby and before he had stepped out of the airport he was making critical and pertinent comments on what he considered should be done. What were the reactions of some of the people to those comments before he even left Port Moresby? The next day one of the reporters sent back a report which was published in the ‘Australian’ of 31st December in the following terms: . . Mr Whitlam yesterday angered both radical and conservative New Guinean leaders with his plans for independence for the Territory by 1976.
The headline on the report read: ‘Whitlam Policy Angers Leaders in New Guinea’.
– Whom did he anger?
– The leaders of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. There were more reports of that nature, but I had better not take up time by quoting from them. That is what happened in relation to this man who is the Leader of the Opposition and the alternative Prime Minister and would be Prime Minister if the people of this country were ever so silly as to let him in. He is supposed to be responsible and to give leadership, direction and confidence to these people.
But what does he do? The moment he arrives and before his aircraft has even left for its return journey to Australia he is making speeches that are disturbing the leaders of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Yet he said that he was going there on a fact finding tour. One supposes that he has fallen into the trap, in the same way as the majority of members of the Opposition have, in that half the time he does not bother to find out the facts but just talks, as one of the New Guinean leaders said, basically off the top of his head.
– Who said that?
-I will quote the statement later, if the honourable senator would like me to. Fortunately the Australian Government always makes sure of the facts and always also applies fair democratic principles in order to encourage development and the granting of opportunities for all those who wish to avail themselves of opportunities. The people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea can be very pleased that they have had the type of Australian Government that we in Australia are lucky we have had. It has meant that they have been able to take advantage of kindly assistance, sound administration and encouragement for further development.
What did Mr Whitlam do when he left the Port Moresby airport? He went to many places. He finished up. going to the Gazelle Peninsula where there had been a hot bed and a ferment by a militant group in the area concerned with the multi-racial council. That multi-racial council is not peculiar to the Gazelle Peninsula. In the Territory there are many multi-racial councils which have been in existence for quite a few years. We all know that these multi-racial councils are a gain. The councillors are elected by the democratic system of secret ballot in adult franchise. Senator Poyser is shaking his head again. He should visit the Territory and find out for himself. He has made so many mistakes tonight that he must be embarrassed.
– The honourable senator knows that what he says is not true.
– It is true. I challenge the honourable senator to prove where I am wrong. This is true. The people of the
Territory know that it is true. The members of the House of Assembly are elected in a democratic way.
– They are elected by ballot. 1 will accept that.
– They are elected by secret ballot. The present militant group in the multi-racial council are denying the people in the Gazelle Peninsula the right to have a referendum conducted in a democratic manner, which would be by way of a secret vote. The militant group wants an open vote so that they can stand over the voters and make sure how people they know vote. This is not democracy. The Leader of the Opposition went to the Gazelle Peninsula. He supported and encouraged this group. All he did was encourage a wider split between the groups of people in the Gazelle Peninsula. Instead of talking he should have been encouraging moderation and providing an opportunity of unity so that these people could work together and not splinter off into various sections. As Senator O’Byrne said tonight, that should not be allowed to happen in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
The militant few in Bougainville have discussed and talked about seceding from the Territory. They have been encouraged by this type of irresponsible leadership from the Opposition Party. The Leader of the Opposition went there to try to make political gains to the disadvantage of people in a country that has not yet reached the stage of sophistication of standing on its own feet. This irresponsible leadership should be deplored by the Australian people. Senator Poyser, who is trying to interject, cannot contradict what I say. I refer to 2 resolutions passed in the House of Assembly of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea this year. I emphasise again that the great majority of the representatives in the House of Assembly of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea are indigenes. This is a very important point. The 2 resolutions were:
That is the view of the representatives of the people of New Guinea. That is the expressed desire of the indigenes. The Leader of the Opposition saw fit to go to that area to encourage and to stir up further trouble. He worked completely in reverse from the desires of the representatives of the people, as expressed in the 2 resolutions passed in the House of Assembly of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. To me, the absolute tragedy is that this should have been allowed to happen. As 1 said before and I say again very emphatically, the people of the Territory should be very pleased that they have had a responsible and sympathetic government in Australia which respects the people, the potential of a country and the rights of the people and which ensures that they will have an opportunity to develop themselves to a stage at which they can become a nation in their own right. In the process of this development, through stupid rashness and encouragement of sectionalism, they can destroy themselves, as has happened in so many of the partly developed countries today. I am not alone in saying these things. The criticisms have been levelled not only by Australians and the Australian Press but by people in the Territory. The criticisms are very pertinent and to the point and show clearly what are the desires of the people of the Territory and what were their resentments of the man who stands as the alternative leader of the Australian nation, which has done so much for the Territory, and who visited there and attempted to destroy the very principles and foundations which this country has spent so long to develop. I quote again from the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’. The article reads:
Whitlam opposed by NG leaders.
The Federal Opposition Leader, Mr E. G. Whitlam, has run into strong objections from indigenous leaders to his plan for Papua-New Guinea to be granted home rule by 1973.
The leaders are worried the Territory will not be ready in time to cope with the problems raised by self-government.
Even the secretary of the so-called radical and rationalist Pangu Party, Mr Albert Maori Kiki, has refused to support Mr Whitlam’s plan.
Honourable senators will remember Mr Albert Maori Kiki. Two years ago he was working his hardest for home rule. I think he saw the error of his ways or saw the opposition of his own members - the indigenes. Mr Maori Kiki said that he would refuse to support Mr Whitlam’s plan. The article continues:
Mr Whitlam has been telling indigenous leaders in talks over the past 2 days that they would receive internal self-government in a year if Labor won the next election in 1972.
His remarks have caused concern in the Territory, especially among conservative indigenous leaders. Most are willing to see gradual selfgovernment and some agree that they could be ready by 1973.
But they consider 1976 far too soon for full independence.
Mr Whitlam said that they will have independence. He did not ask whether they would like it. He said they will have independence by 1976. These people have stated that they are not ready for it. An article in the ‘Canberra Times’ -states:
Native MPs hit at Labor Leader.
Two senior Native members of the Papua-New Guinea House of Assembly strongly criticised the Leader of the Federal Opposition, Mr Whitlam, yesterday, for trying to ‘push’ the Territory towards independence against the wishes of its people.
They said they were forming a party to oppose the unrepresentative opinion which they claim Mr Whitlam was echoing.
I think this is very important. Up until the present time there has been no Party system in the House of Assembly of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, but so much concern has been caused by Mr Whitlam’s words, while he was there, and the trouble he has stirred up that some of these indigenes have said that they do not want a Party system yet - they do not consider that they are ready for it - but they are being hurried into it only for the express reason of getting a Party to oppose the policies expounded by Mr Whitlam while he was there. The article continues:
Mr Whitlam’s 2 critics, the Ministerial Member of Health, Mr Lokoloko, and the Ministerial Member for Posts and Telegraphs, Mr Giregire, would not set a target date for self-government for independence.
They felt it would be premature to do this before the results of Papua-New Guinea’s second S-year economic development plan, due to be completed in 1978, were known.
Again, I am quoting what the indigenes said. I think I should finish with the gem of them all. Another article in the ‘Canberra Times’ states:
Whitlam told to pack up, go home.
Port Moresby - A ministerial member in the Papua-New Guinea House of Assembly, Mr Oala Oala Rarua, told the Federal Opposition Labor Leader, Mr Whitlam, today to ‘pack up and go home’.
Mr Oala Rarua clashed with Mr Whitlam after the Labor leader told about 100 villagers that a Labor Government would grant the Territory home rule immediately and independence within 4 years.
Mr Oala Rarua interjected at one stage and told Mr Whitlam he had stirred up enough trouble and should ‘pack up and go home’.
I think that is very significant. That statement was made by one of the responsible indigenous members of the House of Assembly of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
– An irresponsible statement.
– The honourable senator might call these people irresponsible, but we do not. We recognise them as a responsible people. We encourage responsibility. In conclusion, Australians are very fortunate to have had the type of government that we have had for so long and will continue to have. The people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea are doubly fortunate and are thankful that they have had the same government that has given them sympathetic administration and leadership and assistance to help in the development of their country so that one day it will be come an independent and properous nation.
-I want to repeat for the record the first few sentences of Senator Murphy’s speech in this chamber when he spoke on this matter on 4th March 1970. He said:
The attitude of the Opposition in relation to the general question which has been dealt with by the Minister in his statement is that we believe that Australia’s administration of Papua and New Guinea must be to work to bring about independence and an economically viable nationhood as early as possible. We, in the Opposition, endorse the statements made by Mr Whitlam on behalf of the whole Parliamentary Labor Party investigatory group on the timing of self-government and independence for Papua and New Guinea. We believe that the political, educational social and economic development of Papua and New Guinea involves a heavy burden on Australia and financial and technical assistance should be sought from the United Nations and its agencies. However, we support the undertaking made by the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives, Mr Whitlam, that future Labor governments would continue financial grants and technical and advisory assistance on a generous scale after independence if the independent government wishes, and that a Labor government would be prepared to put this assistance on a treaty basis.
So the statements concerning our alleged policy on Papua and New Guinea which we have heard tonight from honourable senators opposite are so much waffle. We heard the statement by Senator Young about the so-called militant organisations, and I suppose the John Kaputin, Paul Lapun and others come into this because they have been very vocal on behalf of their people. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack, in very shocking language, in my opinion, described them as intellectual spivs that we have spawned in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I should imagine that some of these people would be delighted to hear themselves described in that way.
Before proceeding to deal with some other things that Senator Sir Magnus Cormack said - and, quite frankly, he did not say very much; he did a lot of waffling but there was not much substance in it - I want to refer to some of the inaccuracies scattered throughout the speech made by Senator Young. His political attitude reminded me of the current attitude of his Party in South Australia. The members of his Party are not quite sure whether they are in the Dartmouth dam or in the Chowilla dam. Whatever happens, they will fall in one politically, and that is for sure. I disagree with what Senator Young said. 1 do not think that he has ever been to New Guinea, except on the cocktail circuit. Of course, on the cocktail circuit one is treated by the employers. One gets alcohol on the grand scale at every discussion held. One is talked to by the planters, by the merchants and by the hierarchy of the conservative organisations which have deliberately kept New Guinea in a state of backwardness for the last 60 or 70 years.
Senator Young said that he had found an airstrip up there. When I interjected and asked him where it was, he could not tell me where it was. Then he referred to 2 towns as being adjacent to each other, but they are on opposite sides of the Territory. I would suggest that when Senator Young is making another speech on the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, at least he ought to have a map in front of him so that he knows where he is going. When he starts to quote alleged facts I suggest that he get them from some of the documents which are published from time to time - usually they are fairly late - by the Department of External Territories. Even if they arc 2 years out of date, they contain more accurate information than he gave us tonight. He said that there were 70 doctors, I think, in training in Papua and New Guinea. I do not know whether he knows or not, but a few weeks ago the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) made such a hash of this job, that is, the incorporation of the medical college into the University of Papua and New Guinea, that we almost did not have any doctors. I think that Senator Young really was referring to medical orderlies who receive about 3 months’ training in first aid and then are sent to outposts. They are not doctors. If there are 70 doctors in training, I would think that this would be one of the 7 wonders of the New Guinea world. I like Senator Young’s paternal approach to matters in Papua and New Guinea. When I interjected on one occasion, instead of calling him ‘senator’ I almost called him Father Young’ because he was adopting a very paternalistic attitude.
There are a couple of other points I want to make which I think are very appropriate. Senator Young was very worried about the protest that has been made concerning Mr Whitlam’s visit to Papua and New Guinea. The so-called radical people of the Gazelle Peninsula with whom Mr Whitlam had this fantastic meeting, are people who have been oppressed by other people of various nationalities - first by the Germans, then by the Australian planters, and for a time by the Japanese. These people want some sort of justice. At the moment they are not even getting rough justice. They want land, they want housing, they want health services and they want education. The people who have only their labour to sell want a decent living wage. So it was appropriate that 10,000 of them should congregate at this meeting.
I do not know what Senator Young is crying about because his own Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) has never ever been to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea in the capacity of a Minister. He has never ever been there to look at any of the great social problems which -are confronting the
Territory. With the exception of Sir Robert Menzies who made a brief health visit on one occasion, I believe, to Port Moresby and then got out of the Territory in a great hurry, no leader of the Liberal-Country Party, or the United Australia Party or what ever it has been called, has ever spent the same amount of time in the Territory as has the Leader of the Australian Labour Party. I point out that these great protests, about which Senator Young is always worried, from the employer organisations and from the local government council on the Gazelle Peninsula, were never ever sent out as a result of a meeting of either of those bodies. There were no meetings. The messages were hatched up, but they gave the Prime Minister sufficient in order to be able to shout his mouth off and say that he had received messages.
Tonight 1 was particularly disturbed to see the attitude of honourable senators opposite while Senator O’Byrne was speaking. On the occasions when we raise great social issues, such as the slaughter in Vietnam, in this chamber, honourable senators opposite roar their heads off laughing because they think it is funny. When we raise the issue of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, as Senator O’Byrne did tonight, honourable senators opposite again spend most of the time laughing their heads off. This is typical of the attitude adopted by a majority of honourable senators opposite. They think that these matters are jokes - something to laugh about. There are more than 2 million people to the immediate north of Australia and they do not think it is joke. They are suffering under the yoke of this Government’s domination and the domination of governments of the same political philosophy. At one stage Senator Sir Magnus Cormack just about had us bolting the doors of the chamber because he was frightened that Australia was going to turn into a Black Africa and he referred to all the arguments we would have about that. Apart from that, he did no make any significant statement.
Let us have a look at where this trouble started. Since the Minister for External Territories has held his present portfolio he has made the greatest mess of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea that has ever been seen in the last 50 years. He is neither respected nor liked by people in any tribe in the Territory, and for the benefit of
– if some honourable senator would like to take a message up to him afterwards - there are 700 dialects spoken in the Territory, and I would think that there would be a naughty 4 letter word for the Minister for External Territories in every one of those 700 dialects. The major bungle which he has made recently was the one to which I referred a few moments ago, when he decided, apparently of his own volition and without consultation with anybody, that the medical college would not be incorporated into the University of Papua and New Guinea. As a result of a public outcry in the Territory by the people referred to in derogatory terms by Senator Sir Magnus Cormack, the vocal spokesman for various groups of people in the Territory and in the protectorate, and as a result of an outcry in the Press of Australia the Minister was forced into the ignominious situation where he had to reverse his decision virtually overnight. So today we find that with proper safeguards the school will be attached to the University.
Only a few months ago - in fact, one could almost speak in the present tense about this - there was an attempt to steal land from the tribes in the Solomons and on the island of Bougainville for the great white mining ventures. This was something that shocked the whole of the civilised world. There are not too many countries in the world today where one uses guns, tear gas and weapons even against small children to drive them off ‘ their own land. This is the greatest indictment of the attitude of this backwoods Minister to a very delicate social situation, that is, negotiating for land purchase. Then we see the same attitude adopted in the housing situation. Admittedly some of the tribal lands are fairly pricey but no real attempt is being made by the Administration to supply the type of housing that is needed by people living in ordinary civilised society. The Minister has made a particular attempt to kill the cooperative organisations in the Territory so that as a result firms like Burns Philp Pty Ltd may benefit and so that all those associated with the employer organisation may benefit. The growth of co-operatives in the Territory should have been tremendous but it has gone forward slowly and in many areas has been suppressed altogether. But never mind, I suppose one would only expect the Minister to look after those of his own kind. Some of them probably even train race horses. I am not too sure about that.
– Would you give us a little truth?
- Senator Webster will get a chance to speak about his sheep and wool a little later; let him not worry me now. The restrictions on Papuans coming to Australia are complete. The Government will not let them come in here without permits or visas or some sort of a tag because their skins are black. As for Australians having to get any entry permit to visit New Guinea, that is so much piffle and should not have to be done. Part of the area is Australian territory. This general discontent amongst the people of the Territory has spilled over into the expatriate Public Service and only yesterday in this chamber the Minister supplied these figures: In 1966 there were 2,305 permanent officers as at 1st January and 169 of those retired or resigned. This is a proportion of 7.3% of the total number of officers but on the Australian mainland in the same year only 3.1% retired or resigned. In 1967 the proportion in the Territory was 6.2% and in 1968 it was 5.2%, as compared with 2.7% in 1967 and 2.4% in 1968 in Australia. The figures for 1969 so far as the Australian mainland is concerned are apparently only preliminary. In the Territory 4.7% have resigned as compared with 2.6% in Australia. This is put down to a lack of security for expatriate officers. We are continually looking for trained people to operate in the Territory. Some of the advertisements published in an endeavour to obtain skilled people for the Territory, if necessary on short term contracts, are of a high pressure nature because no-one is very interested in going, but the Minister in reply to a question from my colleague, Senator Poyser, yesterday said:
The situation of permanent overseas officers, the position with regard to contract overseas staff and the recruitment, training and advancement of local public servants are constantly under review.
That, of course, would read well in one of the comic strips in a daily rag but it certainly does not sound like fact to me in view of what has happened. Then we have the expenditure of the sum of $150,000 odd to quell the riots in Rabaul recently - riots which should never have taken place and which would not have taken place under a sympathetic administration and under a Minister with even a modicum of ability. 1 want to quote from a story written in 1967 about a situation which. 1 am reliably informed, is - still basically the same. This is in relation to accommodation for public servants. The article reads:
A Papuan school teacher In the north coast New Guinea town of Madang has been separated from his family for 15 months because he cannot find adequate public service housing.
This article was written by David White who spent many years in New Guinea and knows what he is talking about. Then he describes the situation in Vanimo:
To describe the situation at Vanimo it is sufficient to quote the evidence of the acting district medical officer, Dr George Mellefont.
I understand that Dr Mellefont is nol there now although he was there at the time. The article continues:
Dr Mellefont said: ‘Speaking of the indigenous marriage quarters in particular they are undersized, under-ventilated and under-lit and there is no provision for toilets. There are open tire places and so-on, and all these things are health hazards. I would say that if we wanted to design a house in which we could cultivate the spread of tuberculosis we would probably come up with something similar to this style of house. 1 think these bouses are shocking - there is no room at all. lt is allright for the average indigenous person who has a family of two to live in them, but when a man has 5 or 6 children it is absolutely hopeless. Vanimo is a fairly disgusting station from the sanitation viewpoint in that there are a lot of houses without toilet facilities. For instance at the hospital there are only 2 toilets for the single boys who share a common mess and ablutions block, and so forth.’
These conditions are still general throughout most of the Territory. I also wish to quote from Press Release No. 8 of the Public Service Association of Papua and New Guinea. This incidentally was distributed only 2 or 3 weeks ago. lt states:
The claim for trainee nurses alleges that unlike some other Administration trainees, trainee nurses are actually performing work of considerable value to the Administration and the community generally for 80% of their time and it is fair that this work should be paid for accordingly. At present, trainee nurses receive $360-$480 depending on their age and regardless of how much of their training they have completed. The PSA has claimed $4004520 for the first year of training, $440-$560 for the second year, $480-$600 for the third year and $520-$650 for the fourth year, the precise amount payable to depend on the trainee’s age, e.g., a trainee who started at age 18 would receive payment at the rate of $400 in the first year, $480 in the second year, $560 in the third year and $650 in the fourth year (four months only).
Both these claims in no way detract from the PSA’s belief that salaries for local officers generally are quite inadequate. The psa is simply trying to place nurses and trainees in a more appropriate position in the existing salary structure for local officers.
This union has carried on a tremendous battle not only on behalf of expatriate people but also on behalf of indigenous workers but it is fighting a losing battle against this great mantle of paternalism that hangs over the Territory. Early last year I received an answer to question No. 818 from the Minister which is a clear indication of his attitude. When I asked if it was a fact that it cost more to feed a police dog than it cost to feed an indigenous worker he virtually admitted that this was so. He said:
The scale of rations prescribed is the minimum required by law for free issue to indigenous employees. The scale has been drawn up by nutritional experts in collaboration with the Department of Public Health. Alternatives are prescribed to fit available supplies of local produce in different localities.
In other words, if there is more taro grown locally there is less bully beef for the indigenous people. Then the Minister goes on to speak about the dogs:
Police dogs are imported and require food which normally has to be imported and is therefore costly. The building which houses the police dogs includes the barracks police dog handlers.
In other words this section of the police force and the dogs live together but the dogs get more rations than their handlers. On 14th May 1968 the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) delivered in this chamber a speech on behalf pf the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes). He said:
The principal object of the changes now proposed is to provide increased participation by elected members in the executive government of the Territory through the establishment of a system of ministerial members. The Bill also proposes changes in some other matters and some machinery amendments.
I respectfully submit that the spectacular changes forecast by the Minister on that occasion have not come to pass in the spirit in which many people thought that they might. In other words, the ministerial responsibility that has been handed out to members of the Papua and New Guinea House of Assembly has been handed out on this basis: ‘You may talk to me about this but do not ever dare to make a decision on your own’. The permanent head still has the power of veto and it is exercised savagely, ruthlessly and frequently.
One of the greatest fears of government supporters - and certainly one of the greatest fears of the Minister - is that the Pangu Party might continue to exist as an organised political organisation, lt is allegedly a radical organisation, but that criticism depends for its weight on the conservatism of the critic. But at least it is a political organisation that has been able to stick together. It has proved to date that it cannot be bought and that is what upsets supporters of the Government who like to be able to buy indigenous politicians as they have bought so many of them in various ways. Futile attempts have been made to set up conservative parties that today look like the Country Party, tomorrow the Liberal Party and next week like the Democratic Labor Party. They are just a circus to people inside and outside the Territory. Pressure is continually being applied. I say clearly and unequivocally that the Government’s greatest fear is that a- radical party will command a majority of the vote in a future Territory Parliament. At the beginning of my speech I announced quite clearly the policy of the Australian Labor Party in respect of Papua and New Guinea. We make no apology for it and we know that in the immediate future we will be implementing it.
(Quorum formed) - 1 feel highly honoured, Mr Deputy President. Senator Keeffe has a unique ability to drive everybody from the chamber, not only from this side but also from his own side. I noticed that after he had been speaking for a few minutes only two honourable senators remained opposite. As soon as he finished his speech, Senator O’Byrne drew your attention, Sir, to the state of the House. I find that highly amusing.
– Why are you not laughing?
– I am. I picture a native in a Highlands village of the Territory, the Gazelle Peninsula or some other part of Papua listening to a wireless and trying to understand the remarks of Senator O’Byrne and Senator Keeffe. Probably he would find them rather incomprehensible, as I did, but I can imagine him turning to a friend and saying:
Bol tok humbug. Tok belong im maski sunning nuting
Translated into English that means: ‘He is a humbug and his speech could mean anything’. 1 think that would be the interpretation of the people of New Guinea of what we have heard from the Opposition tonight.
Perhaps Senator O’Byrne and Senator Keeffe are attempting to defend their Leader in another place following his incredible blunders and extreme conduct when he visited the Territory, apparently to learn something. We have heard references from honourable senators opposite to old colonialists. Today Mr Whitlam is the new colonialist who tells the people of the Territory what is good for them. Senator O’Byrne referred with great vigour and great heat to colonialists of former days. Today Mr Whitlam is the new colonialist who goes to the Territory to tell the people there what is good for them, or what the Labor Party believes is good for them. The old colonialist is dead and a new one has arisen. The new one is Mr Whitlam. I will have more to say about that.
I turn to something of a more serious nature. Australia has a moral responsibility to the people of Papua and New Guinea to lead them to self government and independence in an atmosphere of economic freedom. That is the policy of the Australian Government and it is endorsed by the United Nations. Contrary to the misrepresentation of Mr Whitlam in recent times, the last resolution passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in respect of Papua and New Guinea was in complete support of the Australian Government’s policy. Again contrary to what Mr Whitlam has said, Australia voted in favour of the resolution. Clause 3 of the resolution states:
The General Assembly . . . calls upon the administering power to take all necessary steps to transfer full powers in the executive and legislative branches of government to elected representatives of the people, in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples.
That is the policy of the Australian Government, which has said that it will grant self government and independence to the people of Papua and New Guinea in accordance with their wishes. Mr Whitlam commented on the United Nations resolution. I do not intend to read all his comments, but if 1 am challenged to read them I will do so. They are a complete misrepresentation of the meaning of the United Nations resolution. 1 think honourable senators should take note of the reference by Mr Whitlam, who said:
Australians who think that the United Nations need nos be taken seriously may be mort respectful of the United States. Anyone who doubts the seriousness of America’s purpose on this mailer is fooling himself.
In other words, Mr Whitlam was trying to give the impression that the United Slates Government is critical of the Australian Government’s policy on Papua and New Guinea.
– He was really trying to convince us that he is pro-American.
– I am interested in that comment by Senator Little. Perhaps a new foreign policy with a pro-American slant is developing in the Australian Labor Party. 1 do not know whether it exists. Perhaps we could deal with it at another time. 1 have said that Australia voted in favour of the United Nations resolution, lt was in much milder terms than previous resolutions on the subject- passed by the United Nations, lt did not call for target dates for self government or independence. Perhaps a member of the Labor Party could tell us of any public statement by the United States Government indicating that it is in any way critical of Australia’s policy or administration in Papua and New Guinea. The truth is that those in the United Stales have been consistent supporters of Australian policy and the Australian administration. If the honourable .senator can point to one statement from the United States - a country which he has delighted in abusing in this chamber time and again - which is critical of Australia and which supports the statement made by Mr Whitlam, we on this side of the chamber would be most interested to hear of it. This is one example of the misrepresentation by Mr Whitlam with regard to Australian policy in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
I repeat, because I think it bears repeating, that Australian policy has been that we will grant selfgovernment and independence to the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea when they freely express their will to have it. I challenge anybody on the other side of the chamber or on this side to say what is undemocratic or colonial about this policy. From where do the demands for self government and independence come? There are some demands for self government and independence. Senator Magnus Cormack, I think correctly, indicated that these demands came from what he regarded as a selfappointed elite. Certainly they are a semieducated elite which has developed in New Guinea. They are the people who believe that they are capable of governing their own people, whether their own people wish them to govern them or not. Before them is the most frightening example of recent history in Africa. We all know that in Africa there developed under the British colonial system not a small group of semieducated elite but a substantial administrative group. The British left behind in Nigeria and Ghana more than a basis for parliamentary government.
The history of these countries is a frightening reminder to us of what can happen when a small group of people believe that they are all-powerful and, because of their education, they are in a position not only to govern but also to lord it over their people and to inflict on them not self government, not parliamentary government, but a dictatorship of the most corrupt and brutal kind. There we have a lesson which we ignore at our peril and which we ignore at the peril of the future of the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. This group to whom I refer in New Guinea has all the arrogance and self confidence of such a semi-educated elite.
What is the opinion of the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, the ordinary people in the villages and in the Highlands? Senator O’Byrne spoke about the people of the Highlands - half the population of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. The people of the ‘Highlands have made it crystal clear that they are opposed to self government and that they are opposed to independence because they are not ready for it. Having made this statement, I shall come back to it in a moment because if we are to consider the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and if we are to consider the readiness of the Territory we must consider the historical conditions that exist there. There is no sense of national unity among the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I repeat: There is no sense of national unity. There is a very strong regionalism existing in the Territory. I speak as one who has spent some time in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, one who, during the war, served with the troops of New Guinea, one who for more than 2 years lived with them day and night. I think I learned something about them and have renewed my learning in visits to the Territory since.
The plain facts are that we have in Papua and New Guinea a number of groups, each fearful and each suspicious. Indeed, in some cases they have a hatred of one another. The Papuans do not like the New Guineans. They fear government by a majority of New Guineans. Only the other day in an article ‘The Island of Hatred’ Mr John Lawrence, who was editor of the South Pacific Post’, said:
But it is the Papuan secession movement that brings a definite danger of a Nigeria-Biafran situation developing on Australia’s front doorstep.
Australia and the United Nations want to see the Territory and the Territory of New Guinea as one nation when independence comes.
But they are facing an uphill struggle in a country where tribalism abounds and where there are an estimated 700 different languages.
Regionalism seems more likely to come before nationalism and this is what makes the Papuan secession threat more serious.
Despite the different tribes, most Papuans do not realise they are Papuans.
This is the situation that is developing in Papua. I made a brief reference to the situation in the Highlands. In this area, because of the mountainous and difficult terrain, the people have, in relatively recent times only, been brought under European and Administration control. Therefore, in such matters as education and economic development they are relatively backward. But they are a most intelligent people. Because of their educational and economic backwardness they fear domination by the more sophisticated people along the coastal belt of New Guinea who have had so much longer - 70, 80 or 90 years - experience under the influence of Europeans. This is the fear that they and their leaders have expressed to me in pidgin English, which Senator O’Byrne decries as some kind of colonial language. That is completely wrong. They have expressed their fear of domination by the people along the coast. That is the situation of the Papuans and the highlanders
Then we have another group, the island people of. New Britain, Manus and Siassi
They have a fear of being governed and dominated by the more numerous people of mainland New Guinea and they have no wish or desire to be dominated by them because there exists between them an ancient enmity which has gone on for hundreds of years. This is the third region. Now we have as a fourth group the people of Bougainville who are talking of secession. They do not want to be dominated by the more numerous people of the islands of New Britain whom they hate. They hate the Tolais. There is no use denying this as it is a fact of life: They hate them and they fear them and would not want to be governed by them. So there exist in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea today all the dangers of fragmentation. There is fear that upon self government being achieved the Territory will break into fragments and that this will bring another Congo and Biafran situation. This fear is real. To deny it, as Mr Whitlam and the Australian Labor Party are doing, is an act of complete ignorance of the situation and an act of complete irresponsibility towards the future of the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. There exists today no unifying force in the whole Territory of Papua and New Guinea, unless it be the army or the police.
– What about Mr Whitlam?
– I can think of no more disruptive force than Mr Whitlam. The army and the police are possibly the only two unifying forces. One may have grave doubts about both of them at present, but they are the only two disciplined forces which exist in the Territory. May I say that they are both groups which have a privileged position to protect. I hope the day never comes when the Territory of Papua and New Guinea begins to break up into fragments, but if regionalism takes root it may well be that these two groups not only will step in to protect their own position but also, as the only unified and disciplined forces in the Territory, will assume control.
– Is that not a little dangerous? Is that not what has happened throughout Africa? Is it not a fact that there were in those instances the military on the one hand and the police on the other, with the emergence of a dictatorship, and is it not the very situation which is being paralleled in Papua and New Guinea?
– I agree. I could not agree more. Do not misunderstand me; I am not advocating that such a thing should happen; I am saying that the danger exists of it happening. If self government and independence come too soon there is a danger of fragmentation. Honourable senators opposite may deny it and shake their heads, but they will be proved wrong. Here and now I say that honourable senators opposite will be proved wrong. There is a danger of what I fear happening. There would be a danger of military rule if the Opposition’s policies were implemented. I decry such a thing, but if it does happen it will be because of the policies of the Australian Labor Party and not of the Government It will not be brought about because of the view of the majority of the people of New Guinea, who do not want independence at present. But such a policy is being advocated by Mr Whitlam who, in a recent visit to the Territory, announced a date for self government and a date for independence regardless of whether the people want it or are ready for it.
– What steps should we be taking to avoid it happening?
– The steps that the Government is taking to prevent it happening if it can possibly do so. I have doubts, but I would hope that the steps which are being taken by the Australian Government at the moment will lead the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea towards self government by way of increasing education opportunities, economic development and an economically viable community. It may be that the Territory will not be completely economically viable for 50 years ahead. It cannot be expected to be so. But it is the policy of the Government to lead towards this objective in the hope that that will be achieved. I stand here tonight and say that if it is not achieved I fear that what other honourable senators fear will come about. The only hope is that we will be able to resist the pressures from Mr Whitlam, the Labor Party and some of the Afro-Asian countries which have shown that they cannot govern themselves under a democratic system and have made a mess of self government. The genocide in the Congo, Biafra and Nigeria is a horrible lesson to us on what could happen. Therefore we can only hope that a policy of tolerance and the greatest good will possible will achieve the results we hope it will achieve.
I condemn the policy of the Labor Party, which will not achieve the same objective but which will bring about the very thing we all fear. I say this with a greater sense of responsibility because I believe it to be true. Not only am I saying that it will happen but others who have knowledge of the Territory are in agreement with me. Regionalism is stronger than nationalism. I think it may be too late. Perhaps we should have encouraged regional government earlier or, if you like, a type of federalism. I am thinking aloud on this aspect. Maybe we should have encouraged this as a first step. This is only hindsight. Maybe we should make some attempt to encourage the people of the Highlands to set up some system of self government free from control from elsewhere. The people of the Highlands may be happy to do so. Perhaps in time a sense of unity will develop throughout the Territory, but it does not exist at present. This is a plain fact of life which I do not believe can be challenged.’
The problems which confront the Territory of Papua and New Guinea are immense. The geographical problem makes communication difficult if not impossible. There is also the problem of 700 different dialects. The only language which could be a unifying language - and it was decried and condemned by Senator O’Byrne - is pidgin English, because the people have declared that they do not want English to be their unifying language. Pidgin English is not a colonial language which was forced upon the people. Admittedly it is based upon a language of trade which was used in the days of the Germans, but it has developed since then. It is a language of its own. It has its own grammar. Today pidgin English has developed into a New Guinean language and the people have shown a preference for using it.
– If it is adopted will it not cut them off from access to the modern culture and technology which they would have much more easily with the use of English?
– I am not saying that I accept its use, but the New Guineans accept it. Honourable senators are probably aware that India has a problem in regard to Hindi, which is the national language. Some people in India will miss out on the benefit of a university education because the courses are conducted in English, which is almost the universal language. I am not saying that pidgin is the right language. All I am saying is that there is a great feeling in New Guinea that pidgin is at this stage of its development a sort of unifying language and a language of communication. I would hope to see - and I am quite sure other honourable senators would also hope to see - English become the language of communication because of the very reasons 1 have mentioned. It is not happening at the moment. We will have to go through the intermediary stage to develop it, but there is no use decrying and condemning pidgin English, because it has a purpose in New Guinea today. It is the language of communication. We should not run before we can walk. Perhaps we should accept this and hope that English will be developed. As a matter of fact, I was quite impressed to learn that English is used in some of the primary schools. But its use is being developed very slowly. I think it will be a long time before sufficient Papuans and New Guineans can learn to speak English. After all, Motu is the language in Papua and not pidgin English. So we have a division here. Having said this and having pointed out what I believe to be the position in the Territory, I would like to say that I support the policies that were outlined by the Minister, but I believe that if the Ministerial Members of the House of Assembly are to be given more responsibility they should be given it gradually. I believe that as the Papuan Public Service develops and the indigenous people begin to fill the positions in it-
– The honourable senator sounds like a typical white boss.
– As long as I do not sound like the black boss, who brutally beat his own people, as the history of Africa shows. Whatever the white boss may have done he was never as brutal or savage to his own people as some of the black bosses in Africa were to their own people, nor has there ever been so corrupt a white boss as was Nkrumah, the black boss in Ghana. Do not decry the people who went to Papua and New Guinea with their own capital and took a risk. Do not decry the administrators who went there and underwent great hardship. I can think of nothing more contemptible than to attack the administrators of Papua and New Guinea who have led these people in the hope that they will achieve better things. 1 can think of nothing more contemptible than the attacks which were made upon the administrators of Papua and New Guinea by Mr Whitlam. Senator Keeffe and Senator Poyser rose in this place and asked questions about the resignation rate in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Their own leader went there and attacked these people in the most vicious terms and threw doubt upon their motives. If the policy he advocated is brought into force there will be little future for these people in 5 or 6 years’ time. He is only encouraging the very things honourable senators oppoosite are attempting to criticise. These are the facts. Honourable senators opposite might not like them but they are the facts.
I want to say a few more words about Mr Whitlam’s ill-conceived statement. He went to the Gazelle Peninsula. This fact has been much publicised. He had the advice of the shadow Minister for Externa] Territories, Mr Beazley, a man who is often held up as having a great knowledge of this Territory. Mr Whitlam spoke to the Mataungans. He used words that have not been denied. He praised their religious and patriotic fervour. Here we have a group of people who have, rightly or wrongly - wrongly I believe - been encouraged in lawlessness and disorder. Mr Whitlam stood up and said to the people that he was the next Prime Minister of Australia. That was optimism of course, and conceit. But he praised the Mataungans’ religious and patriotic fervour. This of course caused a great deal of criticism. Mr Beazley came back and attempted to explain this away. He appeared on television in Perth and said that at this meeting the audience sang the national anthem and hymns which so impressed Mr Beazley that he suggested to Mr Whitlam that he should praise them for their religious and patriotic fervour. This may be correct, but 1 can think of nothing in greater condemnation than the Leader of the Opposition with all his so-called authority on New Guinea speaking in a sophisticated language to a group of people not understanding the sophisticated language, to be interpreted-
– I rise to a point of order. I do not like to interrupt the honourable senator again but I want to point out to him - and it is important, because a record is being kept of these matters - that when he speaks in this House of the Leader of the Opposition he is speaking about me. If he is not intending to do so he should make it quite clear that he is speaking of the Leader of the Opposition in another place or use some other reference, lt is not consistent with the propriety of this place to do what he is doing.
– I accept the honourable senator’s point. I am sorry. I quite appreciate the point made by Senator Murphy. I am not referring to him. I am referring to the Leader of the Opposition in another place, Mr Whitlam. I will take care. I quite appreciate that Senator Murphy wants to be dissociated from Mr Whitlam in this matter.
– I rise to order. When I made the previous point of order I think it was a proper point.
– I agree.
– I do not think that inference is called for. It was an uncalled for reflection and I ask Senator Sim to withdraw. I was not wanting to dissociate myself. I was wanting the speaker to identify the person to whom he was referring. He should withdraw that remark. It is an unwarranted reflection and he ought to withdraw it.
– I withdraw it. 1 come back to the point I want to make. The Leader of the Opposition in another place, Mr Whitlam, repeated what he was advised to say by the Labor Party authority. Mr Whitlam spoke in a sophisticated language to an unsophisticated audience. His words were translated into an unsophisticated language by one of the people who had been engaged in this lawlessness. How would one expect them to interpret what was said except in terms of praise for their actions? I think this is typical of the irresponsibility and ignorance displayed by the Australian Labor Party, and by Mr Whitlam and his authority on New Guinea, Mr Beazley, during their visit to the Tertory. This visit raised much ire and criticism from the Territory leaders, including members of the Pangu Party.
Senator Keeffe held up members of the Pangu Party as examples. They were strong in their criticism of the statements made by Mr Whitlam during his visit. If I am forced to I will quote what they said. Mr Maori Kiki was one who was strong in his criticism of Mr Whitlam. As my colleague Senator Young said, Mr Whitlam was told to go home by one of the leaders. What an indictment of the leader of the Party which would provide the alternative government and of a man who went to the Territory and spoke in the royal ‘we’ sort of language, saying ‘1 am the next Prime Minister.’ Mr Whitlam made so many statements and he made such a mess of his visit that he was told by the leaders of the Territory that he should go home. The policy of the Australian Labor Party is not accepted by the leaders of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. One of the criticisms of Mr Whitlam was that he spoke only to those who could speak English. This group is the self-appointed elite. He did nor speak to the people of the Highlands. They strongly criticised Mr Whitlam for not speakingto them. Mr Whitlam spoke to a select few who would tell him what he wanted to hear. It is upon their remarks that he based these extraordinary statements which he made in his advocacy of the policy of the Australian Labor Party. I believe this has done great damage to the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Mr Whitlam’s visit to the Territory was a most disruptive influence at a time when every care should have been taken that no disruption was caused to the delicate situation which existed in the Gazelle Peninsula and elsewhere. Feelings of regionalism existed amongst the people of the Highlands. There were secessional movements in Papua and secessional movements in Bougainville. It was a time for carefully considered statements, not a time for highly imaginative and highly stupid statements which were made by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Whitlam. If we find that our worst fears are confirmed at least a great deal of the responsibility will rest upon those who work in the Territory and advocate the policies which Mr Whitlam advocated on his recent visit.
– In the short time that remainsI would like to point out that if nothing were obvious before this debate it is obvious after the speech of the previous speaker Senator Sim, that extra facilities ought to be granted for members of this Parliament to visit New Guinea more frequently. If I recall correctly, 12 months ago I asked the Minister who represents the Minister for External Territories in this place why increased facilities were not provided for honourable members and honourable senators to visit New Guinea. It cannot be a matter of cost. If it is a matter of costI would like to point out to the Minister that the fare from Canberra to Port Moresby is $117.40. The fare from Canberra to Thursday Island is $136.40. At any timeI wishI can go to Thursday Island. As a matter of fact, I have been there twice. I will be there again in a fortnight’s time. I have become familiar with the area, its problems, and the problems of the Torres Strait Islanders.
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I rise at this stage to ventilate 2 matters which I think are of major importance. The first concerns the passing of the Citizenship Bill 1969 which came before this Senate almost 12 months ago. In fact Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin delivered her second reading speech on 15th May 1969. At page 1278 of Hansard the Minister is reported as having stated that clause 7 of the Bill, when implemented, would mean that Australian women living abroad and married to men of other nationalities and wishing to have their children become Australians by birth, could register the birth of the children at any Australian consulate or embassy.
When the legislation was enacted I think that many of us thought that it was a forward step and accordingly, when friends of mine overseas mentioned it, I stressed that point. I am not directing my indictment now against Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin or the Department of Immigration. I am laying it solely at the door of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department. My complaint is that due to the inactivity of the Attorney-General’s Department clause 7 of the Bill has never been given the legal impetus that it should have been given by the Department.
Let me indicate how you can get yourself into a fool’s paradise. We enact legislation here and think that the bastion has been stormed but there is this tremendous lag. I cite the case of Mrs Milena Spicar who was naturalised in January 1965 at Ashfield in New South Wales. She subsequently went to eastern Europe, married in about 1968 and in 1969 bore a daughter. To show the zeal of this woman who had acquired Australian citizenship to have her little daughter obtain Australian citizenship also, she travelled the 440 miles from Ljubljana in Slovenia to Belgrade in Serbia and approached the Australian Embassy for this purpose. Her father had contacted me and I had assured him that due to this as I thought, progressive legislation she would have her wish.
There was a bit of backing and filling about the situation. At that time - Christmas had just passed - she and her husband and child came to Australia. There had been some delay with the husband’s visa but they arrived here on about 1st or 2nd January this year. It was only by chance in discussion a few weeks ago when I mentioned this situation that she told me: ‘I received certain documents but they were later recalled’. After a considerable amount of probing I discovered as late as this afternoon that although this is almost May - nearly 12 months since the Bill was passed - nothing has happened. 1 think it is a travesty of justice. This is the year 1970. We boast about new office blocks and about this computer age. This is only one case that I am bringing to notice. After all, if the woman was proud enough of her Australian citizenship to travel over 400 miles - I know that it is a tiresome train journey because I have done it myself - I think it is a pretty poor show to treat her in this way.
The hour is getting late and I sum up in this way: We happen to have a royal visitor here, Prince Phillip. He has a pretty direct expression which he uses to certain people when he thinks that they are not working fast enough. With all the venom I can command I throw it at the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, not at Senator Wright as a man because if he were the Attorney-General he would do a better job than has been done by the 2 incumbents of the office since I have been in the Parliament. I mention that in particular. I have never had any success with any AttorneyGeneral since 1 have been in the Parliament. I put aside my own personal likes and dislikes. The Government pays lip service to democracy and to getting the royal assent to Bills. All 1 can say is that if we have to wait 11 months before a simple clause which deals with people is enacted, it is an indictment on the Attorney-General’s Department which seems to accumulate a backlog of material. Once upon a time I always used the term ‘the dead hand of the Treasury’. Now I think I prefer the term ‘the Rip van Winkleism of the Attorney-General’s Department’. The Department’s behaviour is completely inexcusable.
I raise this matter tonight deliberately because I have been told in a very vague kind of way that the month of May will be the millenium. I hope that it is. I am pretty sure that there must be a lot of other Australian married women living in Europe who have gone to our consulates and have been fobbed off. I think that Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin knows that I have always been pretty charitable to the Department of Immigration and have said that sometimes we are saddled with inept State authorities. In this case we are saddled with an inept Commonwealth AttorneyGeneral’s Department. I think it is a standing disgrace and I hope that when we come back next week we will be able to get some iron clad assurance that this vital clause 7 of the Citizenship Bill will become a reality.
The other matter I want to raise is directed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair). I lead off in the light of remarks made by my leader, Senator Murphy, in response to emergency legislation which Senator Cotton produced in relation to certain oil spillages in Torres Strait. I interpreted it to mean, as I think every Opposition senator did, that obviously between now and when the new legislation is produced the Government is looking for ideas. That is the reason why I raise this matter tonight. I speak on behalf of the Kurnell Community Progress Association and the Kurnell Anti-Pollution Committee. As late as Good Friday I had the good fortune to go to Kurnell and to take a land survey and a subsequent launch trip around the area which, as we all know, is dominated by the Kurnell oil refinery. To speed up my delivery I will ask at various times for permission to incorporate certain documents in Hansard rather than read them. At this point with the concurrence of honourable senators 1 incorporate in Hansard page 2 of a letter dated 8th February 1970 which I received from Mr Sinclair, the Minister for Shipping and Transport:
It is not clear which of these spillages is the subject of your question, as some pollution was caused in each instance. However each of these spillages was into waters within the jurisdiction of a Slate and any action to prosecute would have to be taken by the State Authority concerned.
The same considerations would appear to apply in respect of the recent oil spillage by the Norwegian tanker, ‘Toscana’, near Congwong and Frenchman’s Beach, New South Wales, which was the subject of your question (No. 7) upon notice on 25th November. Any decision to take action against the owner of that tanker would be a question for the Maritime Services Board of New South Wales, but I am having enquiries made and will write to you again when I can supply you with more details in the matter.
Yours sincerely, lt will be noted that the final paragraph of the letter deals with oil spillage from the Norwegian tanker Toscana’. I was approached by the owners of small craft in the area, lt is true that the local State authority, the Maritime Services Board, successfully prosecuted the master of this vessel, but the onus is on the small craft owners to take independent action. 1 know, and 1 think all honourable senators know - I was looking for Senator Rae who is a yachtsman but he seems to be absent from the chamber - that small gear, mooring ropes and so on in themselves are not costly appliances. But if you start action against a big oil company you have to be sure that your case is worth fighting. The small craft owners asked me what could be done. With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate in Hansard at this stage an article headed “Pay Now, Argue Later’ which appeared in 16th February 1970 issue of ‘Time’ magazine.
Pay Now, Argue Later. The supertanker Manhattan last fall put an end to any doubt about whether oil was coming to an undeveloped part of Maine’s coastline (there is already an oil facility in Portland). By successfully ‘battling its way through ice floes, the Manhattan opened the Northwest Passage as a feasible route from Alaska’s North Slope oilfields to the domestic market. Maine’s deepwater harbors, several studies proved, were the only ones along the Eastern Seaboard thai could handle the 300,000-ton supertankers. “Instead of playing penny-ante stuff with the shoe industry, Maine was playing for high stakes wilh the oil companies,” says John N. Cole, editor of the fiercely conservationist Maine Times. “And since the oil men had nowhere else to go, Maine held the ace.” lt was a totally different bargaining position from any the down-Easters had ever had before. “We have the oil industry over one of its own barrels,” cracked House Majority Leader Harrison L. Richardson. As a result, a bipartisan legislative committee, helped by Governor Curtis’ staff, confidently wrote tough new bills to control the future industrial development of Maine. One measure provides for a $4,000,000 fund to finance the cleanup of any oil spills. The companies will have to pay a half-cent levy on every barrel of oil they move into or out of Maine - a prospect thai displeases some companies so much that they may test the law’s constitutionality. In addition, the law states that the oil companies must accept unlimited liability for damage caused by oil pollution. Nor will the state have to prove negligence to dip into the fund. Richardson, the bill’s sponsor, says: “We will clean up the mess first and argue about it later.”
The more important measure provides, in effect, statewide industrial zoning regulations: Instead of just moving into any community where it has land, an industry first must have its plans approved by Maine’s Environmental Improvement Commission. A tough progressive agency, E.l.C. insists that new industrial facilities of any kind be located so as to cause “minimal adverse impact on the natural environment.” The oil companies have not yet decided what they might do about the law. Before last week’s vote, the lobbyists pointed out that the bill would contradict the cherished Yankee tradition of local rule in every township. Maine’s legislators nonetheless accepted it willingly. They no longer want to choose between payrolls and pickerel.
I hope that Mr Sinclair will look at the various possibilities, not merely in the Torres Strait but off the Australian coastline as well. Dealing with certain State responsibilities, it appears that the State of Maine - I know that it is State law but it has the blessing of Senator Muskie who represents Maine in the American Congress in Washington- and I have written to him on this matter - arranged an agreement with the oil companies for the creation of a $4m fund to finance any of these claims. It is true that some of them would be big claims. What I am visualising is this: The unit of measurement would be the barrel. The Maine proposal is a levy on every barrel that comes into or goes out of the State. 1 believe that Senator McClelland, who knows the area concerned very well, would agree with me that if a levy of a few cents was imposed on every barrel of oil that came into or went out of Kurnell there would be a fund from which people with claims could receive economic justice.
I do not intend to labour the point. 1 leave it to Senator Cotton to retail the matter to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I know that the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Willesee), as well as myself, will be watching the position very closely in the next 6 months, until the new legislation is introduced. I will be standing up here, pointing my finger at Senator Cotton and asking what has been done. 1 am giving him 6 months notice on it. I leave the matter there.
– I wish to raise 2 matters in the adjournment debate. 1 believe that one comes within the purview of the Prime Minister’s Department because it relates to the National Library. The other is related to colour television, which comes within the ambit of the Postmaster-General’s Department. For some time the National Library has been collecting and preserving not only valuable historical documents but also very valuable early films made in Australia. I do not deny that in the work the Library is performing in the collection of this film material it has done an excellent job. But a number of prominent Australians who were connected with the early pioneering days of the Australian film industry are concerned about one aspect in connection with the preservation of these films in the National Library to which I will make short reference.
Many very valuable film collections are contained in the material in the National Library. I believe that the world’s first feature film was made in Australia, namely, Soldiers of the Cross’, which related to the work of the Salvation Army. Although the National Library has not the original records of that film, it certainly has been able to obtain some transparencies of it.
Again, to its credit, it has been able to get its hand on a number of films which are of great historical importance. One title is The Sentimental Bloke’ by Ray Longford - one of the real pioneers of the Australian film industry. 1 understand that when this film was discovered the National Library, again to its credit, was able to identify the person who played the original music as background to the original film and that the Library went to the trouble of sending someone to Adelaide for the purpose of recreating or reproducing the music which was played as the original background to the film.
The Library has been able to obtain from Paris a copy of a film of the running of one of the early Melbourne Cups. I think it was the 1896 Melbourne Cup. It has been able to acquire a great deal of the early Cinesound film material. It has acquired a lot of the work of that very famous Australian, Mr Ken Hall, one of his films being a film shot in connection with the World War I battle between the Emden’ and HMAS ‘Sydney’ and called Exploits of the Emden’. I understand that it was produced from a reel of captured German film that was filmed at the time.
All told the National Library has been able to acquire and has in its possession about 1,100 films that were made before 1934. Of course film production in those early days was nowhere near as modern as it is today. The early films were shot on 35mm nitrate film, which is old film. It is alleged that in the process of time the film deteriorates in quality and the nitrate is likely to have an explosive effect. In addition the film vault, which I understand was built about 10 years ago to house these nitrate films, is now about to disappear because of the reconstruction and rebuilding of the Australian War Memorial. So now the National Library, having this very valuable film material in its possession, is looking for another vault in which it may store and house these films. I understand that it may have found one at St Mary’s, about 25 miles west of Sydney.
But also, in order to preserve some of the original material, or should I say to have copies of the original material, it is transferring the 35mm nitrate film on to 16mm acetate film, which is the more modern version. I understand that some $20,000 has been aside this year by the
National Library for this purpose. As I said earlier, I have been asked by a number of people connected with the pioneering days of the Australian film industry to raise this matter. I want to ensure that the original negatives of the 35mm nitrate films are kept for as long as is humanly possible.
I understand that the British National Film Archives has a permanent technological advisory committee and that that committee has advised the British National Film Archives that nitrate is inherently unstable and that eventually such 35mm nitrate films must be copied. But it is asserted by a number of people connected wilh the industry that the minimum life of these originals is about 50 years. Bearing in mind that that takes us back certainly to the 1920s, I want to ensure that these original films are preserved for as long as is humanly possible.
I now deal with colour television, which comes within the purview of the PostmasterGeneral (Mr Hulme). In February 1969 he made a statement to the Parliament that the Government had made no decision as to the timing of the introduction of colour television in Australia. He repeated an earlier statement made in August 1967 that, when the Government reached a decision on the matter, it would give 18 months clear notice so that receiver manufacturers and others connected with the industry would have time to prepare for the introduction of colour television. On 1 8th September 1969, as a result of a question being placed on the Notice Paper by me, the PostmasterGeneral indicated that the following countries televised at least some programmes in colour: The United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, France, West Germany, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic and Lebanon. Honourable senators will appreciate that we purchase a great number of imported films from some of these countries - namely the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan - for showing on television. Naturally, in the country of origin, some of these films are produced in Colour.
We know that a number of colour programmes have been shown in Australia. We know that certain test transmissions have been carried out, as one can quite readily see from page 94, paragraph 318, of the last annual report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. In Australia, if one knows someone with a colour, television set and if the owner of that set knows something about the technicalities of television, one can see colour television. I saw colour television in an Australian home on Easter Monday. I witnessed a programme telecast by Channel 7 in Sydney. It was a colour film imported from England and called Doctor in the House’. I am not a technician, but I understand that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board expects the transmitting station to kill the colour syndrome either before or as the programme is transmitted. The programme was shown to me by the person possessing the colour television set. He had some technical knowledge of what was involved. .One has to have only a colour television set and a suppressor which costs, I understand, about 9c - one does not need any technical knowledge to fit the suppressor to the colour television set - to get reasonably good colour television reception.
– Not really.
– The picture certainly was not as good as the original colour television film, but it was worth watching. I saw it not far from where the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) resides in Sydney. I understand that certain of the programmes received in Australia by way of satellite are capable of being seen in Australia on a colour television set. In February 1969 the Postmaster-General last made a statement on this matter. He said that he would give the industry and the Australian people 18 months notice of when colour television was to be introduced in Australia. If one has a colour television set one can pick up in colour certain programmes that are purchased abroad by Australian stations and transmitted here. This week the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations said that colour television should not be introduced in Australia until 1974 or 1975 in order to ensure that viewers get the best possible picture at a reasonable cost.
– It should not be introduced then either.
– I heard Senator McManus say that it should not be introduced then either. He is entitled to his opinion. At this stage I do not express an opinion one way or the other. The stations say that they want the Federal Government to announce immediately a firm date for the introduction of colour television so that planning of studios, ordering of equipment and training of staff can begin immediately. The General Manager of the Federation said that the Federation advised Mr Hulme early in 1969 that station managements considered the 18 months notice of introduction of colour television, which Mr Hulme had earlier promised, was not sufficient to train staff and secure equipment to ensure standards of operation measuring up to the needs of the Australian viewer. Mr Cowan said that it was difficult to comprehend how, in 18 months, the national television service could order, procure and install the necessary equipment for its 39 transmitters, apart from studio equipment and staff training and that, when the commercial interests were added, the total represented 84 new transmitters and associated equipment, apart from studio equipment. That is the opinion of the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations.
On the other hand, manufacturers of sets, in contradistinction to the opinion expressed by Senator McManus, say that the programme should be stepped up. Whoever is right - be it the Federation, whose view I have put, be it Senator McManus or be it the manufacturers of sets - I think it is up to the Australian Government to announce immediately a firm date so that everyone will know what is ahead and so that everyone connected with the industry can make effective plans. A large number of workers purchased television sets 10 or 12 years ago. Their sets are just about worn out now. A great number of people do not know whether to replace their existing sets or whether to spend large amounts on repairs and wait a little longer in order to purchase a colour television set. This might be 4 or 5 years away or even longer. It certainly will be 4 or 5 years if the commercial television stations want that period. They have considerable influence with the Government so far as the mass media are concerned. On behalf of this very important industry and on behalf of all those connected with it, especially the consumers, I appeal to the Government to make an early announcement so that everyone will know where they stand on the subject.
– My remarks will be very brief. In a period in which we are told by the Treasurer (Mr Bury) that serious action has to be taken to avoid inflation, I can imagine very few things less desirable than that this country should embark upon an era of spending for the purpose of providing ourselves with colour television. I have seen colour television inJapan. I think it is overrated. If the Government decided to delay the introduction of it until 1974, I am all in favour of such a delay. The Government will have my warm support if it delays the introduction till 1984 or 1994. In a developing country, with all our problems, I think it would be criminal if we were to embark upon a course of action to spend millions of dollars upon the provision of television sets when, as Senator Little has said, many people who purchased sets 12 years ago are only now almost at the point of having paid them off.
The other commentI want to make is that we have been told - we have had no confirmation of it, I admit - that the PostmasterGeneral (Mr Hulme) is considering increasing the charges that are imposed by the Post Office.I think it is time that we spent the money which is provided for the Post Office on things that are really necessary in this country. I simply point out that some years ago we were told that immense sums of money were going to be spent on carrying our letters by plane, but what is the result? Letters are being carried by plane, but they are being held at the Post Office for 1 or 2 days because there is only1 delivery of letters a day.
– Insofar as Senator McClelland referred to the preservation of historical film and the role which is being played by the National Library of Australia, 1 shall bring his remarks to the attention of Mr President who,I understand, has some control and responsibility in this matter. If, in addition to referring the question to Mr President, there is a need to refer it to the Prime Minister’s Department, I shall also do that.
[11 . 0] - I have noted the points which Senator McClelland and Senator McManus have raised concerning matters which come within the administration of the PostmasterGeneral (Mr Hulme). I will ensure that they are placed before him, and any information which I receive I will pass on to the honourable senators.
– I thank Senator Mulvihill for making his remarks, and I will see that the interesting information which he had incorporated in Hansard gets into the hands of the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair). The honourable senator might like to know, while the night is still young, that during the last recess I myself took the opportunity to go up and have a look at the ‘Oceanic Grandeur’. At that time the last of its oil was being taken out, preparatory to the ships being taken to Singapore, and there was no evidence of any oil slick in the quite large area over which I flew.
– I rise to say I have noted what Senator Mulvihill has said regarding the proclamation of a section of the Citizenship Act, and I defer any comment upon his statement untilI have made appropriate inquiries.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11.3 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 9 April 1970, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1970/19700409_senate_27_s43/>.