27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir AlisterMcMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I wish to inform the Senate that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon) left Australia on 11th April to visit Bangkok and Saigon. He is leading the Australian delegation to the opening stages of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East ministerial meeting beginning in Bangkok on 14th April, after which he will go to Vietnam for a 4-day visit. Mr McMahon is expected to return to Australia on 21st April. During his absence I am Acting Minister for External Affairs.
Senator POYSER presented from 74 citizens of the Commonwealth a petition showing that the red kangaroo and many other marsupials, through shooting for commercial purposes, have been reduced to a numerical level where their survival is in jeopardy; none of the Australian States have sufficient wardens to detect and apprehend people breaking the laws in existence in each State, and in such a vast country only uniform laws and a complete cessation of commercialisation can ensure the survival of our national emblem; it is an indisputable fact that no natural resource can withstand hunting on such a concentrated scale, unless some provision is made for its future.
The petitioners pray that the export of all kangaroo products be banned immediately; that the Commonwealth Government make a serious appraisal of its responsibility in the matter to ensure the survival of the kangaroo; and that pressure be brought to bear on the Queensland Government to declare a closure of season each year to permit population recovery.
Petition received and read.
– I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move:
– Is that the Australian Capital Territory Ordinance?
– Yes. I continue:
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Is he aware that television sets which can be plugged into the cigar lighters of motor vehicles are available? Because of the enormous road toll in life, injury and damage, will the Minister consult with State authorities and motor vehicle and television manufacturers for the purpose of discouraging the use of television sets in motor vehicles?
– I assume that anybody who wanted to look at a television set while travelling in a car would be a passenger and not a driver. Nevertheless, I will direct the honourable senator’s question to the appropriate Minister and see what he can do about it.
– Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate any further information concerning the encroachment of Russian fishing ships in Tasmanian waters? Is he aware that it has been established that these ships were well within the 12-mile limit and were using fishing grounds frequently used by Tasmanian fishermen based at Stanley? Have any representations been made to Soviet authorities, or to whomever is responsible, regarding this matter?
– I certainly will take the honourable senator’s question further in the light of the information it contained. My advice at present is that 2 reports have recently been received of Russian fishing vessels in waters adjacent to Australia. On 9th and 1.0th April 3 Russian fishing vessels were sighted in the western part of Bass Strait. When sighted from the air on 3 separate occasions the ships were well outside the 12-mile declared fishing zone and were sailing away at a speed considered to be excessive for fishing. On 10th April there was a report that 14 Russian whalers were sailing westward about 30 miles off the southern coast of Western Australia. At the time of sighting these vessels were proceeding at some speed and were noi engaged in whaling. The honourable senator has asked a number of questions involving information supplementary to that which I have been able to give. 1 will take the matter up and see whether I can obtain further information for him.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Air. Is it a fact that Australia is now likely to take Phantom aircraft as a stopgap until FI 11Cs are available? if this is correct, can the Minister tell the Senate whether the Royal Australian Air Force has any Phantom pilots available? If not. how long would it lake to train pilots to fly those aircraft? Would the Phantom do the job that the Fill is designed to do and thus render unnecessary further anxiety over the supply of F1 1 ls?
– I think the honourable senator is aware that the Minister for Defence went to the United Slates of America to discuss the whole FI 1 1 project. Until the Minister returns to Australia and reports to Cabinet, and a report is made to the Parliament, we can take only as conjecture the reports coming to Australia at present. We have available 6 pilots who have been trained on Phantoms. Two more are undergoing training at present, but of that total number only 3 are now in Australia. As to the training of pilots to fly Phantoms, 1 would say that it would normally take 4 months plus travelling time to and from the United States where they would be trained. We could have pilots undergo a crash course of 3 months. The Royal Australian Air Force still has a requirement for a strike reconnaissance aircraft.
– 1 direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport and the Minister for National Development. Is the Government concerned at the chaotic situation in the petrol selling industry where alongside a price war resulting in the otter of big discounts we have demands for increased prices? Will the Government give consideration to an inquiry into the industry which can determine procedures to regulate petrol selling and so safeguard garage lessees in particular and owners generally from the economic disaster facing them as well as ensure that prices are just to the petrol user?
– That was a ‘ong question with quite a lot of considerations, some of them policy and some of them which affect decisions in the market place. If the honourable senator does not mind, I will try to get a fully detailed answer for him from the Minister in another place.
– I could not give the honourable senator the number of resignations but I do know that in the last 12 months we have had a large number of senior pilots resigning because they have been offered better remuneration not only by the commercial airlines but also by the Department of Civil Aviation which, after all, is virtually the same employer as the pilots had before resignation. I shall obtain the information for the honourable senator and supply it to him at a later date.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Supply. Can he tell us what the latest information is on Apollo 13?
– I had in mind to seek leave to make a statement a little later on, but as what has happened in the last 24 hours is a matter of topical interest - in fact, it is a matter of national interest - with the concurrence and the indulgence of the Senate 1 shall give some facts about it.
– Do you propose to do it now?
– Yes, I think I will do it against the background of the question. At about 1.10 p.m. yesterday our time there was a failure of one of the Apollo command and service module’s 2 power supplies. The cause of the failure is not yet known but it resulted in rapid loss of pressure in a liquid oxygen tank and in failure of the 2 fuel cells. A decision was then made not to land on the moon but to return to earth as soon as possible. The lunar module is providing all necessary power for the time being. The command and service module and the lunar module, still locked together, are now out of lunar orbit and on their way back to Earth. The scheduled time of landing in the Pacific is about 3.15 a.m. Australian eastern standard time on Saturday.
It is interesting to be able to tell the Senate and the people of Australia that a small army of dedicated Australians worked throughout the night to install microwave links enabling the 210 ft radio telescope of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation at Parkes to assist the return voyage of the Apollo 13 spacecraft. Parkes, within hours after a request by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, established voice communication with the astronauts at about 8.30 p.m. last night. Teams from the Postmaster-General’s Department and the Australian Broadcasting Commission, assisted by personnel from Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd, installed temporary microwave circuits from Parkes to Coonambro and from Red Hill in Canberra via Williamsdale to Honeysuckle Creek. This task, which involved the erection of 6 aerials up to 60 ft high in the middle of the night, was completed at 6 a.m. this morning. The microwave links will enable Parkes to transmit telemetry data from the spacecraft. Parkes, and the Australian Capital Territory stations of Honeysuckle Creek and Tidbinbilla, which my Department operates for NASA, will start to play a crucial role after the spacecraft’s trans-earth injection which was scheduled for 12.40 p.m. today.
The Australian Capital Territory complex was to acquire Apollo at about 3 p.m. today, so we are hoping that it has done so by now. Parkes will acquire Apollo, we hope by about 5 o’clock this afternoon. The transmission and evaluation data from the spacecraft through these three establishments will assist the mission control centre at Houston in the United States to check the accuracy of the flight path to Earth and to determine any mid-course correction manoeuvres which may be necessary. I would like to pay a special tribute to the staff at Honeysuckle Creek and Tidbinbilla who, working at the lowest possible signal level, have been providing communications between ground control and the astronauts. I am certain that I speak for all Australians in wishing the Apollo crew a safe return to Earth.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral. Is it a fact that the Vietnam Moratorium scheduled for 8th, 9th and 10th May is an attempt to create, for political purposes, a dislocation of the right and opportunity for Australians to go about their lawful purposes by stoppages in industry and transport and by impeding the freedom of movement in the streets? Is this an abrogation of the basic principles of the United Nations’ sponsored movement to secure the observance of the rule of law?
– It is certainly apparent from many statements that have accompanied announcements of intention to go on with this campaign that it should involve stoppages of transport, obstruction to movement in the streets and also industrial dislocation. On the other hand, there are people who assert that it is to be carried out without any interference with the rights of people in industry, in the streets and elsewhere.
– Read the leader in the Australian’ this morning and you will know all about it.
– I have read the leader in the ‘Australian’ this morning. The writer of the leader in the ‘Australian’ is entitled to his view. The position is that if Moratorium goes on as announced by certain personnel there is every likelihood of its being accompanied by violence and its involving an interference with people in the streets and industrial dislocation. Whereas the right of free protest and freedom of association is at all times to be upheld, anything that by mob action is designed to disrupt other people’s rights is to be deplored.
– As the Minister for Air stated earlier that the Royal Australian Air Force has a requirement for a strike-reconnaissance aircraft, will he tell the Senate what aircraft is available to the RAAF to carry out this role at present? In view of the Minister’s statement that the RAAF has only 6 pilots who have been trained on Phantoms, 3 only of whom are in Australia at present, can the Minister state whether any discussion took place between him and the Minister for Defence, prior to the latters departure for Washington, on whether the Phantoms would be satisfactory to the needs of the RAAF in any emergent situation?
– 1 said that the Royal Australian Air Force had a requirement for a strike-reconnaissance aircraft. At present the Air Force considers that the requirement is met by the FI 1 1C. In regard to the latter part of the question, 1 did have a number of discussions with the Minister for Defence on the FI . 1 1 project as a whole before he left for overseas.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise state whether the Minister recently announced that the Federal duty on imported petrol would be increased by some 200%? What is the purpose behind such a move? Could it be that this action may bring about, and will very likely give very good reason for. a rise in the retail price of petrol? Does the Minister consider it is possible that this move for an increase in the import duty may make it impossible for the small petroleum retailing companies to continue to bring some semblance of competition into the retail price of certain petroleum products, particularly motor spirit fuel?
– Once again 1 think i should ask the honourable senator to put his question on the notice paper and I will obtain a detailed reply to what appeared to me to be 4 queries, although I was not quick enough in writing down the honourable senator’s question.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. Is the Minister aware that many thousands of employees of the Postal Department have not received the 3% wage increase based on the total wage case as determined by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission on 3rd December 1969? If the Minister is aware of the position, I ask: What action is the Postmaster-General taking to rectify this intolerable situation and to avoid undue delay in the future in the payment of wageincreases to employees?
– J could not personally answer the honourable senator’s question, but I shall take it up with the Postmaster-General and obtain a reply for the honourable senator.
– My quesiion is directed to the Minister representing the Attorney-General. I ask: Has the attention of the Attorney-General been drawn to the report of a decision of a Melbourne metropolitan magistrate to the effect that a person who fails to vote at a general election but who claims that he has no preference to exercise is not guilty of failing to cast a vote? Is the report correct? Is the decision consistent with the view of a voter’s obligation which was previously held by officers of the Attorney-General’s Department? What action does the Commonwealth propose to take?
-] am unable to say whether the attention of the AttorneyGeneral has been directed to the decision, but I have noticed a reference to the decision and I know that it is being considered by the Chief Electoral Officer. Other than that I think comment of mine in regard to the decision would not be useful.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Can the Minister inform the Senate when
Melbourne Airport at Tullamarine will commence commercial operations? When operations commence will Melbourne be used for both interstate and international services? If not, when is it expected that both interstate and international services will be operating out of Melbourne Airport? To what use, if any. will Essendon Airport be put when Melbourne Airport is fully operational?
– Tullamarine Airport will be in operation on 1st July 1970. At the beginning it will be used only by international air carriers. Domestic services should commence operations in the first half of 1971, but the exact date has not been determined. The fourth part of the honourable senator’s question is similar to a question asked of me earlier by Senator Kennelly. 1 have with me an answer to Senator Kennelly’s question. Therefore, with Senator Poyser”s permission, I think 1 should wait until the answer to Senator Kennelly’s question is given.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Air and it follows upon a question asked earlier by Senator Buttfield. If Australia does decide to take the Phantom aircraft will the Royal Australian Air Force require tankers? If so. could the Hercules aircraft which are at present in use by the RAAF be converted to tankers? If not, what aircraft arc under consideration as tankers and what is the estimated cost of such tankers?
– 1 believe the RAAF would require tankers if Phantom aircraft are used. 1 know that the Department, of Air has undertaken a study in regard to the Hercules aircraft. I believe the result of the study is that it would be uneconomic to convert Hercules aircraft for use as tankers. Should the Department need tankers it would be inclined to choose, the 707. These aircraft, I understand, cost between S9m and SI Om each.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Is any examination being conducted of the possibility of increasing the value of the Commonwealth superannuation unit which has not been varied for 15 years although the cost of living has increased greatly over that period?
– I take it that the honourable senator is referring to a possible increase in the value of the superannuation unit. This would be a matter of Government policy which, I should imagine, would be considered at Budget time. I am rather surprised to hear the honourable senator say it is 15 years since the unit value was increased. 1 seem to recall that some variation was made within the last 15 years. Perhaps it was at the State level or perhaps there was some action taken by one of the ad hoc bodies concerned with superannuation. However, I will have the question examined and give the honourable senator a reply in clue course.
– Can the Minister representing the Postmaster-General indicate the number of miles of Australian roads which have, in the past 3 years, been made safer and more attractive to users by the removal of unsightly telephone poles pursuant to the programme of placing PMG wiring underground? Is the programme continuing, and is it anticipated (hat all PMG wiring will eventually be placed underground?
– I cannot give the honourable senator the details he has asked for. I shall certainly take this matter up with the PostmasterGeneral and obtain a considered reply.
Fill AND PHANTOM AIRCRAFT
– I would like to ask the Minister for Air a question concerning the Fill and Phantom aircraft. I would like a definite answer to this question. ls it not true that when the fiasco of the FI 1 1 aircraft became apparent several years ago the Government said that the Phantom aircraft was unsuitable? Did not the Government say at that time that it was unnecessary to inquire into the purchase of Phantoms because they would be required for only 2 years? Is it not true that al that time the Government stated that the cost of the back-up for the Phantoms - that is, supplies and training of personnel - would be too great? What, then j is made the Government change its mind’/
– 1 do not know what the honourable senator means by ‘fiasco’. He does not specify the time at which this was supposed to have taken place. I point out to the honourable senator that the Government has not decided to buy Phantoms. Its decision will depend on the report made by the Minister for Defence to the Cabinet, after which a statement will be made in the Parliament.
– I would like to direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. In view of the action taken by the Melbourne police against the former British Conservative Party candidate for the House of Commons, Mr Jimmy Edwards, will the Minister cause his departmental officers overseas to advise any entertainers who may be visiting Australia for the purpose of performing in Melbourne that whatever else the Victorian police force will tolerate one thing it will not stand for is the use of indecent language?
– Any action taken by the Melbourne police authorities would be completely within the responsibility of the Victorian Government and it would be quite improper for mc to make any comment about it.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. I ask: Does the Minister recall my several questions which referred to a suggestion that the Federal Government might well consider some scheme of financial support to those wheat farmers throughout Australia who voluntarily forgo the planting of wheat in the 1970 season? Has the Government given serious consideration to the suggestion that the present Canadian proposals to compensate growers for the nonplanting of wheat may well be appropriate in Australia? Will the Minister consider delivering to the Senate at the earliest opportunity a statement on the subject?
– I well recall the honourable senator’s questions. The first called for a good deal of detailed information and the second contained matters relating to policy. I asked the honourable senator to put both questions on notice so that I could get a reply from the Minister for Primary Industry. To dale I have not had a reply. I shall check the position and speak to the Minister in regard to the honourable senator’s request for a statement on this matter.
– Can the Minister for Air advise whether there was an agreement between the Department of Air and the Western Australian Government to provide jointly a water supply for the RAAF base at Pearce and for the town of Pearce? Is it a fact that the water supply has been provided for the Air Force base and not for the town? If this is so, can the Minister advise why the agreement was not carried out and which of the parties to the agreement failed to do so? Is there any intention on the part of the parties to the agreement to provide the town of Pearce with a water supply?
– I have had representations on this matter from someone outside the Parliament and I am making inquiries into it at the present time. I ask the honourable senator to put his question on notice and I shall get a reply for him as soon as I can.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. In view of the substantial grant made by the Commonwealth Government to the Council of the City of Sydney for the construction of a memorial fountain in Chifley Square, will the Prime Minister ascertain from the Lord Mayor of Sydney whether the contractor has welshed on his obligation to finish the project within the time specified? If the contractor has done so, what can the citizens of Sydney expect in the way of remedial action? Does the Council of the City of Sydney expect a further Commonwealth grant?
– As reported on page 1622 of Hansard of 5th November 1968, I gave an answer to the honourable senator on this issue. As background to the matter I would say that in 1964, following a request from the then Lord Mayor of Sydney, the Commonwealth agreed to contribute $10,000 to meet part of the cost of erecting a fountain in Chifley Square. This was an unconditional gift from the Commonwealth. In 1967 the Lord Mayor of Sydney made further representations for an additional contribution towards the cost of the fountain. The Commonwealth agreed to contribute a further $5,000 so the total Commonwealth contribution towards the cost of the fountain was SI 5,000. I might add that at the time of the Lord Mayor’s application in 1967 the cost of the fountain was estimated at $80,000. In these circumstances it would be inappropriate for the Prime Minister to seek to intervene in the day to day contractual arrangements for the construction of the fountain as these clearly are the responsibility of the Council of the City of Sydney.
– In the numerous discussions that the Minister for Air had with the Minister for Defence before the latter’s departure for America on all aspects of the Fill aircraft, did the Minister for Air discuss the possible use of Phantom aircraft and did he advise the Minister for Defence as to the number of pilots available to fly them? Was the Department of Air consulted on the question of acceptance of the Phantom aircraft? if so, did the Minister support its acceptance or did he advise against it?
– 1 ask the honourable senator to put that question on the notice paper, because he is prying into discussions between the Minister for Defence and me.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Air. In view of the serious problems encountered by the Government in equipping Australia with proper aircraft for the defence of the country, can he advise whether the Government has any plans on hand to build here in Australia an all Australian defence aircraft? If not, will he make representations to the Government along those lines? Would not he agree that we have the skills; that having spent $300ni on the Fill we surely have the money; and that with the great powers about to quit South East Asia the need for an Australian aircraft industry was never greater? Will the Government build up an industry which could not only build but also service our own planes and not be bugged by such matters as patent rights, which are now involved in the servicing of overseas built planes? 1 can assure the Minister that all Australians believe that any country that can afford to buy the FI 1 1 can afford to build its own aircraft industry.
– I think it is proper that I should reply to this series of questions because the matter of the Australian aircraft industry is within my responsibility as Minister for Supply and also I represent the Minister for Defence in this place. What 1 want to make clear in response to the question is that it is true that Australia has built certain aircraft under licence. We built the Mirage under licence and we built the Macchi under licence. But quite clearly at this stage of its history in technology and skills Australia is not yet ready for the task of building a sophisticated aircraft of the type that is envisaged, for instance, in the F 1 1 J C, or the Phantom, if you like. The F1 1 1 C is the most sophisticated style of aircraft known to man.
In any case, it has to be understood - I am sure that those honourable senators on the other side of the chamber who have put their minds to the question understand this, and there are honourable senators on the other side who have a very good understanding of the problems of our aircraft industry - that our capability is one thing - and I am not denying our capability; 1 believe that we have come a tremendous way in a short time - but our requirement is another thing. If, for instance, wc wanted to build and for defence purposes to have possession of, say, 24 or 25, or even 50, strike-reconnaissance aircraft it would be stark staring crazy to set out to build (hern if that was the ultimate requirement because the cost factor would be beyond even the comprehension of Senator Fitzgerald.
The fact is that in that type of aircraft development, or even in commercial aircraft development, a certain work load is needed; and even so the learning curve there means that the costs become an extraordinarily important factor. Suppose Australia’s requirement or that of any other small country which would have a requirement such as we would have for a strikereconnaissance aircraft was for 25 or even 50 such planes. If that was to be the total order that was to be placed in the aircraft industry factories in the country it would be completely unreal to imagine that it would be logical, practical, financially sound or wise to build the planes within the country. The question is all linked up with with a whole series of economic factors in relation to the cost. It is also linked up with the country’s capacity to have licences to build the aircraft, following the experience of other countries. I suggest to the honourable senator that if Australia needs a strike-reconnaissance aircraft it will be a considerable number of years before we will be at the stage where our requirement and our economic background will justify our producing such an aircraft in Australian factories.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. In order that honourable senators may have the fullest possible understanding of the relative positions of our ailing primary industries, will the Minister tell the Senate which is the sickest - the wool industry, the wheat industry, the dairy industry, the apple and pear industry, the small fruits industry, the meat industry, the potato industry, or, for the edification of my colleague, Senator Lillico, the canning pea industry?
– I do not know why the honourable senator wants this information. I think most people are aware that at the present time primary industry is going through an uneconomic period which is due to marketing problems overseas. I have no information which leads me to differentiate between any of the industries that the honourable senator has nominated, but I should think that the representations which have been made to him over the last few months would have indicated to him which industry in his area requires the most attention.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for External Territories inform the Parliament how many persons in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea are qualified to receive age, widows’ or invalid pensions? How many are actually in receipt of age, widows’ or invalid pensions?
– I certainly have not those statistics at hand, but I shall have them revealed to the honourable senator as early as possible.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is the Government aware that following the important statement made by the Attorney-General yesterday on the origins, methods and purposes of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign, none of the major Australian newspapers has published the text of the statement, or even a substantial portion thereof? Does the Government consider it important that the public should bc informed of the impact on our democratic processes of many of the activities involved in the Campaign, particularly when persons being invited to participate are told by a prominent member of the Australian Labor Party that citizens do not have to act within the law? Will the Government, in the national interest and in the interest of the preservation of order, give consideration to publishing the text of the statement made by the Attorney-General by way of public advertisement?
– It is true that in the other place yesterday there was a debate on the proposed Moratorium and that, as I understand it, it took most of the day.
– Let us have a similar debate here.
– I am getting some help that I do not require. 1 was going to say that it is my understanding - it is a fact - that the Attorney-General put down a statement in the other place yesterday, that a debate ensued all day and that it ran into last night and was stood over until today. It is to be regretted that a fuller report of the debate and the issues involved in the debate was not given in the Australian Press, because I agree with Senator Greenwood that the issues involved are of such national importance that everybody should understand the implications inherent in this proposed Moratorium. All I can say, therefore, is that I will raise with the
Attorney-General the question of the desirability of having a statement published which would cover the substance of the points which he has raised.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Prime Minister. As two Federal Ministers spoke in Melbourne to wheat growers on the day on which wheat growers held a demonstration in the streets of Melbourne, will the Government supply speakers on the occasion of the proposed Moratorium demonstration in order to place before the demonstrators the Government’s view on Australia’s participation in Vietnam?
-I understand that a number of members supporting the Government spoke at an orderly demonstration - ifI could use that term - which was conducted in Melbourne.
– The demonstration was held in the Botanic Gardens.
– It was held in the Botanic Gardens. I have read statements attributed to certain people whom I thought would have had a better sense of responsibility in relation to our democratic processes. 1 could say quite definitely that no Government speaker would attend or would wish to attend a function at which people would be asked to disobey the law and would be encouraged to show a degree of force which is completely inconsistent with the character of the Australian people. Everybody has a right to express a point of view, but should do so within the law. I think Senator Devitt and I had a discussion last year as to what are democratic rights and privileges and as to what represents anarchy. If we, as a nation, want to preserve all the rights and privileges that we enjoy, we should not put them at risk, as we should do if we were to incite people to break the law. As long as the Government of whichI am a member remains in office such action will never be countenanced.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service aware that a daily increasing and responsible section of the trade union movement of Australia has indicated its strong disapproval of the call made by Dr J. F. Cairns,
M.H.R., and others, for unionists to leave their employment and engage in an unlawful strike during the Communist supported Vietnam Moratorium in May? If so, does the Minister intend to take any action to safeguard the Australian trade union movement from such unwanted and unwarranted interference?
– My attention has been directed to the statement made by the honourable member for Lalor. I have also noticed statements made by responsible sections of the trade union movement which I would consider would be described fairly as definite snubs to the invitation issued by the honourable member. Having regard to the robustness of the statements made by the Australian Council of Trade Unions, I would think that the ACTU could be fairly left with the responsibility of defining its actions in relation to the Moratorium. The ACTU clearly resents the honourable member speaking for it.
– Is the Minister representing the Attorney-General aware that a meeting arranged by a Moratorium committee on Monday evening last in Sydney and attended by 450 decent Australian citizens was organised by a Mr Bill Weekes who, for 3 campaigns, was the campaign director for the State Liberal member for the electorate of Earlwood and who, for 9 years, was President of the Earlwood Liberal Party State Electorate Conference? Is the Minister aware that Mr Bill Morrison, M.H.R., Labor member for St George, was one of the principal speakers at that meeting?
– I inform the honourable senator that his statement with reference to that meeting is my first knowledge of the matter. Honourable senators should remember that we have always made it clear that a substantial body of people involved in this movement up to date believe that it is for a lawful purpose. I have no doubt that they intend to adhere to lawful purposes. But the purpose behind the Attorney-General’s statement yesterday and behind the debate in the other place was to present to the people and the Parliament the facts about the involvement of Communist organisations in this Campaign, and the associated statements of intention of unlawful activity. It is sought to enable those citizens to whom my colleague from Tasmania refers to make for themselves a judgment as to how far they will go in this campaign, and whether they will act for peaceful or unlawful purposes.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation: Is it a fact that a body of Federal and State officials of the Commonwealth and Victorian governments is investigating the future use of land surrounding the Tullamarine jetport? Did the Commonwealth Government originally acquire sufficient land to act as a buffer zone in alleviating the high noise factor expected at that jetport? Knowing that the Minister is sympathetic to this cause, I ask whether he will see that freehold landholders whose land surrounds the jetport are compensated for the detriment to their interests brought about by the establishment of the airport at Tullamarine, or that the land involved is acquired by the Commonwealth on reasonable terms so that requirements involving aircraft noise and their relationship to the use of land surrounding the airport may be fairly pressed.
– I have read the files on this matter dating back to the time when I was not involved as Minister for Civil Aviation. It is correct that quite some time ago a body of officers of the Department of Civil Aviation and State officials examined as carefully as they could the needs of the land acquisition programme for the Tullamarine Airport. I understand from what I have seen that sufficient land was thought to have been acquired. Not long ago I met a group of people from the Keilor Council who are involved in local government activities around Tullamarine Airport. I had discussions with them about the adequacy of the land that was available. It was said then that if extra resumptions of land arc necessary - and that is by no means certain - fair and just terms will be paid. All I can add is that that is the position as it now stands, so far as I know. However, I will have further inquiries made about the matter. It may then be most appropriate if I write to the honourable senator advising him of the up to date details.
– I ask the
Minister for Air whether the Royal Australian Air Force or the Air Board made any recommendations to him as Minister at any time that Phantom bombers should be obtained for use by the RAAF as strike-reconnaissance aircraft. What is the estimated length of time it will take before the Air Force is in a position to operate such aircraft effectively, bearing in mind the requirement to obtain refueller tankers and the other ancillary equipment required to service Phantom aircraft?
– I will deal first with the last portion of the honourable senator’s question. We will not know any of the answers to the questions he has asked until the Minister for Defence reports to Cabinet and then makes a statement to the Parliament. It is pure fantasy at this stage to ask questions of that nature.
– I ask the Acting Minister for External Affairs: Is it a fact that the much referred to official request from the Government of South Vietnam to commit Australian combat troops has never been published? Can the Minister give the reasons why the Government has not made known the text of the request or published such a vital document?
– I am sure the honourable senator will appreciate that I would not wish to answer that question at this time. I think the question is worthy of my obtaining a considered reply and bringing it back to the honourable senator and to the Senate. I will certainly do that.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Attorney-General. Following my exposure last week of the extreme tardiness exhibited by the Attorney-General in not implementing section 7 of the Citizenship Act 1969 which gave to Australian wives married to non-Australians and living abroad the right to have their children registered as Australians, when can we expect the decision made by the Senate on this question on 28th May 1969 to be implemented?
– The representations that the honourable senator made on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate last week were duly conveyed to the Attorney-General, who has already advised me that the matters to which he directed attention are the responsibility of the Minister for Immigration. [ think my colleague Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin, the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, is ready to make a statement to the honourable senator.
– 1 have a reply to the honourable senator’s question which has been supplied to me by the Minister for Immigration:
Australian overseas posts were informed in November 1968 of the Government’s intention to amend the law to allow registration of the births in question. In March 1970 posts were sent instructions regarding the implementation of the provision in question in the Citizenship Act 1969 after proclamation of the provision which is expected very soon, lt is to be expected that overseas posts asked by Australian women about registration of their children’s births would usually have informed them of the impending change in the law. It is not possible at present to say specifically what record has been kept at overseas posts of such inquiries.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Air. What period must now elapse before Australia can expect to have the security of a strike reconnaissance aircraft? How important is a fleet of strike reconnaissance aircraft to Australia’s defence requirements?
– As I just said in answer to Senator McClelland, until the Minister for Defence makes a report we do not know.
– What questions are you prepared to answer? What responsibility do you have to Parliament?
– I am just stating a fact and I have stated it clearly and plainly.
– You are just a Jackey.
– I rise to order. That was a very uncomplimentary, undignified and unparliamentary expression. I heard
Senator McClelland refer to the Minister for Air as ‘just a lackey’ and 1 suggest that he should be asked to withdraw. There is no doubt that he said it. Everybody heard it. He should be asked to withdraw.
– A ruling has been given that if the occupant of the Chair did not hear the remark a withdrawal cannot be asked for. It is a precedent that has been established. I ask whether you heard the remark, Mr Deputy President.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - I did not hear all of the question. 1 was writing at the time.
– With great respect to Senator Cavanagh’s point of order, if you take that to a logical conclusion the Presiding Officer would have to hear every word with precision. There is no doubt that Senator McClelland knows in his heart that he said it. I suggest that the situation would be resolved if he just withdrew the remark. 1 suggest that he do that.
– It is most unusual for a third party to enter into a matter such us this.
– I am the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I am not just a third party.
Senator Willesee - But in this regard the Minister is no more than a private senator, I might respectfully suggest. The fact is that Senator Drake-Brockman raised no objection to the alleged remark, lt was always held in the old days here that a person who considered himself to be offended was the person to raise an objection - not a third party, irrespective of what position that person might hold. I suggest that its nothing has been raised by the person to whom the alleged remark was addressed there is no substance in the point of order and Senator McClelland should not be asked to withdraw the remark.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - Senator McClelland, did you make the remark?
– I made the remark to which the Leader of the Government has taken objection and if it offends the Minister and the Leader of the Government I withdraw the remark.
– Can the Minister for Air advise the Senate whether it would be possible to borrow some DC3 aircraft from Taiwan to tide us over pending the delivery, if ever, of a strike reconnaissance aircraft suitable for our defence needs?
– Mr Deputy President, I rise to order. 1 take the point that questions must not use ironical expressions. The honourable senator is introducing an ironical expression and hypothetical matter into a question. 1 ask that you rule his question out of order.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - The Minister may decide whether or not he will answer the question.
– I will not answer that question.
– 1 direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Army or the Minister for Defence as I am in some dilemma as to the ministerial responsibility for this subject. Is it a fact that officers, mainly of the rank of captain and major, are resigning from the Australian Army at an alarming rate which is said to be in the vicinity of 20 per month? Is the Government aware of the reasons for this trend? What action, if any, is being taken or can be taken to correct the situation?
– I am not aware of the reasons for the resignations of officers from the Services. As we all appreciate, there are certain requirements in the Services in relation to resignations involving matters of training, rights, and penalties according to rank. In the circumstances I think it would be far better to take the question as a whole and have it processed in the Department of Defence so that I may obtain a considered reply to the honourable senator.
– Shall I put the question on the notice paper?
– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Was an assurance contained in the recent policy speech of the Federal Government that consideration would be given to applying Commonwealth financial aid to alleviate the incidence of rates in rural municipalities? When will this Parliament hear of the Government’s proposal in this regard?
– The honourable senator has asked me to comment in an anticipatory way on matters contained in a policy speech. It would be quite inappropriate for me to do this at question time. I am sure that whatever this Government undertakes to do it will do to the best of its ability at all limes.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science who is in charge of Commonwealth schools. Does the Commonwealth firmly disapprove of political indoctrination of school children by school teachers? What redress or action is available to a parent whose child, without the parent’s permission, may be urged or advised by a teacher to take part in the forthcoming Moratorium? As children are compelled to attend classes, is not political indoctrination by Moratorium supporting teachers a blatant attempt to force their opinions on the children while the children are compelled to listen?
– The honourable senator’s question raises matters of fundamental importance. Children are of tender years and incomplete experience at the time when they are compelled to attend school. lt is therefore an abuse of the teacher and pupil relationship for the teacher to take the opportunity to obtrude on the student’s attention anything other than the learning and knowledge for which the school has been established. For an adult teacher to take advantage of the presence of a student at the school to indoctrinate him is a mean abuse of a relationship which should be held in high regard.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Air. In view of the answers and, in some cases, the lack of answers given this afternoon, I ask: To expedite proceedings at question time will the Minister advise the Senate on what aspects of his portfolio he is prepared to answer questions pending the return to Australia of the Minister for Defence?
– Since I have held the Air portfolio 1 think 1 have answered quite honestly and in a straightforward manner any questions which have been put to me concerning the portfolio and I shall continue to do so while 1 hold it.
– I desire to ask a question of the Minister for Air. Was the Minister instructed or advised this afternoon not to answer any more questions in relation to fighter aircraft? Does the Minister think that this is a proper exercise and that it is fair to those honourable senators who seek information?
-I was not given any instructions this afternoon. I have answered questions concerning the Phantom aircraft, the use of tankers and the Fl 1 1 aircraft.
(Question No. 22)
Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The Minister for Education and Science has supplied the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 31)
Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice:
– The Minister for Trade and Industry has provided the following answers to the honourable senator’s question:
J. Walter Thompson Australia Pty Ltd organises the campaign, the newspaper space for which is purchased through the Commonwealth Advertising Division of the Treasury.
The Department of Trade and Industry uses other agencies in Australia in addition to J. Walter Thompson Australia Pty Ltd. It also works closely with many other advertising agencies retained by Australian exporters and manufacturers whose work is directed to the promotion and development of Australia’s export potential. Many of these companies have some form of overseas association while others are Australian owned.
The use of any agency by the Department of Trade and Industry will depend upon its ability to execute efficiently the specific project with which it is concerned, and that the expenditure of The Commonwealth funds involved will provide best results for the money spent.
(Question No. 32)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice:
– The Minister for Trade and Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The purpose of the survey was to ascertain which firms had already made such films, or would be prepared to make films for showing by Australian Government Trade Commissioners overseas.
The Department of Trade and Industry offers Australian firms facilities to show their export promotional films to potential purchasers of their products in overseas markets. However, it is a decision for individual Australian firms, if they wish to use the facilities of the Trade Commissioner Service, to place contracts with companies to make films.
(Question No. 33)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
– The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Thus, an economic survey of the situation which obtained over the last few years, and which could not take account of these changed circumstances, may not provide a very good guide to the future. In view of this, and in the absence of any request for such a survey from the industry itself, I would not consider it appropriate to direct the Bureau to divert scarce resources from other important work, to undertake a further survey of the banana industry at this time.
Should the industry or the State Government consider, however, that a survey of the industry at this or any other time would be helpful I would of course be prepared to consider such a request sympathetically.
(Question No. 42)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The Minister for Education and Science has provided the following answers:
(Question No. 43)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
How many awards have been made to aborigines under the scheme known as the Aboriginal Study Grants Scheme, and in which States or Territories do the recipients reside.
– The Minister for Education and Science has provided the following answer:
At 25th March, 177 applicants had been offered 1970 awards under the Aboriginal Study Grants Scheme. These applicants reside in the following States and Territories:
Of these, 149 have accepted the offer of a study grant. Replies are still being awaited from the remainder.
(Question No. 102)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
Is it a fact that in anticipation of the adoption by the Government of the proposed wool marketing plan submitted by the Australian Wool Industry Conference, wool brokers have already increased charges for items the Government would subsidise under the plan.
– The Minister for Primary industry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
On 21st September 1969, the Government announced its offer of financial support to assist the woolgrowing industry to implement the industry’s wool marketing proposals. Wool brokers would not have been aware that the Government’s offer included a proposal to meet half of brokers’ handling charges associated with wool admitted to the price averaging plan, until after the Government’s announcement on 21st September. Brokers were not, therefore, in a position to increase charges in anticipation of the Government’s offer.
Further, the offer made by the Government referred specifially to ‘present costs’, that is, brokers’ charges at the time the offer was made. Accordingly, any increase in handling charges subsequent to 21st September 1969, would be borne wholly by growers participating in the price averaging plan and would not qualify for subsidy by the Government. Wool brokers have advised that they have not increased their charges since 21st September 1969.
(Question No. 115)
asked the Minister for
Air, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
(Question No. 129)
asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for National Development the following question, upon notice:
– The Minister for National Development has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 179)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary industry, upon notice:
Does the inclusion of trace elements in superphosphate increase the price in some cases by over $30 per ton; if so, in view of its high cost to primary producers who use trace elements, will the Government consider subsidising trace elements when used in association with superphosphate.
– The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The inclusion of trace elements in superphosphate increases the price compared to standard superphosphate by amounts which vary according to the quantity and kinds of trace elements incorporated. In some cases, the selling price would be increased by as much as $30 per ton but this would apply to only a small proportion of superphosphate sales.
The amendment to the Phosphate Fertilisers Bounty Act in 1968 provided for the weight of trace elements added to superphosphate to be deemed to be superphosphate for the purposes of bounty payments. Previously, bounty had not been paid on that portion of a ton of superphosphate which was replaced by the trace elements. This amendment was designed to remove the previous disadvantage to farmers who used superphosphate containing trace element additives. This concession does not represent a bounty on trace elements as such.
The question of whether the Government is prepared to consider subsidising trace elements used in association with superphosphate is a policy matter. When the bounty on superphosphate was increased recently, the enhanced rale of bounty applied to the approved trace element content also.
(Question No. 185)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development the following question, upon notice:
– The Minister for National Development has provided the following answer to the honourable senators question:
The price of L.P.G. intended to be exported to Japan refers to large contracts totalling about 1 million tons per annum. The Minister for Fuel and Power in Victoria,, after discussions with B.H.P. and Esso, has been quoted as stating that it could not be promised to make liquid petroleum gas available to Victorians at the reduced price unless they were prepared to buy L.P.G. in the same quantities as Japan.
(Question No. 191)
asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
What is the intended use for Essendon Aerodrome when Tullamarine Aerodrome is fully operational for use by both international and internal airlines.
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
It seems reasonably certain that Essendon will remain to serve general aviation after all domestic regular public transport traffic has been transferred to Melbourne Airport. The growth of private and commercial activities, using smaller aircraft, is expected to justify the retention of Essendon for this purpose. The Melbourne and Essendon runways are in parallel to ensure the safe and integrated operation of these two airports.
(Question No. 202)
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:
(Question No. 209)
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:
(Question No. 213)
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:
(Question No. 214)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
My question is directed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. Are reports that the Post Office is contemplating increases in the cost of stamps and telephone calls true. If so, will the Government give priority to action to constitute the Post Office as a corporation conducted on business lines to avoid these steadily increasing imposts.
The Postmaster-General has now furnished me with the following information in reply:
Concerning the reports of contemplated increases in the cost of stamps and telephone calls, the Post Office, in common wilh all business, must continuously review the financial outcome of its operations in the light of the cost of providing ils services and the earnings derived from them.
As the Postmaster-General recently announced, the wage increases granted to Post Office staff this financial year have resulted in additional costs of S33m, and the magnitude of these increases will probably turn the anticipated overall profit of S7m for this year into a small loss. In 1970-71, the effect of these increases will be in excess of $50m. Every effort is being made to arrest ihe adverse trading position in 1970-71 and subsequent years, resulting from these increases, by increased efficiency and improved practices, and by stimulation of earnings, but there is a limit to which these measures can be applied.
On the second question of corporation status for the Post Office, I would repeat recent comments by the Postmaster-General when he said that consideration had been given by the Government from time to time to changing the Post Office to a statutory corporation, but that it had not been proven that such a move would make it any more effective than it is at the present time. The Postmaster-General also stated that, until it could be shown positively that a statutory corporation was a more effective operation than the Post Office as part of the Public Service, the Government would not be prepared, and is not prepared at this time, to further vary the status of the Post Office from that granted in July 1968, when the new financial arrangements flowing from the establishment of the Post Office Trust Account were introduced.
The Postmaster-General has now furnished me with the following information in reply: 1 have seen the reports of the happening in England to which the honourable senator refers. 1 have consulted the Australian Broadcasting Control Board which informs me thai entertainment programmes involving hypnosis produced in Western Australia were televised by some stations last year. Inquiries indicate that it is not the present intention to produce any further such programmes. I am aware that some aspects of State law deal with the health aspects of psychological practices such as hypnotism and that there has been some recent State legislation in the matter. As suggested by the honourable senator 1 have asked the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to examine the matter in collaboration with the Department of Health if such a course is considered to be appropriate.
(Question No. 25)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
Senator WRIGHT: The Minister for Education and Science has supplied the following answer:
Comprehension and Interpretation (Sciences)
Comprehension and Interpretation (Humanities)
At the request of the State authorities, candidates’ results in all four C.S.S.E. papers were used for scholarship selection in Victoria and South Australia while in the other four States selection was based on candidates’ results in their best three C.S.S.E. papers.
These figures are preliminary. Final figures from the States will not be available until later in the year.
These numbers may be increased slightly since selection is not quite complete. Final figures will not be available until later in the year.
(Question No. 26)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The Minister for Education and Science has provided the following information:
New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory - Supervisors are provided where possible and the fee to the student is $16 for the four examination sessions.
Victoria- Supervision is provided where possible and provided the candidate is not in a remote area, there is no charge.
Queensland - Supervisors are provided where possible and no charge to the student is made.
South Australia and Northern Territory - No request for externa] supervision has been made.
Western Australia - As for New South Wales. Tasmania - No provision is made for candidates to sit for the examination away from school.
The Principals of all schools were advised before the examination that where a candidate was unable to sit for the examination because of illness or other disability, he could be specially considered for a scholarship if particulars of the disability were supplied by the parent to my Department, and supported by medical evidence. There is thus no need for any candidate to sit for the examination under external supervision but be may do so if he so chooses in those Slates which make the facility available. A total of 440 applicants with a disability applied for special consideration. (2). (3) and (4) The number of students who sat for the Commonwealth Secondary Scholarship Examination under supervision away from school is not known to the State Education authorities. Arrangements for this facility are usually made by individual Principals. In consequence, the numbers who won a Commonwealth Secondary Scholarship or did not win one and the numbers who received a maximum pass in their School Certificate or equivalent examination are also not known.
(Question No. 56)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice:
– The Minister for the Army has provided the following answerto the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 57)
asked the Minister repre senting the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The Prime Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
In the case of the Army in preparation for operations, soldiers are made aware of the difficulties of identifying friend from enemy and special instruction, training courses and exercises are conducted to illustrate methods of identification.
Standing instructions provide that persons are not to be engaged by fire unless:
They are positively identified as enemy.
They open fire first and are not obviously friendly.
They fail to stop when challenged and are not obviously friendly.
Where any doubt exists do not shoot.
Stringent rules are similarly applied to naval and air operations in Vietnam.
(Question No. 128)
asked the Minisler representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
Is it a fact that, because of the union hold up of transport for merino rams sold at the recent sales, for export, the Government is contemplating granting permission for the export of semen from merino rams.
– The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Any suggestion that the Government is contemplating granting permission for the export of semen from merino rams is without foundation.
When deciding to partially relax the merino export embargo, the Government adopted in full the recommendation of the Australian Wool Industry Conference on the subject.
In its recommendation to the Government, the Wool Industry Conference specified a numberof conditions which should be attached to any relaxation of the merino export embargo. One of the conditions is that the current prohibition on the export of merino semen be continued.
The Government intends to observe this and all other conditions recommended by the Conference in connection with the partial relaxation of the merino export embargo.
(Question No. 135)
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’squestion:
Northern Territory did, however, pass a resolution in the following terms - that the Minister for the Interior institute an immediate inquiry by an independent, competent authority into the adequacy and efficiency of the political and administrative arrangements in and for the Northern Territory specially directed to -
the need for constitutional reform to ensure that this Council is completely representative of the people of the Territory;
That the person conducting the inquiry should be empowered to recommend what changes be made in the light of his findings and to publish his report.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The Prime Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
On that occasion I stated that we would regard the establishment of any Russian bases as being threatening to Australia, that we would regard a military presence by Russia to our north as being inimical to our interests and that we would not wish to see a collective security pact among the nations to our north in which Russia was taking a military part, though we would wish to see a collective security pact among the nations to curnorth, because that is one of our objectives.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development the following question, upon notice:
– The Minister for National Development has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 183)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
The ceiling on payments to individual producers is one of the important differences between this and the farm programme of the United States although some similarities with the acreage diversion programme in that country can be detected.
– On 10th March in response to a question asked by Senator Bishop I undertook to obtain from the Minister for Defence some information relating to the findings of a joint Army/Defence Committee of Inquiry into the establishment of new Army installations on the Australian mainland. The Minister for Defence has now provided the following information:
The joint Defence/Army examination into the question of additional accommodation that will be required by Army after Vietnam is not restricted to consideration of sites in Western Australia and Queensland. Regard will be paid to all the factors involved in siting a military installation in Australia including strategic considerations. national development, military feasibility, cost and so on. As to the question of ordnance depots, an overall study of the future requirements for and disposition of such depots throughout Australia is currently being undertaken within the Department of the Army. This will include consideration of the possible location of such a depot in South Australia.
– For the information of honourable senators I lay on the table texts of the undermentioned treaties to which Australia has become a party by signature:
I also lay on the table the text of a treaty to which Australia has become a party by acceptance, namely:
– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, I present the report relating to the following proposed work.
Development Works at HMAS Tarangau at Los Negros Island.
– I wish to move a motion in relation to the sittings ofthe Senate, andI ask leave to make a statement by way of explanation.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - There being no objection, leave is granted.
– Tomorrow, as is known, a Stale Funeral is being held tor the late Senator McKellar, and it is proposed to lift the Senate at 12 noon to enable honourable senators who wish to be present at the State funeral, which is to be held in Sydney during the afternoon, to be there. It is therefore proposed that we should sit tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., as against the normal starting time of 11 a.m., rise at 12 noon and reassemble tomorrow evening. I therefore move:
That the Senate, at its rising today, adjourn until tomorrow at 10 a.m.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Address-in-Reply: Acknowledgement by Her Majesty the Queen
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - The President has received from His Excellency the Governor-General the following communication in connectionwith the Address-in-Reply:
I have to inform you that the substance of the Address-in-Reply which you presented to me on the 19th March 1970, has been communicated to Her Majesty the Queen.
It is Her Majesty’s wish that I express to you and honourable senators her warm thanks for the loyal message to which your Address gives expression.
– by leave - Mr Deputy President, may I make a further explanation, by leave, about today’s business of the Senate?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I understand that we are to proceed with the Dartmouth dam legislation, for which 2 messages have been received in this chamber. The procedure that is suggested for the conduct of the legislation through this chamber is that the first Bill should be introduced and taken to the second reading stage and then the debate on it be made an order of the day for a later hour of the day. Then it is proposed that the second Bill should be introduced and taken to the second reading stage and the debate on it be made an order of the day for a later hour of the day. Then we will return to the first Bill and conduct a concurrent debate on that and the second Bill.
– That will mean that there will be no interruption to the debate; it will go straight on.
– The debate will proceed straight on. So that we can get the 2 Bills on to the slate, we have to adjourn the debate on the first Bill until a later hour of the day, introduce the second Bill and take it to the second reading stage and then have a concurrent debate on the 2 Bills.
– by leave - We offer no objection to this procedure, lt has been discussed. Also, we offer no objection to the previous proposal regarding tomorrow’s sittings of the Senate. I did not speak to that question because it is obvious that as a State funeral is to be held tomorrow for the late Senator McKellar, it would be undesirable for the Senate to sit while one of its colleagues was being afforded a State funeral. We are perfectly willing to fit in with the Government’s proposal, that we should commence earlier than usual tomorrow morning and that we should return from Sydney tomorrow afternoon in order to carry on with the business of the Senate tomorrow night.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move: That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to ratify the sixth further amending agreement to the River Murray Waters Agreement. The principal purpose of the amending agreement is to provide for the construction of a major storage near Dartmouth on the Mitta Mitta River, a tributary of the Murray upstream of Hume Reservoir, as the next major development of the River Murray system. At the same time a number of amendments have been made in relation to the functions and operations of the River Murray Commission, and some minor amendments have been incorporated to delete obsolete provisions in the principal Agreement and to effect a few other minor amendments of a textual nature. The background to this development, involving suspension of work on the Chowilla storage and its replacement by Dartmouth storage as the next major development, has been given in a number of documents published by the River Murray Commission and in statements made by the then President of the River Murray Commission. I do not therefore propose to go into this whole matter in detail once again, but would be happy to answer any questions that may arise in the discussion of this measure.
It will suffice at this stage to say that at the time of its authorisation by the four contracting governments, the Chowilla storage was estimated to cost $28m. In March 1966 as a result of more detailed design studies prior to the calling of tenders, the estimated cost was revised to $43 m. When tenders were considered in April 1967 the most favourable tender received resulted in a further upward revision of the cost to $68m. Obviously, an increase of about 250% in the estimated cost over a period of 4 years raised doubts as to whether the early basis for selection of Chowilla as the most favourable development for the next stage was still valid. Accordingly it was agreed that work on the Chowilla storage should be suspended to enable a new comparison to be made between it and other possible developments in the upper Murray catchment, which had been considered in the earlier studies. These investigations, taking into consideration also the changing operational requirements along the river to control salinity, showed that for a similar capital expenditure, the Dartmouth storage can be expected to provide over 1 million acre feet per annum of additional water in the River Murray system compared with an increase of between about 190,000 and 380,000 feet per annum in the case of Chowilla, depending upon operating criteria. Furthermore, the studies showed that with Dartmouth storage, South Australia’s increased entitlement will be provided with even less restriction than would have applied to the smaller entitlement with the Chowilla storage. Over the period since 1906 on which the studies were based, there would have been only a very minor restriction in 1 year.
The recent studies involved a substantial revision of the early assessment of the benefits that can be expected from Chowilla. This revision was related not only to changing operational requirements on the river but also to revised assessments of other factors such as evaporation losses from the Chowilla storage which, in the light of more recent data, were substantially increased. In addition, in the recent study the whole operational programme was simulated on an electronic computer by means of which it was possible to examine alternative proposals in much greater detail than hitherto. Some studies were made of combinations of storages at Dartmouth and Chowilla, but these were obviously much less attractive than a single storage at Dartmouth and were not pursued. Chowilla built after Dartmouth would add about 250,000 acre feet to the available water. A storage of 2 million acre feet at Dartmouth combined with a 3 million acre feet storage at Chowilla would provide an additional yield not more than 15% greater than provided by a 3 million acre feet storage at Dartmouth alone. The two storages would cost just under $10Om, or about 70% more than Dartmouth. As indicated in the reports of the River Murray Commission published in January 1969, the cost per acre foot of yield tends to rise steeply for storage sizes much below the optimum, and this indicates why combinations of smaller storages at the 2 sites could not be expected to be attractive. The fact that the most efficient size at Chowilla gives a cost per acre foot of yield very much higher than any likely size at Dartmouth further emphasises this point. At the same time, consultants appointed by the River Murray Commission to advise on all aspects of salinity advised that the Dartmouth storage would have very little effect on salinity in the lower river, and that although Chowilla would reduce the short term peaks in salinity which occur from time to time in most seasons, and would affect a small reduction in the average salinity, it would also significantly increase the salinity during severe droughts when conditions are generally at their worst. Accordingly, it was considered that the effects of these 2 storages on salinity were not sufficiently different to be an important factor in the selection of the next major development.
Against the above background the 4 contracting governments have agreed to proceed with the Dartmouth storage, subject to a number of important conditions. The first of these is that taking into consideration the additional quantity of water provided by the Dartmouth storage, compared with the Chowilla storage, South Australia’s entitlement to water should be increased from 1,254,000 acre feet of water per annum to 1,500,000 acre feet. I would stress here that the figure of 1,254,000 acre feet was to have applied after the completion of Chowilla and this remained unchanged from when the Agreement was first signed in 1915. The significance of this increase of nearly 250,000 acre feet in the South Australian entitlement is however greater than the figures would suggest. The total entitlement includes an allowance, at present assessed at 564,000 acre feet per annum, for losses such as seepage and evaporation. Hence the net divertible component of the entitlement is only 690,000 acre feet. Another important condition of the States’ acceptance of the Dartmouth storage was that the Commonwealth should provide some financial assistance. I am pleased to say that agreement was also reached on this point and in conjunction with this Bill, I will be introducing a Bill dealing with financial agreements with the States on this matter. lt was also agreed that, in order to ensure the availability of adequate supplies of water in the lower river, the Menindee Lakes Storage Agreement, which had been regarded as a temporary measure pending completion of Chowilla, should be continued indefinitely. There were some other conditions associated with Dartmouth including an adjustment in the sharing of water between New South Wales and Victoria whereby Victoria cedes to New South Wales the right to use certain quantities of inflow to the Murray from Victorian tributaries below Albury. Also certain procedures were laid down for regulation of the river with a view to controlling salinity in the lower reaches. Earlier studies had led to the belief that following the construction of Chowilla the 2 upstream States would each receive substantial additional supplies after providing that South Australia would receive its entitlement of 1,254,000 acre feet per annum without restriction at all in all but a very few years of severe drought. The upstream States entered into commitments for the use of water from the Murray system in anticipation of the availability of additional supplies. Severe curtailment of deliveries in the 2 upstream States can be expected in the event of the recurrence of some of the earlier severe droughts, until the Dartmouth storage comes in’0 operation, lt is therefore a matter of considerable urgency that the additional storage be provided in order to avoid the widespread disruption that would occur in the whole of the Murray Valley in the event of a severe drought. Detailed economic studies of the benefits from this storage would be a very difficult and complex exercise, but I would point out that the capital cost of this storage per acre foot of additional water supplied per annum which is only slightly over $50 per acre foot is exceptionally low by present day Australian standards and indicates the economic justification for the proposal.
Turning now to the Dartmouth Reservoir itself, the dam will consist of a central earth core flanked on either side by material increasing in coarseness with an outer shell of quarried rock. The embankment will be approximately 590 feet high above foundation, the crest length 2,300 feet, and the volume of fill about 20 million cubic yards. A spillway with fixed crest 300 feet long is proposed on the left bank of the dam site, discharging through a short length of concrete lined chute into the rock quarry, where the energy of the water will be dissipated over a series of cascades. Final investigations and designs may lead to some modification of the general arrangement at present proposed. Investigations are proceeding to determine whether power generation facilities should be included with the dam, but any such works would be financed by the Electricity Commission of Victoria and would not affect the functioning of the storage of water for supply purposes. It is proposed that the constructing authority, the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission of Victoria, will retain the Snowy Mountains Authority as consultants to carry out the detailed design and preparation of contract documents for the project.
I should perhaps say a word or two about the operation of the storage, since it has from time to time been questioned whether it is possible for it to provide an additional supply of over 1 million acre feet per annum in the system, when the mean annual discharge at the dam site is only about 700,000 acre feet per annum. At present, water is released from Hume storage only when inflows downstream are insufficient to meet requirements along the river. By an extension of this same principle, water would be released from the Dartmouth storage when the Hume storage which is further downstream has been emptied, or when it is apparent that the storage will fail unless unexpected inflows occur. Thus the 3 million acre feet storage in Dartmouth will be available for release during periods in which shortages would otherwise occur, and the net result of this is that the inflow to the system, including inflow from tributaries below Hume, can be used more efficiently.
I will now refer to the main provisions of the Agreement. The construction of Dartmouth Reservoir is provided for in clause 1 0 (b) which inserts a new paragraph in clause 20 of the principal Agreement. In view of the size and cost of this work it has been considered desirable to include in its description the estimated cost, in preference to the earlier procedure of amending clause 32 of the principal Agreement which previously gave the sum of the total cost of the completed works, and the estimated cost of the proposed new work. As a result of the inclusion of the Darmouth Reservoir in the Agreement a number of consequential changes have been made to other clauses, many of which are of a purely routine nature and will not be mentioned further. Since the Agreement did not allocate responsibility for construction of works on tributaries above Hume Reservoir, this has now been added in terms of clause 1 1 .
Clause 13 provides for the deferment construction of the Chowilla Reservoir as agreed by the 4 governments. The Lake Victoria storage is of great importance to South Australia as a source of water close at hand, particularly for the purposes of salinity control. Its effectivenes is determined partly by the size of the inlet and outlet works, and studies in this connection are at present in progress. For this reason, clause 10(a) provides for an amendment to the description of the Lake Victoria works which will permit additional work to proceed on the basis of agreement by the 4 governments.
The other major change resulting from the Darmouth project is the Agreement to continue the Menindee Lakes Storage Agreement indefinitely. As I have mentioned, this Agreement was earlier visualised as a temporary measure pending the completion of the Chowilla project, but in terms of clause 29, the Menindee Lakes Storage Agreement is incorporated into the River Murray Waters Agreement. This includes a small adjustment in the New South Wales entitlement to water from the Menindee Lakes storage, as agreed between representatives of the 4 governments. Clauses 22 and 26 (h) give details of an adjustment in allocation of tributary inflow in Victoria whereby the right to use a small quantity of this flow is ceded to New South Wales, as also agreed between representatives of the governments. At that time it was also agreed to adopt an operational procedure for salinity control in the river which has been found effective in recent years, and this is dealt with in clause 22. I might mention that, while this clause refers only to control of salinity upstream of South Australia, this is on the basis of control below that point being handled by releases from Lake Victoria, and if necessary from the Menindee Lakes storage.
Referring now to matters more of a machinery nature, clauses 12, 13 and 16 provide for the contracting governments to be kept in closer touch with the main steps in implementing major works, and this seems desirable when we are dealing with projects of the magnitude of the Dartmouth Reservoir. Clause 9 gives the Commission the power of delegation which is usual for bodies of this type, but which had not previously been provided for. Clause 5 makes provision for indemnity for the officers and servants of the Commission in respect of any claims against them arising out of the bona fide execution of their duties. This indemnity has hitherto been available only for the Commissioners and it was considered desirable to take advantage of this opportunity to provide similar protection for the officers and servants of the Commission. I do not believe the other matters are worthy of special mention and I will not take further time to deal with them now.
In summary this Bill provides the machinery for implementing a major project which is of the utmost importance to the whole of the River Murray Valley development. For South Australia, its importance extends far beyond the Murray Valley in the provision of pumped water supplies to Adelaide, to other industrial areas and to very large areas of wheat and sheep country. Completion of the project will greatly increase the water supply available to the 3 States which are signatories to the Agreement, and I feel that the Commonwealth can be proud of the part it has played in bringing this project to the point where, after ratification of the Agreement by the 4 parliaments, work can be put in hand immediately.
Debate (on motion by Senator Drury) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to obtain the approval of Parliament to an agreement between the Commonwealth and the Slates of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia for provision of Commonwealth financial assistance to the States in respect of their shares of the cost of construction of the Dartmouth reservoir in Victoria. This Bill follows another measure already introduced into the Senate to approve amendments to the River Murray Waters Agreement for the principal purpose of providing for construction of the Dartmouth reservoir as a work under that Agreement, the cost of the project to be shared equally among the Commonwealth and the States of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. When introducing that measureI, as the Minister representing the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz), outlined the important purposes the Dartmouth reservoir will serve, and I shall not go over that ground again here.
During the ministerial discussions between the Commonwealth and the States that led to the decision for construction of the reservoir as a work under the River Murray Waters Agreement, the governments of the three States concerned all indicated that they fully agreed with the desirability of going ahead with the project as quickly as possible. However, each of those governments stated that it was unable to provide its one-quarter share of the cost of the reservoir in full, because of other commitments. In view of the great national importance of the project and its special value to the State of South Australia, the Commonwealth offered to provide assistance to each of the three States by way of loan to enable them to complete the financing of their shares of the cost. The three States accepted the Commonwealth’s offer, and the Agreement now before the Senate incorporates the arrangements that have been agreed between the governments for the provision of financial assistance. Under the Agreement the Commonwealth will provide assistance in amounts equal to one-half of each amount a State is required to pay from time to time to the River Murray Commission in respect of its share of the cost of construction of the project.
The present estimated cost of the project is $57m. If the estimated cost of the work rises, the Commonwealth will continue to provide financial assistance towards the States’ shares of the cost up to a cost of $62.7m, that is, 10% above the present estimate. Under clause 4 of the Agreement a maximum amount of assistance of $7,837,500 is provided to each State to meet its share of a maximum cost of $62.7m. However, it has been agreed that the arrangements for financing the cost of the project above$62.7m will be reviewed if the estimated cost rises beyond that figure. Under the arrangements as described the Commonwealth will be contributing its own one-quarter share of the cost of the project and will be assisting the States by making available a further three-eighths of the cost
The three States will repay each Commonwealth payment in 30 equal half-yearly instalments commencing 10 years from the date each advance was received from the Commonwealth. Interest will be paid by each State on the outstanding balance of each Commonwealth payment calculated at half yearly intervals from the time each Commonwealth payment is made. Interest will be payable at a rate equal to the yield to maturity on the long term Commonwealth securities that were last issued in Australia for public subscription before each advance is received from the Commonwealth. The Agreement also contains a number of machinery provisions of a kind similar to those embodied in recent CommonwealthState agreements for the grant of special Commonwealth financial assistance for major developmental projects in the States. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
– The Opposition agrees that this Bill and the River Murray Waters Bill should be debated together.
– I thank Senator Willesee and Senator Drury for their agreement that the 2 Bills be debated together. This practice was adopted in the House of Representatives when dealing with this legislation. It will be possible now to have a general debate over the whole field covered by the 2 Bills. Later, if necessary, separate questions can be put on each of the Bills. That could be done at the conclusion of the debate. I will do my best to provide information requested by honourable senators, but I trust that you will understand that in this matter I act for the Minister for National Development. I will be relying on the advisers who have been made available to me.
Debate (on motion by Senator Drury) adjourned.
Debate resumed (vide page 771).
– At the outset I would like to say that the Australian Labor Party has never been opposed to the building of the Dartmouth dam. We feel that any water storage along the River Murray system is of national importance and therefore should be proceeded with, but what we are concerned about is the agreement which was made in 1963 for the building of the Chowilla dam. As has been stated in this place before on many occasions, the building of the Chowilla dam would not give South Australia any extra water but the purpose of the dam was to conserve water that came down to South Australia in the wet years against the time when there was a drought and therefore we would have a storage right on our door step to release water which would keep down the salinity level in the River Murray and would be sufficient to supply the people along the River Murray -the irrigators - and enable the industries in South Australia to maintain production. We of the Labor Party, as I mentioned earlier, believe that this Bill is a repudiation of South Australia’s legal rights and a repudiation of South Australia’s rights to the protection of Chowilla and what it would offer us in the quantity and quality of water.
The River Murray is the lifeline of South Australia not only for the irrigators along the river but also virtually for all of our industrial development which depends on water from it. Without an assured supply South Australia’s development must suffer. As 1 mentioned earlier, it is the 1963 agreement which has been repudiated and this is what the Labor Party is opposed to. This agreement was approved by the 3 States concerned and by the national Parliament. It was supported by each and every member of this place and another place.
– It is still the law.
– Yes, it is still the law as far as the legal rights of South Australia are concerned. It was provided in the agreement that when Chowilla was built the share of the water from the River Murray would rise in the years of restriction from three-thirteenths of the total to one-third of the total. The dam would give South Australia a large body of fresh water at its door step enabling satisfactory quality and satisfactory quantity control. It was this agreement which enabled South Australia to face future expansion with an assured water supply, and I feel that the repudiation of this agreement will help dampen down industrial development in South Australia as well as inflicting hardship on those people who are trying to get a living in the fruit growing areas below Renmark. Now, what has happened as far as the new agreement is concerned? It will give more water to the 2 States on the upper reaches of the river and these States, rightly, are looking forward to an expansion of industry and to regional development. They put forward plans which will mean that a certain number of towns will be built outside the metropolitan areas. To supply these towns with sufficient water to keep them going both domestically and industrially means that the upper reaches of the Murray above South Australia will probably have to be tapped. If one looks at an article by William Goff which appeared on page 3 of the ‘Australian’ on Monday 6th April one can see the planning that has taken place as far as decentralisation is concerned in New South Wales and Victoria. The article is headed:
State studies 9-region plan for development.
It states in part, dealing with New South Wales:
The project involves developing 1, 2 or 3 towns in each of the 9 areas. By the year 2000, the areas would have I town of about 100,000 population, or 2 or 3 with 50,000 to 60,000 each. The towns would become the industrial, educational and agricultural centre of the region, respectively. The New South Wales Minister for Decentralisation and Development, Mr Fuller, outlined progress on the far reaching plan in a special interview.
Dealing with Victoria Mr Fuller said:
Victoria has different decentralisation problems to those of New South Wales because of the difference in size. It adopted the ‘chosen place’ plan after an advisory committee’s report in 1967. Under the plan 5 Victorian towns have been chosen for intensive development, and the Victorian Government gives substantial aid.
Of course, we do not want to knock this development. Neither are we opposed to development in New South Wales or Victoria. We welcome this because it is of national importance that more and more decentralisation should take place. When one looks at the amount of water that can be taken from the River Murray one realises that there is a limit to it and we have to plan not only for the immediate future but for the years to come.
– The Victorian towns are not going to take water out of the Murray.
– Eventually I feel that this will have to happen. If we are to develop towns that are already in existence or build new towns they have to be supplied with water. Will Victoria and New South Wales have sufficient water to do this without tapping the River Murray?
– Or its tributaries.
– Or. as Senator Ridley says, its tributaries? Victoria will get Dartmouth, and if it sees fit it will develop existing towns or establish new towns where it can get water from the Murray. I believe that South Australia will gel water but we cannot do the same with the water that we receive. I emphasise that the more water that is taken out of the Murray and used for industrial and irrigation purposes the higher the salinity will be. South Australia could end up getting virtually polluted water and this would debar it from further development and also have an effect on the domestic use of water. As I said, South Australia will get water but we will get it in good years only. Cities cannot be built or developed on terms of water in good years only. I believe that the Australian Labor Party has been wise in persisting with its efforts to have Chowilla built because Chowilla will provide water not only for the immediate future but also right up to the turn of the century. The conservation of water in South Australia, particularly if it can be made available to inland areas, will enable us to expand our industries and will enable inland development to take place. Each and every honourable senator knows that even before the new pipeline was built into the Mallee district of South Australia, between 900 and 1,000 miles of water pipeline had been laid in South Australia, reticulating water to the far north and to the south.
The building of Chowilla will enable South Australia to extend its industries not only in the immediate future but also until the turn of the century. Should Dartmouth Dam and Lake Victoria be developed instead of Chowilla, South Australia will lose its potential to conserve water. This is what the ALP and the majority of people in South Australia are concerned about. Chowilla would not provide South Australia with any more water, but it would store water which at present is running into the sea. Water could be stored in Chowilla for use in dry years and it would be available for use immediately; we would not have to wait for it to flow 1,000 miles down the river from Dartmouth. The Senate will realise that it is possible that Victoria will gain in more ways than one if Dartmouth is built, but let us be careful to ensure that development up river from South Australia does nol have a vital effect on the future availability of water to South Australia. 1 believe that the construction of Chowilla will permit South Australia to have better primary production and more of it, belter industries and more commerce and will provide greater potential for employers and employees. If Victoria can achieve these things through the construction of Dartmouth, good luck to it. I do nol criticise Victoria for that. But I remind the Senate that without Chowilla South Australia will have to curb its expansion of primary industry and also the expansion of other commercial and secondary industries.
There is an enormous difference between South Australia and the other States along the River Murray in the use to which they put the water of the Murray. At present New South Wales and Victoria use River Murray water almost exclusively for their large irrigation settlements, but South Australia needs River Murray water for 85% to 90% of its total requirements for irrigation, industry and domestic consumption in its cities and country areas. This is why we in South Australia believe that Chowilla is essential. Chowilla will supply quality water where we need it, right at our doorstep - not 1,000 miles away in Victoria, above Albury and the Hume Dam. South Australia has been promised an additional 250,000 acre feet of water from Dartmouth, but will it be clean water? When the other States have taken what they want from the Murray will that remaining for South Australia be sludge? This could happen by the turn of the century. We have to look that far ahead because by the lime both these dams could be built, in operation and effective, we will be about 20 years from the turn of the century. Will the same conditions apply then as apply now or will apply in the very near future?
During the debate on this Bill in another place many members of the ALP, particularly those from South Australia, were accused by the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) of being parochial and trying to play upon the emotions of people in South Australia. I remind the Senate that Mr Giles was a member of the Chowilla Promotion Committee and that it was not until after the Federal elections that he became vociferous about the building of Dartmouth and in opposition to the building of Chowilla. While he was a member of the Committee he was a great supporter of the building of Chowilla. The Labor Party has been accused of playing politics in this matter but we suggest that the true solution of this problem in Australia must take into account all aspects - industrial, commercial and primary production - for which more water is necessary. With the construction of Chowilla Australia could have an additional 3 million to 6 million acre feet of water after1980 for an additional expenditure of $50m to$60m. Can South Australia do without a share of this water if the State is to advance in the areas that I have mentioned? Can South Australia afford not to have the Chowilla Dam? We are not opposed to the building of the Dartmouth Dam, but we still believe that even with the building of Dartmouth, Chowilla also should be built.
At this very moment of the debate the Government should give a firm undertaking to the people of South Australia -I hope that the Minister will do this - that Chowilla will be built. If one looks at the River Murray Waters Agreement one sees that the wordsof Chowilla are to be omitted, and an examination of clause 13 of the Agreement reveals that the deferring of the Chowilla Dam could mean the end of that scheme. This is what the ALP opposes because the future construction of Chowilla could be vetoed when a new agreement was being made. A new agreement between the three States concerned and the Commonwealth Government will be necessary if Chowilla is to be built, but if one State disagrees with the building of Chowilla it will be lost for all time.
– Why did South Australia not go to arbitration before the Chief Justice of Tasmania?
– The South Australian Government was accused of stalling over the building of Chowilla and it was criticised for having further studies made with regard to Chowilla, but it must be remembered that in order to go to arbitration it is necessary to have a case to put before the arbitrator. The only way in which South Australia could get a case was to have further studies made.
– And to agree with the other States.
– Yes. Unfortunately, against the will of the people of South Australia, a Liberal government was returned in that State and the whole approach to Chowilla was changed. The Steele Hall Government refused to have anything more to do with it and began to talk about Dartmouth. It should be remembered that during the last State election campaign in South Australia Mr Hall said that the Chowilla project would be completed. I believe this is how the Australian Labor Party lost two of the seats it held in the River Murray region. The propaganda at that time was to the effect that the South Australian Government would complete the Chowilla project. Since being returned to office in 1968 the Hall Government in South Australia has turned a complete somersault. We find now that the amendment to the Agreement has been signed and has to be ratified by this Parliament. The present situation is far different from the cry which the Hall Government made in South Australia during the last State election campaign. 1 move the following amendment to the motion that the River Murray Waters Bill be now read a second time:
Leave out all words after ‘That’, insert: the Senate is of opinion that the Bill should not be proceeded with until the Commonwealth has negotiated with the States for the establishment of a national water conservation and constructing authority, embracing the Snowy Mountains Authority, to carry out a systematic and efficient development of soundly based water storages in the major river basins including the Murray and Darling systems’.
Furthermore, I indicate that in the Committee stage of the River Murray Waters Bill I shall move an amendment to clause 4, as follows:
Leave out: is hereby ratified and approved’, insert ‘shall not be approved until an immediate computer evaluation of the construction of storages of various capacities at both Dartmouth and Chowilla has been completed’.
I indicate also that to the motion that the Dartmouth Reservoir Agreement Bill be now read a second time I shall move the following amendment:
Leave out all words after ‘That’, insert: the Senate is of opinion that the Agreement should not be approved until an immediate computer evaluation of the construction of storages of various capacities at both Dartmouth and Chowilla has been completed’.
Criticism will be levelled at these amendments. Some of the criticism probably will be to the effect that if the amendments are carried the construction of either dam will be held up. However, it would not take very long to do the computer evaluation which is recommended in the amendments.
– Most of the data is available anyway.
– As Senator Ridley has pointed out, most of the data is available at present. One has only to read the speech which was made in the other place by the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn), who was the Minister for National Development at the time the new scheme was proposed, to appreciate the present situation. He said that if South Australia did not get the Dartmouth project it would not get anything at all. I feel that such a statement is tantamount to holding a gun to the heads of the people of South Australia. I believe that Dartmouth and Chowilla could both be constructed, even if it would cost extra money.
– It grows on (rees.
– So does the money to fight the war in Vietnam. What about the money spent on the Fill? I would like to have a tree in my backyard. What is money when the development of the whole nation is concerned? If a war broke out tomorrow the Government would be able to find plenty of money for it, as has happened in the past. The Government should give consideration to the construction of the 2 dams, but it should give a firm assurance that the Chowilla project will be the next one on the River Murray.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - ls the amendment moved by Senator Drury to the motion for the second reading of the River Murray Waters Bill seconded?
– 1 second the amendment.
– 1 have listened to the assertion by Senator Drury that the Australian Labor Party does not oppose the building of a dam at Dartmouth. 1 cannot help but feel that it is perhaps an admission that the Dartmouth project is one which is designed to do the job adequately and effectively and, what is more, that it will provide an assured and increased supply of better water. Like all legislation dealing with water - both the quantity and the quality of water - this measure is of particular and great importance, but its implementation involves what 1 will call several varying performances. Some people see in it a performance which deals in terms of national development and the growth of the States; others react to it - and I guess understandably - in an emotional way; whilst others cast Lt into the realm of political opportunity. For u variety of reasons, 1 suppose, this legislation takes on a measure of all three of these areas.
Senator Drury has referred to certain events in South Australia. 1 suppose this legislation will be discussed against the background of these events in that Stale. The Premier of South Australia has placed the mailer of a dam at Dartmouth very firmly on the line by summoning the South Australian Parliament and saying that if certain events lake place the Dartmouth project will be the subject of a State election. He has taken the opportunity of saying thai he will let the Parliament have its say and if a certain decision is not taken the people of South Australia will have their say. I. would think that the Premier of South Australia has every reason, as he moves towards ratification of the amendment to the River Murray Waters Agreement on behalf of the South Australian Government, to put it in this way firmly and with conviction. After all, he was successful in negotiating extra water for South Australia. He has obtained a better entitlement for South Australia. He has obtained for the first time in 50 years an increase in the quantity of water. What is more he has achieved for South Australia an equality with New South Wales and Victoria in times of restrictions. So he has every reason to ask the South Australian- Government to ratify the amendment to the Agreement and to regard the proposal as a vital one. Water is of vital importance in any part of Australia, particularly South Australia, lt is vital because of its quantity and quality. So the Premier has appropriately pointed that we have had enough words. Lcl us have some action. Let us have a decision. If there is to be an election in South Australia let the people decide whether they want more and better water and, what is more, whether they want it quickly.
I cannot help thinking that the very essence of the amendment which has been moved and the proposed amendments which have been circulated in the Senate this afternoon do nothing else but delay and deprive the South Australian community of its extra entitlement in terms of both the quantity and quality of water. Of course, there is always the attraction of a supply of water which is near at hand. There is always an attraction to a supply of water which is, for example, situated within the bounds of one’s own property, area or, in this case, one’s own State. That attraction takes on real validity when the supply of water is under one’s own control and is one’s own property. But in this case the water will be, regardless of whether the Chowilla or Dartmouth projects or any other projects are proceeded with, under the direction of the River Murray Commission. I suppose it could be described as the property of the Commission. The planning and construction of the water storage and the distribution of water will be under the control of the Commission, which is made up of representatives of the Commonwealth, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. Agreement is required. When a group makes a decision, if one member of the group wants to take advantage of that decision he has to abide by it. The Commonwealth Government has moved by this debate in the Senate this evening for the ratification of the measure which the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton), who represents in this Chamber the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz), has introduced. The Senate does this not only against the background of the South Australian situation but also against the background of the total needs for Australian water, both in quality and quantity. In his second reading speech the Minister drew attention to the fact that the purpose of the legislation was to ratify the 6 further amendments to the River Murray Waters Agreement. He referred in detail to the fact that it was to provide for the construction of a major storage near Dartmouth on the Mitta Mitta River which is a tributary of the Murray and upstream from the Hume reservoir. I draw attention to the fact that the Minister describes this simply as the next major development. It is not the final major development but it is one of what 1 hope and believe will be a series of developments in water storage and distribution along the River Murray system. The Minister referred in his speech to the background of this development, the background with which I think all in this Senate are familiar, of suspension of work on the Chowilla storage and its history of increasing cost. The Chowilla storage was originally expected to cost about S28m. When the design studies were made the estimate was revised to $43m. Then when tenders came in the cost was increased to §68m.
I ask honourable senators to assume they are members of a commission made up of representatives of governments, as the River Murray Commission is, and are meeting to decide and discuss water storages. They could discover from the initial plans which had been made and from the tenders before them that there was an increase of some 250% over the original estimated cost. This, surely, is a matter which would not only cause a government to call for further investigation but would certainly cause the authority concerned to take fresh steps in every possible way so that the needs of the situation would be met, not only by an increased quantity of water but also through improvements in the quality of the water. The Minister said that the investigation took into consideration what he called the changing operational requirements along the river. The investigations showed that for a capital expenditure similar to that required for Chowilla, the Dartmouth storage might be expected to put over 1 million acre feet of additional water into the River Murray system. He pointed out that this compared with an increase in the case of Chowilla of between 190,000 acre feet and 380,000 acre feet per annum depending, of course, upon the operating criteria. It was also said, and I think it needs to be repeated here, that the study shows that with the Dartmouth storage South Australia will have an increased entitlement, which will be provided with even less restriction than would have applied to a smaller entitlement with the Chowilla storage. However, 1 do not think the situation calls simply for a decision as between Chowilla and Dartmouth, but rather a determination of what is the best thing to do in the present circumstances looking at the resources that are available and at the demands that are quite likely to be made upon the river. Having made an assessment of all that one has to discuss what the next step might be.
The River Murray Waters Agreement came into effect, I think, in 1914-15. which is a long time ago. The amount of water allotted to South Australia was 11/4 million acre feet. It is extraordinary that the river has been able to serve South Australia for so long on basically the same entitlement. However, while this may not have changed, many other features have changed. Irrigation has increased enormously. South Australia has made greater use of its available water from the River Murray. Until a few years ago this irrigation applied mainly to governmental areas but in the last decade development of irrigation areas, new settlements, township growth, and new demand on the pipelines that tap the River Murray have increased the use of water considerably. South Australia has particular water problems. Its known resources at present simply cannot carry indefinitely the demands of irrigation, the rural areas the domestic needs of towns and cities, and industrial requirements.
The city of Adelaide and its environs are growing enormously both in population and industry. Today nearly 800,000 people use over 30,000 million gallons of water every year. This water comes partly from the Adelaide Hills area and partly front the River Murray resources. I understand it is in the ratio of about half and half from these two sources. From a town planning report I understand that Adelaide is likely to grow to over1 million people in the next 10 years, and to nearly13/4 million by the turn of the century. Looking at the report from the departmental people I find it is estimated that Adelaide’s daily consumption of water will increase to something like 150 million gallons a day. Allowing for some variables in population spread the same departmental planning authority estimates that by the year 2000 the water consumption for the Adelaide area will be three times as much as it is today. South Australia needs to develop its resources and. what is more, to develop them immediately for good quality water and an increased quantity of water.
I have seen many references to the southeastern sector of South Australia and its possible water resources. As yet the resources are unknown. Until it is decided whether it is feasible to distribute the southeastern water there is and will continue to be a heavy dependence on the River Murray. Over the years it has become evident that South Australia’s entitlement of11/4 million acre feet needed to be made more secure as almost the complete range of South Australia’s society and industry depends upon it. Restrictionand interruption in the River Murray flow has had a greater influence on the total life of South Australia than it has on that of the other States. This has led to an examination which, as honourable senators know, produced the Chowilla plan. This plan continued to guarantee South Australia11/4 million acre feet under most, if not all, circumstances. 1 have recounted the story of the cost rise and the resulting series of studies of the development of the River Murray. I think it is important to place on record that the most modern computer systems and electronic devices were employed. All of these were unknown or certainly not in use at all when the early studies were made. It is important to relate all of this to South Australian needs, prospects, and development. It is important also to relate this to the needs, the situation and circumstances of the up-river States. It is important to observe that this programme of studies covers a multitude of conditions over a period of 50 or 60 years and gave those compiling the report an understanding of likely future needs. Evidence of this is found in the River Murray Commission’s Report for the year 1968-69. I think it is worth referring to in detail:
FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF WATER RESOURCES
Investigation of Chowilla and Dartmouth Projects
Inits annual report for 1967-68 the Commission advised that the Chowilla project had been deferred pending further investigation. As previously reported the Commission had: appointed Messrs Cutteridge, Haskins and Davey in conjunction with Hunting Technical Services as Consultants to examine the whole question of salinity in the Murray Basin; directed its Technical Committee (a committee of engineers representing the 3 States and the River Murray Commission) to undertake a large number of operational studies to assess the likely yield benefits from both Chowilla and any alternative storage on the upper Murray in catchments controlled by the River Murray Commission under a wide variety of operating conditions.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Prior to the suspension of the sitting I was tracing some of the relationship between the resources of the River Murray system and the South Australian community, and the prospects that were presented by the process of ratifying the Dartmouth Dam agreement. In doing this I was quoting from the latest report of the River Murray Commission for the year 1968-69, and 1 now take up that section of the quotation that I was putting before the Senate. As honourable senators will recall, it mentioned something of the researches that had been undertaken by a variety of authorities, agencies and people. The report goes on:
The results of the Snowy Mountains Authority’s investigations into the feasibility and cost of the various alternative damsites above Hume Reservoir were combined with studies by the Technical Committee of the effect of each alternative and combination of alternatives on the system yield.
I pause here to draw a contrast between this extract from the River Murray Commission’s report and the contents of the 2 amendments which are before us now, indicating that the 2 amendments cast very grave reflection on the multiple authorities and the multiple amount of work that was done. The report of those multiple authorities is referred to in the report of the River Murray Commission. The Commission’s report goes on:
The choice of the next stage of development of the River Murray resources was narrowed down to a comparison between Chowilla and. Dartmouth on the Mitta Mitta River. Subsequently more detailed field and office investigations of the Dartmouth damsite were carried out by the Snowy Mountains Authority which confirmed the earlier preliminary estimate of feasibility and cost of the Dartmouth site. The progress of these investigations was reported by the Commission in 2 publications which were issued during the year.
Honourable senators will be familiar with those 2 publications. One was a statement issued in September 1968 and the other a report issued in January 1969. The report continues:
Following consideration of the investigations which had been carried out to that time by the Technical Committee, the Salinity Consultants and the Snowy Mountains Authority, the River Murray Commission in February 1969 agreed that a 3 million acre feet storage at Dartmouth provided the greatest overall benefits in terms of cost and yield and should be the next development of the resources of the River Murray.
So the River Murray Commission has recommended that a dam be built at
Dartmouth. A dam at that spot can provide for a satisfactory river regulation and an increase of yield of water into the total system. A study of the new Dartmouth Dam yields some of the information. It will be of the rock fill type, a type well known, and it will have fewer unknown factors than other storages which have been contemplated. Here we should express a word of understanding of the people who worked on the great unknown factors that were present in the investigations conducted into the possibility of a dam being constructed in the Chowilla area. The Snowy Mountains Authority has had considerable experience in this kind of construction - the rock fill kind - and one can have considerable confidence in its estimate of $57m which is put forward as the cost of construction.
To ratify the agreement, build the Dartmouth Dam and get the extra water is surely the best policy under the circumstances in which we find ourselves and in which that section of the Australian community dependent on the River Murray finds itself. These are the circumstances which are imposed upon us by our membership of the River Murray Commission and by the reports, to which I have already referred, which have come forward to the River Murray Commission. What is more, these circumstances include the factor that in drought years New South Wales and Victoria will be reduced to 70% of their water entitlement before South Australia is even affected. So from all the evidence and inquiries it is certainly South Australia’s best hope of getting the water that it needs. On the one hand it gets more and better water and, on the other hand, it gets a larger share in drought years. As I have said, the other States lose 30% of their water entitlement before South Australia is even affected. This might be described as a major breakthrough in South Australia’s water prospects in the immediate future.
The benefits which have been outlined could not have been obtained in the circumstances that exist at Chowilla. After all, a quarter of a million acre feet of water, which is the increased allotment, amongst other things assures the maintenance of our irrigation programme and the safety of the pipeline system throughout South Australia. Indeed I suggest with some conviction and clarity that it places very strong emphasis on the points Senator Drury was trying to make earlier when he was talking about all the things which would happen to towns and industries, irrigation and even employer and employee relationships, although what that has to do with the ratifying of the Dartmouth Dam agreement I am unable to determine. The quarter of a million acre feet of water which is involved in the chief discussion in relation to this is more than the total available water resources in South Australia with the exception of the River Murray and those supplies which I have mentioned already in the south east of that State.
Regarding the construction of a dam at Chowilla, it is a disappointment to very many people that so many problems have bedevilled the Chowilla scheme. They have been technical problems, they have been economic problems and, naturally enough in a system like ours, they have been political problems. In its earlier form as we understood it then, we saw a great potential and a great value in it. and it is a matter of disappointment that developments since then have proved that at the present time it is not the most suitable water storage to be established for the benefit of South Australia. However it should be emphasised that developments in the river area demand continuing and continuous study and research into future storages because, by implication, the Minister in his speech and the Agreement in its text indicate that further storages are needed, that further storages are demanded and that further storages are envisaged. Mr H. L. Beaney indicates in one of his statements that Chowilla offers a prospective second stage development which, he says, will sustain the benefit that Dartmouth undoubtedly has initiated. He said:
The allotment of water proposed out of the Dartmouth project is based on conditions anticipated in the next decade. Further tributary development by New South Wales and Victoria is proceeding and this will ultimately degrade the supply levels now promised. The answer must lie in further storage in the River Murray system. At the demands now planned this is possible, and Chowilla offers a promising second stage development to sustain these benefits.
Giving Dartmouth first priority in the construction schedule has the important advantage that it overtakes the existing demand level and allows the distribution of additional water. Chowilla will have a place in plans to sustain this greater supply.
So all authorities agree that further storages are necessary, and Chowilla most certainly will be considered in further studies. It is not excluded from the new Agreement. Honourable senators will remember the words, ‘It is deferred until the contracting parties agree’.
Opposition senators have used the word veto’. These words, they say, indicate that it will be vetoed. Why was the present Agreement not vetoed? Why was the greater entitlement of water not vetoed? Why was the better quality of water not vetoed? Honourable senators know perfectly well that the present storage is the result of an agreement between the four contracting parlies - using the words in the Agreement - agreeing to the establishment of the Dartmouth scheme. We need to recognise that Dartmouth is there because the contracting parlies have agreed and nothing can be done in the Murray storage areas unless the River Murray Commission agrees. Other factors pointing towards constant review and, indeed, constant exposure of the needs of the river and the possibilities of the river relate to developments with the Department of National Development where there is a Water Resources Branch. This is a most competent area of expert authority with which the River Murray Commission confers. The Commission will draw upon its skills, knowledge and ability.
The computer programme has been referred to many times, but I refer to it again. Evidence has been produced that more than 300 studies have been made. They have been based on records over a period of 50 years, have been made under all manner of circumstances and conditions and have been worked out and will continue to be worked out with rapid results and covering long periods of time and a wide variety of circumstances. .1 relate this to the amendment, which calls for all manner of additional computer studies and authorities in the face of those already in existence, whose work and results have been officially recognised and applauded nol only at the governmental level but also at the expert level. In ratifying the agreement we also look forward to the fact that there will be continuing studies for the next few years so that the next storage on the River Murray can be built in the best possible place.
I refer now to a statement reported in last month’s issue of the ‘Riverlander’ magazine. The statement that is of interest referred to both the Dartmouth system and the Chowilla system and was made by the President of the Murray Valley Development League, Alderman T. E. Pearsall. The report reads:
*We shudder to think what might happen to irrigation and industrial water users in South Australia, including Adelaide, if another series of dry years should occur before Dartmouth becomes effective’, said the MVDL President, Aid. T. E. Pearsall. At last month’s meeting of Region Five in Barmera the League Executive reiterated that the agreement enabling construction of the Dartmouth dam must be signed ‘as a matter of urgency’. Ministers were congratulated on the decision to meet South Australia’s needs with an assurance of an increased minimum supply and an equal sharing in times of restriction. ‘However, the League records its conviction of the necessity for a Chowilla Dam as the next following step in Murray River conservation and urges that all possible steps be taken to reduce salinity levels and so make it unnecessary or less necessary to provide dilution flows in the Murray River’, added the President’s statement.
Dartmouth had greater benefits than any alternative proposal for each of the three Murray Valley States, and, said Aid. Pearsall, the League had stressed to the Prime Minister and the Premiere of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia ils view that the agreement to amend the River Murray Waters Agreement should be signed at the earliest moment and ratified by the four Parliaments very promptly.
We have further assurances of the concern and co-operation of the River Murray Commission. In its work it ensures that we receive the increased entitlement because the measurement of the water for South Australia by the Commission is taken al or near the point where the river enters South Australia. We are also assured that, whilst Dartmouth may take 4 years to fill, as soon as it is declared effective and even before it is filled the South Australian entitlement will become effective. I point out that the Hume Dam, which is below the Dartmouth Dam, has been in existence for 20 years and has overflowed in 18 of those 20 years.
So, all in all, in the present state of history and in the present circumstances it is essential that this agreement be ratified and that the work proceed without further delay so that we can enjoy the extra entitlement and the extra quality of water. I am sure that as a result of this and other developments we can look forward to the Dartmouth Dam soon playing its part. 1 support the measures that the Government has put before the Senate. I reject the amendments because they would delay the arrival of the water and have a destructive influence on the authority of the River Murray Commission. In my opinion, the implementation of the amendments would be economically damaging, emotionally unsound and politically unworthy.
– I begin my contribution to the debate in support of the amendment so capably moved by Senator Drury by reminding the Senate and the people of South Australia of the unprecedented action of the Government in another place in gagging Australian Labor Party amendments which were designed to preserve Chowilla as a storage of water for our State. I believe that this matter was not properly debated in the other place because-
– Mr Acting Deputy President, 1 raise a point of order, ls not the honourable senator out of order in reflecting on the debate in another place?
– I think it is more a reflection on the Speaker in another place and on the Leader of the House (Mr Snedden), who gagged the debate on amendments that were put forward in accordance with the Standing Orders-
– I raise a point of order. Can the honourable senator reflect on the Speaker in another place? Surely he is out of order in doing so.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Kennelly) - I am not sure whether the remark was meant in the way it was made.
– Speaking to the point of order, I ask on what Standing Order ihe honourable senators who are raising points of order are relying. Senator Donald Cameron is giving his opinion on what happened in the other place. I think that more solid ground for the points of order should be given.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - I point out that under standing order 4 1 8 it is not in order to use offensive words against either House or members thereof, i do not think the statement that was made was meant in the way it was taken by the honourable senators who raised the points of order.
– I will not pursue that line any further, other than to remind the Senate that the people of South Australia can interpret the Government’s action in no other way than that the Government ran away from the debate. Nothing could demonstrate more clearly the validity of Labor’s stand in defence of preserving a water supply vital to the growth of South Austrafia and to the national development of Australia.
The whole history of the Chowilla project is studded with examples of double dealing and repudiation of solemn agreements and undertakings by this Government and State Liberal governments. Surely the opponents of Chowilla have not forgotten the speech of the former Minister for National Development, Sir William Spooner who praised its concept when he introduced the Bill concerning it in this chamber. I will refer later to a report by the River Murray Commission which was presented by Sir William Spooner. We have heard from Senator Davidson, for whom I, together with most people in South Australia, had a great regard prior to his contribution to the debate tonight. People in South Australia have not forgotten his contribution to a debate in 1961, which is reported at page 1298 of the Senate Hansard. When speaking in the first reading debate on the Appropriation Bill 1961-62 Senator Davidson had this to say:
I now turn my attention, Sir, to a matter which, in my view, is of distinct and splendid national importance and is also of great significance to South Australia, the State from which I come. I refer to the Chowilla water storage project which has received wide publicity, which is of great national importance and which will make a valuable contribution to our development in many ways. The Prime Minister (Mr Menzies) proposes to convene a conference of representatives of the States of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia to consider the proposal that has been submitted for the establishment of a water storage at Chowilla in South ‘Australia just across the border of Victoria and New South Wales. That storage will maintain a water system which will be of great value and importance. It is a visionary enterprise. If there is one dominant characteristic that underlines -the development of the history of any country and particularly our own, it is this element of a struggle to develop, a struggle to create, a struggle to give leadership. This element of struggle in our own history has found expression and exerted its Influence in many ways throughout the years. We find it at the beginning in our communications and transport system. We find it in our industrial development from time to time and, because of our situation, we find it in our relations with other nations. But the basic struggle of all of these and of our life generally is associated with the life blood of any country, and particularly of ours. I am referring, of course, to water.
Senator Davidson continued throughout the whole of his speech to laud the possibility of the construction of a reservoir at Chowilla. Why has Senator Davidson’s attitude now changed so considerably?
– Ten years have elapsed and 300 computer studies have been made since then.
– That was in 1962 and now it is 1970, so the period that has elapsed is only 8 years, and the reports that we have been given since then have not changed the position regarding the effectiveness of a reservoir at Chowilla. A lot has been said in this chamber and in another place about possible salinity of Chowilla, lt was said that because of the vastness of the area of Chowilla, there would be greater evaporation and, consequently, there would be more salinity in the water of the Chowilla reservoir. This was stated by many of those people who now are supporting the Dartmouth project and are trying to repudiate the Chowilla proposal.
The South Australian representative on the River Murray Commission is the Director and Engineer in Chief of the Engineering and Water Supply Department in South Australia, Mr H. L. Beaney. In an article in the South Australian Advertiser’, in which a photograph of Mr Hall is very prominent, this is what Mr Beaney said in reply to a question which he was asked about salinity in the river, ils effect of the new storages and how he saw the situation:
In normal conditions neither Chowilla nor Dartmouth would have any great effect on salinity. The sometimes expressed criticism that Chowilla with its relatively large evaporation loss would concentrate salt is mitigated by its ability to store low salinity spring flows.
That is unquestionably a statement by a man, whom Mr Hall pretends to know, that salinity in Chowilla would be no greater than salinity in Dartmouth. The River Murray Commission recommended the construction of a reservoir at Chowilla as a suitable site to provide greater overall benefits as an alternative storage above the Hume Reservoir. On the recommendation of the Commission, in 1963 the Premiers of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia and the Prime Minister signed an agreement, which was ratified by the 4 Parliaments, for the construction of a reservoir at Chowilla.
– At a cost of $28m.
– When the agreement was signed by the Premiers and the Prime Minister, the estimated cost of the reservoir was$72m.
-It is in the agreement, andI will come to that later on.
– You quote it.
– I will. In the Senate in 1961, the late Senator Spooner, presented a report from the River Murray Commission.
– Who was Senator Spooner?
– He was then Minister for National Development. Under the heading ‘Additional Storage above Hume Reservoir as an alternative to Chowilla’ the report stated:
The Committee gave consideration to the possibility of constructing an additional storage or storages above Hume Reservoir as an alternative to the construction of Chowilla. This investigation showed conclusively that Chowilla as a River Murray Commission storage would provide much greater overall benefits for equal expenditure than the construction of storages above Hume Reservoir.
This Bill seeks to ratify the Agreement of 1963, to which I have referred, which has been passed by the 3 State governments, and which is, in effect, a legal document, but the Government’s intention here tonight is to repudiate it. It is no wonder that South Australian people are incensed and perturbed at the action of honourable senators from that State who they expect at least to support South Australia in matters which are so vital to South Australia.
I refer now to the existing River Murray Waters Agreement, to which I have referred previously, which has been ratified by the governments concerned. Under the heading Works to be Constructed’, clause 20(iia) states: the provision of a storage(in this Agreement referred to as ‘the Chowilla Reservoir’) on the River Murray between Renmark and Wentworth with a capacity of approximately four and threequarter million acre feet of water and with a roadway along the top of the containing dam (in this Agreement referred to asthe Chowilla Dam’) and with provision for vessels drawing four feet six inches of water to pass;
Further on in the Agreement clause 24 provides:
The construction as provided by clause twentyone of this Agreement both of the storage works and of the weirs or weirs and locks mentioned in clause twenty hereof shall be commenced by the Governments of the several States as soon as may be after this Agreement comes into effect and shall be continued without cessation (other than may be due to unavoidable causes) until all of the said storage works and weirs or weirs and locks are completed.
If this project had continued without pressure being brought to bear by the Liberal governments of the other States, Chowilla dam now would be complete and it would be taking in water. But owing to the political gymnastics and political propaganda of other Liberal governments, the construction of the Chowilla dam has been deferred while a dam is to be constructed at a site which we believe is not better than Chowilla. We believe that the Dartmouth Dam should be built, but only simultaneously with the Chowilla project.
There has been a great deal said by the various speakers who support the Dartmouth project that in the Bill we are considering tonight there is no provision which states that the proposal to build Chowilia will be repudiated or vetoed. 1 shall read from clause 13 of the Eighth Schedule to the Bill, which provides that clause 24 of the Agreement is amended:
However, completion of the construction of the Chowilla Reservoir shall be deferred until the Contracting Governments agree that the work shall proceed . . .
Surely no-one here or anywhere in Australia would believe that, Dartmouth having been built, Sir Henry Bolte would agree to spend millions of dollars of Victorian money to build a dam in South Australia. Of course he would not. Sir Henry Bolte is concerned only at getting a reservoir in Victoria. We are concerned that Victoria and New South Wales also should have ample water. We believe that further studies should be made to evaluate whether the cost of building 2 dams at the same time - considering the water available from the 2 dams - would be more economic than building a dam at Dartmouth now and later on learning that a dam has to be built at Chowilla. 1 believe that such a study should be undertaken. I believe that, if such a study were undertaken, the results certainly would come out in favour of the 2-dam project.
Only recently a very eminent professor, Professor Oliphant, is reported to have stated that even if Dartmouth and Chowilla are built South Australia will be short of water by the year 2000. Why are we arguing whether 2 dams should be built now? We have to look ahead. It is no good deciding only what should happen in the next few years because what will happen in the next few years is what has happened in the 1-ast 10 years. South Australia will still not have an ample supply of water. This Bill seeks to rescind the Agreement ratified by the governments in 1963. Since then very little progress has been made on the construction of any dam in South Australia, Victoria or New South Wales. South Australia needs River Murray water for 95% of its total supply for irrigation, industries, and for domestic consumption in city and country areas. South Australia needs quality water and a sufficient quantity of it to ensure that the hundreds of River Murray irrigation properties have a regular supply in times of drought. I am very concerned for the hundreds of fruit growers along the River Murray - from close to the border in Renmark, through Barmera, Berri, Waikerand the many towns in between.
After the First World War many returned soldiers took up blocks in that area. They took up blocks and have worked on those blocks since then - some of them for over 50 years. Since then. Loxton was developed after the Second World War. Hundreds of returned soldiers settled on blocks in the Loxton irrigation area. A regular and permanent supply of quality water is vital to the growers in those districts. Anybody who knows anything about fruit growing - especially vine fruits, citrus fruits or stone fruits - would know that it is essential to have good water. In the past we have seen that any sign of salinity in the water has killed vines and trees overnight. Not only do the vines and trees die but the soil is useless for years to come. Nothing will grow in the area. It has been said that South Australia has had only one drought in so many years. South Australia had a severe drought in 1968. What would have happened if South Australia had had a similar drought in 1969? Who can say that South Australia will not have 3, 4 or even 5 consecutive years of drought? Nobody can forecast the weather. Every year we see drought records, frost records and rain records broken. Records will be broken indefinitely. No-one can say that, because the behaviour of the River Murray has been of a certain pattern in the last 50 or 60 years, it will remain of the same pattern for the next 50 years. That is an important reason why we should conserve all possible water available in the river.
We know that every year millions of acre feet of water in the River Murray goes to waste when it flows out to sea. This water will still go to waste if a reservoir is built at Dartmouth and if there is no conservation of water further downstream. In my opinion, it is important that both reservoirs be built simultaneously so that all possible water can be conserved - not only the water upstream from the Hume Reservoir but also the water downstream from the Hume Reservoir. What will happen to the overflow water from the Menindee Lakes scheme, which is filled now? Every year that it is filled a potential supply of water will flow down the Darling and into the Murray. At present this water goes to waste when it flows out to sea. Surely the logical thing is to conserve that water in a reservoir downstream and close to the border of South Australia.
In my belief, the reason why Chowilla was postponed was not that the cost of the reservoir had increased to any extent and not that any proof had been given of better storage further upstream. When the Agreement was signed, it was well known that the estimated cost of the Chowilla reservoir was S72m. No evidence is available that the reservoir at Chowilla would cost any more than that amount. The then South Australian Labor Government had to agree to studies which would provide the evidence on which to go ahead with Chowilla. It is upon these studies that both the Labor Party and the present Liberal-Country League Government in South Australia rely for their respective arguments. In March 1968, when both the Labor Government and the LCL Opposition agreed that Chowilla should be built, instructions were given to the South Australian Commission Jo vote against the deferment of Chowilla so as to create a dispute which would allow the matter to be placed before arbitration. The LCL Party, after taking office in 1968, revoked that instruction thereby ensuring that South Australia’s rights to arbitration would be forfeited forever.
Some of the benefits of Chowilla, in comparison with Dartmouth, are these: The capacity of ihe Chowilla reservoir is over 5 million acre feet, which is slightly less than the combined storage of the Dartmouth Reservoir with a 3 million acre feet capacity and the Hume Reservoir with a 2 million acre feet capacity. Chowilla Reservoir also would receive the intakes of the tributaries that flow into the Murray downstream from the Hume Reservoir. That water now flows down the Murray and goes to waste out to sea. According to reports, the estimated flow from the Mitta Mitta River into Dartmouth is only 560.000 acre feet per year. It would take approximately 6 years to fill Dartmouth. In comparison, the Chowilla reservoir could be filled every year. Another important matter so far as the irrigation areas of South Australia are concerned - and this applies not only to the fruit growing districts but to a lot of other River Murray settlements, which carry on dairying and other rural activities, down nearly to the lakes at Meningie - is that in times of drought the distance between the Dartmouth Reservoir and the South Australian border, where the water would be required first, is about 1,100 miles. lt would take approximately 6 weeks for the water from the Dartmouth reservoir to reach the areas in South Australia where it is vitally needed during water restrictions.
– It would take at least 6 weeks.
– Yes. In fact it would take up to 10 weeks before some of this water reached the lower irrigation settlements near Meningie in the Lake Alexandrina area. Mr Steele Hall, the Premier of South Australia, is reported in Ihe Adelaide ‘Advertiser’ of 13th April to have made an interesting statement. In discussing support for the construction of the 2 dams simultaneously he is reported to have said:
If we spent $60ni on Chowilla before its time we would be wasting $3 .5m a year in interest charges. This, in 2 years would waste more than the capital cost of any works that may subsequently be flooded at Lake Victoria.
The South Australian Premier in that statement is admitting that it is possible that the expenditure of $7m intended to be made on inlet and outlet works at Lake Victoria will be wasted if ever a reservoir is built at Chowilla. It was originally estimated that it would cost S28m to build a dam at Chowilla. In 7 years the estimate was increased by nearly $40m. The longer that construction of a dam at Chowilla is delayed, the higher the cost will be eventually.
– And the less likely wc are to get it.
– Yes. If construction costs continue to increase at the same rate over the next 7 years as they did in the 7 years before work ceased at Chowilla, there will be an added cost of over $6m for every year that construction of a dam at Chowilla is deferred. Therefore the reference by the South Australian Premier to wastage of $3. 5m a year in interest charges is not realistic. The true position is [hat interest charges of S3. 5m a year would represent annually S2.5m less than the estimated spiralling increase in costs of construction at Chowilla. lt is doubtful that when the South Australian legislation comes before the South Australian Parliament on 28th April it will be passed. Before the Bill we arc debating is ratified a computer analysis should bc carried out to determine the advantages of building simultaneously dams at Dartmouth and Chowilla. There is no doubt that the cost of building the 2 dams together would be greater than the present estimate of $57m as the construction cost of a dam at Dartmouth, plus $7m to be spent at Lake Victoria and the expenditure of S6m already made on works at Chowilla, making a total of $70m. But that was the estimated cost when the Chowilla agreement was signed in 1963, so there is nothing to be gained financially by building a dam at Dartmouth in preference to building a dam in South Australia. After computer studies are carried out - and we believe that the Stales would favour the 2-dam programme - there is no reason why the Commonwealth Government should not provide any extra money required. Such expenditure would be preferable to the expenditure of about $3 00m which may be wasted for the purchase of Fill aircraft. Millions of dollars are spent every year on destruction in Vietnam. About $800m has been spent on the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme, which has been of great benefit to the States concerned.
– South Australia paid its share of that expenditure.
– Yes, but received no benefits for it. New South Wales and Victoria from that scheme both receive extra water supplies and very cheap electricity. About $60m was spent to build a railway line from Townsville to Mount Isa, the money to be repaid to the Government on a long term basis. The Senate has already agreed to donate S53m to the Government of Indonesia over a period of 3 years. Surely the Commonwealth Government could find any extra money needed to build dams at Dartmouth and Chowilla. They are vital if South Australia is to continue to progress as it has in the past.
The people of South Australia regard the decision not to proceed with a dam at Chowilla as a betrayal of our legal and moral rights and a serious threat to the future of South Australia. The proposed expenditure of $7m on inlet and outlet works at Lake Victoria is a clear indication that this legislation is designed to spell the doom of Chowilla because, if a dam is constructed at Chowilla, the works at Lake Victoria will be inundated and the expenditure of $7m there will be wasted.
– The Senate now has before it 3 distinct propositions in relation to whether South Australia is to receive extra water supplies. That is how the situation is viewed by the Australian Democratic Labor Party. The first proposition is contained in legislation introduced by the Government to provide water to South Australia in accordance with the recommendation of the River Murray Commission. If the Senate passes that legislation South Australia will receive some extra water, but perhaps not in the circumstances desired by some honourable senators who have spoken in this debate tonight. If the Senate votes against that proposition the immediate reaction will be that South Australia will not receive any extra water at all.
The third proposition is contained in an amendment proposed by the Australian Labor Party and I will deal with that in detail at a later stage of my remarks. I believe that the proposed amendment is tantamount to defeating the Government’s Bill and if it were carried it would mean that the people of South Australia would get no extra water. We of the DLP are not so interested in the historical procession of events preceding this legislation. We do not think that in 1970 it is important that somebody of a particular political colour back in 1962, in a wave and burst of enthusiasm, thought that the first report of the River Murray Commission was an excellent one. I am reminded of the enthusiasm exhibited by some Ministers for the purchase of Fill aircraft. They are now under great attack by the Opposition because they expressed that enthusiasm, with which the Opposition today does not agree.
I can understand that back in 1963 Ministers may have expressed great enthusiasm for a dam at Chowilla but now may have had a complete change of mind, lt might help them to examine subsequent recommendations made as a result of inquiries conducted by the River Murray Commission. We have tremendous sympathy for the people of South Australia because of the dryness of that State and its requirements for water. We believe that the River Murray Commission has deeply considered the matter. A study of the history of the formation of the Commission shows that at that time South Australia faced very serious water shortages. The great source of water for South Australia - the River Murray - flows between New South Wales and Victoria on its way to South Australia. If New South Wales and Victoria were allowed without inhibition to draw upon the reserves of the River Murray before it gets to South Australia it is quite obvious that South Australia would not be on the receiving end of water supplies but of a major catastrophe. If the 2 major States of Victoria and New South Wales were able to do as they wished in drawing from the River Murray as it passes through their territories, long before it gets to South Australia, that would be the situation. As is rather rare sometimes there was co-operation between the States and the River Murray Commission was formed. The Commonwealth had an interest in it as did the 3 States concerned. There have been no attacks on that Commission throughout the whole of the debate on this question. J can therefore take it, perhaps, that all honourable senators agree that this was a successful solution to the problem of ultimately getting water to the dry State of South Australia, and the most that some senators will say at this stage is that the Commission has on this occasion made a mistake in reviewing an original report it made, making further investigations and coming down with a subsequent report which completely denied its previous decisions and suggested that a different solution should be found to the problems. That is the only criticism that one can read into any of the remarks that have been made in this chamber about the River Murray Commission.
– Spoken like a true Victorian.
– I am nol speaking in this matter as a true Victorian at all. if the honourable senator suggests that the River Murray Commission has in any way acted dishonourably, or if he is suggesting that it has tried to put the interests of other States before those of South Australia, he has not said so in the debates on this question up to date. I do not speak here tonight as a senator from Victoria but as an Australian trying to look at this from the point of view of how we can gel the best, particularly for South Australia which possibly needs water and the guarantee of water more than does any other State. In my opinion it would be very wrong for this chamber as a State House to interfere in a matter to take away from those 3 States their rights to meet together and to formulate a decision on this, but that is precisely what the amendment seeks to do. If carried in this chamber - a House purporting to represent the States - it would take away from the States their rights and place their rights almost under the sole authority of something set up by the Commonwealth.
Certainly the amendment suggests that we negotiate with the States, but what if the States fail to negotiate on the question? From where does South Australia get her water then? That is the very serious question that we must consider here. 1 would have thought that with all that has been said about this question it is obvious that an incentive for the River Murray Commission to re-think ils situation existed when an original estimate of S28m for the construction of Chowilla - and it- was only an estimate al that stage - converted itself into an actual tender inside a period of 4 years. There was another estimate that was much higher but it too was only an estimate. When the Commission got down to cases’ 4 years after the original estimate and said: ‘How much will it cost?’, the best tender was $68m or $40m in excess of the original estimate. I would think that the River Murray Commission, noting that difference in a period of 4 years, would have been remiss in its duties to each of the participating States and to the Commonwealth if it did not have some sort of a look at the matter again irrespective of what decision came out of the second look. But I think it was obliged to do that and 1 do not think that anybody can dismiss that disparity of figures by saying: ‘Oh, wages or something increased in that period’. The amount is just too great to be accounted for by the normal increase in costs. Therefore, 1 think the first thing that is established by the facts and evidence before us is that the River Murray Commission did the right thing in having another look at the whole proposition.
– What do von say about the present estimate?
– We will come to that. I am going through the whole succession of events. If the honourable senator will be a little patient I will arrive at my final conclusion. Lt may not be satisfactory to him but I will express completely and honestly our point of view. I am suggesting to the honourable senator now that he is not dissatisfied because he did not challenge my point that the River Murray Commission was right to have another look at it. Ali he is disagreeing with now is that when it had another look at it and conducted a whole series of more scientific and more detailed examinations it came down with a different answer. That is what the honourable senator challenges, that when it had gone through the whole thing again it made comparisons.
The honourable senator is saying that it should have looked at other evidence and not the evidence at which it did look. He may be right; I do not know. I am no more an expert on this than he is. We have to take the opinions of those scientists whom we employ to inform us on these questions and 1 am prepared to accept their opinions, i have heard no charges of State rightism against members of the Commission or anyone else. Those charges have not been made even by those who disagree with the ultimate findings of the Commission. I am prepared to accept that the Commission could be wrong but it has honestly come down with an ultimate decision and recommendation that it believes to be in the best interests of all concerned. We would do better to look at it from that point of view rather than to go back and say: ‘Well, there was a Labor Government in South Australia when they first agreed to have it looked at again’ or: ‘There was a Liberal Government in South Australia 8 years ago’ or: ‘Senator Sir William Spooner said this, this and this.’ There was such enthusiasm that everybody was agreeing with the first report whether they were Labor, Liberal or of any other political complexion. That gives us nothing to contribute to the argument as it stands today. But who knows what Senator Sir William Spooner would have had to say about the situation if he was here today or what the former Labor Premier of South Australia will say in 20 years’ time, when I hope at least some sort of a dam is built somewhere to give South Australia some water.
People might change their minds in the interim and I do not think that that is a particularly serious argument. We have established this River Murray Commission. It has worked very well. Now, the suggestion is that we should vote for the amendment which is put forward by the Labor Party as the ultimate solution, at the eleventh hour, to the whole problem. We are to destroy the River Murray Commission without any certainty of putting anything in its place. We have to start right back at the very beginning to get agreement between the States but the Opposition says that this Bill will not be proceeded with until the Commonwealth has negotiated with the States for the establishment of a national water conservation and constructing authority.
– The establishment?
– Yes, until the Commonwealth has negotiated with the States for the establishment of such an authority.
That means, of course, that we have to bring Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania into the national water authority and get them to agree to the establishment of it in conjunction with the 3 States which are already concerned in the River Murray Commission - but in their own right - and we have no word from them or even from Labor senators from those States, as to whether they are prepared to give away the River Murray Commission that means so much to them and to co-operate in replacing it.
– It does not mean that.
– The honourable senator should wait until I have finished my argument when he may understand it. He is a little too impatient. He wants to get to the winning post before he has left the barrier. If he was a little more patient he could get up with a few facts on this question. I am only half way through the Opposition’s amendment at this stage and already it is beginning to show itself as absolute nonsense as a solution to the problem of water for South Australia. It amazes me that any party which contains South Australian members of parliament could have possibly proposed it as a practical solution to get water for South Australia.
– Is it a wrong concept?
– No, what is wrong is not establishing this authority but establishing it before anything is done to get South Australia water out of the River Murray. That is what is needed at this very stage. Once we have established this national water conservation and constructing authority we have to embrace in it the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority as well. This would give the Commonwealth more or less an overriding authority in the establishment of this body.
– If the Commonwealth is negotiating with the States for the establishment of such a body the Commonwealth would have an overwhelming voice. I am not suggesting that the Commonwealth would be unreasonable, but it would have an overriding authority if the proposed body embraced the Snowy Mountains Authority. I come then to the duties of the body when it is established.
– Does the honourable senator know of any occasion-
– I am trying to explain to the honourable senator his own resolution. The proposal is to have an organisation to carry out stream development and soundly based water storages in the major river basins, including the Murray and the Darling systems. No-one can give a guarantee that this authority, which would be representative of the Commonwealth and the States, would consider that Chowilla or Dartmouth were of immediate importance. I can understand that in a country such as Australia there would be people in some parts of Queensland particularly, at the moment at the height of a drought - I know that Senator Georges would agree with this - who would probably consider the problems of Queensland to be far more important than whatever happened at Dartmouth or Chowilla.
– That is not the point I was making.
– If Senator Georges, as a Queensland senator, says that he does not believe that, I will have to accept what he says, but I am certain that other Queensland senators would consider that their responsibility to their own State was paramount. Supposing the Australian Labor Party did have its own foolish way and was able to make a political issue out of the need of South Australian people for water and succeeded in establishing a national authority, this organisation then would be running around looking at all the major rivers and basins to decide where some development should take place. But in this period during which the 3 States concerned were negotiating their way out of the River Murray Commission and into the national authority which was to do all these other things, what would happen? Suppose that of the 3 States at present concerned with the River Murray Commission Victoria decided that its immediate needs had been satisfied and that Dartmouth was not so important as to warrant the expenditure involved. I have understood from a few odd remarks that I have read as coming from the Premier of Victoria that at times he is extremely short of money with which to proceed with many projects in Victoria - not only the dam at Dartmouth.
It is quite likely that with Victoria’s water situation being what it is at the moment, Victoria might decide that it is not very interested in Dartmouth and it could very well spend the money on something else. But at the moment we have the River Murray Commission which is committed to a definite project which, as even the most trenchant critics will admit, will give water to South Australia. Perhaps Dartmouth will give South Australia 1 gallon more or 1 gallon less than Chowilla would provide, but this is speculation based on the advice of experts. The weight of evidence seems to suggest that Dartmouth will be able to guarantee a little more water than Chowilla could provide. Some people suggest that the water from Dartmouth will not be of the proper quality when it reaches South Australia and others say it will be of better quality. But all those arguments fall down alongside the main basic argument which is whether the people of South Australia are to get water from somewhere. That is the question that we are debating here tonight. 1 feel that we have tremendous responsibility in this matter. The Democratic Labor Party does not have a representative from South Australia in the Senate and accordingly we have a tremendous sympathy for those on both sides of the House in regard to different aspects of this question which have been discussed and a tremendous sympathy for those who have fought so hard to get water for their State. We would hate to see this issue reduced to a matter of political expediency and, as suggested, defeat a resolution to build a dam at Dartmouth, a project which would give South Australia some water. Nor do I think that we should vote for an amendment which will throw the whole issue into the melting pot and achieve nothing other than a postponement at the Federal level of something which 3 State governments are at this stage committed to through their representation.
That brings me to the final point of my argument. It is true that 1 State Government may have to conduct an election to find out what the people of that State think about this question. But should we as a State House in the Commonwealth Parliament, in order to protect the rights of the States, at this stage in the programme intercede and take away from the States the requirement to resolve the matter within their own Stales in their own way? I do not think we should. 1 believe that the resolution that we are debating is a reasonable one if it is agreed that the River Murray Commission is an authority which ought to know what it is doing. In the past it has proved itself to be a very reliable authority which has operated in a very efficient and reliable manner in the interests of all the people in the States which it represents.
– It has been the most inept Commission that we have ever had.
– No member of the Labor Party has said that in the course of the debates on this question. On the other hand, I have heard Labor senators praising the River Murray Commission, just as 1 have heard other people praising the wisdom of its decisions. I have heard Labor senators criticise Chowilla but then go on to offer further criticisms when Chowilla was not recommended as the site for the dam. In the course of this criticism .1 have heard no proof that the River Murray Commission has misconducted itself in any way. The Opposition has made the point that, for political reasons or otherwise, a Labor Premier of South Australia agreed to the postponement of Chowilla at one stage. It has been suggested that, there were logical reasons for the postponement, but it is beyond question that a Labor Premier of South Australia agreed to its postponement. At this stage it would be wrong for us as a Federal House to intercede in this argument. I suggest that it would be equally wrong to deny finance for this project or in any other way to postpone it until we set up a national authority on general matters of water conservation which may have no specific connection with the question that we now have under review. It would be wrong to hold up what has been agreed between the States and what remains now an agreement between the States. Whilst it is argued that we are committed to an earlier decision which supported the original recommendation, I would point out that that proposal has since been rejected by the governments of 3 of the States, in addition to which those States have since carried resolutions for legislation supporting the present proposal. South Australia is the only exception.
– Which 3 States?
– New South Wales and Victoria - South Australia has not yet agreed but is in the process of arriving at its decision by whatever means it considers it should use. That should be its right. We feel that probably the worst thing that we can do on this question is to vote for the amendment We support one of the principles in the amendment - that which proposes the setting up of a national authority to negotiate with the States - but why should the people of South Australia have 10 wait for their water, probably for a further 5 years before something can be accomplished and a body set into operation to deal with this problem in South Australia and along the River Murray in particular? This question is even more pertinent when it is realised that this project has been investigated over a period of many years. There is much expert advice available to us already. I think one point which has caused the whole trouble is the difference between the original estimate and the final tender for the dam at Chowilla. The dam which was proposed for Chowilla was of a type that we had never built before in this country. It would have involved certain engineering problems, the cost of which would be in excess of the normal costs where a dam can be anchored to rock. This method cannot be used at Chowilla. However, I do not suggest that as a valid argument for the abandonment of Chowilla.
– Then why use the argument?
– We do not advocate the abandonment of Chowilla. We do not know what will be the final recommendations in regard to Chowilla, but whatever it is this legislation gives support to the agreement between those States which have considered it and South Australia which has yet to consider it. I hope that the Commonwealth will play its part so far as finance and encouragement are concerned, lt is on that issue that we think the measure should stand or fall. We support the measure as it has been presented and we reject the amendment as one which will achieve nothing other than a postponement of the project with the result that South Australia will get no water, because it is certain in our view that South Australia would not have a ghost of a chance of financing the immediate construction of Chowilla.
– I wish to support the remarks which have been made by my colleagues in the Australian Labor Party. I remind the Senate that on two occasions in this chamber the Opposition has initiated debates on the question of the future of the Chowilla project, but its purpose has been mainly to obtain a review of the situation by the Commonwealth Government and the River Murray Commission. At the time when the Chowilla proposal was deferred the Opposition considered that two very influential sections were working to prevent the completion of the Chowilla project. Pressure was being placed upon the States to undermine the scheme, which was agreed upon by the Commonwealth Government and the South Australian Government at a time when Sir Thomas Playford was Premier of South Australia. As Senator Donald Cameron and Senator Drury have pointed out, State and Commonwealth Ministers told the people that the scheme was worthy. They said that evaluations had been correctly conducted and consultants were to be brought in from overseas.
Senator Davidson referred tonight to the current report of the River Murray Commission. The same sort of report was made about the original Chowilla proposal. The same evaluations were made. At that time everybody applauded the scheme. The Liberal Party in South Australia referred to it as ‘Playford’s pride’; it is now referred to as ‘Playford’s folly’. There has been a strange change of opinion. I remind the Senate also that unanimous resolutions were carried in the South Australian Parliament during the times when the Liberal Party and the Labor Party were in office in support of the proposal or, as Senator Donald Cameron referred to it, the legal agreement concerning Chowilla. Everybody in South Australia was firmly of the opinion that a dam should be constructed at Chowilla.
It was argued that the deferment was due to some technical problem, but largely to an escalation in costs. Of course there was an escalation in the costs, but I remind the Senate that there have been similar escalations in costs in other fields. If honourable senators were to look at the AuditorGeneral’s report in relation to the escalation of costs in, say, railway gauge standardisation work they would not be surprised if an escalation in the costs of such a great project also occurred. As Senator Little mentioned, to some extent the Chowilla project had some unique features. When preliminary work- on the dam at Chowilla was embarked upon the Commission knew that it would have some unique features. It was an unusual type of dam. But the Commission supported the proposed storage. Because of the unique features the cost increased. At this time, of course, §6m had been already spent on works at the site. Seventeen homes were constructed for the employees of the associated engineering works. Sixty members of the Engineering and Water Supply Department were working on the construction of a dam.
Honourable senators will recall that during the debates on this subject Opposition senators said that a dam at Chowilla would provide better water for South Australia. The same thing was said in the South Australian Parliament by supporters of the Labor Party and the supporters of the Liberal Party agreed. The proposal was also supported by people such as Mr Dridan who, as the engineer-in-chief in South Australia, was a man of some note in the engineering world. He still supports the proposal. It was also agreed by Sir Thomas Playford that a dam at Chowilla would provide South Australia with adequate water. It was a better scheme at the time than the Dartmouth project. I am not saying that the Opposition is against the Dartmouth project. The Opposition does not deny that extra dams are needed on the Murray complex, but it is of the opinion that, regardless of what may happen, the agreement which obtains between the Commonwealth Government and the South Australian Government should be honoured.
I remind Senator Little that we are not considering any abstract situation where there is no agreement. South Australia has an agreement with the Commonwealth Government and the other contracting governments to build a dam at Chowilla. If a vote is taken on this legislation tonight, the Opposition will endeavour to ensure that whatever provisions are necessary to ensure that a dam is built at Chowilla are included in the legislation. The Opposition initiated debates in this place on this subject because it wanted the Commonwealth Government and the other contracting governments to review the stand which they had taken to defer the Chowilla project and to adopt another project.
The other course which was taken was a very significant one. It was promoted largely by the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn) who was the Minister for National Development at the time but who now sits in the other place as an ordinary backbencher. I have no doubt that the Ministers statements had a great influence on the matter. 1 repeat that whilst studies were being carried out in respect of the prospects of a dam at Chowilla as against one at Dartmouth the then Minister for National Development in the Commonwealth Parliament made a number of damaging statements as a result of which one of his own Liberal colleagues, Mr Hall, who was the Premier of South Australia al the time, wrote a letter to him pointing out what he was doing. I wish to quote an extract from the Adelaide ‘Advertiser’ of 8th November 1968, which states:
The Minister for National Development, Mr Fairbairn, had sent an apology for his published statement ‘prejudging’ the investigation into the Dartmouth site as an alternative to the Chowilla Dam, the Premier (Mr Hall), said in the Assembly yesterday in reply to Mr Hudson (ALP).
In addition, and this is well known because it has been publicly reported, the Chowilla Promotion Committee, of which 1 am a member as well as Senator Laucke, Sir Thomas Playford, Mr G. O’Halloran Giles, who is a member of the other place. Mr Dridan and a number of other people, who had some special views about this matter, also sent a letter to the Minister for National Development complaining about what was then considered to be his prejudging of the issues. In fact, there was a legal agreement in existence between South Australia and the Commonwealth Government as well as the New South Wales and Victorian Governments. Our purpose at the time the deferment took place - and Mr Dunstan supported us when he was Premier of South Australia - was to ensure that South Australia would be assured of receiving its proper entitlement. Mr Dunstan proposed to the then Minister for National Development. Mr Fairbairn, that a ministerial meeting be held. Obviously it was a very sensible suggestion because at that stage anything could have happened, but the Ministers of the respective governments should have been in a position to say whether another course could bc: steered on political grounds. The sort of political change which has now taken place could have been evalued.
The Premiers of the respective Slates could have had something to say about the matter, but the Commonwealth Minister for National Development refused to do anything. Instead, he criticised Mr Dunstan. He said that in his opinion it was ridiculous to request such a ministerial meeting. Certainly he strongly opposed any consultations between the Ministers. Mr Dunstan had to come to Canberra and privately meet the Minister for National Development, as a result of which some agreement was reached between the two of them and then Mr Dunstan had to go to Victoria and New South Wales to obtain agreement. Opposition senators have initiated debates in this chamber on this subject Ibr the specific purpose of ensuring that South Australia’s rights in this important issue would not be lost. But the situation has been reached tonight whereby it seems that the agreement, which is still in existence between the various governments and which provides South Australia with some assurances in regard to its water supply, will be completely undermined. 1 wish to quote an extract from the minutes of the River Murray Commission of 21st April 1968. The document is now a public document because the report had been made to the South Australian Parliament. The minutes state:
In opening the discussion the President-
The former Minister for National Development - referred to the decision ‘ which would have to be made regarding the selection of the next dam site for Ihe further development of the River Murray, which was both a political and technical question.
He quoted both major political parties in South Australia as having undertaken to proceed with the construction of Chowilla but felt that the Government of South Australia should be persuaded that storages at sites other than Chowilla could have the same effect as Chowilla and provide the same advantages to South Australia. This would fit in with the requirements for the studies by the River Murray Commission. The President expressed his concern at any further delay in making a decision on a site for the next reservoir, when irrigators were agitating for more storages.
Mr Horsfall said he hoped to informally convince Mr Beaney at this meeting that an upper Murray storage would be best for South Australia. This would allow a space of 6 months for him to convince his Government.
I put it to the Senate that escalating costs still constitute a very pertinent issue. The
Agreement now before us provides that in the event of cost of construction increasing by a factor of 10% the Commission shall advise the contract authority to suspend the work and refer the matter to the governments. They may again defer the work until they negotiate further and satisfy themselves that they should proceed. This is the sort of situation that might arise in connection with the Dartmouth project, because whereas previously the River Murray Commission had the right to tackle these problems and to ensure that action was taken to continue work, in this case further arrangements are provided under which the contracting governments will consider what is to be done. This applies to the work at Lake Victoria which has been stated as being necessary to make the Dartmouth project effective. A number of works would be required at Lake Victoria. These will cost about S7m or even as much as Sl Om. These works are written into the Agreement. Yet we find that in another place peopl’e are saying that this project is still being studied. The relevant Minister in the Victorian Government made a point about this when speaking in the Victorian Parliament.
Here we have a situation in which we are asked to discard a legal agreement about which we feel very strongly. 1 know that many honourable senators are saying: ‘Here are the South Australians again talking about Chowilla’, but the fact is that we think it is scandalous that an agreement which was negotiated in the way I have outlined and which received the plaudits of everybody concerned should now be thrown aside. Certainly the studies which led up to that Agreement were based upon slower methods of making computations than the methods which are available now. It is true that computers can do this kind of work much more quickly than it can be done manually. But the only difference is that the studies have been carried out more quickly. In the old days the studies were made just as thoroughly but they took more time. In our opinion the whole of the present scheme has been fashioned from a different standpoint than the earlier scheme. In the original context the Chowilla scheme was fashioned to fit the South Australian position. There is no doubt about that. The new concept has been fashioned to maximise the yield for New South Wales and Victoria. Apparently there are to be no controls to ensure, having in mind the extra water that the other States will get, that South Australia will be protected in any way.
I was rather amused to hear Senator Davidson make a point about good quality water. Everybody has spoken about the technical report but nobody has mentioned what the report said in relation to salinity. This is one of the aspects about which South Australia is particularly concerned. The technical report of January 1969 said:
The large body of water held in the reservoir will have the effect of reducing peak salinities of the inflow.
The report continues in paragraph 2a of its general conclusions:
A storage at Chowilla will have a ‘smoothing’ effect on salinities, and except for a few occasions would maintain an average salinity below Lock 6 about 20 parts per million below the average that would pertain with a storage at Dartmouth.
That is shortening what was said. They made the point which I think is very clear that the technical experts said that the quality of water coming from Chowilla would be better than that coming down from Dartmouth. Reverting to the Lake Victoria matter I mention what’ was said by the relevant Minister in the Victorian Government:
All parties accept the responsibility of meeting their share of the cost of any future works which may be constructed by the River Murray Commission. Works other than Dartmouth which are covered in the amending agreement are -
possible enlargement of the large channel from the River Murray below Mildura to Lake Victoria storage and also the channel by which water is returned as required from this storage to the river.
River channel improvement works between Hume reservoir and the Yarrawonga weir pool.
Provision is made in both these cases for appropriate action without further amendment of the Agreement. However, in the case of the Lake Victoria works which might involve each government in an expenditure of perhaps $2m, the extent of the enlargement will be subject to individual approval by each of the 4 governments. In other words, all those concerned with financing the work must be satisfied it is fully justified.
The work at Lake Victoria is an essential part of the scheme. This is obvious from the reports that have been presented in another place and also from the remarks of the Minister in the Victorian Government which I have quoted. The whole of the works on this site will be under review, but if the extra $10m is spent on the Lake
Victoria project and it is decided later to proceed with Chowilla, those works would be completely flooded. We are still hearing people on the other side saying that they agree that the Chowilla Dam should be built, but if they agree with the Chowilla concept they cannot accept the document that is now before us. If this new scheme is proceeded with it will mean the end of the Chowilla dam. The Premier of South Australia has made some calculations and has said that he can save money in this direction. He has said that even though the $2m to $4m will have to be spent, it will be worthwhile because of some extra water that South Australia will get. We think the whole arrangement has been a sell-out resulting from an attitude developed largely by the Commonwealth Government in an attempt to persuade the South Austraiian Government to adopt something different from the original agreement.
– They sold us a pup.
– Yes, they sold us a pup. Everybody knows that because it has been mentioned before. When the project was first deferred the South Australian Premier sent everybody in the South Australian Parliament and all members of the Commonwealth Parliament from South Australia a document headed ‘Fourteen Facts about Chowilla’. He wrote to each of us and said: ‘Do what you can to support the Chowilla project’. The State Premier of South Australia-
– A Liberal Premier?
– Yes. In addition, the State Parliament on several occasions voted unanimously in support of the Chowilla project. Now what has happened? At the present time we hear some Liberal members whispering that we will get Chowilla some time. Previously they said this in loud voices. When we debated this matter on earlier occasions they all said: ‘We are not going to give Chowilla away’, but as time has gone on and months have been wasted during which negotiations could have been carried out to provide a better Agreement they have become much more quiet. In the early days a good deal of work was done at the Chowilla site, and much of the equipment that was used is now to be sold. Only last Monday an advertisement appeared in South Australian newspapers. It was inserted by the South Australian Supply and Tender Board and it advertised for sale a large number of skips which had cost a lot of money and were to be used to build the Chowilla Dam. So even before the present legislation is changed they are selling what remains of the dam.
During the 2 years that we have been discussing this matter other States have received very valuable assistance. While we were debating this very question in the Parliament there was a non-repayable grant to Western Australia of $48m for the construction of the Ord River Dam; there was a grant of $20m to New South Wales for the construction of the Copeton Dam and there was a grant of $20m for the construction of what was called the ‘Fairbairn Dam’ in Queensland. For the 2 years to the end of 1968 during which this matter was under review the Minister made great play on the fact that $4,530m had been spent on major developmental projects yet the Government could not meet the request of a State Premier who wanted to consider with the Federal Government, in concert with other State governments, what might be done to solve the problem which had arisen in the construction of a dam which was to cost something more than what was first speculated because some constructional difficulties had arisen.
It is obvious that the Government is putting before the Parliament something which the Government itself has played a great part in bringing about to the detriment of South Australia. The amendment which Senator Drury moved to the motion for the second reading of the Bill aims at something with which everyone surely must agree. That is the establishment, after negotiation with the States, of a national water conservation and contraction authority embracing the Snowy Mountains Authority. I do not disown the Snowy Mountains Authority. We have accepted that the Authority is a very important body. We have argued in the past - many people have supported us - that it should have maintained its role of a constructing authority as well as providing technical services. In the motion which Senator Drury moved we simply say that this is an objective with which everyone should agree. It certainly will not hold up the provision of water to South Australia because there is an agreement anyway. Our amendment to the motion for the second reading of the Bill is related io the amendment that we will move when we reach the Committee stage of the debate - the most important stage.
There have been suggestions already from the Government side that studies have been made into the proposal for the construction of the 2 dams. To our knowledge a study has never been made which took into account the construction of the 2 dams at the same time. In view of the long and protracted arguments and the lack of support for South Australia from the Commonwealth Government, not only in relation to water but in relation to other matters as well, it seems to us that we are taking up a very reasonable position. We are saying that there should be such a study. If someone in the other place has said that these studies are being made or have been made, why have they not been revealed? If the studies are being made at the present time, why not support the amendment which we will propose? We can see no reason why anyone who is reasonable about the position should not support us in this matter. It is logical that the studies should be made. We should be hammering at the gates of the Commonwealth Government and everyone else concerned to insist upon the construction of the Chowilla Dam irrespective of what the Government proposes to do about Dartmouth.
I come back to the argument which we have stated quite clearly: We are not opposed to more water being provided to other States and we can agree that the Dartmouth Dam might be necessary, but we are against the position which is now being developed which really destroys the present Agreement and which will make Chowilla impossible. If the Government had designed its amendment to the present legislation to show that Chowilla was technically possible under the Agreement, we would not feel so concerned about it but the more one studies the Bill before the House and looks at the proposed amendments the more certain one becomes that the Chowilla Dam will never be built. If the Senate puts the final seal on it tonight, that is the end of South Australia’s claims.
Some quite sound arguments as to cost have been advanced. The question of cost is still a substantial question. The 10% escalation component is still there. When that appears the River Murray Commission does not just say: ‘Yes, we will make some modifications to the scheme but we will go ahead with it’. When this escalation of cost occurs it is possible that the contracting governments might back off again from the scheme and leave us with an Act - it will be an Act by then because it appears that it will be passed - which makes impossible the construction of a dam at Chowilla and makes it impossible to provide the so-called benefits in relation to Dartmouth.
The other important point is that we do not have any guarantees about the quality of the water which will come to South Australia because, as I have said, the studies were designed mainly to provide this flow at Mildura and to provide increased water to New South Wales and Victoria. That water will be used.
– The honourable senator is not doubting the integrity of the River Murray Commission?
– I have said before that if you read the Agreement you will see that all sorts of reservations have been prescribed, and once you vote on them you provide the opportunity to the contracting governments - not only the South Australian Government but also those which are more concerned about their own areas - to change their minds about the project, and by that time you have given Chowilla away. In almost every respect the important prescriptions which appear in the present law will be taken out this evening. That is a bad thing. It is a very poor argument to say: Because we have reached this situation we cannot do much more than accept a piece of legislation’. As I have pointed out, we already have an agreement which is the law of the land, an agreement which is not improved, in our view, by something which will supplant it because it takes away from us for all time the construction of the Chowilla Dam, a dam about which we already have talked a lot and on which we have spent a lot of money. If we start the new project that money will be lost. If we do as the Labor Party proposes and get an evaluation, and if the evaluation encompasses a reasonable cost and provides for the construction of the 2 dams, the money we have spent to date on Chowilla will be saved.
– And also the money we will spend on Lake Victoria.
– As Senator Toohey has said, we will also save the money that will be spent on Lake Victoria. If you spend money on Lake Victoria you get a duplication of cost which cannot be recovered. I put to the Senate that the argument of the South Australian Labor senators is very constructive. We have complained a lot about the attitude of the Federal Government. We are sure that we are entitled to complain about it. We feel that we have been supported in South Australia, not only by members of the Labor Party, but by many ordinary members of the Liberal Party as well. Some notable people have said that what we are arguing is in substance correct. It is not too late to do what we are proposing, that is to ensure that the 2 dams will be built. We are not against Dartmouth. We are out to make sure that the Chowilla dam will not be lost for all time and the money that has been spent on it wasted.
– Right from the inception of the proposal to build the Chowilla Dam on the River Murray upstream from Renmark in South Australia, I have been a keen and continuing advocate of the project. I remain so today, but with a realisation of current circumstances and realities and decisions that have been made by the Commonwealth Government and the governments of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. I believe that the advantages and benefits which it was claimed would be derived from this dam remain today as they were in 1961 when Chowilla was accepted by the River Murray Commission and acclaimed and ratified by the governments of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia and the Commonwealth in 1963.
At that time the estimated cost was $28m, and that amount was written into the Agreement. However, by 1965 the estimated cost had risen to $43m, and when tenders were called in 1967 the lowest tender received was for $68m. It was this escalation in cost, and this alone, which led to the cessation of building activity at Chowilla. The River Murray Commission recommended at the time of the escalation to the bigger figure that the work which had begun at Chowilla should be halted to enable a reappraisal of the scheme to be made. The then Premier of South Australia, Mr Don Dunstan, issued a statement on 14th November 1967, in which he said:
The present studies being carried out by the River Murray Commission are for the purpose of exploring the maximum use that can be made of the waters of the River Murray. It had been Indicated earlier that by the construction of Chowilla Dam South Australia would gain considerable relief from periodic restriction of supply and the upstream States would benefit also.
The decision to defer the construction of Chowilla Dam arose from factors not previously established. Current investigations are aimed to sustain the advantages mentioned.
I believe that it was at that time that South Australia lost the binding legal force, which it did have through legislation, with the signatories to the Agreement. I am quite certain that had the Playford Government continued in office after the 1965 elections there would have been no cessation of work on the dam and that the Agreement on the basis of the accepted figure of $43m - that was the figure at which all parties to the Agreement were prepared to go forward with the project - would have been maintained by the South Australian Government going it alone for the time being, to use a bit of slang, pending financial rearrangement as between the parties to the Agreement in respect of the $25m increase over the agreed $43m.
Under this policy Chowilla by now would have been fulfilling its intended function. Were this to have been so, I have no doubt that the Dartmouth Dam would have followed quickly because of its yield ability, the requirement of a 900 cusec flow past the Mildura and other Victorian irrigation areas and the upper States’ growing water demands. We would then have had the ideal conditions for all States, with a very effective harnessing of the resources of the Murray. I am not opposed to the building of the Dartmouth Dam. ft will provide major benefits to each of the contracting States. 1 commend the Premier of South Australia for negotiating the increase in South Australia’s water entitlement from 1,254,000 acre feet to 1,500,000 acre feet and also to agreement upon the division of water among the 3 States in equal parts in time of restriction. This increase in entitlement is the first since 1914, and bearing in mind South Australia’s great dependence on reticulated water supplies it is indeed welcome and vitally necessary.
But, as generous and helpful as the South Australian entitlement is. the real benefit of the Dartmouth storage will not accrue until such time as we have a further storage downstream which will preserve and enhance the benefits to South Australia of the upper storage. This again means Chowilla.
Much has been said about yield, and yield alone when comparing the Darmouth and Chowilla projects. But it is obvious that each dam has a somewhat different function. The one in the mountains - the Dartmouth Dam - is predominantly to produce. The other - -the Chowilla Dam - by reason of its situation is to conserve and regulate the flow, lt will relieve considerably the stresses on reserves in the headwater storage in dry years and enable both reserves to maintain the desired How through the river in its entirety. I am greatly concerned that in stress times flows will have to be reduced dangerously with only 1 dam. A shortage of waver” in the River Murray system finds South Australia particularly vulnerable because when drought conditions occur in the main watershed of the River Murray the same drought conditions have almost invariably occurred in the main South Australian reservoir catchment areas, lt is therefore in times of restriction that South Australia could be in a disastrous position. The situation can be met only by storing the maximum possible amount of water in times of ready availability for insurance against times of stress.
The most important factors to be taken into consideration when planning new storages are, firstly, the capacity that can be provided in a given storage and, secondly, the location of the site in relation to all contributing streams. The Chowilla site satisfies these conditions, having a capacity of 5 million acre feet or twice the capacity of the Hume Reservoir and being at a site downstream from all contributing streams. Irrespective of the source of flow - whether it be the Darling, the Mitta Mitta, the Mumimbidgee, the Goulburn or any other tributary - any surplus flow must reach Ihe Chowilla conserving site. The increase in entitlement of 246,000 acre feet - that is the increase to South Australia under this agreement - does little more than meet the immediate need. That is why it is so vital thai consideration be given as quickly as possible to ensuring greater storage of water than Dartmouth alone will provide.
Let me quote from an article written by Mr H. L. Beaney, the Director and Engineer-in-Chief of the South Australian Engineering and Water Supply Department. He says:
The increased allotment - the first increase in the Stale’s water entitlement in SO pears - is subject to ratification of legislation to enable Dartmouth lo be constructed. It is the opportunity for a major breakthrough in the State’s water prospects and this was not and could not have been obtained from Chowilla. 250,000 acre feet of available water assures the maintenance of Ihe irrigation industry on the River Murray and assures the pipeline systems that spread through the major part of the State. 250,000 acre feet of water is more than the total available water resource of the whole Stale outside of the River Murray and the South East.
The additional water promised out of Dartmouth is not. unfortunately, available for large scale expansion. In fact it is necessary lo South Australia lo maintain commitments which have already been made on the River Murray. As the last user of the river it is impossible lor South Australia to exploit the full flow, as provision has to be sustained for losses and for some continuing How to remove the build-up of saline water. This undivertable water may need to be as much as 700,000 acre feet a year, although research into proper husbandry and river regulation will continue to avoid wastage. The present irrigation commitment is estimated at 450,000 acre feet a year, allowing provision for increased demand over present levels as new plantings mature. The capacity of pipelines, on the completion of all present projects, will he about 325,000 acre feet. There is little to spare, and the danger of trying to live within the original allotment is apparent and could spell disaster iti some areas of water usage.
So we have 700,000 acre feet undivertable, 450,000 acre feet required for irrigation, and 325,000 acre feet to meet the requirements of the huge reticulation services throughout South Australia, making a total of 1,475,000 acre feet, which is only 25,000 acre feet below our full entitlement. Mr Beaney also states:
A storage at Chowilla is fully practicable . . .
There is no doubt that the Chowilla proposal would achieve its design aims for South Australia. The project was also accepted by New South Wales and Victoria as conferring considerable benefits to them, lt was expected to allow each of these upper river States to increase their water diversion from the River Murray. This benefit would derive from the ability of Chowilla to supply South Australia during the irrigation season leaving available to them water thai would otherwise he required to meet South Australia’s allotment.
Now, to present both sides of the picture, so far as Mr Beaney is concerned, and to quote him impartially, I must also refer to another section of his statement in which he says:
Apart from the high cost of Chowilla the New South Wales and Victorian authorities had seen some of the early promises of benefit from it disappear. The original assumptions as to the operation of Chowilla had not fully recognised some of the problems of river regulation under continued low How conditions and attendant decline in water quality. Providing for these reduced the water benefit likely to be available to the upstream States and at the same time would give no added benefit to South Australia.
It was in this situation that the River Murray Commission reported that a dam built in the Mitta Mitta River in Victoria could substantially provide for satisfactory river regulation and make available an increase in yield of 860,000 acre feet per annum from the system. The increase is in excess of the benefits that could be conferred by Chowilla.
I quote that in order to give a round picture of the opinions of this highly qualified engineer. I have given this matter - that is, the Dartmouth proposal and the Chowilla proposal - much consideration and I am fearful for the future well-being of my State if we do not have access to water supply beyond the benefits which we would receive from Dartmouth alone. It must be recognised that South Australia has no permanent rivers of her own, that 90% of the State has an annual rainfall of less than 10 inches, that large areas of pastoral country can be used only if reticulated water is made available, and that our secondary industry is serviced largely by Murray water. We have over 8,000 miles of main trunk pipelines so that we can provide water over large distances of the State. We must also remember that 95% of the total population of South Australia is dependent on such reticulated water. In a year of less than average rainfall, 85% of this water has to be pumped long distances. Two-thirds of our people are dependent completely on Murray water, in the various forms of usage, all the time.
It can be truthfully asserted that the Murray is the lifeblood of South Australia. Over many years we have seen more and more diversions of water in the upstream States, and we know that further diversions are inevitable. It has been reliably calculated that within 20 years, further usage in Victoria and New South Wales could be of the order of 2 million acre feet.
Bearing in mind these continuing requirements and the fact that water returning from irrigation lands on the Murray to the river contaminates the river, we have a situation, looking to the future, which gives us great concern. I am quite happy to accept the Dartmouth proposal as a very necessary and major step forward in the general harnessing of the Murray and the provision of water to the 3 States, but we have to consider further storages and consider them very quickly, particularly in the case of South Australia. 1 speak in respect of Chowilla as I do because, if the other States are able to expand their water usage, with the entitlements that they have for some years ahead, and if we in South Australia are nearly at maximum usage, a barrier across the river above our major irrigation settlements in South Australia would give us water in volume and it could be regarded largely as a State storage. We would then be in a position of using the benefits of Dartmouth to the maximum, and our future would be much more assured than that which one can see. Unless action is taken to meet the situation, before many years pass, we could be in real trouble. For the immediate present, to avoid any further delays in the essential harnessing of the Murray, I support the Dartmouth project. It must go forward, and I support this Bill.
– I support the views expressed by my colleagues Senator Drury, Senator Donald Cameron and Senator Bishop. I am pleased to see that at least one South Australian senator on the Government side agrees 100% with the contentions that we placed before the Senate in defence of our State of South Australia. Even though Senator Laucke may not bring himself to actually vote against his Government when the Australian Labor Party amendment is voted on the views that he put before the Senate tonight have left no doubt in our minds that as far as he is concerned the viewpoints expressed by Senator Drury, Senator Donald Cameron and Senator Bishop in this chamber tonight have substance and validity.
Over the years I have heard some extraordinary things said about Chowilla. I am one of those who was here when the late Sir William Spooner introduced the original Bill dealing with Chowilla into the
Senate. I remember the remarks he made, the eulogy that he delivered on the Bill and the enthusiastic response that it received from those on both sides of the chamber. One would have thought that once this solemn agreement - a legal agreement which had both moral and legal overtones inherent in it - had been entered into the only decent thing that could have been done would have been to proceed with the construction of the dam and give South Australia something to which it was justifiably entitled. Over the years all kinds of explanations were given for the repudiation of the Agreement that took place. 1 remember vividly when the skids were first placed under Chowilla. It is no good any member of the Government trying to contradict this statement because the Senate Hansards will prove this fact conclusively.
The first argument brought forward was the matter of cost. The Government said that in the 5 years that had elapsed since the Bill was passed it was clear that the dam would cost some millions of dollars more than was proposed originally. Because of that the Government thought that another look at the proposal ought to be taken. When criticism was levelled at those who advanced that theory, another convenient theory was brought forward. That was salinity. That superseded cost. Senator Laucke will remember this as clearly as I do. That superseded cost for some time. Senator Scott also will remember this. He took an active part in debates on this matter. His speeches on the matter enlivened the Senate somewhat. Salinity was the theme of the speeches on the second occasion that the proposal was deferred. When the River Murray Commission clearly established that the salinity level, if the Chowilla project were proceeded with, would be less in the Murray than if the project were not proceeded with and less than if the dam at Dartmouth were proceeded with, the tune was changed back again to cost. After that the Government thought that it had better find another reason because neither of the two reasons that it had given to date satisfied the people of South Australia.
– The Government called in the computer.
– The Government called in the computer, as Senator Ridley said. It thought that the first two propositions that it put forward did not satisfy the people of South Australia. Quite frankly, those propositions did not satisfy them because the people of South Australia in general and the people who understand the’ Murray in particular knew that the Government’s excuses for not proceeding on the basis of cost and of salinity were phoney reasons. The computer was called into the fight, lt came up with some very convenient answers for the Government.
– One gets out of a computer only what one puts into it.
– The Government came up with the story about the 900 cusecs needed at Mildura.
– The Government came up with this magical figure, as Senator Ridley informs me, of 900 cusecs passing Mildura. Everybody knows that the Victorians are not motivated by self-interest and that they desperately want South Australia to have a dam at Chowilla, lt seems that the South Australian Liberal senators are in strange company tonight when they join with the Victorians in abandoning a project in their own State which ought to be proceeded with. The Victorians will give them their wholehearted co-operation and assistance.
– They will cry crocodile tears.
– Yes. They do not want the South Australian people to have the Chowilla Dam because they want a dam at Dartmouth. The Victorians, I suppose motivated by their own State rights and their own State requirements, are acting in what they consider is the proper way to defend the rights of their own State. I have no quarrel with that.
– Are not. the South Australian senators doing the same?
– 1 do quarrel with South Australian senators such as Senator Young who are prepared to join the Victorians in protecting the interests of ihe Victorian Government and of the Victorian people to the detriment of the interests of the people of their own State. This has been brought about by the unholy alliance that we have seen in the Senate tonight. Self-interest comes into the matter of the 900 cusecs that must flow past Mildura.
Any benefit to South Australia is furthest from the minds of those who want this flow going over the lock at Mildura. They say that the continuance of this flow is needed to reduce the salinity in their part of the river. They are not concerned that the salinity at Waikerie is exactly twice the salinity at Mildura. They do not want us to have a dam at Chowilla so that we can flush the river in order to provide pure water for the people further down the river. They want to dilute Chowilla with the slugs of salt that come down their feeder streams in Victoria. They have done nothing to alleviate the position. They want the best of all worlds. At the same time, they want to deprive South Australia of something that was given to it by a solemn covenant in which this Government took part and to which it signed its name.
I deal now with the alleged benefit of 1.5 million acre feet which the Dartmouth Dam is supposed to give South Australia. I use the word ‘supposed’ advisedly. In the first instance, it will be 1981 at least before any water is released from Dartmouth and reaches South Australia if the scheme is proceeded with tomorrow. I make it quite clear that 11 years at least must elapse before South Australia will get any guarantee of any extra water if the Dartmouth proposal is proceeded with. But does the Dartmouth proposal give South Australia any extra water?
– It gives us the 900 cusecs that the Victorians have to flush into South Australia.
– That is right. It gives us the 900 cusecs that must run past Mildura. If the Victorian people are to be believed, they want to ensure that the 900 cusecs flow past Mildura in all circumstances. The people of South Australia are concerned about what will happen to the alleged 1.5 million acre feet, which we are supposed to secure from this great Dartmouth scheme, in extraordinary circumstances of river flow. The answer of course is perfectly clear and simple. We will not get the 1.5 million acre feet. If there is greater development along the Victorian reaches of the Murray, if more and more orchards are planted, if more and more businesses are established and if more and more water is drawn from the Murray, what guarantee have we that, by the time the Dartmouth Dam is completed and water is released from it in the year 1981, the 1.5 million acre feet will be there for South Australia? We in South Australia do not want a pie in the sky. We do not want something in the distant and very obscure future. The people of South Australia in general and the inhabitants of the river districts in particular want some immediate undertaking given that South Australia will be able to secure a water storage that will protect its interests and not a water storage that will protect the interests of the other States. We do not want the butt end of the water. That is what the Dartmouth agreement will mean if it is proceeded with without the Chowilla Dam being proceeded with at the same time.
I reiterate what my colleagues on this side of the House have said: We are not adopting a dog in the manger attitude on this matter. I remind the Senate that South Australia is the aggrieved party. We ought not to be pleading in the Senate for justice. Justice has been denied to the people of South Australia - justice that was rightly theirs. So we are not here only to plead the cause of South Australia. We are arguing in the first instance that agreements which have been solemnly entered into should be abided by. In the second instance we are saying that in the driest State in the driest continent on earth we want an immediate guarantee that our future water supplies will be conserved. Reference has been made to an extra 11 million acre feet that we will allegedly receive in the dim and distant future when a dam is completed at Dartmouth.
– No, it is an increase from h million acre feet to li million acre feet.
– Senator Ridley quite rightly corrects me that we are to receive an extra i million feet annually in the distant future when the Dartmouth Dam becomes a reality. I remind honourable senators that in normal years about 8i million acre feet of water flows into the sea in South Australia. It is wasted because we do not have the storages to conserve it. I again sound a warning. Anybody who understands the river districts of South Australia as do Senator Laucke and some honourable senators on this side of the chamber knows that unless we get a water storage facility in South Australia which will flush the River Murray, the orchards below Kingston in South Australia ultimately will all die. There is no question about that.
– That is why an extra 900 cusecs is needed annually at Mildura.
– That is not doing much for the orchards at Waikerie ai the moment. The orchards there are in peril because of the salt content of the River Murray in that area at present. The honourable senator knows that as well as I do. He must know that the building of a dam at Dartmouth will not solve the problem of the people at Waikerie or the problems of people in other parts of the Upper Murray, lt will not preserve the orchards of people who have sunk their life savings into fruit settlements along the lower pans of the Upper Murray. Surely any man who has the interests of his own State at heart, any man who fears for the future of South Australia, appreciates that the rights of South Australia should be preserved in this matter. He must recognise the danger that exists in leaving any longer the question of the construction of a dam in South Australia in the upper reaches of the River Murray.
Argue that the construction of a dam at Dartmouth is valid if you will, and I will not cavil at that proposition. Build a dam at Dartmouth if you must, but lo have it at the expense of a dam at Chowilla is one of the most disgraceful episodes in the political history of this country, lt is all very well for somebody with his tongue in his cheek to speak as Mr Hall has done in South Australia in trying to fool the people there with his plausible line. He has said that the building of a dam at Dartmouth will not prevent the people of South Australia eventually from getting a dam at Chowilla. If the Agreement that has been tabled in the Senate is read carefully and closely it shows quite conclusively that once it is signed and sealed it is goodbye to a dam at Chowilla. There is no possibility that we can get a dam at Chowilla in the future once the Agreement is signed, lt is now or never for South Australia. All the sophistry that can be brought to bear and all the spurious arguments that can be put forward mean nothing against the background of the contents of the Agreement and the effect it will have. 1 will not be spending much more time in the Senate because my retirement is approaching. I want to go on record as saying that in the years that the proposal for a dam al Chowilla has received attention in the Senate, my advocacy of that proposition has never wavered. I hope to leave the Senate arguing still, as I have argued in the past, for that proposal. I am in distinguished company in pleading the cause of South Australia in this matter. I am, of course, in the company of Sir Thomas Playford, former Liberal Premier of South Australia, who once was quoted so often in this chamber by honourable senators opposite who now wish to forget his statements. They will nol quote him now at any price because he, like myself, believes that the interests of South Australia can be preserved by building a dam at Chowilla.
I do not wish to traverse the ground that has already been covered by my colleagues on this side of. the chamber. The spurious arguments that have been advanced in favour of construction of a dam at Dartmouth and about the benefits to be gained by South Australia as a result are utter nonsense that will be repudiated by the people of South Australia.
– In entering this debate I am fully conscious of my responsibilities as a representative of South Australia in the Senate. Hence 1 say at the outset that J support ihe Bill introduced by the Government. So much has been said in this debate tonight that I believe we should explore the history of proposals for dams at Chowilla and Dartmouth and get the facts in their proper perspective. The original proposals for a storage at Chowilla were put forward by Sir Thomas Playford. I endorse the remarks of Senator Toohey about Sir Thomas Playford. He is one of the greatest South Australians of all times. He was both a Premier and a statesman. In 1961 the River Murray Commission agreed to the building of a dam in Chowilla to hold approximately 5.06 million acre feet at an estimated cost of about $28m. However, at the same time the Commission also stated thai further investigations should be made of the proposal. It was then found that certain other aspects had come into being in association with the proposal and the estimated cost increased to about $43m.
At that stage the River Murray Commission Still agreed to build a dam at Chowilla. Tenders were called in October 1966 for the construction of a dam, and closed in April 1S67. The most favourable tender submitted was at an estimated cost of about $6Sm. At that stage certain questions were raised involving costs and benefits of the project. Queries also arose with regard to salinity. The River Murray Commission included at that time a representative of South Australia who was under the instruction of Mr Dunstan, then the Labor Premier of South Australia. The South Australian representative agreed that a technical committee of the River Murray Commission should look further into all aspects of the proposal generally and report back to the Commission before any work at Chowilla would be proceeded with.
When the technical committee reported to the Commission it agreed, with the approval of the representative of Mr Dunstan, that further studies of the river system should be made and alternative proposals considered. Agreement was also reached on the assumptions to be used in further investigating alternative storages on the River Murray system. Queries have been raised tonight about the River Murray Commission. The Commission represents the governments of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales and the Federal Government. Any decision made by the Commission must be unanimous. This procedure gives a State like South Australia a lot of protection because it has a power of veto. If a unanimous decision cannot be reached, the procedure is that the matter be taken to arbitration for determination by an independent arbitrator in order to reach a final decision. I challenge honourable senators opposite to cite one occasion when the River Murray Commission has not acted on a national basis in the interests of the partners of the Commission.
But let me go further than this. There has been a lot of criticism tonight about the Federal Government, and a lot of criticism about the present Government in South Australia to the effect that it is responsible for the losing of the Chowilla Dam. I say quite frankly that it is a tragedy that so much politics has been played in this controversy of Dartmouth and Chowilla, particularly in South Australia. I want to say something for clarification. I do not want to say it emotionally or to express any political bias. I want to say something very factually and fairly about the criticism that has been levelled tonight. Firstly, if Mr Dunstan, who was then Premier, was determined that Chowilla was the only dam for South Australia, why did he agree through his representative on the River Murray Commission at that time to investigations taking place whereby alternatives were examined? I cannot find any record of Mr Dunstan having taken a stand with the River Murray Commission. Why did he not stand firm for Chowilla at that time and force the other partners of the River Murray Commission to challenge his stand under arbitration? He had the power to do it if he so wished but I repeat that he agreed to further investigations including that of Chowilla and alternatives to Chowilla such as Dartmouth.
Queries have been raised with regard to assumptions that were used in investigating these alternatives. If Mr Dunstan did not agree with some of these assumptions at the time why then did he not object? Here again Mr Dunstan had the opportunity and the right under the rules of the River Murray Commission to do this if he wanted to. But again 1 can see no record of when this opposition was raised. But when finally it was agreed that further investigations would be made of the whole river system Mr Dunstan, the Premier of South Australia, took around a letter of intent to Sir Henry Bolte of Victoria and Mr Askin of New South Wales which stated that the decision to defer the construction of Chowilla arose from many factors not previously established. It said that current investigations were aimed at sustaining the advantage already mentioned, which was that South Australia’s entitlement of 1.25 million acre feet would still be maintained. That is as I interpret this letter of intent.
I do not condemn Mr Dunstan’s actions at that time. I think he acted very responsibly in looking at other proposals. He did what a State Premier should do - look for what he considered was in the best interests of his State. But I am critical of the fact that now both he and Opposition senators tonight have seen fit to turn around and condemn this Government and the present Premier of South Australia and to lay the blame at his feet because Chowilla now is second to the
Dartmouth concept. I have no record of where Opposition senators raised any objections either to looking at alternatives or to the assumptions that were to be used. If I am wrong 1 ask them tonight to indicate to mc where they did raise these matters at the dme because 1 cannot find it in the records. If Opposition senators were going to talk about South Australia losing the Chowilla Dam this was ihe time, when Mr Dunstan agreed to this deferment and the investigation of alternatives. This was the time when South Australia lost the Chowilla Dam. If blame is to be laid anywhere it must be laid right at the feet of the Labor Party. It is no good standing in this place, pointing the finger at the Government and blaming us for the fact that Dartmouth has come into being. Let us be honest and frank and admit that if blame - and I am not blaming anyone - is to be laid for the concept of Chowilla being lost it should be remembered that it was lost during this period when the River Murray Commission, including Mr Dunstan’s representative who was working under instructions from him as Premier of South Australia, agreed to look at alternatives. 1 was very interested to see what transpired in the Victorian House of Assembly. I obtained copies of the Hansards showing the debates that took place on the River Murray Waters Bill and the River Murray Waters (Dartmouth Reservoir) Bill. I noted that the leader of the debate for the Opposition, the Labor member Mr Floyd, as reported on page 3386 of the Assembly Hansard of the Victorian Parliament, was very critical and condemned the whole concept of Chowilla. The first point he made was: 1 intend to deal exclusively with the Bill and to explain that Chowilla was a fake. I intend to quote the Premier and other honourable members of the Liberal Party to show thai they fully supported the scheme. The proposal was a fake and a political gimmick.
He went on further:
Of course, South Australia recognised that a reservoir at Chowilla was belter than nothing.
I do not agree with him, but still I am quoting what he said. He went on:
A change of heart then took place and, despite the gerrymander, there was also a change of Government in South Australia. Suddenly, it was found that the great Investigations that had taken place concerning the proposed Chowilla reservoir were insufficient to justify increasing the amount of money that it was intended to spend on the new reservoir from $28m to $70m.
Here he was referring specifically to the period when the then Premier, Mr Dunstan, agreed to the deferment. I want to quote further from Mr Floyd’s very critical remarks about the Chowilla Dam. As recorded on page 3388 of the Victorian Hansard he was asked whether conditions would be good enough for ducks at Chowilla. He said:
Williamstown ducks- 1 might add that he is the member for Williamstown - would not go (here for the weekend. In view of the experience of the Government, the Stale Rivers and Water Supply Commission and the River Murray Commission, it is difficult for members of the Opposition to work out how Victoria fell for the Chowilla gimmick in 1961.
I do not agree with the sentiments expressed by Mr Floyd but I was very interested to see what the leading speaker for the Labor Party in the Victorian Parliament had to say about the concept of Chowilla. 1 will be interested to see what position Victorian Opposition senators will take in this debate and the division which will be called on this Bill. Are they here as members of the South Australian Labor Party or are they here as States men representing their State of Victoria? If it is the latter, I ask them what is the reason for the difference between their expressions and actions in the Senate and those of their colleagues of the Opposition in the House of Assembly in Victoria, because the Bill in Victoria was agreed to without amendment and without even taking a division. As indicated in the Victorian Hansard at page 3479, no amendment was moved and no division was necessary. This in itself is again very interesting. When we look to the New South Wales debate we find that right at the finish of it the only Labor spokesman, so far as I can see - a Mr Johnston - said:
There is no reason why we should oppose Ihe Bill.
– Who said (hat?
– As I understand it, Mr Johnston, a Labor member from Broken Hill. He said:
However, there is no reason why we should oppose the Bill.
The motion was agreed to. With the exception of 1 clause it was carried in the New South Wales House of Assembly by all members. The exception, clause 4, dealt with the Menindee Lakes in respect of which some opposition members in that Parliament were critical of the fact that Menindee Lakes had been brought under control of the River Murray Commission. But this is an aspect which adds a great deal, both in water and in flow factor, if required, and would be of particular benefit to South Australia. The way that this matter was dealt with by the New South Wales Parliament is particularly interesting. I wonder what the position of New South Wales Labor senators will be on this measure when a vote is taken on it in this place.
But let us come back to the investigations agreed to by the River Murray Commission and the assumptions that were used. I mentioned earlier that these were agreed to, that some 260 studies were made, many of them being made by computer, as against 13 studies only in respect of the original Chowilla concept. The Opposition questioned me on these assumptions. Senator Toohey has said tonight that he questioned them and he used the expression ‘allegedly* in respect of the amount of water that would be available from Dartmouth. Senator Bishop questioned whether South Australia would get so much water from Dartmouth. But I remind the Senate that there was no criticism or condemnation of the assessments at the time they were made, nor was there any criticism of the technical advisers. If honourable senators opposite had any doubts, that would have been the time to express those doubts. I go further and ask: If they question these assessments, are they questioning the ability or the integrity of the experts who made the assessments and conducted the investigations?
If there is doubt about the accuracy of the assessments the ability and integrity of these experts must be in doubt. These are responsible men. They are experienced and capable and have been able to come out with accurate assessments fairly based on fair assumptions. The investigations revealed many things. Even though they revealed many things that did not come to light in respect of Chowilla, because of the few investigations made of Chowilla, I do not condemn any of the investigations of Chowilla because they were carried out prior to the assistance of computers being available. So there is a big difference in this respect. Nevertheless, the important point revealed in respect of the Dartmouth Dam was that it would yield an additional 860,000 acre feet of water over and above that which we could get from the Chowilla concept.
Before South Australia’s Premier Mr Hall agreed to the Dartmouth Dam being built he fought for South Australia’s interests and said: ‘If there is this extra water in the dam we want our fair share of it for South Australia.’ After wrangling with the other partners in the River Murray Commission he was able to obtain an additional 250,000 acre feet of water, which would give South Australia an entitlement of H million acre feet. I add at this point that South Australia’s entitlement under the Chowilla concept was 1.254 million acre feet, which was exactly the same as South Australia’s entitlement in 1905. Since that time there had been no change, despite the fact that there had been such a great increase in demand for water in South Australia. But referring again to the additional 250,000 acre feet of water that Mr Hall managed to get for South Australia, it should be pointed out that in real terms of usable water this increase amounts to an extra volume of water of some 37%. This is a tremendous gain for South Australia and a real asset precious to the State of South Australia which relies upon the river system for so much of its water. So instead of condemnation all praise and credit should be given to Mr Hall for managing to get South Australia a greater benefit from the Dartmouth project. He was able to get this benefit before agreeing to the Dartmouth project. That is what I call leadership.
There has been criticism of the fact that Dartmouth is so far from South Australia compared with Chowilla which is in South Australia, and it has been suggested that it will take 6 weeks for water to flow from Dartmouth to South Australia. Let me make it clear that Chowilla is not in South Australia; it is in Victoria and New South Wales. But let us go further than this. Wherever the storages are on the River Murray system they are not owned by any one State. These storages and the whole river system from Albury right down the river are owned and controlled by the River Murray Commission. So let us not talk about our own dam. When it comes to control, as I mentioned earlier tonight, can any honourable senator opposite tell me of any occasion when the River Murray Commission has not been fair in allocating an entitlement or quota to South Australia in times of restriction? If any honourable senator is able to tell us of such an occasion I would like to hear of it. We have been talking about flow factors and Dartmouth being so far away, but right in the centre of where Chowilla Dam would have been we have Lake Victoria with 550,000 acre feet of water. So if by some freak of mismanagement we need water in a hurry, we have it available in Lake Victoria. This water can be used for flushing the river and also for those things in respect of which honourable senators opposite have questioned the use of water from Dartmouth. I do not doubt for a moment that Dartmouth will provide water for the purposes for which it is needed, but we have an additional safety factor with Lake Victoria which is under the control of the River Murray Commission. That lake is right alongside South Australia.
With regard to the security of South Australia’s entitlement, I have the utmost confidence in the River Murray Commission. lt has been and it will continue to be a responsible body. I can find no instance where, as a South Australian, I could be critical of the conduct of the River Murray Commission. But I should mention also that Mr Floyd in the Victorian House, in speaking of the River Murray Commission, said:
The River Murray Commission has done an excellent job over the years. The Agreement came into being in 19 IS and it has been altered only slightly since because of the general realisation that the waters of the River Murray must bc fairly shared amongst the States.
This statement was made by a leading Labor speaker from one of the States. He expressed full support for and confidence in the conduct of the RMC. South Australia’s entitlement is li million acre feet, (t is interesting to note that South Australia’s entitlement is deducted before water is supplied for normal usage by Victoria, which has an entitlement of 1.6 million acre feet, and New South Wales, which has an entitlement of 1.3 million acre feet. The argument that South Australia may miss out is completely illfounded and entirely incorrect.
Much has been said about restrictions and the insecure position of South Australia if restrictions are to be applied. Let us look at what takes place when restrictions are applied. Before any restrictions can be applied by the River Murray Commission all parties to the Commission, including South Australia, must agree to them. This affords South Australia protection. But before any restrictions are applied 564,000 acre feet must be deducated for South Australia to provide the dilution water or flow factor. The remaining volume of water in the system after this is shared equally between Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales. An interesting point which gives much confidence to the concept of Dartmouth is the realisation that calculations show that in the last 65 years - since 1905 - if Dartmouth had been in existence New South Wales would have had restrictions on the use of water from the River Murray system 6 times and Victoria 7 times. In that period New South Wales would have had a reduction of up to 10% applied to its entitlement of water on 4 occasions; on one occasion a reduction of between 10% and 20% would have applied; and on one other occasion a reduction in excess of 20% would have been imposed. Victoria would have restrictions once up to 10%, twice between 10% and 20% and four times in excess of 20%. During the same time under the Dartmouth project South Australia would have been restricted only once. It would have been a 5% reduction which, based on a 1.5 million acre feet entitlement, would have been a reduction of some 76,000 acre feet of water. Regardless of the one restriction in 1965 South Australia would still have been left with a quota of 1.424 million acre feet, which is still far in excess of what its entitlement would have been under the Chowilla project, which was only 1.25 million acre feet. It is quite clear that, even with the 1-year restriction which we would have had with Dartmouth, we would have been far better off in that year with Dartmouth than with Chowilla. Clearly Dartmouth has more to offer in the way of water volume and security.
These facts indicate very clearly that Dartmouth will provide greater gains to South Australia. Nevertheless, I support the idea of conducting further investigations into the whole river system and hope that Chowilla will one day be built. I came into this place a very keen and ardent supporter of Chowilla. I had discussions with the experts - not the politicians - and, having investigated the merits of each project with these experts, listened to their facts and examined their figures, I am now convinced that, as a South Australian, in order to do the right thing by my State I have no alternative but to support the Dartmouth concept and to make sure that South Australia gets its full and just water entitlement. Hence I have come out in support of Dartmouth.
I criticise the amendment which has been moved by Senator Drury on behalf of the Opposition. The Opposition is adopting delaying tactics. As I have said, South Australia needs more water, but it needs more water as soon as it can possibly get it. What is the Opposition trying to achieve with the amendment it has put forward tonight? All it will achieve will be a deferment of the Dartmouth project until further investigations are carried out. Eventually a start will he made on the dam. In the meantime South Australia will have to wait for more water. A lot has been said in the River Murray region of the merit of the Chowilla proposal as against the Dartmouth proposal. I wish to remind honourable senators that earlier this year Region 5 of the Murray Valley Development League, which represents all councils of the Upper Murray region in South Australia from the Victorian border to Morgan, including the Loxton irrigation area, passed the following resolution:
I support the legislation which is before the Senate.
– I rise to support the legislation which is before the Senate, which seeks to ratify an amendment to the River Murray Waters Agreement to provide for the construction of a major storage near Dartmouth. It seems to me to boil down to a question of whether South Australia wants water or a dam inside its own borders. 1 believe that it needs water. Water is vital to South Australia. It must be assured of water. South Australia must get more water. The only way in which South Australia will be able to develop its irrigation areas and the secondary industries in its cities and suburbs is if South Australia is assured that it will be able to get more water in the future than it is able to get at present, particularly in times of restrictions. We can only develop our industries up to the point at which we are assured of water in times of restrictions.
A lot has been said about the large quantity of water which is flowing out of the mouth of the Murray River. Of course it goes out of the mouth of the river in a normal year but, unless we were to use that water only in normal years, in dmes of restrictions when there is less water those people who are dependent on the water would be deprived of it. This would be a most uneconomic way of developing our State. Certainly it is to the credit of the Premier of South Australia, Mr Steele Hall, that he has been able to negotiate with the other States and the Commonwealth a guarantee of more water through the construction of a dam at Dartmouth than through the construction of a clam at Chowilla. This is, of course, a significant point. At present South Australia has a guarantee of 1.254 million acre feet of water. When this amendment to the Agreement is ratified by all States - and I certainly hope that eventually it will be ratified by South Australia - we will have more water. Of course, if it is not ratified by South Australia we simply will not have water. We will not have either dam because the other 3 parties to the River Murray Waters Agreement have said that they do not agree with the construction of a dam at Chowilla. Therefore, without Dartmouth, South Australia will not be able to get its guarantee of 1.5 million acre feet of water, which is the increase Mr Steele Hall was able lo negotiate. lt is important that South Australia should have more water than it can use in order to flush out the river. Only in the last few years have people realised that some of the water they see flowing down the river and out of the mouth is doing so in order to flush out the river. It was only when we were discussing the Snowy Mountains agreement in this place a few years ago that it became clear that we needed a great deal of water to flush out the river in its lower reaches in South Australia. Salt comes out of the cliffs and into the Murray River, particularly around Waikerie.
– The honourable senator has changed her mind about this because she no longer supports Chowilla.
– I have never supported Chowilla alone. I have said all along that South Australia needs more water. We need as much water as we can get. Therefore, I support whichever dam is agreed upon which will assure South Australia of water. At no stage have I said Chowilla is the only dam we .should support.
– But the honourable senator does not think it is any good at all now.
– I have not said that. 1 will develop my theme as I go along. 1 am horrified at the plan which has been put forward by some people for the construction of 2 dams at once. I think this is quite ridiculous, lt is not feasible to expect the construction of 1 dams at the same time. I do not think that it would provide us with the benefits that we want. If the Dartmouth proposal is proceeded with we have been promised an extra allocation of water. If we proceed with Chowilla we will not get a further allocation of water. The water would be used further up the river by the States of New South Wales and Victoria and there would not be enough coming down to a dam at Chowilla. It is necessary to reach an agreement with the other States for the allowance of sufficient water to come down the river to fill the dam. Without such an agreement the dam would be quite useless.
– You have an agreement now.
– We have an agreement for the supply of a certain amount of water. The honourable senator is referring to the agreement in relation to the Chowilla project. If the Dartmouth proposition is accepted we will get extra water, which is important to me. I hope that there will be more dams constructed on the river at a later stage. Undoubtedly there will be. We must harness the River Murray. We have to harness it because there is no other way of obtaining water for South Australia. Undoubtedly further dams will be constructed on it. I support the building of a dam at Chowilla. I hope that a dam at Chowilla is the next one to be built. But I am not so unreasonable as to ask for both to be built at once. If we can get the 4 parties to the River Murray Waters Agreement to agree to the construction of a dam at Chowilla at a later stage then undoubtedly South Australia will be given its entitlement of extra water from it. But unless we get that entitlement it is useless to say: ‘We want a dam in South Australia. Regardless of what you are going to give us, we want that dam’. As I said earlier, the States upstream would be able to use the water and we would be getting more saline water. Up to now Victoria has been returning quite a bit of drainage water into the Murray, which has increased the salinity lower down the river. The next important thing that will happen is that Victoria will drain the river back into evaporation pans and not increase salinity further down the river. This is one of the things which were studied when the Chowilla investigations were being carried out. Eventually it was found that Chowilla would not increase salinity, although at one stage it was thought that it might. But it was also found that it would do nothing to reduce salinity.
– But the report clearly says it will improve the position.
– I think that is not quite right. A final report will come out in about 2 months and 1 think we should both wait to clear up that point. 1 am quite convinced that the report has not so far said that Chowilla would reduce salinity. I think it is important, too, to note that computer tests have been carried out on what would happen if we had Dartmouth dam only or Chowilla dam only. I have seen those computer tests and they are most convincing. They show that Chowilla would not have given South Australia its entitlement in all years of restriction. It would iron out some peaks but in 3 past years South Australia would not have been able to obtain its allocation in years of restriction if Chowilla had been operating. With Dartmouth, South Australia would in those years have obtained its entitlement. This is the important thing. South Australia does need to have that entitlement in years of restriction.
A great deal is being said about Lake Victoria. Some tests have been done now by the technical committee of the River Murray Commission to find out whether it will be of advantage to widen the inlets and outlets of Lake Victoria. It will be advantageous to South Australia if we can have more water in times of flood diverted into Lake Victoria and then allowed to come down the river in the ordinary way. It will help to mitigate flooding. At present in times of flood with the rather narrow inlet and outlet to Lake Victoria there is no check to the flooding, no way of holding the floodwaters and releasing them into South Australia at a later stage.
Chowilla would have a great problem of evaporation. 1 think this problem has been overlooked. Sometimes it is asked why we have not gone on with the building of Chowilla as was advocated in the time of Sir Thomas Playford. There were a great many miscalculations at that time. For one thing, the cost was miscalculated and it has now escalated to an absurd stage where, obviously, it is more advantageous to all States to build the Dartmouth dam. With Chowilla there would have been something like 250,000 acre feet of water - 1 would not like to be held to the exact figure - to be divided between the 2 States after South Australia had its entitlement. With the Dartmouth dam there is about I million acre feel of wafer to be divided between hose 2 States, lt is reasonable if New South Wales and Victoria have to contribute to the building of the Dartmouth dam - obviously there will be added benefits for those I States - thai South Australia should agree (o build whichever dam will give added benefits to all 3 States. This is what is now happening.
Incorrect assessments were certainly made in those early days as to the evaporation rate at Chowilla, and as to the amount of area to be covered. This is the first mistake in connection with the evaporation rate. If the investigators found that the area to be covered was less than it actually was, then obviously they could nol calculate the evaporation rate. Certainly in the more recent droughts, they have been able to find out that South Australia finished up with more water at the lower end although there was nothing in the Hume dam. It is from the Hume thai all States begin to obtain their entitlement. This certainly indicates that the Hume dam has been unregulated. I have been making this point all along. The whole of the River Murray must be regulated in order to benefit all States. This is why I say that there will undoubtedly be more dams built and more regulation of the River as the years go along. [ am quite sure that South Australia will be able to advocate the building of Chowilla and I am sure it will go ahead.
– You have more backbone than the Liberal senators from South Australia. We will not get Chowilla in the future.
– We are getting a pretty fair deal now with the Dartmouth dam and obtaining more allocation than we would have obtained from Chowilla. I think the Labor Party forgets this point. Do we want more water or do we want only a dam? 1 found it interesting to read these amendments which have been put forward by Senator Bishop. In the first place ihe amendment says that the States should wail until there is a national water conservation and constructing authority embracing the Snowy Moimiains Authority before we pass this Bill.
– You did not read it properly.
– I will read it again:
The Senate is of the opinion that the Bill should not be proceeded with until the Commonwealth has negotiated with the States for the establishment of a national water conservation and constructing authority.
If we wait for that we are never going to get either dam. The important point is that we need water and we need the assurance of water as soon as possible. For heaven’s sake, do not let us pass an amendment which says that we should wait until we have negotiated for a water conservation authority. This would certainly hold up the supply of the water and the building of the dam. The other amendment says that we should not approve of this Bill: until an immediate computer evaluation of the construction of storage of various capacities at both Dartmouth and Chowilla has been completed.
I have just said that this has been done. I have seen those studies.
– Why do you not vote for the amendment? If they are available, why do you not tell us about them?
– I am telling you about them. Those studies show that the peaks would have been ironed out, but in the 3 years of restriction that have transpired South Australia would not have obtained its entitlement with Chowilla, but would have with Dartmouth - with one exception: In one year South Australia would have been short 76,000 acre feet, which is a very insignificant amount of water.
– We are proposing the 2 dams as a joint study.
– They have been studied. The important thing is that we Save to go along with the River Murray Commission. We must have the agreement of all 4 parties to that Commission. If they tell us they are not going to agree to Chowilla what is the good of arguing that we need Chowilla? They are not going to give it to us. They are not going to induce water to come down for us. They are not going to pay for it. We hear arguments from the Labor Party in South Australia that if we had the water in South Australia nobody could stop us using it. They can stop us obtaining it in other years. They can use the water further upstream. We cannot go in the face of the River Murray Commission and say that we are going to use the water in a year of restriction, because we simply would not get it at another time. It is unrealistic to say that we ought to defy the River Murray Commission and say: ‘Give us the water in our State. We will do what we like.’
Some people have asked: Who is going to guarantee that we get this extra allocation of li million acre feet of water. The River Murray Commission has guaranteed it. Do people disbelieve the River Murray Commission which comprises representatives of 3 States and the Commonwealth? It is unrealistic to say that we cannot accept the assurance that the River Murray is going to guarantee the supply of water. The question was asked: ‘Who is going to measure the amount of water?’ The water is measured upstream at the Hume dam. South Australia knows exactly how much it is going to be given. I cannot see any answer-
– 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 to speak about certain features connected with the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. This campaign is planned for 8th, 9th and 10th May. It has received widespread publicity already and I know that there is a current of thought to the effect that people should be silent because to speak out against this campaign will lend some publicity and possibly some support to its objectives. But I do not believe in that point of view. I believe that where there is a campaign which is based on falsehood and which is based on letting down Australia and its allies, those people who feel strongly about it should use every opportunity available to them to speak forcefully about how they feel. I am prepared to debate this issue in the Senate and in any other place. I nail as inaccurate the statement which has been made in various places by members of the Opposition that members of the Government are not prepared to debate the issue of Vietnam. As I have said, I am prepared to debate it on any occasion which provides itself.
I do not believe in the immediate withdrawal of our troops from Vietnam because 1 do not believe in deserting our allies and in deserting the people who called for our assistance and are grateful for what they have received. I do not believe in the repeal of the National Service Act because I believe that Australia must have a defence preparedness. If Australia is to have a defence preparedness it must have troops. If those troops cannot be obtained by the volunteer system the National Service Act provides the only means of supplying them. I am prepared to debate this issue because I believe in democracy and in government by the elected representatives of the people. I do not believe in mob rule. I do not believe in government by unionists outside the Parliament and I do not believe that, in an ordered democratic society which has taken hundreds of years to develop, we can afford to have government by persons who claim to be representative of the people but who are not representative of the people. 1 believe in our system of free general elections whereby issues such as the Vietnam issue can be canvassed every 3 years, and if the majority of the people can be persuaded then the Government will change. I think that part of the reason for this Vietnam Moratorium Campaign is the fact that the Australian Labor Party, after years of endeavouring unsuccessfully to persuade the people of Australia to support it, has reached a stage of frustration at which it is prepared to forego the democratic processes and to rely upon other means to achieve its objectives. 1 say that there is no need for this protest - the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign - to take place in the form in which it is proposed.
– Do you think you are in Germany?
– I hear Senator Devitt interjecting about Germany. I say that the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign savours more of the mob rule stormtrooper tactics of the Nazis prior to the Nazis coming to power than does .anything else we have seen in our democratic community since then. Never let it be forgotten that the Weimar Republic was a democracy and that democracy was destroyed by mob rule on the streets by competing factions. I say that the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign is not being adopted for democratic purposes nor as part of democratic processes. It is an invitation to lawlessness; it is an invitation to mob rule. I believe that it is unnecessary. If the stated objectives of the organisers are to be believed, the stated objectives will have to be achieved by the methods which are being adopted. But 1 believe that the staled objectives are not the real objectives. The real objectives are to intimidate the police, to undermine authority generally and to foster a disregard of and a disbelief in the elected representatives of the people. The campaign, whatever its organisers say. is based upon the consequences of public reaction to violence and arguments which will be used will be to demonstrate that violence.
– What violence?
– If the police can be intimidated into taking action there will be fostered, as a result of that action, an argument against authority. I believe that the record of the past 3 or 4 years in Australia will provide ample evidence that this is a tactic which is calculated to arise from what is proposed in this campaign.
The Commonwealth Attorney-General (Mr Hughes) made a statement in the House of Representatives yesterday and in response to that statement the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), the Leader of the Australian Labor Party, castigated the Government because its claim that the campaign should be condemned was based not on a fact that violence would take place but only on the fact that violence might take place. It was said that this was looking to a possibility and that it was not established that violence would occur. I think it is prudent for all honourable senators, and for members of the Labor Parly in particular, to take heed of some of the statements which are being made by people who are participating in this campaign. This campaign is an Australia wide campaign, and if there are people who are indicating that violence will take place then members of the Labor Party should take heed of whether they will support a campaign in which that kind of violence will occur.
May I refer to the record so that what I am saying can be substantiated? I refer firstly to the Communist Tribune’ of 4ih February 1970. I refer to the Communist Tribune’ because it cannot be denied that the Austraiian Communist Party, of which ihe “Tribune’ is the official organ, is taking an active part in this campaign and is indicating through its publications that it is proud to take a leading part in the campaign. In the Communist Tribune’ it was stated:
We don’t want ;t moratorium limited to traditional peace marches to the exclusion of more militant expressions of opposition.
– Later it stated
Communists oppose any limitation on activity for the moratorium.
If I heard Senator Murphy’s interjection correctly, he was seeking to defend the Communists because they used the word expressions’. I ask him to direct his attention to (heir use of the word ‘activity’. I may say that I made that response to Ihe interjection because I did bear the use by Senator Murphy of the word ‘expressions’.
– I was referring ‘o what you said. You were putting a point of view …
– I had quoted what was in a Communist publication.
– You support your point of view by referring to ‘expressions’. That did not bear out your argument.
– I have stated what the Communist Party says are the Communist Party’s intentions with regard to this Moratorium. The next publication to which I refer is the Melbourne ‘Sun’ of 2nd February 1970. I do not look at that newspaper in detail because I quoted extracts from it when I spoke on this subject during the Address-in-Reply debate. Members of the Opposition will remember that at the meeting on 1st February 1970 of the Victorian Vietnam Moratorium Campaign Committee, of which Dr Cairns is the Chairman, there was a successful move to delete from the objectives of the Campaign a plea that the activities be non-violent. Most honourable senators received in the mail yesterday a statement from the organisers of the Campaign in which it is made quite clear - ‘The Campaign is to be non-violent’. Why therefore did the Victorian organisers of the campaign choose to remove from the objectives of the campaign the specific plea that it be non-violent? There was a speaker in support of the proposal who instanced what had happened at the Independence Day celebrations in Melbourne in 1968-69 as proof of what violent demonstrations can achieve. I think members of the Labor Party and the public at large should take heed of the consequences of the withdrawal from the objectives of the organisation of the plea that it be nonviolent. When that plea was removed the Inter-Church Council for Peace, which is quite a significant body in Victoria in support of the general objectives of the Labor Party and the anti-Vietnam crusaders, withdrew entirely from the Campaign. But the Labor Party did not. One might ask: What is the reason for the different approaches taken by the Inter-Church Council for Peace and the Labor Party? Let me refer to another report, namely, one that appeared in the Adelaide ‘Advertiser’ of 13th April 1970. The headline of the report reads: Bomb plan for SA’ and the report states:
Violent demonstrations were being planned and Molotov cocktails being made for the Vietnam moratorium’ campaign to be held in Adelaide on May 8, 9 and 10, the DLP’s State secretary (Mr M. S. Posa) claimed yesterday.
– Sensational nonsense.
– Someone says: Sensational nonsense’. Let me deal with that in a moment. Still referring to Mr Posa, this report states:
He said he had evidence that Molotov cocktails were being made.
They might not be used - but there will be violence in Adelaide and it will be deliberately fostered,’ he said.
I hope that Mr Posa has made his evidence available to the police authorities, and I hope that the police authorities are taking action. Although people might scoff at the statement that Molotov cocktails are being made in Australia and could be used in demonstrations, it is not so far removed from reality to believe that it could occur.
I remember that on 4th July 1968 it was only be sheer chance that the United States Consul-General’s office in Melbourne was not burnt to the ground. Demonstrators who went to that consulate went with fire bombs which were able to be used and would have been used but for police action that thwarted them. Let it never be thought that these things cannot happen in Australia. Let it never be thought that there are not people who are prepared to take this action if they believe that the noise which their activity will cause will give them some publicity.
– Who is Mr Posa?
– He is the secretary of the Democratic Labor Party, which is a recognised political party in this country.
– A real hoary old reactionary.
– If members of the Opposition treat with contempt or ignore the fact that Molotov cocktails are being made, just because the DLP says so, let them hold their heads in shame if what Mr Posa has prophesied should ever occur.
The second point I make, lest people think that this is a far-fetched fantasy, is that in Melbourne we have a group that calls itself the Vietnam Liberation Group. It has indicated that it is prepared to break windows and to cause other damage to property in order to make its point. According to the last report T read, more than $25,000 worth of damage has been done in shop window breakages attributed to this group. The third instance - although I do not link this with the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign; I merely instance-
– Do not refer to it as a moratorium; refer to it as an unofficial strike, because that is what it is.
– 1 accept as accurate the interpretation that Senator Branson puts on it, but 1 give it the name by which it is known. 1 do not attribute that to which I will now refer to this Campaign. In the city of Melbourne over the past 2 months there have been no fewer than 8 school fires which have been deliberately caused by an arsonist or arsonists and which have caused damage in excess of $llm. Whether or not this is politically motivated-
– Dr Cairns was giving his blessing to the Students in Revolt movement.
– Who knows what the reason for this damage is? All I say is that - whether it be politically motivated or not; there are sufficient factors lo raise speculation as to that - this sort of damage and this sort of violence can occur, and we should not treat as something totally foreign to the Australian makeup the suggestion that violence will occur in this Moratorium. 1 have referred to newspaper reports which have been based upon statements made by people and which have not been contradicted or challenged. I have not heard from one member of the Labor Party as indication that members of the Labor Party are in the least concerned that this will happen. 1 would have thought that the very least the Labor Party could do was to indicate as strongly as words can that this is repudiated. But that has not happened at all. All 1 have had from the Labor Party as I have mentioned these matters tonight is mirth and a certain disregard for what I have said, evidenced by a belief that 1 am talking off the top-
– Through your hat.
– That is just the point 1 am making.
– Dr Cairns even speaks of breaking the law.
– This Campaign consists of claims and appeals lo people to assemble in the muss and to occupy the streets of Melbourne and other places. I did desire to refer to the statement reported in the Melbourne ‘Sun’ of 26th March. That report had as its headline: ‘Take over streets of cities: Cairns’. When Dr Cairns appeared on television a fortnight to 3 weeks later, he immediately took issue with his interviewers because, he said, that headline was inaccurate. But, as far as 1 am aware from reading all his letters which have been published in the Press, at no time has he ever said that what was attributed to him at that meeting was untrue. The words that were attributed lo him may or may not fairly justify that headline. Let me tell the Senate what they were. The report, which I understand he has not challenged, stated:
The chairman of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign, Dr Cairns, MHR, yesterday called on workers and students ‘to occupy the streets of Melbourne’ on Friday, May 8th.
Dr Cairns called on all workers, students and citizens to slop work and lake over the streets of Melbourne and provincial towns.
The newspaper article then made this commient
The Sun’ blives thai the report on March 26th was an accurate account of what Dr Cairns said and lhat the heading was a fair representation of what was contained in the report.
Dr Cairns has made no complaint lo “The Sun’ in the 10 days since the report was published.
The objection that Dr Cairns took was to a headline which read: ‘Take over streets of cities: Cairns’. What does this taking over streets of cities mean? It is noi a march. lt is not a planned exercise, lt is not a procession, lt is not an occasion on which the organisers go to the police and seek police protection and police organisation of ihe march.
– Did the farmers do that?
– That is what happens when the St Patrick’s Day procession takes place. That is what happens when the Anzac Day march takes place. That is what happens when the farmers march took place. It is also what happens on occasions when marches by unionists to the city offices of their employers take place. But on this occasion there is no suggestion that that is proposed. In the first statement that Dr Cairns made he said: ‘We cannot guarantee that there will be no violence, because of police intimidation’. That seems to prejudge what he considers will be an event that will take place and to lay the blame before the event takes place.
– You are playing with words.
– All 1 am doing is giving facts and, if the honourable senator can contradict them or by argument show them to be wrong. 1 will accept that as a fair way of dealing with them. But what 1 am saying is factual, and insofar as it is opinion it is based on fact.
The Campaign is an invitation for mass demonstrations to take place and for a mass takeover of the streets. As 1 said, there will be no order involved and there will be no planning. There will be simply the hopi that thousands - probably hundreds of thousands - will mass in the streets. For what purpose? As I understand the objectives of the Campaign, they are to demonstrate, to agitate, to make their purpose known and to do anything that will attract the news media and give news publicity to their activities. I challenge any person in the Opposition to say that that is no’ what they are wanting. They are seeking to have hundreds of thousands of people mass together in the streets of the major cities in the middle of the day, when people are going about their lawful vocations.
Who will this mass of people include? it will include, if we read the publications, unionists, citizens, students, school children and, of course, agitators, lt will include Communists, and it will include a motley collection of people with firebrand purposes and militant objectives, lt will consist of people who hold their views fiercely, albeit sincerely. There will be people who will be motivated by the occasion, and there will be a tinderbox which could be sparked off very readily. Amongst these people there will be those who will regard themselves as entitled to disregard any law, not only a law which they regard as unjust, but any law - according to the doctrine enunciated by Dr Cairns - which they regard as objectionable.
Who is to determine whether a law is objectionable? Dr Cairns says that anybody who feels that a law is objectionable has a right - I think he may have even postulated it as a duty - to disobey that law. He said in an address to university students on Monday of this week that there was no requirement that these activities involved in the Moratorium Campaign must take place within the law. What we will have, therefore, are people who are invited to disregard the law because on the occasion it suits them to regard it as objectionable. I once again challenge members of the Labor Party to come out and say whether any one of them is prepared to disagree with that doctrine which Dr Cairns has enunciated. What we will have is an emotional situation, and it requires only a group of people to take some planned and concerted action beforehand, which is designed to cause trouble, and panic will ensue and we could have the greatest holocaust which our cities have ever seen. lt is the failure or the unwillingness or the refusal of the members of the Labor Party to recognise that this may be the consequence of what they are supporting that causes me the greatest concern. The Labor Parly is the alternative government. It is a major party in this country, ll has a host of supporters and many people will take what its leaders say as gospel and they will do what is required. This is where 1 believe that the danger lies. I think it is a most reprehensible conduct for the Labor Party to be pursuing. Once panic starts in the streets there is no saying where it will end. Of course, all assembling together is unlawful. In the first place, it is an obstruction in a public place. It is all right for Dr Cairns to say that people have the right to use the streets for political purposes in the same way as people have the right to use the streets for social or commercial purposes. Of course they have. But what point does that statement make? If it is used to justify thousands of people going into the streets and taking over the streets en masse, there is no legitimacy or lawfulness in that.
– Like the farmers.
– The farmers, to whom Senator Murphy refers, were persons who advertised beforehand that they were proposing to hold a march and to meet at the Treasury Gardens. They held a march under police supervision. It was orderly and it finished at the Treasury Gardens. If any honourable senator on the Opposition side can point to any occasion on which the Vietnam Campaign organisers have said that this is what they are proposing to do, then I challenge them to do so, because their whole activity has been directed towards the occupation of the streets. There has been no request for police protection or supervision. There has been no request for an organised march. It is simply a mass takeover: ‘Go to the Treasury Gardens, get your pamphlets, take them into the city and give them to anybody to whom you can give them.’ That is the type of plan which is being made.
If the organisers of this Campaign will determine at this stage that they are going to have a march and that they are going to ask for police supervision, then I am sure that a lot of feeling about this matter will dissipate, because that would be orderly and there would not be any risk involved. Will the Labor Party change its tactics?
– Do you support it?
– Having regard to the way in which Senator Georges speaks, there is not a chance. If there is any sincerity or any genuine feeling about the matter, that is what the Labor Party will be choosing to do. What concerns me, amongst other things, is that there has been nothing said by the Labor Party which condemns any part of these activities. Indeed, the whole of the Campaign has been positively encouraged by Dr Cairns. Dr Cairns calls it government by the people. That is an incredible statement. It is the type of action which, as I said previously, brought down the German Federal Republic, because it was mob rule in the streets by opposing political parties which led Hitler into power. If there is validity in what the Australian Labor Party is saying, that people have the right to go into the streets in the way in which the Labor Party says, then it is a right which cannot fairly be denied to any other political party. If two political parties choose to go into the streets at the same time, in the same place, pursuant to this great doctrine which is enunciated by the Labor Party, the result will be trouble. That has never been part of the Australian pattern, and I hope it never will be. It is that which I fear is being stimulated by members of the Australian Labor Party.
As I have said, there is no need for this protest. One of the arguments used in support of this protest is that the opponents of Vietnam cannot get their viewpoint into the Press. The Australian Press is a free Press, lt gives expression to the views of the Australian Labor Party. There are many newspapers today whose editorial policy is in favour of withdrawal from Vietnam, much along the line - though thank goodness not wholly along the line - of the Australian Labor Party’s policy. It cannot be said by members of the Labor Party that they cannot get their views into the Press. As I have said, yesterday the AttorneyGeneral made a statement. It was an important statement and it was designed to be so. Yet the newspapers did not publish the text of it, and very little of that text was published in the newspapers. I fail to see where the Australian Labor Party can use its inability to get its views across as justification for what it is proposing to do by this Campaign.
I regret, Mr President, that I have taken longer on this matter than 1 had intended. 1 assure you that this is an issue upon which I am unrepentant and it is an issue upon which I will not be silenced. If the Opposition feels that it has some great mission to propagate its views, I equally sense a mission to expose, where I can, the untruths, half truths, lies, inaccuracies and distortions which characterise the whole of the Opposition’s case on Vietnam. I believe that Australia is in Vietnam to resist aggression. I believe that Australia is in Vietnam to assist the Americans to aid the South Vietnamese to secure selfdetermination. I believe in that quite strongly. If the Labor Party feels that it has a right, because it holds views strongly, to occupy the time of this Senate from time to time in expressing its views, I believe that the Australian people are entitled to have the other view expressed in this place, even if we cannot get it put across in other places. I hope that there will be a rethinking about the Labor Party’s support of this Moratorium Campaign.
– You are an optimist.
– I may be an optimist, as Senator Sim says, but I believe that if there is careful thinking about it, the dangers involved in it ought to make members of the Australian Labor Party think twice. I think it is reprehensible that we have a Campaign which is so fraught with the perils which violence can produce, to have attached to it the support of a party which claims to be the alternative government in a democratic society.
– The speech that we have just heard from Senator Greenwood illustrates how hysterical he has become. 1 wish to refer to the way in which the speech of his colleague in another place, the Attorney-General (Mr Hughes), was described this morning. A leading article in the ‘Australian’ stated:
Senator Greenwood’s speech could have been part of a general debate, but the Government has not initiated a debate on this matter. Why have not the Ministers spoken about this important issue? Why has a backbencher, an office boy, been given the job? His speech tonight was full of hysteria. He spoke to us as a classical storm trooper would speak. He tried to spread fear.
– He feels strongly enough about the war to conscript other people.
– Of course. He advocates the continuation of this filthy and immoral war. His speech illustrates that at long last we who have a conscience about the Vietnam war have penetrated the political veneer of Senator Greenwood. He now realises that the cards are stacked against him and against the things that he has advocated over the years. The rest of the world is turning against his views and against the Government’s policy. Today, whenever one picks up a paper, one finds that the Press of the world is unanimous that this war must be concluded and that our invading troops and the United States invading troops must be withdrawn from IndoChina. Not only must the troops be withdrawn but also this madness on a grand scale, as it has been described, must be stopped, lt certainly is madness when innocent women and children are burned and bombed under whatever guise it is called. The Government has been given no right to enter this country and it has been unable to justify the tactics that it has employed in Vietnam through its policy of burning and murdering, lt is quite easy for Senator Greenwood to rant and rave here tonight, but he is supporting a war that has cost 40,000 American lives, 350 Australian lives and $ 100,000m that could have been spent on the alleviation of hunger, suffering and hardship in other parts of the world.
– A million children have been killed, wounded or maimed.
– They have been maimed and burned by napalm and the like. The tactics used are the worst ever used in warfare by so-called civilised people. The war has lasted longer than any other war in which we have fought. Yet tonight we heard Senator Greenwood, speaking on the adjournment motion instead of having the courage to organise his own colleagues into having a full dress debate, claim that he will debate this matter on any platform. He is the only one on the Government side who has ever said that. The others have all run away into their funkholes when they have been challenged to debate this matter on television or on a public platform.
– Would you like to throw out a challenge?
- Senator Rae is one of those people who likes to feast off what was described as the ‘hoariest, hardiest and most indestructible myth of them all’ - the myth of international Communist conspiracy. The people of Vietnam have fought this type of invasion of their country for 100 years or more. Firstly the French invaded their country. Then Australia was included when the British came into Vietnam. Later, taking over the shoes of the French, came the Americans. To our great discredit, Australia has joined in this carnage. The Government has tried to destroy, to decimate and to commit genocide on a race of proud people whose only wish is that they should be given independence. They want their independence. They have every right to have their independence without the inteference of other people.
– You do not call the South Vietnamese a proud people; you call them Fascists.
– The policy that the Government is carrying out today is the same policy that the German Fascists carried out against the Jews, the Poles and other races in Germany. The Government is taking on the role of the Herrenvolk, the master race, lt believes we can destroy this whole race of people yet still have the hide to consider ourselves as Christians, people commanded not to kill and people who are commanded to do unto others as they would that others should do unto them. Daily we are breaking the great Christian beliefs that we are supposed to be upholding. No wonder the Government is getting this reaction whereby people want to go into the streets and demonstrate. No wonder the youth of this country believes that the older generation is a generation of confounded hypocrites who have one rule for Sunday and another rule for every other day of the week. The only way that young people can express their views today is to go out into the streets and demonstrate against the depravity and immorality of Government policy that perpetuates a war such as the one in Vietnam.
– Could this demonstration lead to violence?
– Violence will be encouraged and provoked by the very attitude that the Attorney-General took yesterday and that Senator Greenwood took tonight. I believe that Senator Rae would support that attitude. If both Senator Greenwood and Senator Rae were to claim any right at all to offer an alternative to a protest against this war and if they were to do the right thing, they would be in Vietnam supporting our troops. They are young enough and physically fit enough to be there. If they have the type of attitude towards their fellow men that they want to burn and kill them, they should be in Vietnam.
– Why are you not there with the Vietcong?
– I shall not take up much more time, but I want to get on record something which I would like Senator Little to read and to digest inwardly. I refer to an article by Douglas Brass, Editorial Director of the ‘Australian’. The article reads:
How much longer can we Australians stomach this filthy war that the hapless Americans have got us into?
How much longer is our glib Government going to turn a blind eye to the terrible things that are being done, in this mad crusade, to miserable wretches in primitive villages?
When are we going to hear the voice of humane Australia raised in anger over war crimes which have now been officially acknowledged - and projected in blood-red slides to sickened congressmen in Washington?
In my hand I have a photograph showing an American soldier holding up the dismembered head of a human being - one of God’s creatures. What will that soldier say to his child if ever the child recognises the father in the photograph? Will the child say: Daddy, is that what you did in the war? Is that the culmination of 2,000 years of Christianity? Is this what we have come to?’ Yet honourable senators opposite have the temerity and the audacity to condemn people who protest against this type of conduct. Douglas Brass’s article went on to say:
When are we going to drop the cowardly role of silence, the callous parade of everything America does, the lies about treaty obligations when only mean self-interest is in mind? Or are we so brutalised . . .
This is the point. As a nation of people, we have become brutalised by the Press and by people such as Senator Greenwood making others afraid to go out and protest openly against the atrocities that are being perpetuated. The article continues:
Or are we so brutalised by the cruel and phoney years, so atrophied by our crushing communal non-thought, that we prefer to close our ears indefinitely to the cries of outrage that are deafening our friends and enemies alike?
I say to Senator Greenwood that we are prepared to debate in any place this issue with him or with anyone else. We believe that the troops should be withdrawn from Vietnam. We believe that the National Service Act should be repealed. Senator Greenwood and Senator Rae should persuade their colleagues to have a full dress debate in the Senate. The Opposition is willing to meet the Government and to mix it with the Government to any extent it likes at any time. In parts of the United States people have turned out in their hundreds to protest. They had success because they appealed to the conscience of President Johnson. He realised that his policy was false and wrong. He resigned from his job to go back to his farm in Texas and repent. The man who took his place will have done so under false pretences unless he carries out the policy of withdrawal of troops from Vietnam that he promised the American people. I understand that President Nixon is to make a statement on that subject tomorrow. During his campaign for election he said: ‘We do not want a wider war. But what about Laos and Cambodia? The war is widening there, so what sort of leadership is the world getting?
– Who is sending the troops into Laos and Cambodia?
– I do not know where the troops came from but the war certainly is widening. I am saying that a challenge faces President Nixon to be able to justify the claims he made during the American presidential campaign, including the claim that he would withdraw American troops from Vietnam, which helped to gain his election. The eyes of the world are upon him. He is concerned not only as an individual. His reputation and the prestige of the United States are on the world’s chopping block at present. President Nixon must honour his responsibility to withdraw his troops from Vietnam and to bring about there a settlement and a cessation of the carnage. Tonight Senator Greenwood has shown that he is fearful of the consequences of his own Government’s policy. At last his conscience is pricking him and be is showing it by the hysteria with which he addressed the Senate tonight.
Senator RAE (Tasmania) fi 1.421 - I hope I will be able to address the Senate without the hysteria alleged against Senator Greenwood and displayed by Senator O’Byrne. We are discussing a matter of great moment to the community. The war in Vietnam is of great importance to our community, but so also is a call to anarchy within the community. Let us study for a moment the stated aims of the so-called Vietnam Moratorium Campaign for 8th, 9th and 1 0th May.
– lt is a call for peace.
– It is not a call for peace, as Senator Georges has claimed. Some very significant words appear at the top of a document I received today, purporting to come from the organisation sponsoring this Campaign. The document states:
A moratorium against business as usual to end the war.
In other words, it is a call to the people of Australia to stop business as usual within Australia, to prevent the community going about its affairs. It is a cull to dislocate industry, community services and transport and to reduce the right of the people to enter into the streets where they are entitled to passage. I turn to another part of the document to which I was treated in this morning’s mail. It states:
We call upon all Australians to examine anew their commitment to peace
And here is an extraordinary thing - and to join us in a Moratorium on ‘Business as Usual’ . . .
In other words, to get peace you should employ violence, disruption and anything else. That is what it comes down to. The document continues: while the suffering of the Vietnamese people continues we cannot go on with business as usual.
The document asks people to commit themselves, to organise and to promote this effort in our work places, our campuses and our community, lt is a deliberate attempt to disrupt the community and to create a situation of lawlessness. 1 propose to study further just what the creation of lawlessness means to some of the people who are sponsoring the campaign. At page 998 of Hansard of the House of Representatives of 10th April Dr Everingham is reported to have said:
Mr Speaker and honourable members, it is no argument to condemn the action of any person because he disobeys a law. That law must also be shown to be just. There is no ground for condemning a member of Parliament or any person for any action he takes which resembles that of an unjust person, a Communist, a Fascist, a dictator or a totalitarian unless that action is unjust. I object to the doctrime of guilt by association which has been implied repeatedly in this chamber today. i object to the doctrine that law and order must be obeyed according to the book and according to the letter, and that this is the only test of democracy, because all too often it is the very means by which democracy is destroyed and democracy . is prevented from emerging.
I wish to analyse the views advanced by Dr Everingham. Who is to decide what is a just law? Who is to decide whether justice is being done? From what Dr Everingham has said I presume that it is the individual himself. But what guidelines does an individual use? Does he use his own feelings or preferences, his own thoughts on a particular subject that concerns him and about which a law has been made by a democratically elected Government? Let us assume that an individual is concerned about a traffic law, and that he objects to it on the ground that it is unjust. History shows that Dr Cairns regarded a Melbourne City Council by-law as unjust. That is a relatively insignificant matter but it is not unreasonable to expect that he or somebody else may have strong feelings about some of the traffic laws.
It may be that Dr Cairns would take particular exception to the traffic law which distinguishes the practice on our roads from that in other countries. I refer to the traffic law which states that we must-drive on the left hand side of the road. Dr Cairns or Dr Everingham or any other person who espouses the theory of disobedience to an unjust law may say: ‘I regard that law as unjust and therefore I will disobey it. I will drive on the right hand side of the road and everyone else should get out of my way’. Is that a socially acceptable action? M’ould that lead to carnage and destruction? Is there any real difference between a person who takes that sort of action to mark his protest against an unjust traffic law and a person who takes a different sort of action to mark his protest against another type of law? I refer, for instance, to action taken to disrupt industries, to take over the streets to mark a protest against the National Service Act. What is the difference between the two actions? Each one comes down to a personal decision and a decision which cannot be related to the good of the community or its wishes. After all, the good of the community and its wishes are intended to be reflected in a democratically elected Parliament.
The arguments that have been put forward by Dr Everingham are the arguments put forward originally by ancient anarchists and I see no difference between the anarchists of ancient times and those of modern days. I accuse those people who support such an approach of being anarchists. I believe that anarchy is the destruction of our democratic way of life. It is the destruction of our whole way of life which we have come to respect. The call by Dr Cairns has not been accepted by significant sections of the trade union movement. In fact, the National Council of the Federated Ironworkers Association has called on its membership of about 67,000 to treat with contempt the call by Dr Cairns. It seems extraordinary, if the call really does come from a natural and spontaneous motivation of such a significant section of the community, that such a strong body of unionists should call on its members to treat it with contempt.
Some unfortunate remarks were made in this chamber not long ago which can be considered in the light of what Senator Greenwood said and what others said by interjection to Senator Greenwood about association and motivation behind the call coming from the Communist Party and its influence in the protest movement. Some days ago when Senator Sim was speaking in this chamber he referred to one of the journals of the Communist Party which dealt with the role of the protest movement and he said:
The Communist Party has been a driving force in the whole struggle.
Senator Cavanagh is recorded as having interjected: ‘Good luck to them.’ Good luck to those who wish to disrupt; those who wish to take over by violence; those who wish to create anarchy for their own benefit, not for the common good. Are we to wind up with the type of repressive regime which operates in the Communist countries of this world? It has been argued by some that there is no evidence that the Moratorium Campaign will lead to violence, but only that it may. The Government has been criticised for the statement which it made yesterday through its Attorney-General (Mr Hughes) warning the community of the possibility that this type of action would lead to violence and loss of property and possibly to loss of life. Surely a community is entitled to be warned of any matter which may lead to violence in that community. If there was a situation where fire or flood could spread to an urban or populated area and cause loss of life or loss of property then a government aware of that would be recreant to its duty if it did not give due warning to the community and take such steps as were reasonable to see that there was no violence, no loss of life and no loss of property. This is what has been done by the present Government, but has it been accepted in that spirit by Opposition supporters? Has the Opposition come out and said: ‘We will do everything within our power to ensure that there is no violence.’? Have we heard from one single senator opposite that they will do everything in their power to see that there is no violence? I put it to Senator O’Byrne by way of interjection, and what was his reply? It was to avoid the issue, in the same way as he avoided my challenge to take part in the debate.
What has been the attitude of the Labor Party? ls it correct that some of the leaders of the Labor Party have not yet acknowledged their support for this Moratorium Campaign? Is this because they are exercising a greater degree of responsibility than others or is it that perhaps they are not prepared to let the public know that they in fact support a call to anarchy. The history of mob violence and the history of mob action coincide. Mob action and mob violence have, throughout the years of recorded history, gone together. Senator Greenwood, looking at Australia, said something with which I do not entirely agree, it was the only part of his speech with which I did not agree. What he said was that this type of action has never before occurred in Australia and should never occur in the future. I agree that it should not occur in the future .but 1 do not agree that it has not occurred in the past. We have the example, in particular in the 1890s and latter part of the 1880s, when mobs did take to the streets; when we had violence; when we had death; and when we had loss of property. This is the sort of thing that is being advocated again by the Labor Party in its support for anarchy, in its support for a moratorium on ‘business as usual’, its support for a disruption of the work of the community - the right to work - a disruption of the right to study on the campuses and a disruption of the right to go about the streets and enjoy life in whatever way people see proper, taking such concern as they see appropriate.
Again, in the 1920s, we had the horrible example of what happened in Victoria during the police strike. What is to happen in this case if the police find themselves so outnumbered by a huge mob in the streets of Melbourne again, for example, that they are incapable of taking any action to control a mob completely lacking direction, a mob being incited by various people - madmen amongst others - who enjoy the sort of thing that Senator Greenwood referred to, the burning down of schools or the looting of business premises or whatever it may be. What is to happen if that situation is created by the introduction of a large number of uncontrolled people into the streets of Melbourne or any other city? Are we to call in the Army by way of protection? Are we to call in the police reserves from other States when this is possibly going to happen in other cities to the same extent as it is going to happen in Melbourne and Sydney? What is to happen?
– Call out the young Liberals.
– I am glau to hear Senator Lacey interjecting because it is the first time I have seen him open his mouth since I have been in this Senate. He asked a question today. It is pretty easy to see that an election is coming up. Senator Lacey should keep interjecting; he might have himself re-elected. Is this a legitimate protest? Has it the basic tenets of a legitimate protest, such as the one that has been mentioned by a number of interjectors opposite - the farmers’ march, for instance? That was an orderly march. That was a meeting in a public area which did not set out wilh the specific intention of bringing to a stop business as usual’ within the whole of our community. This is a completely new departure and it is one which can only lead to a dislocation involving the probability of violence. It is said that Douglas Brass - some expert apparently on South East Asian affairs–
– He is not an expert.
– From the way he was quoted one would gather that he was being quoted as an expert on South East Asian affairs. He says that Australia should not continue its involvement in Vietnam. But let us look at what a real expert said. Let us look at what Denis Warner said. He is a man whose knowledge of the area and whose journalistic standing is certainly higher than that of Douglas Brass. He said that our withdrawal from Vietnam precipitately and before stability has been achieved by the South Vietnamese Government would almost certainly lead to the murder of 3 million people. Now, Senator O’Byrne and his supporters are apparently unconcerned by that estimate. They are unconcerned by the fact that an expert on this subject would make one of the most fantastic - on the face of it - forecasts of what might happen that one would ever expect to read. But one finds that his estimate is supported by fact. The facts are plain for people to see if they have a look at what happened during the Tet offensive.
We have heard a lot about the use of napalm and about the use of weapons upon the North Vietnamese or Vietcong armies. Have we heard anything from the other side about the use of brutality and the use of weapons upon the South Vietnamese civilians when the North Vietnamese and Vietcong had the opportunity to do so during the Tet offensive? Have we heard anything about the graves of Hue from the other side and if not, why not? Because they have no answer to it, because they know as well as I know that the net result of our immediate and precipitate withdrawal from South Vietnam would be -wholesale slaughter as took place during the Tet offensive of 1968. They know that this would lead to the murder of innocent citizens but they are not concerned about that, provided they can achieve their objective of an immediate withdrawal and a cessation of the fighting power of the South Vietnamese to support a system of control which will bring back stability to that poor benighted area.
May the day never dawn when we see a successful moratorium campaign achieving its objective of bringing an immediate withdrawal of the troops from Vietnam and leaving the people there to be slaughtered by the million. I am appalled to think that people who do not go there, who do not find out what is going on there and who do not wish to know what is going on there should suggest a policy which will undoubtedly lead to the wholesale slaughter of many people. Let us look at the basic situation which they have adopted. They have adopted an opposition to the theory known as the domino theory. Where does the domino theory stand now? Just have a look at Laos. Just have a look at Cambodia. Just ask any person in South East Asia whether he now believes in the domino theory, whether or not he had any doubts about it before. I think the Labor Party policy in Vietnam stands more roundly and soundly condemned now than it ever has during the history of this unfortunate war.
– How do you help people who will not fight for themselves.
– That interjection shows the complete ignorance of Senator Mulvihill in this situation. If the honourable senator went to Vietnam and saw the way in which those people have made a magnificent effort in recovering their country from destruction and foreign control by the North Vietnamese, and from the control of the disruptive elements in the community which are attacking the lawfully elected Government, he would know that of the more than 1 million troops which the South Vietnamese now have a very large number have been recruited and trained since the Tet offensive.
There is one big change which has not been recognised by the Labor Party in relation to South Vietnam. I refer to the change which came over that country after the horrors of the Tet offensive and the slaughter which took place at that time when the Communists had a chance to slaughter the citizens of South Vietnam. That is why the South Vietnamese Army is now strong; that is why Victnamisation is now possible; and that is what Senator Mulvihill would find out if he took the trouble to go there. Senator O’Byrne said something which was alarming, although I do not think he meant it when he said that what we are doing in South Vietnam is the same as the Fascists in Nazi Germany did to the Jews. In other words, he was saying that our young Australians are behaving in the way in which the Germans behaved in the worst stages of the 1930s and the 1940s- that they are deliberately setting out to murder and expunge from the earth a race of people. He is saying that young Australians have gone to Vietnam to set about the murder of the people there regardless of whether they are military personnel or civilians. Senator O’Byrne said that what we are doing there is what the Fascists in Nazi Germany did to the Jews. If the honourable senator believes that that is happening in Vietnam he must believe that it is being carried out by our own troops. This is the only logical extension of the statement which he made and he cannot escape from it unless he is prepared to withdrawn it. It was an incredible statement. It was the most disgusting slight upon the finest body of young men that it has ever been my privilege to see.
– Mr President, 1 rise to order. My remarks are being completely misconstrued and I must immediately take a point of order.
– Order! If the honourable senator wishes to make a personal explanation he may not make it now.
– I want Senator Rae to withdraw his remarks immediately. He has attributed to me statements which are completely false. He is putting a completely false construction on what I said and I ask not only that his words be withdrawn but also that they be deleted from Hansard because they are completely untrue.
– Order! The point of order is not upheld. If the honourable senator considers that he has been misrepresented he will have an opportunity to make a personal explanation.
– If Senator O’Byrne says that he did not mean that, I am prepared to accept that. If the honourable senator is prepared to say that he did not mean what I heard him say I am quite prepared to accept his withdrawal because I would hate to think that any person in this chamber or in the community would make such statements or hold such beliefs. I am delighted to find that Senator O’Byrne immediately repudiates the construction which was the only construction that I thought was available to the words which he in fact used. But I accept completely his withdrawal and I am very glad to hear it.
– When Communists call you a Fascist it is really a compliment.
– When the DLP calls you a Communist it is a compliment.
– I am concerned not with name calling but with the preservation of peace in our community as well as peace in other parts of the world. I do not see that a call to anarchy and a call leading to the probability - not just the possibility, but the probability - of violence in Australia on 8th, 9th and 10th May can achieve anything towards world peace or anything towards peace in our community. I can only ask that people consider and reconsider anything which could lead to violence during that time.
– Raise this matter at a normal time and we will debate it.
– If Senator Georges will close his mouth for a short time and think with his head we could all proceed. I can only hope that honourable senators opposite who do earnestly and firmly believe that there will be no violence and who believe that every step should be taken to ensure that there will be no violence at this period will take every possible step to ensure that the people whom they have brought together and incited to the action of dislocating the community will be guided from taking any action which could result in violence, the loss of life and the destruction of property.
– There is a well known saying that he whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad. In my State of Victoria at the end of May there is to be an election and the Australian Labor Party is claiming that because of the unpopularity of the Government it has the best opportunity for years of winning the election. But 3 weeks before the election members of the Labor Party propose to have it pinned on them that they have taken a major part in staging this Moratorium. The trade union movement of Victoria has repudiated the Moratorium. The Trades Hall Council has repudiated it and has asked Dr Cairns to cease appealing to unionists. It has been repudiated by a wide variety of people, whom the Australian Labor Party will attack, having seen to it that a large number of trade unionists will be fined a day’s pay over an issue in which they have no particular interest; having seen that parents have learned that their children ‘have been approached outside the authority of their parents, and asked to take part in this demonstration; and having done everything that they possibly can to antagonise the general community in Victoria. Members of the Australian Labor Party will proceed to the election, be defeated as usual and then blame the Democratic Labor Party. All 1 can say is that the wounds from which they will suffer will be self inflicted. 1 noticed for years that the Communist Party used to call strikes 3 weeks before an election for the purpose of destroying the Labor Party’s chances. It no longer has to do so. These days the Australian Labor Party destroys its own chances by getting itself involved in this kind of thing, which can only do it harm.
– ls the honourable senator talking about the Moratorium?
– We had this kind of thing - a moratorium - as long ago as 1938 when a body called the Australian Council Against War and Fascism staged the same sort of demonstrations but, in view of the fact that the Communists were associated with it. the Labor Party rejected it. The result was that in those days no-one could ever pin on the ALP in Victoria any association with the Communist Party and it did nol do the Party any damage at elections. If the ALP had decided to conduct its own demonstrations in regard to Vietnam - to put forward ils own case against the war in Vietnam - nobody could object and nobody could criticise it because it has the right to do so. But how can the Labor Party possibly justify its association with this motley collection of no-hopers who have assembled to establish or set on foot this Moratorium, which is a miserable imitation of what has been already organised in the United States of America, and, having damaged its reputation, proceed to an election and ask the people to vote for it.
To me, the worst feature of the Moratorium is the attempt to drag children into it without any regard to the fact that the persons who are entitled to have authority over the children arc their own parents. What is happening? 1 wish lo quote from an article in the Melbourne ‘Age’ of 2nd April which attributes a statement to Mr N. B. Butler, who is described as a teacher at Sunshine North Technical School and a spokesman for the Schools Moratorium Committee, in the following terms:
The Schools Moratorium Committee, which consists mainly of teachers, will ask high school humanities teachers to organise class discussion of the Vietnam war.
The committee will distribute literature in all Victorian high schools and it will ask teachers not to take action against students who miss school on 8th May, which is the day set for the demonstration called by Dr J. F. Cairns. Many trade unions have rules that minors are not permitted to take part in strikes. I would have thought that if people wanted to hold such a demonstration they would have left it to the able bodied and the adult to conduct it. I think il is despicable for people to go over the heads of parents and school authorities, lt is despicable of them to attempt to use the children for political purposes. When they use the children for political purposes they show they lack any sense of morality.
The fight is now being transferred to the universities. A meeting convened by leaders of the Students for a Democratic Society in the Guild Theatre at Melbourne University on Friday, 3rd April planned activities for the moratorium and decided that lectures at Melbourne University would be forcibly taken over - I repeat forcibly taken over - and disrupted on the morning of 8th May to oblige students attending them to hear discussions on the Vietnam war and reasons for taking part in the Moratorium. If I am a university student and 1 am paying for lectures what right has anybody who claims to stand for freedom to say that my lectures shall be forcibly taken over by a minority group and that the lectures shall be devoted to a subject in which I have no interest or of which I do not approve? ls that freedom? I could understand it if these people were to go into the highways and byways or hire a hall to put their case, but why do they have a right to force their case upon me and to force me to listen to it during a university lecture for which 1 have paid? ls a university a place of learning or a place where people can be forcibly indoctrinated against their will? 1 have a further report of the activities at Melbourne University. The activities planned for the afternoon include the occupation and closing of Collins, Swanston and Bourke Streets between 3 and 6 p.m. I understood that I had the freedom to use the streets, but a minority is now going to close the streets and prevent me from using them - and doing so in the name of freedom. The demonstrators are to be grouped in 3 battalions of 20 to 40 students and will link arms and progress along the streets in a snake dance pattern which is modelled on the methods of Japanese student groups. Does anyone say that it will not lead to violence? Honourable senators know what will happen - there will be violence. The battalions will group together in the Treasury Gardens and will move off at 2 p.m. They are to carry cloth banners for draping over the windscreens of any cars which are trying to use the streets. They will therefore run the risk of provoking an accident in order to prevent a citizen from exercising his right to drive along the street. A pamphlet entitled ‘Nixon’s Blood Bath’ will be distributed in thousands to children in Melbourne schools over the next few weeks. A practice demonstration will be held 2 weeks before 8th May.
Let nobody be in any doubt. This is a definite call to violence and disorder. Of course, Monash University would not be behind by any means. A similar discussion was held at Monash University on Tuesday, 7th April under the chairmanship of Mr Jim Falk of the Public Affairs Committee of the Monash Association of Students, which resulted in the following reports and decisions: The physics department at Monash will not schedule any lectures for 8th May. It is interesting to me to know that lecturers can wipe out lectures for the purpose of a moratorium. It is hoped in addition that academics from other departments will decline to give lectures on that day. To get student backing at Monash it was decided that it would be necessary to picket lectures. In other words they are going to stand in the doorways and prevent students who want to attend legitimate lectures from getting in. This will not mean violence, will it? It was decided to hold teach-ins and to form small faculty groups of students who will disrupt the lectures - I repeat that they will disrupt the lectures - and lead walk-outs.
Faculty groups were elected from the faculties of Arts, Science, Law, Medicine and Engineering and the Diploma of Education. The task of the faculty group members was defined as being to tell lecturers that their lectures would be turned over to Vietnam discussion at a certain time. Surely this will not promote violence! It was further decided, on the suggestion of a Monash Labor Club member and ex-student, Albert Langer, that the process of taking over lectures should be carried out continuously in the period to 8th May. The activities planned for 8th May itself were industrial and university strikes, the occupation of streets in Melbourne and ‘streat theatres’. The occupation would take the form of physically blocking off certain streets and particular buildings. A girl student who was present asked whether it should be made clear that the Moratorium Campaign was moral and not political. This was greated with sustained laughter.
– What is the document from which the honourable senator is quoting?
– All I am going to say is that this is the programme which will be carried out with the endorsement of the Australian Labor Party. It seems very difficult for me to get a hearing from the protagonists of free speech on my right, from the people who are so eloquent about freedom of speech. But I notice that while they are eloquent about the right of freedom of speech they will attempt to drown anybody who speaks against their point of view. The next thing to which I want to refer is the suggestion which has been made in some quarters that there may be a Communist nigger in the woodpile. I believe it would be very wrong to say that unless one was able to produce the evidence. I propose to produce some evidence. I have here a number of documents which emanate from 168 Day Street, Sydney, which, as some New South Wales senators will confirm, is the headquarters of the Communist Party. These documents also contain a phone number and the phone number is that of the Communist Party. A ticket is enclosed for a celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the birth of V. I. Lenin. A gathering is to be held by the national and Sydney committees of the Communist Parties of Australia in Jim Healey Hall for the launching of a booklet titled ‘Lenin Theories of Revolution’ which is written by Eric Aarons. I do not propose to use the ticket but I want to point out that it also contains an interesting statement of what the Communist Party is planning. This is the official Communist Party statement:
A contribution of women and children to the Vietnam Moratorium.
Now, asI said before, I would not mind the able bodied, but why the women and children? Then this document goes further:
The Conscience of Song My
There are thousands of Song Mys!
No more Song Mys!
Withdraw all Soldiers NOW!
End Conscription NOW!
Now it comes:
We seek a group of women, some elderly people and many children to represent the murdered people of Song My in an act of conscience during the Vietnam Moratorium.
So the Communist Party will be represented by the women, the children and the elderly people. The document continues:
Will you help? We will appear as a contingent.
The Communist Party will appear as a contingent in the May Day march on Sunday 3rd May.
– You are represented by 20-year-old conscripts.
– I will continue when the protagantst of free speech on my right ceases. The document states:
We will appear as -
A contingent in the May Day march on Sunday, May 3rd.
A silent protest at lunch hour in Australia Square on Friday, May 8th, from 12-2 (first day of the school holidays).
In various suburbs on Saturday morning. May 9th.
We will demonstrate in the Vietnam Moratorium under the slogans -
THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF SONG MYS-
MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO MORE SONG MYS
WITHDRAW ALL SOLDIERS NOW!
END CONSCRIPTION NOW!
If you want to join us, you will need black slacks or skirl, a black or white shirt-
Fancy the Communist Party wearing black shirts - and a cardboard hat (cone shaped).
You and your children could dye old clothes and make hatsfor yourselves or your children. If you don’t have such clothes, we will be making black clothcover-alls for women and children.
If you can help in the preparations or require further information, please write to:
POST OFFICE BOX 114, HAYMARKET,
An interesting note reads:
For May Day we will be meeting to change into our clothes at the office of the Builders Labourers Federation, 535 George Street, Sydney.
Those are the details and there is the evidence. Nobody can say it is anything to be proud of. There is a straight out deter minationto undertake measures which must lead to violence. There is an endeavour to enlist elderly people, women and children, and to use the children. All I can say in conclusion is that I could understand the Australian Labor Party, knowing as I do it is opposed to the war in Vietnam, if it decided to hold its own demonstrations as it always did in the old days of the Party. But when it allows itself to be tied up to an organisation such as this all it does is further determine many electors in this country that it is unworthy and unsafe to be voted for and it ensures its electoral defeat.
– I rise to a point of order.I request that Senator McManus table the documents from which he quoted and which he described as a report of proceedings of the Moratorium Campaign.I make this request under standing order No. 364.
- Senator McManus, you will table those papers?
– I haveno objection. If, in regard to some of the papers, there is any desire to let the Communist Party know who gave them to me, honourable senators will not be able to find out by looking at the documents.
– Honourable senators on this side of the chamber are obliged to reply to some of the important points deliberately raised tonight. The Senate has seen two hysterical speakers get up and denounce the proposed Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. Let me first say that it has become obvious from the debate that on 8th, 9th and10th May big demonstrations will be held in all capital cities of Australia. I accept Senator Greenwood’s challenge that he is prepared to debate anywhere the question of the Government’s attitude in Vietnam and to appear at any one of those demonstrations where we will have an arranged audience. As a proud sponsor of this Moratorium Campaign I think something should be said about its intentions. We are faced with the position of oppressive, tyrannical, undemocratic legislation and action by the Federal Government. The Government can justify and accept responsibility for legislation only if it is in keeping with popular will or for the benefit of the community we represent, it has been demonstrated by gallup polls andIthink by the last Federal election that the National Service Act has no support in Australia. It is an Act that threatens the young manhood of this country. Australia’s participation in Vietnam has no support in this country.
Despite the fact that gallup polls and votes have demonstrated that Australia’s participation in Vietnam has no support the Australian Labor Party is not successful in getting Austraiian troops withdrawn from Vietnam. We have gone into the whole question of the atrocities in Vietnam, whether we are there or not. The fact is that a demonstration is to be held in Australia for the purpose of peace, for the purpose of influencing Australia’s withdrawal from Vietnam and to seek the repeal of the National Service Act. Let me say that I have been associated with peace movements from the time I left school. Obviously someone got to me as a child. I have always been greatly opposed to war. I have been associated with peace movements since I left school.
There is a realisation today that all the previous plans for peace have not been successful. Whether we succeed in our efforts for peace will be determined by what mass support we can organise for peace movements in the future. The people will be the deciding factor in whether we have wars. We have seen how the League of Nations, the United Nations and various other organisations have failed. We know that America which possesses the devastating atomic bomb could annihilate her present adversary but she has never used the bomb because of world wide public pressure. We know that public pressure changed the Government in America and is causing a withdrawal of American troops.
We have criticised the legislation of Australia. The passage of undemocratic legislation has been achieved by the illegal action of groups of citizens here. One of the unfortunate things is that the Government is not prepared to enforce its laws because they can never stand up to scrutiny and criticism. For years we protested legally against the penal provisions of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The unlawful action of one man in Melbourne brought to an end the application of the penal provisions and today they are as dead as are the little children in Vietnam. We threatened with charges of breaching the Crimes Act those who asked others to protest against Commonwealth law and to disobey it. We had the power of the law and those people were threatened. Today throughout Australia citizens are signing declarations asking for resistance to Commonwealth law. Private citizens have to launch prosecutions while the Attorney-General (Mr Hughes) hides behind the cloak of the statement that the law is drawn in such a way that the Commonwealth could not succeed in a prosecution. That was found to be untrue because a private citizen prosecuted some 300 charges and after conviction could not get enforcement to put such offenders in gaol. The law is being held up to ridicule.
We agreed that the law should not be implemented against children but the Government is forcing kids of 20 years of age into the Services with the result that hundreds of them throughout Australia are fighting the National Service Act. The Government selects one young kid in an isolated area and puts him in gaol for years while 300 others have defied the Act and have not been prosecuted. I went with Senator Brown to Sale in Victoria to see a lad who was sentenced to 2 years gaol. The Government prosecuted that young lad in Sale thinking that because he was out of the metropolitan area there would be no fuss about it. The laws of this country are corrupt because of the inability of the Government to implement laws which have popular appeal.
Those who are organising the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign hope that it will make a big contribution to the peace movement in the future and that the people will decide whether we have war or peace. I am a sponsor of this campaign. Everyone who is sponsoring the campaign believes that it can achieve its purpose and get greater support and have greater effect if we have a massive peaceful demonstration. That is the wish of the sponsors. We hope that unionists will join in the demonstration. We hope that wives with their children will join in the demonstration and show their might. The hope is for a peaceful demonstration. It will gain greater support from the public if it is a peaceful demonstration. But there is no possibility that it will be peaceful. It will be a period of emotional strain when we think of the honors of the tyrannical war in which we are engaged. In addition certain people will be planted amongst those taking part in the demonstration for the purpose of provoking violence and discrediting this mass demonstration that we are capable of organising.
It was with that intent that Senator Greenwood who carries on this campaign in the chamber rose tonight. He was fearful of the might of the demonstration and the effect that it will have on the Government. Poor Senator Rae. He was jealous because he thought he was being left out in the prestige race of the right wing reactionaries of the Liberal Party so he had to come in to defend the statements that had been made.
Let me turn to the statement of Mr Mark Poser which appears in the Adelaide Advertiser’. He is notorious for his statements, he is notorious for his football umpiring and he is notorious for his backward politics. He is secretary of the Australian Democratic Labor Party and he is concerned that those who are supporting the Moratorium are somewhere making Molotov cocktails. If that man had any interest in the preservation of peace he would give to the police the proof of the information that he has and would not publish it to warn those who may be making the Molotov cocktails to keep out of sight. That man’s sole purpose is to create fear. This demonstration must become violent because it will be corrupted by those who want it to become violent. As Senator Lacey’s question this morning indicated, members of the Liberal Party are included in that group.
We hear some low degrading statements in this House. Tonight we heard that the great men who are concerned with peace and are leading the peace movement in Australia were associated with 8 mysterious fires that occurred in schools in Victoria. How low can you get? No-one believes that there is a connection between the fires and the people concerned with the peace movement yet there are those low enough to make that connection. The people who make such accusations are falling out of favour. They have no support from any avenue and they are forced into making despicable statements that no-one else would ever think of.
The Campaign is one of the greatest movements that has operated in Australia. Lt is the hope of the peace movements of the world and the mass of public opinion. If we succeed, those who thrive on war and profit from it have everything to fear. Let me say to Senator Sim, my backward friend from Western Australia who has been interjecting, that I have no apologies to make. If a member of the Australian Communist Party is a fighter for peace in this campaign then he is my brother. I make no apology. I would join even with Senator Little in advocating peace if on any occasion he did advocate peace and if the whole political existence of the organisation to which he belongs did not depend upon warfare. I just say that we will get a lot out of the Campaign and that it is possibly the biggest thing that has happened in Australia. The Government’s fear has been shown by the statement made in the other place. But, a loftier race than e’er the world bath known shall rise with flame of freedom in their souls and light of knowledge in their eyes.
- Mr Deputy President, I wish to make a personal explanation because I was misrepresented. 1 did not say in any way that the burning down of schools in Victoria v as attributable to the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. Furthermore, I expressly disavowed any such connection.
– I rise to discuss another matter, but before doing so I wish to make two quick points concerning the debate tonight. Despite what any member of the Government or any of the people who support them might say, the fact remains that they are fighting a losing battle because the majority of Australians have woken up to the wrongness of what has been done in Vietnam for so long, as have the American people. The fundamental weakness in Senator Greenwood’s argument is that, although he accuses the people who support the Moratorium of violence, the very policies that he supports are historically based on violence.
The matter that I wish to draw to the attention of the Senate is one that has been raised by Tasmanian senators on both sides of the chamber over the past 12 months. It concerns the inclusion of Tasmania in the overseas container shipping service. I know that this is a matter far removed from Vietnam and that in many ways we are going from something lofty to something more of an everyday nature to us. Nevertheless, it is very important to Tasmania. Most of us know the background of this story. I want to reiterate the points very quickly. We Tasmanians have been excluded from this service. The container concept is now fundamental to the whole transportation system in this country.
Last year the Commonwealth Government announced its investment in container ships to the extent of S40m. The first of these ships was called the ‘Australian Endeavour’. It trades between Australia and the United Kingdom. It has been operating for some months now. Although every effort has been made by various people, including people in this chamber, and by certain sections of the community in Tasmania to convince the Federal Government that it should provide some subsidies in order to bring Tasmania into the service, we have received no assistance whatsoever from this Government. It has completely abrogated its responsibility. It has handed it over to the private companies and has said to them: It is your responsibility; it is not ours’.
I point out that this ship is operating on what I believe to be an undue margin of profit. On one round voyage it is making a gross return of SI. 5m. It makes 4 or 5 voyages a year. So it is grossing about $7m a year. In regard to its operating costs - I have asked to be supplied with this information and I understand that I may receive it tomorrow - I believe that they are in the vicinity of $2. 5m a year. I give these figures in order to illustrate that the Commonwealth is doing very well out of its investment in the container shipping service. Is there any reason why it cannot indicate to the Tasmanian Government or the private companies operating these container ships that it is prepared to provide the subsidy to which we are entitled? Only yesterday we had a report from the United Kingdom to the effect that what appears to be a new trade for produce is opening up in that country. It will be denied to Tasmanian primary producers but it will be available to mainland primary producers simply because we have not these facilities and because, as I said earlier, the Commonwealth has abrogated its responsibility to provide this service.
This is a national scandal. It is not of the order of Vietnam, admittedly; nevertheless it is a national scandal. I say that all Tasmanian senators on the Government side of the chamber either should stand up and declare themselves on this issue and support me in what I say or should by some other means convince their colleagues that it is time the Federal Government acted on behalf of the Tasmanian people. This situation cannot go on indefinitely. We are missing out all the time. Unless some action is taken by the Federal Government we will continue to miss out. It is time the Federal Government realised that the responsibility to do something lies fairly and squarely with it.
– I presume from what 1 have heard that Senator Wriedt wishes to have his remarks directed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair) in the other place. 1 shall see that that is done.
– I rise actually to speak on a matter concerning the Department of the Interior; but, like Senator Wriedt, 1 wish to make one brief comment, which I direct to the Attorney-General (Mr Hughes). I also make this comment for the edification of Senator Greenwood, who has been talking of law and order. I inform the Senate that more than 3 weeks ago 1 sent the AttorneyGeneral a telegram in relation to further outbreaks of ultra-rightist, Ustashi, Croatian terrorism in Sydney. Whilst I received a very nice acknowledgment, I have received nothing since. I was prompted to send the telegram because the vast majority of the Yugoslav community in Sydney are fed up to the teeth with a series of incidents.
Whilst tonight we have had a political exercise in relation to what might happen on a given occasion, the plain fact of the matter is that, despite all the talk about Molotov cocktails, the only bombing episodes have been the Lesic case in Sydney and others involving people on the far right. Honourable senators opposite can talk about what might happen in the future. I do not believe in violence any more than anyone else here does. I say that the Commonwealth authorities have been exceedingly remiss in dealing with people of this sort. As a matter of fact, the only pronouncement that was ever made related to a bombing attack at Double Bay. when the present Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon), as he was coming from a game qf squash, was interviewed and said: ‘They are nice chaps’ or They are good chaps’. We all have our own sets of values. 1 do not want to be provocative at this time of the morning; but if people are going to talk about standards of law and order let us look at these situations. I can speak with some experience of one incident in which 1 was involved. The players were coming off a football field. One mad Croat jabbed a member of the Yugal Club in the testicles with an umbrella. If that is not violence I do not know what is. It cannot be said that this was an internal Slav matter because, as Senator O’Byrne will appreciate, one of the men involved was Police Constable Patrick Halpin. I repeat that if we are going to talk of law and order let us look at some of these situations. I point out that 85% of the Slav community have been clamouring for action by the Commonwealth Government.
I return now to my original complaint. I have made numerous representations on the overall land policy that should be followed in the Australian Capital Territory. They culminated on 7th and 9th April in speeches in adjournment debates and questions directed to Senator Cotton, the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon). What annoys me considerably is that 1 asked specific questions dealing with the future of Jervis Bay, the Black Mountain Reserve and a number of other matters. Finally I suggested to Senator Cotton - I do not blame him directly - that at least senators interested in this matter should be given the opportunity to make an inspection, during which they could question departmental officers.
It is true that I wrote to the Minister after I made my speech and pointed out that there was a minor Hansard error which could not be corrected because of the lateness of the hour at which I made the speech. I received an acknowledgment from Mr Nixon. I pointed out that what I meant to say was that his officers had one plan and I had another; that each of them was laudable; but that neither of them had been implemented. That was where the matter was. 1 would have left it at that had I felt that I would receive something specific. But what happened in Ihe meantime?
J am a rank and file member of the Australian Conservation Foundation. As honourable senators know, the President of the Foundation is Sir Garfield Barwick. 1 say that deliberately in order to indicate that the Foundation s publication would not be just a smear sheet but would have a certain amount of responsibility. After asking my various questions and receiving no answers on what was to happen in relation to Jervis Bay and recreational areas, when 1 received my copy of the Foundation’s newsletter I was amazed to read the following statement on page 3:
The greater part of Jervis Bay is lo be made into a national park . . .
I will be the first to applaud the Government if it intends to do that. This statement appeared in the March issue, which was published at least 3 or 4 weeks ago. What I want to know is: If that statement is correct and the Minister or his officers are responsible for it, why cannot I obtain an answer to confirm it? If that is not correct, then it means that procrastination is going on. So I think the least I am entitled lo is some sort of answer. I suppose that if our worthy Clerk of the Senate had his way with his proposal for a standing committees structure, which is contained in this very reputable publication, honourable senators will not have me getting up al 12.50 in the morning and raising these matters. We will have a method of grilling Ministers and their officers as to what is happening, and at least the people of Canberra will know what is happening to their park lands. I also take umbrage at the fact that the ACF Newsletter’ contains information which, apparently, is authentic, but which as yet has not been given to me or to any other Senate conservationist.
The second point to which I refer concerns the very effective editorial dealing with Black Mountain, in the ‘Canberra Times’ of Monday, 13th April. Again, the significant point is that I have correspondence received from the Black Mountain Committee, which is a subsidiary of the ACT National Parks Association, dated 23rd December, when it began agitating for a decision. I am intrigued to note that in the editorial in the ‘Canberra Times’ it is stated that the National Capital Development Commission’s officers met the ACT National Parks Association and various views were put forward. Let me say this: There will never be a day when I will name any officer of a department, because it is the Minister who is responsible. The point to which 1 object is that in the same issue of the Canberra Times’ there are statements by Dr Hill and others with whom J am on friendly terms. They are members of the Black Mountain Committee. In these statements they have named officers of the Department of the Interior who have expressed various views as to whether or not it is advisable that Canberra proper should have a great bushland complex within its own metropolis.
The former United States President Truman always said thai the buckpassing ended on his desk. I would apply that to the Minister for the Interior. With all deference to the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) who represents the Minister for the Interior in this place, there has never been an occasion when I have left a matter merely al the point of raising it in this chamber. 1 have always sent a letter the following morning confirming what I have said so that there could be no ambiguity about the matter. If there is something in the statements by 2 of the Minister’s officers - and, incidentally, according to the Black Mountain Committee the statements are diametrically opposed - I want to know why we cannot get a clear answer as to the future of the Black Mountain area. 1 shall do no less than quote from this very effective editorial in the ‘Canberra Times’. Apparently the Ministers officers were saying that a decision on the reserve could not be finalised until all development has finished. The editorial states that this was: a stand which the Association regards as the opposite of a conservationist outlook’. 1 have clamoured in this chamber for the last 3 years that unless the Government gives us clear-cut plans in order to prevent somebody mining uranium or some other mineral, or some big developer like the Hooker company trying to circumvent what I hope and maintain are effective Australian Capital Territory land laws, we are going to find that there will be a permanent state of suspense. Conscious of the hour, 1 conclude by saying that I demand clear-cut answers in relation to the future of Jervis Bay. Obviously somebody has spoken to the publishers of the ACF journal, which has given that information. If it is correct, 1 am pleased to know about it, but I want to know why I and other honourable senators have not been told about it. In the second instance, so far as Black Mountain is concerned, whoever among the Ministers has said that they cannot do anything about development, by the time you hack up some of these areas for various forms of urban construction, you will not have any reserves left.
I know that Senator Wheeldon, who is a very much travelled person to the major cities of the world, will agree with me when I. say: ‘Tell the citizens of Perth about this’, mindful of their Kings Park, or: ‘Tell the citizens of San Francisco or Vancouver about this’. Let me remind the Senate of ihe United Kingdom and the New Forests and such places. Greater London is sprawled out, but the authorities have had enough sense to maintain some of the land as reserves. So despite the hour, I feel it is time that the Minister came clean about it. I do not know what is in Senator Cotton’s hand, but I say it is time we got confirmation of what is involved in this land policy. 1 will go further and say that there are a number of honourable senators on this side of the chamber, and I know that there are a number on the other side of the chamber, who are as ardent conservationists as I am. I do not mind if the Minister says to me: Well, we will bring all our officers and our maps. We will go all over this area and we can argue along the lines that nothing has been done’.
There was talk about democracy. I can assure the honourable senator that an iron curtain has been raised so that honourable senators cannot find out what is going to be done about land policy. It is no use talking about these situations and saying that land is in custody. The Government would find ways of getting over difficulties if the big mineral monopolists wanted to get round the Australian Capital Territory land laws. So I repeat that if I raise something on the 7th and it is not answered on the 15th, which is a lapse of 8 days, and I can pick up journals and see ex parte statements in the ‘Canberra Times’, I want to know why I cannot get an answer. Every other honourable senator concerned and I equally state that the challenge I have made to the honourable senator about an on the spot inspection is still open. Let us have a look at the place and put the cards on the table.
Senator COTTON (New South WalesMinister for Supply) - by leave - There is no great mystery about the piece of paper I have. As Senator Mulvihill has been speaking I have been writing on it the things that I wish to mention to him. What I do in every adjournment debate when a matter is directed to me for another Minister is to see that a copy of Hansard goes to the Minister responsible the following morning so that there is no delay. As far as I can tell, the 2 specific documents to which the honourable senator referred are the March issue of the Conservation Foundation Journal which deals with the future plans for a Jervis Bay park. I think I have that identified pretty well. On Monday I received the editorial plus the article that he referred to about Black Mountain. It made me feel that this information must surely be available. I should just again raise the matters that the honourable senator has raised and ask that he be given a satisfactory answer.
Before I conclude, I might say that for a period I was on the Australian Capital Territory Committee the late .lim Fraser was very active on that Committee. One thing it did was to ask the responsible people in the Department of the Interior and the National Capital Development Commission to lay down a plan of land use destiny throughout the whole of the Australian Capital Territory. For anybody who has the interests of the Australian Capital Territory and its further development at heart, that plan does exist, and the general idea of what land use pattern should be is pretty clearly defined, I feel.
– Mr Deputy President, I am reluctant to come into debates of this nature at this hour of the morning, but the debate was initiated under shocking circumstances. Senator Greenwood decided that this was the appropriate time to discuss this very important subject. It is significant, I suppose, and typical of the honourable senator that he does not happen to be in the chamber at the moment. In other words, he set off the ammunition and does not care to stay and see it out. I join with my colleagues on this side of the chamber in challenging the Government to allow a full scale debate. I say to honourable senators opposite that if they have got the courage of their convictions they will pick a day when the proceedings in this chamber are being broadcast to discuss this subject. This is not their attitude because they are not prepared to adopt this public method of discussing something which is an important social question for this country.
It is significant that over the whole of the period of the life of this Parliament and the last year of the last Parliament, when a controversial subject needed to be debated and exposed publicly, honourable senators opposite chose for the debate a time when the proceedings were not broadcast or they chose the dead of night, as they have done on this occasion. 1 reissue the challenge that if they have the courage they will discuss this matter on a day when the rest of Australia can listen to it. It is significant, too, that they have left the initiation of this subject to those of less rank on the backbench of the Government side. Only on rare occasions have Ministers been present while this debate has been taking place.
– That statement is completely false.
– It is not completely false. It is completely true. At the moment only one Minister is in the House. During the debate no more than 3 Ministers were in the House at the one time. The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) has just walked in. I suppose he intends to put on a bit of a front. That is the situation. Those are the facts. Things might brighten up a little now. I am perturbed by the lackadaisical attitude adopted by the Government members. I question the reason for the empty seats on the Government side. Are honourable senators opposite resting? Are they having a cup of tea? I am sure they would not be in the bar. That would be impossible. During the debate the Government was propped up by the Country Party, as it always is. Until about 2 minutes ago, 4 Country Party members and about the same number of Liberals were sitting here. It is typical of the Government that it needs to be propped up by the
Country Party all the lime. 1 do not care if honourable senators opposite want to initiate debate on important subjects in the early hours of the morning.
– Why do not you contribute something to the debate?
– 1 do not speak to hawks while I am trying to tell a story. I am prepared to stay here for the next hour. 1 know of 7 or 8 speakers on this side of the chamber who will do the same thing. Senator Greenwood adopted this contemptible attitude of initiating the debate at this late hour. I do not think honourable senators opposite have the courage to stay and see it out. That is their business, not mine. 1 want to state the background to this Moratorium Campaign. A lot of distortions, a lot of half truths and a lot of tearing apart of real facts so that all we finished up with was the capital letter al ihe beginning of the sentence and the full stop at the end of it have come from Government members. The Vietnam Moratorium Campaign was initiated at an interstate consultation convened in Canberra at the National Memorial Methodist Church by the Reverend John Lloyd of Melbourne on Tuesday. 25th November 1969. Honourable senators opposite will recall that this was during the period of the mini-Parliament. Honourable senators opposite could have stayed here and debated the subject then if they had wanted to, but they were too anxious to spend the S50.000 on the national tea party and scoot home again because, with the Ministers that the Government had on that occasion, the Government was not game to front public criticism.
– Who was the convener?
– The Reverend John Lloyd of Melbourne.
– ls he a Communist?
– 1 suppose, in the eyes of the Government, he is a Communist. As well as some 30 representatives of peace organisations from Queensland. New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, the consultation was attended by 1 1 Federal senators. I ask that 1 be granted leave to have their names incorporated in Hansard.
– Leave is not granted. Read out the names.
– If leave is not granted, I shall read out the names. They were: Senator O’Byrne, Tasmania; Senator Wriedt, Tasmania; Senator Brown, Victoria; Senator Donald Cameron, South Australia; Senator Ormonde, New South Wales; Senator Wilkinson, Western Australia; Senator Cavanagh, South Australia; Senator Hendrickson, Victoria: Senator McClelland, New South Wales, Senator Georges, Queensland; and myself, from Queensland. Since then every member on my side of the House who is present in the chamber has signified his support to the Moratorium Campaign. Here and now I say publicly that I am proud to be associated wilh it. The consultation decided to hold a national moratorium based on the recent moratoriums in the United States against the Vietnam war.
– Did Mr Whitlam signify his support?
– Are you comfortable, Senator Greenwood? Would you like to sit a little straighter in your chair so that you can interject more easily? The form and content of the Moratorium was to be left lo moratorium committees to be set up in each State. Their separate activities would be co-ordinated by a national co-ordinating committee of 3 based in New South Wales. These were the 3: Mr McLeod of the Australian Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament, Mr Patrick Sayers, a Sydney businessman, and Dr Alex Carey, a senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales. The objectives of the Moratorium decided upon were these: The immediate withdrawal of Australian or foreign troops from Vietnam and the immediate repeal of the National Service Act. If Senator Rae is listening. ) hope that he will listen to this paragraph: lt was further resolved that all action organised in pursuance of these objectives be of a peaceful, non-violent nature.
– What about doing something about it?
– Look, if any violence is going to be stirred up by anyone here at all it will he by the hawks on the Government side who will incite people to create trouble. They are the people with the inside knowledge and associations with ASIO who will provide the plainclothes secret servicemen to see that violence is started somewhere. They will be the people who will direct the minority bad element in the police forces to see that violence is started with kicks in the shins and things like that. Violence is not going to come from the people associated with the Moratorium. This demonstration has been planned in peace, is dedicated to peace and will be carried out peacefully.
– What about the disruption of industry?
– I would like to make a point on this. The disruption of industry for brief periods here and there is nothing compared with the 400 Australian people who have died to save the hide of Senator Rae - and people like him of his age group - who could be there but who has not the moral courage to be there in any fighting unit. He will never have the moral courage to do things of that nature. If this country were invaded the first thing that Senator Rae would be doing would be looking for an aeroplane to get out of the country.
– I happen to be on the Reserve.
– And you will stay there, too. May I quote from another leaflet put out by the Moratorium Campaign committee?
– Tell us a little bit more about how you disrupt industry.
– When Senator Rae was on his feet he had an opportunity to tell us about the suffering of the 400 Australians who lost their sons. He glossed over that in a humorous manner because it did not concern him. It did not upset his industry or his company profits. Now he is worried because he thinks there will be a stoppage of work. The pamphlet reads:
How much longer can we Australians stomach this filthy war that the hapless Americans have got us into?
How much longer is our glib Government going Jo turn a blind eye to the terrible things that are bwing done, in this mad crusade, to miserable wretches in primitive villages? 1 When are we going to hear the voice of humane Australia raised in ‘anger over war crimes which have now been officially acknowledged - and pro mpted in blood-red slides to sickened congressmeat in Washington?
When are we going to drop the cowardly role of silence-
I hope that Senator Rae was listening to that- the callous parade of approval of everything that America does, the lies about treaty obligations when only mean self-interest is in mind?
Or are we so brutalised by the cruel and phoney years, so atrophied by our crushing communal non-thought, that we prefer to close our ears indefinitely to the cries of outrage that are deafening our friends and enemies alike?
These words, written by Douglas Brass, Editorial Director of the ‘Australian’, give expression to the feelings of many Australians when the massacre by American troops of several hundred Vietnamese villagers at My Lai was officially disclosed in November last year. Public opinion was outraged by the accounts of the massacre. Our consciences were jolted back to reality.
There is one exception there, and that is the spokesmen on behalf of the Government tonight. They have no conscience on this matter. Douglas Brass went on:
The majority of Australians are now opposed to the war. In principle, and in practice, yet it continues. And still our Government will not acknowledge the voice of the people. Or their wishes to end this war. What can we do?
Earlier this evening Senator O’Byrne showed to honourable senators the photo on the back of this document. Many Australians believe that it is not too late, that in spite of all the destruction and all the killing, we can still salvage the last vestige of our national self respect and end the war now. The Vietnam Moratorium Campaign is an attempt by Australians from every walk of life to stop the war in Vietnam. Its demands are clear and simple - immediate withdrawal of Australian and all foreign troops from Vietnam and immediate repeal of the National Service Act. Today one of my colleagues referred to a member of the Liberal Party who was associated with the Moratorium organisation at a meeting. In Queensland several members of the Liberal Party are on regional and other committees of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign. I hope that Government supporters, in their charity and soft-heartedness, will not deprive those Liberals of their membership of the Party. At least they have shown the moral guts to get out and say actively what they feel about Vietnam while honourable senators opposite and their parasites must stay with the mainstream of the Government’s thinking on this issue.
There are other angles from which we might consider this matter. These are the sorts of things which will be exposed publicly in every major town and village in every State of the nation, as well as in the capital cities on the 3 days on which the Moratorium will be conducted. 1 wish to refer now to the latest figures, to the end of the last financial year, relating to the cost of the war in Vietnam, lt has cost $7. 680m to keep the Navy, and in the current year we will spend on the Navy $3. 8m. Most of that expenditure, if the Melbourne’ is not involved in another collision, will be directed to the Vietnam effort. Approximately $92m has been spent on the Army to 30th June 1969, and the estimated expenditure for the current financial year is almost another $29m. For the Royal Australian Air Force, without taking into account the purchase of Fill aircraft, as some of this expenditure was incurred before that deal was thought of, the total is $20,377,000. The total for the 3 Services as at 30th June is over $!20m. The anticipated expenditure for this financial year is about $42m.
If this money had been spent in other fields a large portion of the million lives that have been lost would have been saved, including those of young children to whom one of my colleagues referred earlier tonight. If that money were diverted to peaceful uses in other countries there would be no fear of the spread of Communism there because there would be no need for it to exist. This is what we are unable to get into your massive skulls. If you spend money on providing a standard of living that ought to be enjoyed by all the people of South East Asia, in providing educational and hospital services, and in many instances on sufficient food, there would be no need for war. But this is not your attitude, because war brings business to you.
About 16,000 conscripts have been called up, amongst them being almost 400 university graduates or diplomates. This country is crying out for people with technical and academic skills, but more than 400 of them have been made to put their lives on the line after years of study. They could be lost to this country forever. This is the backwoods country of the so-called free world because we never spend enough per capita on education, from the primary field right through to the university level.
But we are prepared not to exempt these skilled people from the provisions of the infamous National Service Act. They are thrown into the front line very time they come up for service. In Queensland a group of school teachers was called up, disrupting a certain section of the education system, but they could not get an exemption.
Six months ago. on 10th August 1969. the then Minister for Labour and National Service - 1 am not sure who he was because the Government changes its Ministers like one changes one’s clothes and so it is a bit hard to keep up with them; even Government members cannot remember who he was at that time - brought out a statement under the title ‘News Release’ which mentioned major features. I will only quote a couple of these features because 1 do not want to read the whole document. The Minister said:
There had been 9 registrations with the number of registrants totalling 431,351 including 1.339 awaiting ballot. . . .
This means that almost half a million lads have had to go through the worry of registration and that almost 1 million parents have had to worry about whether their youngsters were going to be called up for Vietnam. The publication also states: 389 registrants had satisfied a court that they had conscientious beliefs which do not allow them to engage in any form of military service or had applications awaiting determination. This docs not include men who have been granted or applied for exemption after enlistment. In all 577 applications for total exemption have been determined by the courts. Of these 335 were granted, 125 were granted exemption from combatant duties and 117, i.e. 20% were refused.
So a total of 26% have been refused under these circumstances. The publication continued:
Of 122 applications for exemption from combatant duties only 108, i.e. 88% were granted.
Some supporters of the Government would be aware - others probably would not - that a lad named Gordon Reisenleiter was imprisoned in Townsville for 2 years. This youngster had firm and sincere religious convictions. In spite of the appeals that were made the authorities continued to keep him in Stuart Gaol. It was only after public demonstrations to awaken the local conscience as well as the national conscience that the Governor-General exercised his prerogative of mercy. But the lad still had approximately ,10 months of his sentence to serve when he was released. We still have youngsters in this country who are behind iron bars. I would say without fear of contradiction from free thinking people in the community that not one of these youngsters ought to be gaoled.
– Are you inciting them to break the law?
– I am not inciting anyone to break the law. If a law is a bad law one protests against it and does everything one can to see that that law is changed. We have consistently said that the National Service Act is a bad law and that all of the restrictions on civil liberties that exist in this country are bad laws because if one has not the sense of freedom and the sense of democracy at heart, if one is not prepared to speak up for one’s fellow men, then all democracy is lost.
We have seen this country governed by regulation for about 5 months. Every time that a bad decision has to bs made or publicised, do the members of the Government call Parliament together? Of course they do not. They have cosy Cabinet meetings over a couple of cups of tea and major decisions are taken. When the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) does not think that you are worth that trouble, he takes a decision off the top of his head, makes it public and then hopes that you will endorse it because he holds the sabre over your heads. You endorse it and run for cover. Part la, section 7a of the Crimes Act states:
If any person -
incites to, urges, aids or encourages; or
prints or publishes any writing which incites to, urges, aid or encourages, the commission of offences against any law of the Commonwealth or of a Territory or the carrying on of any operations for or by the commission of such offences, he shall be guilty of an offence.
The Act states that the penalty for the offence is a fine of $200 or imprisonment for 12 months or both.
The statement of defiance, which has been published by way of an advertisement in the major newspapers of this country, states:
Those young men whose principles will not permit them to register under the present National Service Act and who refuse to be coerced into any war which they believe to be immoral and unjust, have my wholehearted support, encouragement and aid.
If I were required to register under present conditions, I would refuse. Therefore, while young men may serve 2 years’ gaol because they have the courage to defy conscription and oppose the Vietnam war, I am compelled to stand with them.
This statement is one of conscience. Laws have been made by this Government not only in this field but in other fields where it has taken unto itself, and blatantly so, what is feels are the powers of the Almighty. The Government cares nothing for what my thinking may be or for what the thinking of the man in the street may be on a particular subject. This is not an incitement to violence, breaking of laws or anything else. This is a normal democratic right which I hope we will be able to hold forever, that is, to issue our protest. Then the Government comes in with this phony resolution about something being wrong with the Moratorium Campaign. A year ago after a national service ballot a chatty little news release was put out by the Department of Labour and National Service. It stated:
The Minister for Labour and National Service, Mr Leslie Bury, announced today the drawing in Melbourne of the ninth national service ballot.
This is the lottery of death. The release continued:
Mr E. M. C. Fox, M.P., presided and the draw was made by Air Vice-Marshal F. M. Biadin, CB., C.B.E., formerly member of the Air Board and currently National Honorary Treasurer of the Returned Services League. Fifty-two marbles were drawn. This is the ballot for men in the age group turning 20 years of age between 1st January and 30th June this year who were required to register between 20th January and 3rd February 1969. About 49,000 men, British and non-British subjects, are involved.
Honourable senators know that after the ballots take place a cosy tea party occurs. I asked about this and the Minister said he would not answer the question because it was contemptible. It is contemptible that these things are turned into social occasions because every time a marble comes out for a birthday kids born on that day have at least 1 chance in 10 of never coming back to this country. And that is not contemptible? Then we had the contribution from the Democratic Labour Party. It was one of the most shocking things I have ever seen. We have 4 people in this chamber representing the DLP. I think it was Senator McManus who ran around there a while ago with this little piece of paper.
He chopped the top off it. Apparently he got it from a local branch of the Communist Party.
– Mr President, I rise to order. 1 point out that at your request I tabled the papers and I did not interfere with them or chop them off in any way. That is a lie.
Sentaor KEEFFE - While Senator McManus was waving the piece of paper about he said: ‘You will never identify where it came from because the top is taken off.’
– Mr President, I made no such statement. That is another lie.
– I rise to order. 1 believe the honourable senator claims to have been misrepresented. Must we have these constant interruptions?
– I think there was a reasonable explanation in what Senator McManus said about tabling the papers. I was here and knew what went on.
– On a point of order, I ask for the withdrawal by Senator McManus of the utterance that he twice made that 1 had stated a lie.
– Order! Senator McManus. that is an unparliamentary remark you have made. You will withdraw it.
– Mr President, in deference to. your ruling and the Standing Orders, I withdraw the remark, but 1 will not ask Senator Keeffe to withdraw anything because nobody has ever known him to say anything that one could take any notice of. I would regard him as below contempt.
– I take a point of order. Senator McManus just stated clearly and distinctly that he regarded another honourable senator as being below contempt. I found the expression offensive to me and I ask that it be withdrawn without an explanation.
– I withdraw.
– I had merely started my remarks when a member of the Democratic Labor Party got up and I presume voiced the official policy of his little Party. I feel that I am justly entitled to reply to him. If he was voicing any policy it was not that which was thought out in his Party room but it was the policy of a person called Santamaria who, one could almost say, is the self-appointed Australian Pope. One could almost say that his main contribution to the unity of this country has been to divide one of the major churches down the middle.
– Can the honourable senator remember when he asked for this man’s assistance to get a union job.
– I can cope quite well without the help of Senator McManus. I am nol finished yet. If he wants to get up and make semi-Fascist statements in this chamber 1 will answer him in the interests of the democratic way of life. It is no use Senator Little trying to interject. He well knows that during the last world war, when this country faced a crisis, he was a conscientious objector. I see no reason why he should now be supporting the sending of people lo Vietnam. His association is with a small background party.
– Go a little slower.
– If Senator Greenwood’s brain is not fast enough to pick up my words 1 cannot help that. He can read what I have said in Hansard. If Senator Little is unable lo adopt an Australian attitude towards the Moratorium Campaign and support the policies of the Australian Labor Party by slicking with the Moratorium Campaign 1 feel sorry for him and everybody associated with him. I want to quote from the Queensland ‘Catholic Leader’, which is an eminent national publication in the Catholic Church. I want to quote the words of a Cardinal. I will quote only 2 or 3 paragraphs and I will be quite fair about it. What he said was in reply to an allegation that he had led a peace demonstration in Brussels. He said:
I thought of giving my name because I am for peace in Vietnam. Also, following the teachings of Pope Paul VI and the Second Vatican Council, I think that war must be firmly condemned without any hesitation.
He then went on to say: 1 dare to invoke this guarantee (that all foreign forces leave Vietnam) which must allow the Vietnamese people to take to themselves equitable means of achieving a lasting peace based on justice and brotherhood among mcn.
That is the statement of a great Christian gentleman. This country is supposed to be a Christian nation. A minority of the Australianpeople are endeavouring to perpetuate the Vietnamese conflict. There was a time when it was possible, by devious means, to convince the majority that it was a just war. It is no longer considered a just war, and it never was a just war. At a time when we had an opportunity to opt out vital information was suppressed by responsible people on the Government benches so that we could not opt out. There was a time when a former Prime Minister of this country said ‘All the way with L.B.J.’, and so we went all the way. Then we had the present Prime Minister saying ‘Whereever you go, we will go waltzing matilda with you.’ This is a shocking attitude to adopt to one of the greatest social evils to which this Government has been party. But the Government has the opportunity to withdraw, even at this late stage after 400 of our people have been killed. It has an opportunity to have a change of heart. There is an opportunity now for any Government supporters who have any semblance of democracy in their hearts to come out and lead the Moratorium Campaign. We will make a place for them. We will make sure that they are in the front row, if they have the courage to be there.
SenatorDevitt - We will even let Senator Greenwood wear his uniform.
– Yes, we will let Senator Greenwood bring his colonel’s hat. These are the sorts of things that Government supporters can still do to salve their consciences, but unfortunately I do not expect them to do this.
This debate tonight was not brought on with any sincerity. The debate was initiated by Senator Greenwood and those who support him because they were not prepared to face the glare of public opinion and because they wanted the debate to be held in the early hours of the morning in the hope that no-one was listening, so that they could crawl away to their rooms and sleep, leaving 3 or 4 Government supporters to guard the fortress after the shots had been fired. The honourable senator initiated this debate tonight because he has neither the moral courage nor anything else that will enable him to stand up to public opinion.
– As one who has lent his name in support of the Moratorium Campaign which is about to be embarked upon by a very great number of Australian citizens, I take this opportunity in this debate to explain some simple facts of life to Government supporters who appear to have lost all sense of realism and all sense of humanity. When Australian troops first went into Vietnam as a result of the policy pursued by the Menzies Government in 1965 young boys who were then 14 or 15 years of age were not very much concerned about the war in Vietnam. The parents of boys who were then 14 or 15 years of age did not appear to be very much concerned about the war in Vietnam at that time. Most Australians had been given the impression by the Government in 1965 that this war would last probably a comparatively short time and would soon be over, that there would be a battalion of troops in Vietnam for a period of 12 months or so, that it be a short campaign and the boys would soon be home. But the kids who were 14 or 15 years of age in 1965 are now the boys who are in Vietnam, the boys who are training to go to Vietnam or the boys who are awaiting a call up to go to Vietnam.
If the Government is allowed to continue its present warlike policy this situation will go on and on. As a parent of young Australian children I am concerned about those boys who are now 14 or 15 years of age and who, if the Government’s policy is allowed to go on and on, will be in Vietnam in 4 or 5 years time. This is a war in which Australian troops have now been engaged for as long as Australian troops were engaged in the Second World War. It is a war which for Australian troops and for Australia generally has lasted longer than the Korean War. It is a war in which Australian soldiers have suffered more casualties than were suffered by Australian troops during the Korean War. Now, in 1970, instead of having in Vietnam 1 battalion of 800 troops, the war has been escalated to such an extent that we have 1 brigade of 8,000 troops in Vietnam. Why should I, as an Australian parent of young Australian children who in 4 or 5 years time will be eligible to take part in this war in Vietnam, not be so concerned about the situation as many thousands of Australian citizens are?
I remind the Government that the boys who are being sent to Vietnam are not only sons of members of the Liberal Party or of members of the Country Party or of members of the Democratic Labor Party but also they are sons of members of the Labor movement - sons of men and women who are violently opposed to participation in the war in Vietnam. The young men themselves are violently opposed to the war in Vietnam. Is it not our responsibility and our duty to see that their voice - the voice of those who cannot cry out by way of the ballot box because the Government will not give them the right to vote - is heard in opposition to their continual conscription in this war? This is why men, women and students of all faiths, all beliefs and all political persuasions are fed up with the present Governmen’s policies. This is why men like Denis Warner reported, as he did in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ of 3 1st December 1969, that the laying of a minefield from Nui Dat to the coast was the worst of all Australian mistakes in Vietnam.
Denis Warner, in his article, attributed the mistake at that time to ignorance of the social and political realities of Vietnam, for which he blamed the present Australian Government. The Vietcong dug up a great number of the 21,000 M-16 mines that had been laid between a double barrier of barbed wire. They dug them up with cunning wooden devices and replanted them in areas already traversed by Australian patrols. In March 1969, 8 Australian soldiers walked into their own minefield while cordoning and searching an unnamed village. Two were killed at once and South Vietnamese troops mistook the explosions for an enemy attack and shot 2 more. In April 1969 Mr Lynch, who was then Minister for the Army, said that the usefulness of the minefield had lapsed but he allowed that some mines had probably been removed by the Vietcong. In June 1969 the 12th platoon of the 5th Royal Australian Regiment lost 3 killed and 19 wounded in an M-16 mine blast in Dat Do village. In the 12 months to August 1969, 25 Australians were killed and 182 wounded by mines. So the sorry story goes on. Why should we not, as Australian citizens, be concerned about the role that this Government is asking these young men to play in Vietnam?
Senator McManus queried the right of people to persuade school kids to take part in the Moratorium but, as 1 said by way of interjection when Senator McManus was addressing the Senate, are not these the kids - the students - the very people who will have to go to fight in the war in Vietnam if this Government is allowed to continue its present hopeless policy? As Senator Murphy points out, there are so few Government members here at this hour that one wonders whether they are ashamed to support what Senator Greenwood said this evening on the motion to adjourn the Senate. In case it is thought, as a result of the remarks by Senator Greenwood, Senator Rae and Senator McManus, that only Communists are opposed to the war in Vietnam and that only Labor people are opposed to that war, let me quote for the benefit of the Senate some executive minutes of the Australian Council of Churches which sat in Kent Street, Sydney, on Wednesday, 4th February 1970. Let me, for the sake of the record, read out the names of the reverend gentlemen who were present. They were the rt Rev. N. Faichncy, who was the President; Bishop Givran Ranloui; Rev. Canon F. Coaldrake; rt Rev. G. R. Delbridge; Rev. F. Cuttriss; Rev. C. F. Gribble; Rev. A. W. Grant; Rev. J. M. Stuckey; Mrs L. Wells; Lieutenant Colonel Kingston, who was the alternative for Commissioner Scotney; Father Mansour, who was the alternative for Bishop Girvan Ranloui; Mrs K. Whitby, who was the alternative for Mrs J. Coates; Mr J. Denton, who was the alternative for the rt Rev. G. Delbridge; Rev. E. G. Miller, who was the alternative for Professor R. Busch; Deaconess C. I. Ritchie, who was the alternative for Rev. J. Stuckey; Mr L. Lamb; Rev. F. G. Engel; Rev. Dr D. Wood; Rev. E. Arblaster; Rev. E. V. Newman; Mr W. V. Hinton; Mr D. Parker; Rev. C. R. Sprackett; and Miss E. Needham. One letter which that august group of Christians received was from the Newcastle branch of the Save Our Sons organisation. The minutes state:
A letter was presented from the Newcastle branch of the Save Our Sons regarding the war in Vietnam and urging the Council to take greater action.
It was moved seconded and agreed that the letter be received, and that a reply be sent that this Council has consistently along with other Christian bodies put before our Government our objection to the Vietnam war.
For 5 years this Government has continued to pursue a negative and hopeless policy.
This type of resolution is continually being put before the Government, but it does nothing about the matter except to continue to send more troops to Vietnam. It is our responsibility as members of an effective Opposition to raise our voices in protest against the policies of this Government. What was the situation in December 1966? I, wish to quote an article which appeared in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ on 29th December 1966, concerning Brigadier Oliver David Jackson, who returned shortly after the 1966 election after having served in Vietnam. Upon his return from Vietnam he said:
We were within weeks of losing the war and having to pull out of Vietnam’…..
The situation was appalling. No area was secure, least of all Saigon.’
Militarily, the Vietcong were way on top. Whole regiments of the Vietnamese Army were being detroyed. And when I say destroyed, that’s exactly what I mean . . . .There were very few survivors.
The article continues:
The Brigadier leaves Vietnam to return to Australia early in January, having presided over the buildup of Australia’s commitment from 70 advisers to a 4.500-man task force.
There are now 8,000 Australian troops in Vietnam. The article continues:
And he has seen the tide of war turn in favour of the Allies.
The massive American buildup in men and fire power has put an entirely different complexion on this conflict’, he says.
The Vietcong now cannot win by military means in Vietnam.’
It’s only a matter of time until the Communists arc destroyed . . . but no one could possibly predict how long that will take.’
The longer the war drags on, the more damage will be done to Vietnam, Ihe more casualties will be suffered and the harder it will be for this country to get back on its feet.’
That was the situation in L966. It is now 1970 and the war still drags on and on, but it is dragging on and on not for the 4,500 Australian troops who were in Vietnam in 1966 but for the 8,000 Australian troops who are there today. Is it any wonder that, bearing in mind this state of affairs, the Federal Executive of the Australian Labor Party met in Brisbane on 26th February 1970 and proudly carried the following resolution to give leadership to the Australian community insofar as opposition to the Government’s policy on Vietnam is concerned:
This Executive pays tribute to those in the community whose efforts are directed in a peaceful manner towards awakening conscience and stirring compassion in the minds and hearts, of the Australian people in the tragic horror that is Vietnam.
We believe the lime has arrived, indeed is long overdue, when all people, irrespective of politics or ideological outlook, should demand of the Australian Government that we gel out of Vietnam now.
We are emphatically of the opinion that the Labor Party, both through its general humanitarian philosophy and its specific policy of opposition to the Vietnam war al all stages, is the appropriate organisation to develop and lead the Australian movement of dissent which will undoubtedly grow as Ihe horrors of Song My unfold.
With this end in view we call upon the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party to take urgent action to lead an Australian campaign of opposition to the war.
I, along with my colleagues, am proud lo bc associated with a Party that has the courage of its convictions to give leadership to the Australian people in such a proposition. I am proud to lend my name to the Moratorium Campaign that is about to be waged in Australia. A great number of Filipino troops have been withdrawn from Vietnam; a great number of American troops have been withdrawn from Vietnam; and I, as do members of the Labor movement, say that it is about time Australian troops were withdrawn from Vietnam. We take this opportunity to remind our fellow citizens that whilst they as Australians have business as usual many of their young kids who have never wanted to go to Vietnam are now in Vietnam and, unfortunately, very tragically some hundreds of those will never come back from there. As the editorial in today’s ‘Australian’ said: lt is a moratorium on ‘business as usual’ at home while a disastrous war continues in Vietnam; a harsh reminder of facts the Australian Government would prefer forgotten; an exercise of democratic freedoms to express strongly-held convictions with due force. This is what the Government, by its attitude yesterday, is attempting to deny its opponents.
The Labor movement supports the Moratorium Campaign. We believe that it has the overwhelming support of the great mass of the Australian people, and despite what speakers on behalf of the Government have said this evening I say to them, using the words of the great poet Bracken:
The poison shafts of falsehood and derision.
Are oft impelled ‘gainst those who mould the age
– I have prepared sufficient notes to deflate the Government’s supporters to such a point that they would hang their heads in shame. They have initiated a debate tonight and now have but 5 members in the Senate to listen to what has been said. They should hang their heads in shame, and I close on that note because I believe it is not worth replying to some of the wild accusations that have been made by Senator Greenwood and Senator Rae. I believe it is below the dignity of the Senate and of Senators to reply to them when they the senators who made them have not the courage nor the courtesy to stay and listen to what has been said. Therefore I content myself with these remarks: That if there is any violence in the streets it can be sheeted home entirely to the words of Senator Greenwood and Senator Rae and those who are looking for violence on the occasion of the march. When I say violence, we are not going to promote violence but at the same time their words have tonight incited the people, particularly the workers of Australia, and if there is violence in the streets then Senator Greenwood and Senator Rae can hold themselves entirely responsible for it.
I wish to associate myself with the remarks made by members of the Australian Labor Party in support of the proposed Moratorium to be held on 8th, 9th and 10th May. In passing I want to relate to the Senate some of the thoughts that passed through my mind while I was listening to Senator Greenwood and Senator Rae. It took me back a number of years. My late father was a member of the Australian Labor Party before me. I can remember talking to Dad on one occasion about politics. He pointed out a technique which had been employed very successfully over the years by those forces which were ranged against Labor. He took me back to the early days following the Russian Revolution in 1917. The Labor Party was comparatively young at that stage too. The technique employed then by the same forces which arc ranged against Labor today was to display huge posters depicting a gruesome looking figure with wire whiskers clutching a little child in his hand with blood running out. The caption underneath said: ‘A vote for the Labor Parly is a vote for this.’ The technique has not changed.
I am fully convinced that the Government is disturbed. I think that an editorial in today’s ‘Australian’ bears repeating in part and I propose to do so. It stated:
Dr. J. F. Cairns, the Federal Labor MP for Lalor, fully deserves the compliment unwittingly paid him by the Government yesterday. His leadership of the anti-war, anti-conscription movement behind the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign has been forthright and courageous in the face of considerable political risk.
The momentum of the campaign and Dr Cairns’ role in it have alarmed the Government. That much was obvious by the decision to mount yesterday’s attack in the Federal Parliament. And the manner of the attack, launched by the Attorney-General, Mr Hughes, fully illustrated the type of risk that was to be expected in accepting leadership of such a campaign.
In the event the Government and Mr Hughes succeeded only in discrediting themselves. Mr Hughes’ speech was an extraordinary tissue of conjecture, smear, insinuation and double-thinking, unworthy of the official imprimatur of either the Government or the Attorney-General.
From a Government which has abdicated its responsibility for formulating a policy on Vietnam, the hysteria of yesterday’s attack may not be as artificial as it sounded. It has no effective answer left for its critics. It has locked itself into an American policy which it finds working increasingly against its previously defined interests.
But the certainty of being embarrassed by demonstrations gives the Government no valid grounds for opposing them.
It went on to say:
Mr Hughes was hard pressed to find even a red smear to frighten away possible supporters of the campaign.
– Read the lot.
– I will read all of it because it is an editorial which merits inclusion in Hansard. It continues:
The whole basis of the Government’s attempt to proscribe the demonstrations comes down to a ludicrous claim that the organisers cannot guarantee non-violence.
How they could be expected to offer such a guarantee is beyond comprehension. The relevant facts are they plan no violence, advocate nonviolence and know full well that to be proved responsible for violence would only damage their cause. In his speech yesterday Mr Hughes was the first commentator of any significance to present violence as an inevitable part of the coming campaign.
What makes demonstration by, say, farmers a proper exercise of free speech and free assembly while those by opponents of the Vietnam war are an ‘Illicit and dangerous, abuse’, ‘the naked, physical power of the mob’, Mr Hughes did not attempt to explain. The real point of the moratorium Campaign he did explain but refused to accept.
It is a moratorium on ‘business as usual’ at home while a disastrous war continues in Vietnam; a harsh reminder of facts the Australian Government would prefer forgotten; an exercise of democratic freedoms to express strongly-held convictions with due force. This is what the Government, by its attitude yesterday, is attempting to deny its opponents.
Significantly, there was no attempt to dispute Dr Cairns’ repeated claim that the citizens’ rights to use public places for political purposes are the same as their rights to use those places for commercial or social purposes. Nor is it denied that a citizen with strong enough feelings against a particular law - be it for conscription or obstructing footpaths - can break it. He may pay the consequences but he may also help to change the law, as many events in recent times have shown.
In the abject state of Australian policy on Vietnam, the Moratorium Campaign deserves support. Dr Cairns deserves commendation for leading it. If these activities help to hasten the withdrawal of Australian forces, and to end the war in Vietnam, they will be a signal achievement for the democratic process.
That is the editorial from the ‘Australian’.
I want to refer again to the middle of that editorial where it refers to the fact that in his speech yesterday the AttorneyGeneral (Mr Hughes) was ‘the first commentator of any significance to present violence as an inevitable part of the coming campaign’. I believe, quite seriously, that the Attorney-General’s speech reveals a deliberate attempt on the part of the Government to do a number of things. Firstly it represents an attempt by the Government do discredit the campaign against the war in Vietnam and to intimidate the people while at the same time promoting in the minds of people a sense of the inevitability of violence. 1 have no hesitation in saying that there will be forces organised by those who support the war in Vietnam to bring about the violence which they say should not be entertained at this Moratorium. Scenes of violence have occurred before: there is no doubt that they will happen again. 1 want now to refer briefly to an article in yesterday’s Melbourne ‘Age’. It is an article on public affairs written by Bruce Grant, lt is headed: ‘Long way from anarchy’ and states:
I don’t share the Gorton Governments concern that the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign next month is ‘an invitation to anarchy’.
He went on to say:
The Government appears to bc working itself into an indignant lather over the Vietnam Moratorium not because anyone believes the demonstra tion is a threat to established government but because there is political capital to be made from it.
If the demonstrators clash with the police it is believed both the Gorton Government, which is making an issue of law and order, and the Bolte Government, which faces elections next month, will benefit.
I think those words highlight the fact that the Government is desperate and desperate men resort to desperate measures. As a consequence the Moratorium Campaign has been raised in the Senate this evening. I am not as acquainted with the Standing Orders as I would like to be - I guarantee that I will be in due course - but it seems to me that the raising of this matter tonight in the debate on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate was aimed at trying to carry on from where the matter was left in another place yesterday in the hope that the Government might be able lo score.
References were made this evening to the horror being registered by the combined forces arraigned in this place against the Australia Labor Party about the possibility of children being brought into this campaign. 1 certainly do not appreciate the possibility of youngsters being affected in any shape or form by war but I cannot sit quiet, and never will, while we are able to view such carnage as was produced in pictorial form in the ‘Sunday Observer’ of 14th December 1969. I am not concerned about who is responsible. What I atn concerned about is that it can happen and that it is in fact happening. We are endeavouring to bring about a cessation of the useless futility of this war in Vietnam where there is a continued repeat of what appeared in ihe ‘Observer’ of 14th December last year. How you, Senator Greenwood, can sit there smugly in your place with a look of contented complacency, I just cannot understand. I believe that a report which appeared in the ‘Australian’ of 29th January 1970 titled ‘They Feel Guilty Because They Survived’ should be recorded in Hansard
– Tell us about Hue and record in Hansard that 3,000 were murdered by the Vietcong.
– I am not sure what my friend opposite is speaking about but I propose lo read to the Senate, when 1 have the opportunity -
– Why do you not mention that?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Order!
– Thank you for your protection, Sir, but I can assure you that I have buried better rubbish than I have seen opposite this evening.
– I beg your pardon?
– I said that I have buried better rubbish than I have seen here this evening. I propose to read this when I have the opportunity. The article is titled They Feel Guilty Because They Survived’ and carries the date line ‘Washington, Wednesday’. lt reads:
The Vietnam war was producing a large pool of young, embittered veterans who would have more mental problems than veterans of other wars, a former Air Force psychiatrist told a US Senate subcommittee yesterday.
This was because of the unsettled nature of the war - wilh emphasis on guerilla fighting, unstable battle lines and a distrust of all Vietnamese - combined with a lack of support at home, said Dr R. J. Lifton, a psychiatrist at Yale. “The inability to find significance or meaning in their extreme experience leaves many Vietnam veterans with a terrible burden of survivor guilt’, said Dr Lifton
Even more important, the GI is denied the minimal psychological satisfaction of war - ritualised battles that allow him to fight the enemy with valour across a stable front line’.
Massacres such as the one alleged to have occurred at My Lai gave the soldiers momentary illusion that by shooting people equated with the enemy - even babies, women and old men - they were finally involved in a genuine military action, he said.
These actions required a ‘psychic numbing - the loss of the capacity to feel - and general brutalisation’.
It would seem to me that we have some people sitting opposite this evening who have been affected in precisely the same way as the psychiatrist mentions in relation to the unfortunate veterans who have returned from Vietnam. The other reference I want to make is that in another place last evening a gentleman who had something like 20 years service with the Department of External Affairs gave his attention to a debate-
– Name him, please.
– It is Mr Morrison, the honourable member for St George. He was able to show very effectively, in another place last evening, that the Government could not produce any document that showed that in fact in 1965 it had received a request from the Government of Vietnam to supply combat forces. He was able to prove that quite successfully because the gentleman who followed him in the debate, the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth), appeared to ignore his contribution. That being so, in my view it proves conclusively that there was no answer to the charges made by Mr Morrison to the effect that the Government had lied initially and had sought to perpetuate that lie in order to sustain its position in respect of its commitment in Vietnam,
I have no hesitation in saying that as long as I have breath in my body and I am associated with people who are prepared to stand up and be counted against the decision that was made in 1965 to commit Australian troops to Vietnam, I will encourage, I will assist and I will do everything in my power to rally public opinion to defeat this Government.
– You frighten me.
– It would seem to me that it is not a question of Senator Brown frightening Senator Sim. The fact is that the welling up of support for the opposition to the Government’s decision obviously concerns him.
– I am never frightened of a rabble.
– These loose terms are thrown about. It is like the use that is made, quite cleverly and insidiously, by innuendo, of people’s associations. People can say all sorts of things, but they have to have the courage to stand up and be counted.
– I have.
– That is fair enough. What I am saying is simply that I believe that the Moratorium is soundly based. It is designed to bring to the attention of the public and to focus public attention upon the continued commitment in Vietnam. We are asking people to pause, to take time out to think about what this means. It is true that there has been a substantial movement or shift of support - one might describe it as dramatic - towards Labor’s policy, as distinct from the Government’s policy, over the last 3 or 4 years. I am convinced that this will be even more obvious as time goes by.
In the course of the general election campaign in 1966 the Government used an old technique which had proved successful over the years and again was successful. The Labor Party certainly suffered heavily in terms of electoral defeat. Notwithstanding that, I am satisfied that in 1969 one of the contributing factors to the Labor Party’s increased electoral support was the fact that we had stood firm in 1966. Time and events in Vietnam between 1966 and 1969 had proved that we were right. The Government has now come to recognise that it is entangled in such a way that it cannot, as it sees it. save face and withdraw in the way in which it should. So it has to resort to the only method that is left to it; that is, to use the technique of a poor sportsman. He starts to scrag the other fellow who is playing too well for him. That is the technique to which the Government is resorting tonight. I repeat that T am pleased to be associated with the Moratorium Campaign committee and the demonstrations that are to be held on 8th, 9th and 10th May. I hope that they are the success that we and the others who are associated with the Moratorium Campaign committee expect them to be.
– 1 rise in this debate as a sponsor of the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign and as one of those people who have been accused, as is the pattern in these matters, of treachery to their country. We have been accused of committing acts of violence or in organising and inciting the commission of acts of violence because we have been prepared to speak out against the continuation of this war in Vietnam. We were told tonight by Senator Greenwood that he was raising for discussion a matter of some urgency. It appears to me that it would be a matter of considerable urgency if in fact there were incitements to break the law and incitements to commit violence in the street. This matter is taken so seriously by the Government and it is so impressed by the arguments that so far we have heard from two honourable senators on the Government side. The Opposition is prepared to stay here all night and everyone of us who is a sponsor of the Moratorium Campaign is prepared to get up and make his position clear. We are not afraid of the smears which are cast at us by anybody on the other side of this chamber. I do wish that if Senator Sim were to interject there would be some level of witticism in what he says.
– 1 am doubting your witticism.
– Do you want to have another try? I will let the honourable senator have another go. 1 would like to say to the honourable senator that he is improving, but 1 am afraid that I cannot do so. Senator Greenwood has raised this matter because he is very concerned about violence. Violence has not as yet taken place, but he is very seriously concerned about it. When Senator Brown showed him some scenes of actual violence what did Senator Greenwood do? He grinned. He grinned; he found the situation highly amusing. On a previous occasion when the names of dead Australians were read out, he also found that very amusing. 1 would not want to comment on what personal problems Senator Greenwood may have, but Senator Greenwood consistently accuses honourable senators on this side of the House of lack of patriotism. One would almost think that he would apply for honorary membership of the Returned Services’ League. He continuously makes imputations against the honour and patriotism of men in this country who have given positive proof of their patriotism. I have not done so. I was too young to serve in the Second World War and I have not the slightest intention of going to the Vietnam war. I believe in one fundamental principle. It is that when there is a war on a person of military age does not send somebody else to do something that he is not prepared to do himself. One should not stand up and harry men when one is in that position. There would be one less conscript if the honourable senator were prepared to go instead of staying here and berating others.
Why are the members of the Liberal Party not here tonight to support die 2 Government senators who have spoken on this issue? Senator Greenwood has been a little naive about this matter. He complained this morning that the Press had not taken this matter very seriously. Of course the Press does not take it very seriously now. I would like to be able to say that the great mass of the Australian people has now been convinced that a mere smear of anybody who opposes the Government, alleging that he is a Communist or a traitor, lacks any foundation. Unfortunately, a great many people are still impressed by this sort of argument; but at least journalists and people with some experience have heard it so often that they are too tired to print it again. Look at the number of journalists present here tonight listening to this debate. Why are there so few of them here? Serious charges were raised by Senator Greenwood and he was followed by Senator Rae. They spoke about the alleged lack of patriotism of people on this side of the House. The Press has as little interest in this matter as members of the Liberal Party have.
I rose to speak on this matter primarily because I want to say something about what I believe is a debasement of any real democracy in this country by the smearers and character assassins who attack this movement. There have been great moratorium demonstrations and Vietnam mobilisation demonstrations throughout the whole of the United States, and they were supported by the United States Communist Party, in the same way as our moratorium in Australia is being supported by the Australian Communist Party. I want to say that I would be prepared to stand on the platform with any person who is opposed to this cruel, vicious and filthy war in Vietnam, no matter what political party he belonged to, and I would stand against anybody and regard him as the enemy of humanity and the enemy of the Australian people if he supports the war in Vietnam. I want to make my position perfectly clear.
– Who is doing the smearing now?
– Here is the great patriot.
– Who is doing the smearing now?
– I am.
– The enemy of the Australian people.
-I would not care if I were the only person there, apart from members of the Communist Party. I would still go if it were in opposition to the war in Vietnam. 1 would be prepared to be the only person there with members of the Communist Party, because I believe that this issue is of such great importance. I only hope that honourable senators opposite are beginning to fail in this matter. They are debasing public life in Australia. When these mobilisations were held throughout the United Stales of America, great masses of people took part in them. I will not refer to scientists or artists or writers because I know for one thing that very few honourable senators opposite would have heard of them and the answer would be: ‘Oh, he is a Communist,’ in the same way as Senator Sim said that a psychiatrist at the Yale University was a Communist. Let us not discuss the great artists, the great writers-
– I rise to order. I never said that anybody was a Communist.
– I accept Senator Sim’s assurance that he has never said that anybody was a Communist. I only hope he will continue that practice in the future.
– Tell the truth.
– Oh, the reserve speaks up. When the great mobilisation was held throughout the United States, prominent members of the United States Congress took part. There were people such as Senator McGovern, a highly decorated former bomber pilot in the United States Air Force, whose experience of war was not vicarious, but real. One of the leaders of the Vietnam mobilisation in the United States and of the Vietnam moratorium in the United States was Senator George McGovern, a war hero of the Second World War. There were also Senator McCarthy and Senator Cranston. One could go through a large number of members of the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives. MrLindsay, the Mayor of New York, marched at the head of the parade through New York in support of the Vietnam mobilisation and, despite a certain measure of smearing - nothing compared with what honourable senators opposite would do tonight - he was re-elected Mayor of New
York. Although Mr Agnew and the extreme people inside the Republican Party - I regard them as the worst people inside the Republican Party - have attacked a number of people inside the peace movement, inside the Vietnam moratorium and inside the Vietnam mobilisation, they have not had the audacity to accuse Senator McGovern, Mr Lindsay, Senator McCarthy or Professor Galbraith, a former United States Ambassador to India under President Kennedy, or Mr Moyes, a former special adviser to President Johnson and one of the national organisers of the Vietnam mobilisation and the Vietnam moratorium, of in any way being treacherous or subversive. At least, the people within the United States, the leadership within the United States and the people within Congress, when they know that their colleagues within Congress are actively participating in a great mass movement like this, are prepared to accept the right to protest as a democratic right. They accept it as a democratic right and they do not try to brand their colleagues. None of them - not Mr Nixon nor Mr Agnew - has ever tried to brand Senator Cranston or Senator McGovern or Mr Lindsay or Professor Galbraith or anybody else like that of being subversive or treacherous, or a Communist. Not one of them has been branded. When we sometimes hear from honourable senators opposite that we should go all the way with LBJ and how we ought to imitate the American alliance, one of the things I do wish they would try to imitate from the United States is the constitutional guarantees to people’s freedom of action and the refusal to smear people which is engaged in by people like Senator Greenwood and Senator Rae. They make their contribution to the Vietnam war by besmirching the character of other mcn and by grinning at pictures of war dead. I have no wish to be associated with them, and I say it frankly as 1 have said on previous occasions.
– 1 rise to a point of order. I was just accused inferentially, by being lumped into a statement with other honourable senators, of having grinned at a picture of war dead in Vietnam. I did no such thing. I ask that the remark be withdrawn.
– I withdraw it. But I do not withdraw the remark that the honourable senator has tried to make his career by assassinating the characters of other people, by destroying the reputations of other men and by debasing any democratic quality of life that remains in this country. He and Senator Greenwood are endeavouring to build their careers-
– Nobody would take any notice of your opinion.
– If the honourable senator wishes to interject I wish he would do it orderly, because I think I could handle him without much trouble. This is an important matter and it goes even beyond the importance of the Vietnam war, serious as it is. I refer to the endeavour which is being made to intimidate people out of exercising ordinary democratic rights by accusing them of being parties to violence, of being treacherous and of being subversive. 1 can assure Senator Greenwood and Senator Rae - we have not heard from anybody else on the other side-
– But you are going to, though.
– We are going to, are we? We are not going to be intimidated by the actions of these people. We are not frightened of them. We are sponsors of the Vietnam Moratorium and we intend to remain sponsors of the Vietnam Moratorium. Senator Greenwood interjected and asked about the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives. He has made his position perfectly clear, and that is that he believes that as Leader of the Party he should not act as a sponsor of any organisation not controlled by the Party. He has made his position quite clear and when the Canberra mobilisation is he’d he will be out addressing the Canberra mobilisation. That is the position of the Leader of the Party on this issue. We are not going to be intimidated. We are going to support the Campaign to end this war. This war is going Vo end. When it does end we are going to be justified by history that we were correct about this matter, and the only recollection of people like Senator Greenwood and Senator Rae will be that while a great world struggle was tatong place their only contribution was to smear and besmirch and denigrate the characters of those people who were prepared to stand up and declare their opposition to this monstrosity against mankind.
Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria) - I rise to make a personal explanation. I was accused by Senator Wheeldon of having said that people, amongst them members of the Senate, were treacherous and subversive and had engaged in character assassination. I did no such thing, as a reading of what I said tonight will prove positively. Insofar as Senator Wheeldon has said that I said those things, it is a mass of extravagant inaccuracies.
– Even at this hour of the morning 1 feel that 1 have a duty to my own Party to express my attitude in relation to the war in Vietnam. Earlier in the day 1 was chided by Senator Rae for being a very silent member of the Senate. 1 have not been as silent as Senator Rae would have wished. On one occasion I spent half an hour - the full time allotted to me - expressing my views on the war in Vietnam. On that occasion 1 was not interrupted many times by honourable senators opposite.
– That was in March 1 968.
– lt does not matter when it was. 1 have asked several questions about the war in Vietnam and have not been able to receive satisfactory answers. The latest question that I can recall having asked about the war in Vietnam was a follow up question to one asked by Senator Dame Dorothy Tangney just before she left the Parliament. She asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson) whether Australia was at war in Vietnam. The question was a very simple one. She was asked to put it on the notice paper. She was told by the Leader of the Government, who is in the chamber now and can hear what I say, that the question was a leading one. Next day I asked Dame Dorothy whether she intended to follow up that question. She said: ‘No. Perhaps it would be fitting if you did’. The next day I asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether he had a reply to Senator Dame Dorothy Tangney’s question. He said: No, not at this stage, but 1 hope to get a reply for the honourable senator a little later on’. He got ihat reply. His reply definitely staled thai Australia technically was not at war. I suggest that Senator Greenwood would have performed a much better task for his Parly tonight had he’ refrained from mentioning the Moratorium that is to be given effect to on 3 days next month- 8th, 9th and 10th May.
– I certainly would have got to bed earlier.
– If the honourable senator had known what was to follow he would have refrained from mentioning the subject. He is tired in body and mind now, but 1 suggest that he will have to stay here a good deal longer to hear honourable senators on this side of the House express our views. Lest I be dubbed a coward and unpatriotic 1 state my own personal position and that of my son in relation to the war in Vietnam. I have been opposed to this excursion, or incursion, whichever the case may be - I am not sure of the correct word - into Vietnam. I have never been happy about it. My father lost his life serving his country in the 1914-18 war. 1 thought there was a very just cause to be served by fightin that war. I was much younger than the boys who are conscripted to go to Vietnam today. I tried to enlist when 1 was 17 years of age. 1 failed. I again tried to enlist when I was 18. The termination of the war precluded my entry into (he armed forces on that occasion.
I was an organiser for the Australian Workers Union in 1939 when the Second World War broke out. 1 enlisted on that occasion. I was manpowered into my occupation. I do not think that honourable senators on the Government side can say that my family has not tried to do its bit when legitimate, declared wars threatened our shores. 1 turn now to the Vietnam situation. My son was of the age at which his name was included in the ballot. He was selected by the drawing of the marbles as one of the lads to be drafted into national service and who would probably ultimately find their way to Vietnam. I was not very happy about the method of selecting lads to go lo Vietnam. They were taken from the one age group and a selected few of those were chosen. I discussed the situation wilh my son and I do not think he was quite satisfied that there was not some just cause to be fought for in Vietnam. He said: ‘Subject to my passing the physical test. 1 propose to go’. He added: ‘If I could advance the wedding a little ! would go and do my 2 years.’ So he made arrangements with the girl who is now his wife to advance their wedding date so that if he did find himself in Vietnam at least he would have somebody directly dependent upon him and something to look forward to on coming back from Vietnam.
This is a personal story. As an amateur cyclist my son rode for a good while with an arm that was not of much use to him. It had been broken right at the elbow. Dr Wall, who is the orthopaedic surgeon at the Royal Hobart Hospital at present, treated him for 3 months in an attempt to correct that fault in his arm. Finally he was deemed to be physically unfit for the purpose for which he had been balloted. My interest in the overall situation did not end when my son was found to be physically unfit, because there were many sons in our nation who were going to be drafted to the conflict in Vietnam. I am still just as firmly in opposition to the war in Vietnam and all that it stands for as though my own son had been a participant in that war. I have always been opposed to it and always will be in the circumstances in which we find ourselves where we are providing a small quota in an undeclared war.
We have not been able to find out from the Government how we became involved in the war. Nobody in authority has ever told us. I posed a question to the present Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) when he was Leader of the Government in the Senate. I asked him a simple question: Where, when and by whom was Australia committed to the war in Vietnam?’ The Prime Minister got out of that one very simply by saying that there was no war in Vietnam. Our boys were there and being shot at but there was no war.
– Are you quoting him accurately?
– I am quoting from memory, but is is very vivid in my memory. It can be checked, if that is what the honourable senator is worrying about. I can remember former Senator Denham Henty indicating that the United States asked Australia to join that nation in Vietnam. I can remember Sir Paul Hasluck, when he was Minister for External Affairs, saying that we were not in Vietnam at the behest of any nation or set of nations. He said that we are in Vietnam because we think we ought to be there, fighting to free the South Vietnamese people. I recall those incidents most vividly. There is a conflict of opinion amongst Government supporters themselves as to how we became participants in the unsatisfactory state of affairs in Vietnam. 1 turn now to consider opposition by members of the Liberal Party to our participation in the war in Vietnam. I remember an honourable senator opposite indicating that every honourable senator on that side of the chamber was in support of our participation in the war in Vietnam. I used what could be regarded perhaps as unparliamentary language when I said: Says you.’ He replied: ‘Yes, says me.’ Nol more than a week later the late Senator Clive Hannaford was sitting over on this side of the chamber. He was so upset about the Government’s attitude to the war in Vietnam that he left the Liberal Party and sat on the cross benches. I dare say that if the poor fellow were alive today he would join forces with honourable senators on this side of the chamber in the proposed Moratorium. ! think I could shock some Liberal Party senators from Tasmania if I were to name a number of prominent Liberal businessmen in Hobart who have expressed abhorrence of the war in Vietnam. It has been rumoured - but I have no confirmation of the rumours - that a Liberal member of Parliament left the House of Representatives because he could not explain to his son what the Australian Government’s participation in the war in Vietnam was all about. Coming more up to date - this morning I asked a question about Mr Bill Weekes, a prominent Liberal. He organised a meeting held in Sydney on Monday evening. Mr Bill Morrison, a Labor member of the House of Representatives, was one of the two main speakers at that meeting. You cannot convince me that Mr Bill Weekes was the only Liberal in that audience or associated with that meeting. Do not let us have honourable senators opposite trying to hoodwink the nation that the only people associated with the Vietnam Moratorium campaign are members of the Labor Party plus a few Communists. They should not kid yourselves that they will get away with that. They will get such a mighty shock out of this particular organised demonstration
– I will not get a shock.
– I think you might.
– I can assure you thatI will not be shocked.
– The honourable senator has already had one or two shocks, together with other Government supporters. They have had a fair few shocks in the last few months. I think the greatest shock came when the late Clive Hannaford left the Liberal Party because of the Government’s participation in the Vietnam war and its mishandling of the Vietnam situation. In my assessment, it was shortly after that episode that support for the Government started to fall away and I think the majority of the Australian people found themselves on the side of the Opposition in their opposition to the war in Vietnam. Probably a few more speakers want to participate in this debate. I have not prepared a speech at all. As a matter of fact, I had no intention to speak. However, after some of the things that were said by the 2 Senators from the other side of the Senate who have already spoken I felt that I should say something. I understand that another Senator is itching to speak so I will resume my seat and give him an opportunity to come in and say his piece.
– What a gutless crew the Government supporters are. At 1 o’clock this morning they thought they ended their attack upon members of the Australian Labor Party. When the 2 young neo-Fascists finished speaking they then scuttled for cover and not one other senator from that side of the chamber has spoken to support a campaign which is one not only of violence but actually of war. Why are not Government supporters, particularly those who have spoken, honest enough to declare their full intention to take heed of the silent minority of Facists, racists and warmongers? If they were honest enough in their intention they would like to heed this silent minority and carry the war in Vietnam to what they consider to be its logical end - a military victory. Why do they not come out and state their intentions? Why just oppose those who work and fight for peace? Why do they not come out and say: We want to pulverise this little nation, Vietnam, into the dust and claim a victory for the might of our armed forces’? Why do they not say that? It is because they have not the courage to do so. All they have the courage to do is to get up in this chamber in the early hours of the morning - they are not game to initiate a debate like this during the normal daylight hours - and attack those who seek tobring about a cessation of the hostilities in Vietnam.
Just let the fighting cease. Surely that is a reasonable request by any logical and reasonable person in this country. Is it not a fair proposition to suggest thatthe fighting should cease and that talking should start in earnest? Why do we not goright back to 1954?
– You ask Ho ChiMinh about that.
– Never mind about that; you have betrayed the Vietnamese people many times - not just once but 3 times. The purpose of the Moratorium is to seek an end to violence, but the purpose of the Government is to turn the Moratorium into a violent act. This is obvious from the expressions of Government supporters here tonight. They have tried to stir feelings of violence in the minds of people, they have tried to panic people so that a situation will result in which there will be violence in the streets of the cities. All I say to honourable senators opposite is this: Come off it! Just appreciate that what we have been doing in Vietnam is brutalising society. We brutalise our young men. We brutalise the whole of the nation of Vietnam. Horror upon horror; we have mentioned it time and time again. We see illustrations of people killed and mutilated. Who cares who was responsible? Peace could have been achieved in Vietnam if the Australian Government had taken a firm stand at the time of the peace talks in Paris because Mr Averell Harriman showed clearly in an article is the ‘Canberra Times’ of 6th March 1970 that President Thieu of South Vietnam ruined the Paris peace talks. The article is headed: ‘Harriman Attack. Thieu “ruined the Paris talks”.’ I seek leave to have the article incorporated in Hansard.
THE PRESIDENT- Is leave granted?
THE PRESIDENT- Leave is not granted.
– The article states:
Mr Averall Harriman, former chief US delegate to the Paris peace talks, said yesterday that President Thieu of South Vietnam had ‘pulled the rug out from negotiations’ several times, the Associated Press reported.
Mr Harriman also told250 people at the Woodrow Wilson school of public and international affairs at Princeton University that President Thieu did not represent the people of South Vietnam and that his regime was ‘repressive and suppressive’ to anyone who suggested a negotiated settlement or coalition government.
He said ‘Thieu has pulled the rug out from negotiations on several occasions because he didn’t like the way they were going. Our best negotiations were private but Thieu simply said he didn’t want to talk privately. So no substantial progress could be made’.
Mr Harriman led the US delegation in Paris from its inception in early 1968 through the changeover of administrations following President Nixon’s election that year.
The former ambassador said the South Vietnamese President ‘wants to win the war and have the US fight for him and keep him in office’.
Mr Harriman said this was not the desire of the people of South Vietnam ‘who voted overwhelmingly for peace candidates’ in the election won by President Thieu.
There is no evidence that Thieu represents the people. He’s a minority ruler and his regime has been repressive and suppressive to anyone who has proposed a negotiated peace or a coalition government’, Mr Harriman said.
Then there is a further article containing a statement by Mr Cyrus Vance, the former United States negotiator at the Paris peace talks. The article states:
Mr Cyrus Vance, former US negotiator at the Paris peace talks, said last night that President Nixon’s programme of Vietnamisation made a settlement of the war in Vietnam too dependent on what the enemy does, the New York Times News Service reported.
Mr Vance proposed a three.step schedule for effecting a peace.
First, he said, the US should terminate all search-and-destroy missions and ‘very substantially’ reduce B-52 aircraft action.
The article refers to an immediate ceasefire. This is what we are proposing in the Moratorium - an immediate ceasefire. The article continues:
Second, the US should call for an immediate ceasefire.
Third, the US should announce its schedule for the removal of all troops within ‘say, 12 months’ after the ceasefire.
That is the American attitude. That is the expression of opinion by American negotiators at the Paris peace talks. At this stage in Australia we are endeavouring to gather together and to consolidate the forces that are working for peace in Vietnam. What do we see? We see a concerted attack by the responsible Government of this country against any peace move in Vietnam. The Government endeavours by every action possible to destroy the Moratorium. But let us view it this way: whatever the Government does, whatever charges it makes, let it appreciate that the more it charges and the more it attacks, the more the Moratorium will be supported because every time the Government speaks it exposes its attitude. That is an attitude which I have declared previously to be neo-Fascist and I so declare it again.
That the Senate do now adjourn.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin)
Majority . . . . 1
Question so resolvedin the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 2.55 a.m. (Thursday)
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 15 April 1970, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1970/19700415_senate_27_s43/>.