27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I preface my question, which is addressed to the Minister for Health, by referring to a report of an interview wilh the Minister published today in the ‘Age’ newspaper. This report stated that the Minister refused to give an undertaking that the present gap between the most common fee for normal general practitioner services and the rebate received by contributors to medical insurance funds would not be increased. J ask: In view of the fact that the then Prime Minister gave an election undertaking in 1969 that, this gap would be maintained “at 80c for a surgery visit and $1.20 for a home visit, will the Minister now give an assurance that this promise will be honoured and the gap will nol be widened during the term of this Government?
– The Government will make a determination in relation to the national health’ scheme after a decision has been made by the medical profession as to what will be the fees charged to patients, and therefore what will be the common or adjusted fees in the national health scheme. The. Government will have before it in effect 3 alternatives: Firstly, there could be an increase in the Commonwealth’s benefit in support of the benefits which the funds subscribe; secondly, there could be an increase in contributors’ rates to the funds so that the funds could increase their benefit; or, thirdly, there could be an increase in the gap which is called the patient gap. 1 am not in a position at this moment to say which of those alternatives will be adopted but the matter will be considered in the light of what the increase is when it is finally determined.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry or to the Acting Minister for Primary Industry. In view of the abysmally low prices now being paid for mutton in Australian stock markets, has the Australian Meat Board or have the Commissioners of the Department of Trade and Industry reported any recent success in promoting sales of mutton in India or Pakistan? Considering that Australian mutton is the cheapest available source of protein, will the aforementioned agencies increase their efforts to dispose of Australian surplus mutton in these nearby markets?
– I completely agree with the honourable senator when he says that India and Pakistan offer opportunities for the disposal of surplus Australian mutton. I know from my own experience that for some time quite conscious efforts have been made to build a market in Pakistan and equally that very solid efforts have been made, particularly out of Western Australia, to build a market in the Middle East for surplus mutton. I cannot go beyond that at the present time. I would take . great interest in finding out for the honourable senator the latest developments and - also the latest steps that axe being taken. I am sure that the Trade Commissioners in those 2 countries are alive tq the opportunities. This is one of the things I would expect them to be doing. I will find out for the honourable senator and let him know as soon as I can.
– I ask the Minister, representing the Minister for the Interior to inform the Senate, and me in particular; whether the Minister for the Interior was stating the Government’s policy when, as reported in today’s edition of the ‘Canberra Times’, he said that he was unsympathetic to poker machines”, known in the past as one armed bandits-, being introduced into the Australian Capital Territory. If he was not enunciating the Government’s policy, I ask the Minister to tell the Senate when we can expect to hear the attitude of the Government on this question. As one who is vitally opposed to the operations of these machines in the Australian Capital Territory I am most anxious to know the Government’s views on this matter.
– For a moment I was extremely concerned at the word beginning with ‘b’ following ‘one armed’ in the honourable senator’s question. I was not sure what he was going to come out with, but in the end it was clear that his concern was well demonstrated. I come from a State where the one armed bandits are running high, wide and strong. I do not know the personal view of the Minister for the Interior on this question and I have not had the advantage of reading in the Canberra Times’ the report which purports to state his view. I shall certainly find out the position. I take the honourable senator’s point that he is personally opposed to the introduction of these machines - ‘nefarious’ in brackets - in the Australian Capital Territory.
– I address my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Has consideration been given to varying the composition of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to include jurists, economists and businessmen to ensure that more detailed attention is given to the vital relationship of wage levels to productivity? Is it not a fact that the present emphasis on capacity to pay, as one of the major criteria in wage determinations, leads to undue increases in the prices of essential commodities with resultant continuation and aggravation of the cost spiral?
– I remind the honourable senator that in the judgment in the national wage case given in December last the Arbitration Commission emphasised that it has regard to the effect of its decisions in resolving disputes involving the public interest; that is to say, the national economy. Opinions will vary as to the judgment that was made in that respect, despite the inclusion of the words to which 1 have referred. There will be an ever continuing debate as to the appropriate conclusion to be drawn, whether from the point of view of the national economy or of productivity. As to the first part of the honourable senator’s question, he can be assured that on several occasions, and almost as a continuing matter, consideration is being given to any improvement that can be made in the arbitral system in Australia, including the matters to which the honourable senator specifically referred.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Housing, who administers the
War Service Homes Division. Will the Minister look into the problems involved in applications by single ex-service women for war service homes, with a view to having any anomalies rectified? I draw his attention to the case of a single nursing sister who served for over 12 months during World War II in New Guinea but has been advised that she is not eligible to receive a grant for the purchase of a war service home as she is not married, is not about to marry and has no dependants.
– You are giving a lot of information, Senator Fitzgerald.
– Yes, Sir. I ask the Minister: In view of the fact that there are very few single ex-service women who have served in a theatre of war now applying for a war service home, will he do everything in his power to rectify the obvious injustice to single ex-service women, acclaimed Australian heroines of war, who are now forgotten in these days of peace?
– I accept what the honourable senator says, but I say quite clearly that I need no urging from him to evoke sympathy for the situation of single ex-service women with regard to repatriation benefits of which war service homes assistance is one. The honourable senator’s question refers to the provision in the War Service Homes Act which entitles an exservice woman to the benefit of the Act only for her own housing accommodation or that of dependants. That is a criterion that has been in the Act, I think, since its origin. Having regard to the demands made under the Act, it has not been considered possible up to date to extend the benefit for ex-service women. But I am grateful to the honourable senator for the reminder. It will ensure that the matter will have specific consideration, as he suggests.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry aware that the price of urea imported from Queensland is now $84 a ton in Geraldton, Western Australia? In view of the undertaking given by the then Minister for Primary Industry, Mr Anthony, last year, that should the price exceed $80 a ton the Government would examine the situation again, I ask the Minister: Will the
Government examine the situation and in particular the suggestion that the bounty should apply to imports of urea from Japan which, it is estimated would save Geraldton producers between $56,000 and $70,000 annually?
– I am aware of the situation to which the honourable senator refers simply because the other day I received a letter along similar lines, which I am asking the Department of Primary Industry to investigate at the present time. When I have further information I will be able to inform the honourable senator.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In view of the evidence of continuing inflation provided by the consumer price index figures for the March quarter and of the Prime Minister’s failure to enunciate any policies to cope with the problem, does the Minister agree that we are entitled to assume either that the Prime Minister intends to inflate his way through an early election or that his reputation as a Treasurer was grossly inflated?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONAll T can say to the honourable senator in relation to the political side of his question - it is clearly political - is that if the Prime Minister chooses to have an early election the consequences for the Labor Party will be disastrous, particularly against the background of the situation today when the Labor Party no longer has the control of the great trade union movement which has been the backbone of its political life for the last 50 years.
– Is not that political?
– 1 was asked a political question and I am entitled to give a political answer. The fact of the matter is that it would be difficult to know who would be the Leader of the Opposition - Mr Hawke or Mr Whitlam.
– I think it would be Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson.
– I will never be that. Coming now to the matter of substance, shall we say, in relation to the consumer price index, the first point to make is that the 1.1 per cent increase in the index for the March quarter, as compared with the 1.9 per cent increase for the December quarter, very properly should not be interpreted as indicating any genuine falling off in the rate of price increases. Allowance has to be made for certain special factors affecting the comparison between the 2 quarters in particular. In short, the percentage increase in prices could be regarded as much the same as for both quarters. I think this is a factual observation. The latest figures, therefore, provide no grounds for complacency especially when we bear in mind that the full effect on prices of the national wage decision has not yet been completely felt. In terms of policy implications 2 broad observations can be made. On the one hand the Government decision to avoid panic measures but to put in hand a broadly based programme of action against inflation can be seen to be fully justified. On the other hand these latest figures underline the need for a firm anti-inflationary policy to be maintained in the period ahead. I think that is the best reply T can give to the politically loaded question that I was asked.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport say how much the present stewards strike has cost the Australian National Line? What effect will this costly strike have on Australian freight rates, with particular reference to those to Tasmania? What effects will it have on Australian freight rates overseas?
– The honourable senator has asked me a question in 3 parts: What effect has the stewards’ strike on the Australian National Line’s operations in the profitabilty sense? What effect will it have on Tasmanian freights? What effect will it have on overseas shipping freights? I am sure it will be bound to have an adverse effect on the whole scene, but to what extent I cannot say. There was a comment in this morning’s paper which I read and which stated that the ANL could be endangered if the strike continued. I think that I should address the honourable senator’s question to the Minister responsible and obtain details for him of the precise amounts which the Minister can give me.
– I ask the Acting Minister for Primary Industry whether he is aware of a statement in today’s Press attributed to the Leader of the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation, Mr Price, in which he criticised the Australian Country Party, the Liberal Party and the Australian Labor Party in that order for their approach to the vital question of international trade as it relates to wheat sales to China and stated that they were guilty of national irresponsibility. Does the Minister agree with this view? If he does not, will he take the earliest means to correct the ignorance of this gentleman and those who support his view by making itclear that it is both the duty and .the responsibility of a parliament worthy of the name to take all possible steps to ensure the maintenance and promotion of international trade especially when the so-called leaders of a particular industry so clearly demonstrate that they are ; apparently not competent to do so. >
– I think the question of wheat trade with China is a matter which has interested many sections of the community, and many people have had a lot to say ‘ on the subject. I think also that the Senate should be aware of the fact that at no time has an official Chinese source stated that it was not going to take any more Australian wheat. Furthermore. I think it should be made clear that at no time has any official Chinese source said that the recognition of China is a prerequisite for trade with that country. At all times there has been no dearth of mischievous people who have endeavoured to make political capital out of the question of recognition of Red China. If their purpose has been to disrupt trade with that country and intensify difficulties for primary industries then it does appear as though some of them have been successful. I think that Mr Price, because of this background, has made this statement. I have not seen the full text.
– Will the Minister obtain it and have a look at it?
– I shall ask for it and have a look at it. Then I shall be in a position to comment.
– I would like to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise with further reference to a question which I asked yesterday. Is the importation of South American piranha fish allowed or are they prohibited imports under the customs regulations? If they are not now prohibited imports, will steps be taken to have their importation into this country prohibited?
– The Department of Customs and Excise noted that this question was asked yesterday and sent to me some information on the man-eating fish from South America about which Senator Lawrie asked. As a matter of customs control live fish and the spawn of fish are prohibited imports in terms of Item 23, Second Schedule, Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations and may not be im-. ported without the. written permission of the Minister for Customs and Excise. Permission to import is given only when the advisory committee on the importation of live aquarium .fish recommends approval. The committee consists of- State fisheries and Department of Primary Industry representatives. On the advice of the committee 4 species of piranhas are prohibited and permission for their importation is not given. The Department has investigated earlier claims that these fish are in Australia, but these claims have not been substantiated.’ Information regarding possible attempts to smuggle prohibited species of fish into Australia has also been circulated to Collectors of Customs. There is no known record of any person receiving approval to import a piranha.
– In addressing a question to the Leader of the Government I ask him to recall that there stands referred to the Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committee on Social Environment a whole series of questions. So far as I know that Committee has not elected a chairman. Therefore, as a matter of urgency, I ask the Minister to refer to the Committee for urgent study the problems of ships discharging waste off the coast of Australia, resulting in beach pollution and the destruction of fauna, and possibly to recommend a way of overcoming this problem.
I am conscious of the fact that there may be some procedural things yet to be done before the Committee can function. To the extent that I have some responsibility in this matter and have failed to do what is needed I shall examine the matter this afternoon. I see no reason why the Committee should not now meet and elect a chairman and proceed with the matters that have been referred to it. It is for the Committee to decide which reference it will take first and what priority it will give to the matters to be dealt with. Certainly I shall draw to the Committee’s attention the point made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, and in the first instance I shall discuss the matter with the Government representatives on the Committee, from whom the chairman will come.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for National Development aware that the Victorian Minister for Water Supply, Mr Roberts Dunstan, is reported to have stated that by the time the New South Wales, Victorian and Commonwealth Governments receive legal advice on the ramifications of the South Australian Government’s amended Dartmouth legislation, the Dartmouth dam may be dead and finished? Is he aware that this reported view was expressed after discussions with both New South Wales and Commonwealth Ministers? If, as the Victorian Minister claims, the Dartmouth proposition may not be worth it owing to rising costs, will he ascertain whether these reports are correct and will he take steps to seek an early solution to the present situation so that South Australia will not be denied the water which it so urgently needs?
– Yes, 1 shall take steps to find out whether these reports are correct and to see what is being done to overcome the situation. I must say that one would be extremely disturbed if the situation expressed by the honourable senator were true.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Health. Are some patients currently being charged a standard fee based on costs submitted in July 1970 to his departmental advisers who compile the common fee schedules? Is it not true that the schedules list a fee which is described as the common fee but which is far below the actual most common fee for some of these services? Will the Minister make clear, for the benefit of those patients affected, that the common fee schedule does not necessarily list the most common fee and, indeed, in some cases lists only a fictitious figure arrived at by some undisclosed means by advisers who have taken no steps since July 1970 to make themselves conversant with the facts by checking with the specialists concerned other than by the procedure of inadequate departmental correspondence?
– I think it should be recognised that the common fee, which is the basis of the Government’s medical benefits scheme, is the fee which was commonly charged at the time when the National Health Act was brought into operation in the middle of 1970. It is not to be regarded as an average fee and it is not to be supposed that every doctor charges the common fee. The expression common fee’ has been used because it is the fee commonly charged. There will always be instances of specialists or general practitioners who, for a variety of reasons, depart from the common fee. Some charge less than the common fee; others charge more than the common fee. I think it is incumbent upon patients, as far as they can, to ascertain what is the fee which their doctor charges.
If the doctor charges more than the common fee then the combined Commonwealth benefit and fund benefit under the insurance scheme will mean that the patient gap, which has to be borne by the patient, will be larger than that which is specified in the schedules of the National Health Act. I hope that that explanation will be of assistance to the honourable senator in answer to the question that he asks. If there is any aspect which has not been covered, I ask him to put that aspect of the question on notice.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. On 7th April I asked the Minister a question relating to national service and was assured by him that he would be giving an answer to a question on notice asked by Senator O’Byrne which would encompass my question. One aspect of my question was unanswered. I now ask the Minister why 6 men have been sentenced to 2 years gaol out of the 10,600 who I understand have been under investigation for a considerable time as allegedly contravening the National Service Act.
– I bring to mind the question to which the honourable senator refers. The answer lb Senator O’Byrne’s question was a long answer, very deliberately given, lt showed how of those men who were included in the ballot some were called up, some were rejected after medical examination, and the others were winnowed down to a very small number of recalcitrants and defaulters. By far the greater number of those were persons who had not been identified and had not been traced. Of the very small number who actually were proved to have deliberately resisted their obligations, there were a number of prosecutions - I think they were of the order of about 100 - a number of convictions, and a very small number - I think it did not reach double figures - of men who were penalised by imprisonment. It is necessary to have all those categories in mind before any credence whatever is given to the highly specious claim implied in the honourable senator’s question that there is discrimination against the very few in the administration of the law. Those very few have attracted the penalty of the law, and they have got it.
– 1 ask the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport whether he has any knowledge of a proposal to release 2 ships from the present maritime strike partly to relieve the urgency of the position in Tasmania and on King Island. I ask him further: Has be heard anything of a proposal emanating from some organisations, I think some
Labor organisations, that because of its particularly vulnerable position Tasmania should be exempt by the unions concerned from the repeated stoppages of the past few years? I ask the Minister most importantly: Does he not believe that the people responsible for the present sabotage should be pursued with the full rigour of the law?
-] do not believe that there is profit for anybody in industrial stoppages or disputes. In the end both sides suffer and nobody is any better off. I have always believed this. Naturally I have a great concern to see that, if possible, industrial stoppages are not held or, if they are held, that they are reduced to a minimum. Therefore I have a very great concern about industrial stoppages. I think the position in relation to Tasmania is very difficult. Tasmania is very much dependent upon sea communication. The position must be very difficult for Tasmanians. Beyond that, I have no detailed knowledge of the position, but I shall endeavour to ascertain the facts and to do what I can to help in a situation which, I repeat, has no profit in it for anybody.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Has the Minister for Labour and National Service made any recent appointments of conciliation commissioners who are, as stated in the last annual report of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, urgently required?
– I shall check with the Minister for Labour and National Service and give the honourable senator details after seeing the record.
– Is the Minister representing the Treasurer aware that, in many instances, the incidence of Federal estate duty, when imposed on certain estates, is significantly greater than the tax imposed by some State probate legislation? Does the Minister consider that this situation is acceptable to the Australian public? Is the Minister aware that benefits by way of alleviation of duty, which would flow to the beneficiaries of certain rural estates in Victoria, will not be permitted to flow to those beneficiaries until the Commonwealth adjusts the rates and the incidence of the present Commonwealth estate duty? Is the Minister aware of any action proposed by the Commonwealth to alleviate this situation? Will the Minister request the Treasurer to give this matter urgent consideration and to amend the Commonwealth Estate Duty Assessment Act to lower the incidence of tax on rural estates?
– r am being asked to comment on a matter of policy. I cannot do that. The most that I can do, I think, is to refer the honourable senator’s submissions to the Treasurer. Tt is true that traditionally, as I said yesterday, all matters of revenue, taxation and the incidence and application of those matters are considered at Budget time. I am aware of some of the angles that the honourable senator mentioned about Commonwealth and State estate duties. I am not aware of that in relation to my impending demise but because, in an honorary capacity, I have acted for people in the handling of estates. I will have the question referred to the Treasurer. 1 can promise no more than that.
– Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate verify a report in yesterday’s ‘Age’ of a speech by the former Minister for Defence, Mr Malcolm Fraser, in which he said that in future Western nations might not back non-Communist nations which were under threat and that Australia might have to act on its own initiative in future in making military commitments? He also said-
– Order! The honourable senator is giving a lot of information.
– I ask the Leader of the Government: As Australian troops are still losing their lives in Vietnam, does the Government intend to follow Mr Malcolm Fraser’s about-face and adopt his new and realistic attitude? Would the adoption of his new attitude lead to the immediate withdrawal of our troops in Vietnam and to a determination by Australia never again to become involved in such futile and tragic conflicts as Vietnam?
– The whole of the honourable senator’s question predicated about a statement pur ported to be made by Mr Malcolm Fraser. That purported statement appeared in a Melbourne paper. Mr Fraser is a former Minister for Defence. Since I did not see the statement, I cannot comment upon it or upon the consequential questions posed by Senator O’Byrne.
– I asked earlier a question regarding the sale of mutton to India and Pakistan. The question related to the functions of the Australian Meat Board and the Australian Trade Commissioner Service. Obviously it came within the responsibility of 2 Ministers. Will the Acting Minister for Primary Industry agree to answer that question in relation to the activities of the Meat Board?
Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry, Senator Cotton, said in answer to the honourable senator’s question that he would obtain some information for the honourable senator. I have spoken to Senator Cotton about, this matter and he has agreed with me that perhaps T should add to his answer. I support what Senator Cotton said on this matter. I would point out to Senator Prowse that the Department of Trade and Industry is very aware of the position as a result of the information supplied by its Trade Commissioners in the area, who are alert to the possibility of the sale of mutton in this area. If there is any change of policy in India and Pakistan these men will be pushing Australia’s case for the sale of our mutton. However, I should remind the Senate that both Pakistan and India have at the present time very strict foreign exchange requirements. These strict requirements prohibit the importation of non-essential goods and meat is low in priority in the list of non-essential goods.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Can he inform the Parliament of the total Commonwealth subsidy that is paid annually to Ansett Airlines of Australia for the Cairns-Weipa-Thursday Island air route?
– I can inform the Senate of the figure but I am not in a position to do so at the moment because I do not have the annual report of the Department of Civil Aviation with me. The figure is contained in that document. I shall obtain this information for the honourable senator this evening.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Has the Leader of the Government seen reports in today’s Press regarding the establishment by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of an air force fighter base in Ceylon at the invitation of the Government of Ceylon? Can the Minister divulge to the Senate any information on this ‘matter at this time?
I could give some information at . two levels. I understand that the Soviet Union is supplying arms and personnel to Ceylon in response to a request from the Government of Ceylon to meet an immediate insurgency threat. Other countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America, India and Australia, have also been approached for various kinds of assistance. The Soviet Union and India are the only countries so far which have provided personnel. In the case of the Soviet Union it was because it is unlikely that Ceylon could have provided personnel who were trained to use Soviet equipment.
At the second level, coming back to the Australian position, I wish to say that since’ the middle of March there has been a state of emergency in Ceylon. On 5th April bands of armed insurgents made a series of unco-ordinated attacks on police stations and other government installations. So far the situation has been contained by the Government of Ceylon, which is led by Mrs Bandaranaike, but it is still faced with the continuance of the insurgency threat. The Government of Ceylon has sought arms from several countries, lt has inquired about the possibility of obtaining certain items from Australia on a commercial basis - I repeat, on a commercial basis - in particular, rifles and ammunition. Ceylon is a member country of the Commonwealth of Nations and its Government is democratically elected. Assistance to the Government of Ceylon in its present difficulties would be in accordance with
Australia’s long standing friendship with that country. We have informed the Government of Ceylon that the items requested could, with one exception, be made available. However, it is not yet certain whether any firm order will be placed.
– My question is directed to you, Mr President. Was the last question which was asked a question on notice, a question without notice or a question that was sent by the Leader of the Government in the Senate to one of his supporters to ask of the Leader of the Government?
With your permission, Mr President, I shall answer the question. In fairness I think it should be made clear that frequently honourable senators on both sides of the chamber - that includes Senator Kennelly’s side - have indicated to a Minister that they will ask a question in a certain direction. Without naming any honourable senator I can look about me and see in the chamber honourable senators who have adopted that procedure. That is the first point. The second point is that I speak in the name of the Prime Minister and for the other Ministers whom I represent in this chamber. In fact, in my capacity as Leader of the Government in the Senate 1 could be asked questions in relation to any one of the 26 portfolios. Of necessity I try - I hope I am doing the right thing - to anticipate something that may be asked of me so that I can give a comprehensive reply. If Senator Kennelly or other honourable senators do not want me to do that. I wish they would so indicate because that would make the position very much easier for me.
– I direct my question to the Acting Minister for Primary Industry, ls it a fact that one of the strongest criticisms of the Australian wheat industry during the past 10 years has been on the ground of its dependence upon the Chinese market for sales? Is it a tribute to the magnificent work of the Australian Wheat Board that the current year’s sales are of record dimensions without sales to China and reflect a great widening of the market?
– I think the short answer is yes. The honourable senator has more or less provided his own answer to the question. The Senate will recall that in the late 1950s and early 1960s all the wheat bins throughout Australia were full and a lot of the wheat was being eaten by weevils. We obtained a market quickly. This year we have been able to make sales all over the world and to sell sufficient wheat to give us an estimated carry-over of well below 200 million bushels without sales to China.
– Will the Minister for Health inquire into certain matters which have been raised by Mr Paddy Carroll, secretary of the major trade union in the Northern Territory? In particular, will he inquire into whether it is a fact that at the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd town on Groote Eylandt, some 450 miles east of Darwin, there are about 800 European workers and 1,200 Aboriginals but no doctor? Has the company said that it will not help in this regard, claiming that it is the Government’s business to supply medical services, with the consequence that workers or their families have to fly to Darwin at a cost of $35 each way to obtain medical treatment? Will the Minister consider this matter in the context that there could be urgent cases which could not be dealt with quickly because the Royal Flying Doctor Service does not cover the area? Will he inquire whether it is a fact that, by contrast, Gove which is run by Alcoa of Australia Ltd has a population of 2,500 people and 2 doctors? Will the Minister see what can be done to remedy the position?
– I certainly shall inquire, because the Leader of the Opposition has asked me to inquire, into the facts that he has related. I must say, however, that I have had occasion to examine this matter in recent times because others have raised similar questions relating to the adequacy of medical services on Groote Eylandt. It is true that there is no resident doctor on Groote Eylandt but there is a regular visiting doctor who flies in, I think, every 6 weeks and stays for a period of days. A doctor can be brought in and, in fact, is brought in, when emergencies arise. When the doctor is not there a nursing service is available. 1 state these things because they are known to me. They go part of the way towards meeting the problem which exists in many parts of the Northern Terirtory where there are developing industries and where medical facilities are not keeping pace with them. However, I shall look further into the matter as the Leader of the Opposition has asked me to do, and I shall give him such information as I am able to obtain.
– I direct my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Notwithstanding a very comprehensive reply I received from the Prime Minister outlining the Commonwealth Government’s interpretation of the status of Australian citizens under the new United Kingdom Immigration Bill, will the Minister now say that the recent action of Enoch Powell in having a British parliamentary committee delete the patrial clause makes much of the Prime Minister’s advice null and void? Can we have a further assurance that the Australian High Commissioner in London will maintain close liaison with the United Kingdom Home Secretary and request retention of the patrial clause. In the event of refusal, will the Australian Government review its present policy of preference to Britain in regard to trade and other agreements?
The Prime Minister’s . reply, which I gave previously, was based on the Bill as it was introduced in the British Parliament. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on amendments which may be proposed at the Committee stage. That would involve looking into the crystal hall. Through the High Commissioner in London the Australian Government is keeping a close watch on developments. Any further comment must await advice to us of the final form which the British law will take.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science. Has the Minister yet determined whether Australian universities are to be reimbursed financially for the increased wages they have been called upon to meet for nonacademic staff? Will the Minister expedite his reply ro the urgent representations made by the Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee for relief in this direction?
– According to my recollection, this matter has been decided. However 1 would not undertake to state the details. I will make an early reference and advise the honourable senator.
– I ask the Minister representing the Treasurer a question. Will the Minister refer to the Treasurer the plight of the wives and families of deceased farmers and graziers who have suffered from drought and low wool prices? Many of these people are unable to raise any money to pay death duties. Will the Government give a sympathetic hearing to these people and allow thiem a very long extension of time in which to pay these duties?
This question follows an earlier question asked by Senator Webster who referred to the incidence of Commonwealth death duties. Senator Lawrie has suggested that in certain circumstances in the primary industry area there should be an extended time in which death duties may be paid. I shall certainly refer his request to the Treasurer.
– I ask the Acting Minister for Primary Industry: Is it not a fact that the considerable sales of wheat to Communist China in recent years were made possible because it was the policy of the United States of America, which has immense wheat production, not to sell wheat to that country? Is it true that people who are endeavouring to bring about recognition of Communist China by forecasting possible sales of Australian wheat to that country as a result of recognition would have to take into consideration the fact that the United States, with its immense production, could become a competitor?
– I understand that what the honourable senator said is true. The United States of America has not traded with Communist
China for many years. Quite likely if Australia recognised Communist China in order to get into this wheat trade, then possibly America, with its great surplus, would have to look to this market.
– My question, which I direct to the Minister for Civil Aviation, refers to answers given by the Minister on 6th April about applications for the operation of international charter flights and for more specialised charter services by Qantas Airways Ltd. I ask: ls it a fact that the Director-General of Civil Aviation has recently asked Qantas, as reported in the Press, to examine a proposal that Qantas should operate a subsidiary charter company? If so, what is the result of that request? What decision, if any, has been made by the Government on the application by Ansett Airlines of Australia to operate international charter flights, and on the application by World Airways inc., a representative of which recently saw the Minister in connection with charter services between the United States and Australia?
– It is not correct that the Director-General of Civil Aviation ha? asked Qantas to set up some type of subsidiary operation of charter flights, lt is correct that he drew the attention of Qantas to a proposal by British Overseas Airways Corporation to do something along those lines. Qantas has had thai information from the Department for some weeks now. Of course, Qantas would have been aware of the proposal. The report that BOAC intends to take that action is certainly not easy to establish as being fully accurate. I have been waiting to hear more about it. We are receiving rather conflicting reports. There have been newspaper reports that the Ansett group would like to operate charter flights out of Australia. The view of myself and my Department would be that the Ansett organisation is a domestic operator as part of our 2- airline policy and therefore has a failamount to do in this country. Senator Bishop also referred to an application by World Airways lnc. lt is still under consideration by me and my Department and an early answer to the application can be expected.
– Is the Minister for Health aware that 62.5 per cent of presently marketed veterinary vaccines and 41.9 per cent of veterinary antibiotics tested by the National Biological Standards Laboratory failed to pass the tests of that Laboratory? Is he aware that these figures, published in Table 67 on page 150 of the annual report of the Commonwealth Department of Health for 1969-70, also showed that 54.5 per cent of veterinary products failed to pass tests for potency? Can the Minister inform the Senate how many, if any, of these veterinary vaccines and antibiotics tested were manufactured by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories and how many, if any of them, failed the tests? What action has the Government taken following the disclosure that more than half of the products failed to pass potency tests?
– I am aware that over 60 per cent of veterinary vaccines and over 40 per cent of veterinary antibiotics failed to pass tests of the National Biological Standards Laboratory. I am also aware that the reasons why these vaccines and antibiotics failed to pass the tests are set out in the annual report of the Director-General of Health, lt is the Government’s policy not to publish the results of tests of the products of an individual manufacturer. This policy also applies to products manufactured by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories because it produces in competition. Any potency failures have been discussed with the manufacturers concerned and I understand that they have taken steps to remedy the situation.
– My question, which I direct to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, concerns question No. 978 standing in my name on the notice paper. That question, which I asked 5 weeks ago, relates to the judgments of courts in Victoria and Western Australia on cases involving conscientious objection to national service. In view of the length of time since those judgments were given and since I placed my question on the notice paper, and as I have subsequently directed another question on this subject to the Minister, will he now indicate to me the likely date upon which an answer will be given? Would it not be reasonable to assume in view of the circumstances and the length of time which has elapsed that the Government is reluctant to answer my question?
– The honourable senators question on the notice paper refers to a comparison between 2 cases of prosecution under the National Service Act. one in Victoria and one in Western Australia. I regret very much that his question has not been answered. It was asked on 16th March. I shall bring the matter to the notice of the Minister for Labour and National Service with the honourable senators specific request, supported by my own. that an early answer be provided.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. I preface it by asking him whether he is aware that most young men who obtain deferment of national service call-up in order to complete university and other higher education courses are called up immediately they fail an end of year examination - frequently through no fault of their own - and after 2 years national service a high percentage do not resume their studies. Can the Minister advise whether the Government is prepared to examine a scheme whereby such young students can be given greater latitude in their endeavours to complete their studies, or alternatively, in appropriate cases can call-up be deferred indefinitely?
– I certainly agree with the honourable senator that the subject to which he refers is worthy of real consideration. I do not affirm the procedure that he ascribes to the Department; neither do I deny it. But I know that there is an area of difficulty: with regard to the continuance of deferment in the case of students who have failed at some stage of their university course. I shall certainly have pleasure in bringing the matter to the notice of the Minister for Labour and National Service.
– Mr President, my question is directed to you. I draw attention to the problem of ascertaining how much time remains for the giving of notice of motion for disallowance, whether of regulations or of ordinances, and also of ascertaining how much time has run since a notice has been given - the time factor being important in that if it is not dealt with within 15 sitting days the regulation or ordinance is automatically disallowed. I ask you whether you will refer to the Standing Orders Committee the question whether these times should be shown on the notice paper for the convenience of all honourable senators.
– Yes, I will be pleased to do that.
– 1 direct a question to the Minister representing the MinisterinCharge of Aboriginal Affairs. Will the Minister study that section of the 1.970 annual report of the South Australian Housing Trust that deals with Aboriginal housing? Is the standard type of dwelling being built by the Trust for Aboriginal housing which, it is stated in the report, provides for additions of bathrooms and inside toilets as the inhabitants become more sophisticated, in accordance with the standard considered desirable by the Office of Aboriginal Affairs? What degree of sophistication do Aboriginal families have to achieve before their homes can be provided with bathrooms and toilets?
– The honourable senator will appreciate that I am not in a position to give him the sort of information that he wants in response to his question. T ask him to put it on the notice paper.
– Does the Minister for Civil Aviation agree that in no circumstances should air safety requirements, both for passengers and for crew, be neglected? Is he aware that on many peak hour nights it has become impossible for hostesses to serve both drinks and meals and be strapped in by the time required under regulation 244(1.) of the Air Navigation Regulations? If he disputes these occurrences, will he undertake to discuss the matter with the Air Hostesses Association in order to reach a proper solution on what has become an unreasonable imposition on its members?
– The Department of Civil Aviation gives way to nobody in its insistence on air safety. Any suggestion that safety might be endangered or that something might be done to make it better will certainly be taken seriously. I shall direct inquiries about this and if need be I shall, with considerable pleasure, talk to the air hostesses.
– 1 ask the Minister representing the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether he has noted details of a report of a speech delivered in Melbourne yesterday by Sir George Fisher of Mount Isa Mines Ltd in which he claimed that in many industrialised countries the matter of pollution had been neglected so that legislation now being introduced was restrictive and meant the closing down of many factories. Will the Minister ask his colleague, the VicePresident of the Executive Council, to implement an inquiry by the Office of the Environment regarding possible legislation so that severe restrictive measures do not have to be ultimately introduced into Australia?
I have not had the advantage of reading the report attributed to Sir George Fisher. I am quite certain that it would be a thoughtful contribution. I shall seek information in relation to it. I gather that the suggestion is that because of neglect in early periods of time there has to be, in the long term, some concentrations of effluent discharge which have done irrepairable damage. It has done damage to the industries concerned because of the restrictions subsequently placed upon them. I can understand that. The question was asked whether I could refer the matter to the Minister representing this new Department which has been created. Yes, I shall refer it. The question as to whether there should be an immediate inquiry or whether the matter should be distributed to some other area of inquiry is one which will have to be looked at. It may well be that the
Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment which we have set up could have this type of question included in its terms of reference. Perhaps it could look at this area gainfully whilst looking at some other issues.
– I think this has been almost covered.
Yes, it has been almost covered.
– Can the Minister for Civil Aviation give the Senate any authentic details of the present position of the 60 Australian tourists stranded in Timor due to charter flight wrangling?
– I cannot give authentic details about this matter. I am glad to have this question which bears on a problem which many honourable senators know about. 1 shall try to find out something for the honourable senator this afternoon. I do not know what we can do. These tourists are stranded there because, obviously, they have been carried by somebody who has not been” able to complete the job. This problem is of great concern to me and 1 shall find out about it.
– Will the Minister representing the Treasurer explain to this chamber whether Bourkes Melbourne Pty Ltd, as a company in the retail business in Melbourne, and. the Australian Council of Trade Unions; as a partner entitled to a share of net profits from the company’s business operations, are liable to pay income tax? If the ACTU does not pay tax does this create any aspect of unfair competition as between taxpaying retail companies and a business partially or wholly operated by the ACTU?
Relying on my memory, I think reference has been made to this in another place. The Treasurer made some reply pointing out the obligations for payment of tax in relation to an ordinary company or organisation. Since I am representing another Minister 1 think I would be wise to obtain the precise reply which the Treasurer gave in another place, or wherever he gave it, in response to the question. 1 shall obtain that reply and make it available to the honourable senator.
– Can the Minister representing the Attorney-General give some indication of the progress which is being made with the amendment to the Trade Practices Act in order to cover resale price maintenance? May we have some assurance that we will receive the Bill early enough in the next week or so to be able to pass it, assuming that it meets the wishes of both Houses of this Parliament?
– The honourable senator will be aware that the Prime Minister made an announcement a very short time ago that the Government intended to introduce legislation to amend the Trade Practices Act to take account of the practice known as resale price maintenance. I can assure the honourable senator, as 1 can assure’ all honourable senators, that when (he Prime Minister promises that something will be done it shall be done. In support of that promise is the record of this Government over the last 20 years. I am quite confident that this legislation will be introduced in the near future and I trust that the Opposition will lend its support lb an’ early passage of the Bill.
– My question to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry refers to a recent Tariff Board report which lifts duties on imported cherries, as a result of which it is claimed that there will be a loss in South Australia of $150,000 a year and some general loss in the processing factories, etc. Have the representations to the Government from the South Australian Fruit Growers and Canners Association, the cherry producers ‘ of Australia and the South Australian Minister of Agriculture been considered by the Government and, if so, what action is proposed by the Government?
– 1 should like the honourable senator, if he would do so, to put that question on notice.
– Thus matter was raised with the Minister 2 weeks ago.
– But I do not know the facts and I would need to know them in order to give an answer. I shall find out what the position is and let the honourable senator know.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. I draw to his attention my remarks 21 days ago and his advice to me to repeat the question when the sittings of the Senate resumed. My question relates to the abnormal delay in the Department of the Interior making up its mind’ about the size of the national park in the top end of the Northern Territory.
– lt is perfectly true that the honourable senator has been waiting for a reply to that question. 1 do not have that information yet, but as promised I shall do what I can to get it for him as soon as possible.
– Has the Minister for Health read the report of the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution? If so, will he indicate what action his Department is taking to ensure that all possible steps are taken to control and reduce the pollution which has been found by that Committee to exist in Australia to a serious degree?
– I can assure the honourable senator that I have read the report of the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution. As to what my Department is doing in this area I shall have to make inquiries. The honourable senator is aware that an inter-departmental committee met last year and that as a result of that meeting an Office of the Environment was established, but obviously there may be some areas in which my Department is maintaining a primary obligation. I assure the honourable senator that I will investigate the position and let him know.
– My question is addressed to the Leader of the Govern^ ment in the Senate. In view of the fact that opposition to the visit by South African sporting teams is gathering momentum, and particularly in view of the fact that accommodation will now be no longer available for team members, will the Minister request the Government to cancel visits by South African sporting teams until such time as such sporting teams in that country are chosen on a basis other than colour?
The answer is no.
– Can the Acting Minister for Primary Industry explain the contradiction in facts which were adduced to me in a dairying area of Victoria last week when I was informed that whilst the dairying industry has been successfully asked by the Government to introduce controls on production, and the Government has in train legislative and other measures for the purpose of cutting down on dairy farms, in Victoria licences are being issued to have new dairy farms brought into production?
– I shall have to look at that question because 1 am not fully aware of all the details involved. I should like the honourable senator to come and see me and to explain to me what he has in mind. There was a drop in production in Victoria and I know that extra quotas were issued. But that is not the point that the honourable senator is raising at the present time.
– Further to the question asked by Senator Rae about Bourke’s Melbourne Pty Ltd, will the Leader of the Government in the Senate ascertain whether the Queensland Trades and Labour Council, the owner of radio station 4KQ, pays income tax on the profits earned by that station?
I will get the information for the honourable senator.
(Question No. 935)
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:
Does the creation of a high security animal quarantine station by New Zealand at Somes Island, Wellington, change the present procedure when Australians take their dogs to New Zealand?
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
No. The disease status of dogs in both Australia and New Zealand is very similar, and provided dogs come from the cattle tick-free areas of Australia they are freely admitted into New Zealand with Australian animal quarantine health certification.
(Question No. 988)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
What will be the breakdown, under the following heads of the 10,000 post-war immigrants who are to participate in the current migration survey: (a) State domicile, (b) country of origin, (c) length of time in Australia, and (d) occupation?
– The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The survey of 10,000 migrants will not cover persons already in Australia. The plan is to select a representative cross-section from all settler arrivals during a coming twelve-month period. In this way, the 10,000 migrants will represent, for example, the pattern of nationalities, the geographical distribution, and the occupational categories included in the actual migrant intake during this period. The surveywill follow their economic and social integration during their first 3 years of residence. It is the object of the survey to test basic assumptions about the pattern of immigration and to obtain data by which to improve further immigration procedures.
(Question No. 1032)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:
Is a person, called up for national service under the National Service Act, upon discharge eligible for repatriation benefits while a person who voluntarily joins the Army for a 3-year period is not entitled to such benefits upon discharge, despite having served in a theatre of war? If so, why?
Sentaor DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Both discharged national servicemen and members of the Regular Army are eligible for repatriation benefits under the same conditions, provided they served on special service in a special area as defined in the Repatriation (Special Overseas Service) Act I note that on 30th March the honourable senator addressed a question without notice to the Minister representing me in the Senate. That question was related to the allied subject of rehabilitation services and, in this regard, it is advised that certain rehabilitation benefits are provided for discharged national servicemen under the Defence (Re-establishment) Act, including the provision of vocational training and re-establishment loans, which come under my administration. Such benefits are restricted to discharged national servicemen, whether or not they served in a theatre of war. The provision is made because of the involuntary interruption to normal life suffered by national servicemen, in contrast to voluntary enlistees in the defence forces whohave chosen the regular forces as a career or an alternative to some civil occupation. In certain circumstances, members of the regular forces may be eligible for training under the services vocational and educational training schemes which are administered by the appropriate Service departments.
(Question No. 817)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
In addition tothe above, a number of refugees departed Austria who had not lived in Austria for 12 months or more and so are excluded from the above figures. They are mainly Yugoslavs from Yugoslavia and numbered 2,350 in 1969 and 2,056 in the first 9 months of 1970.
(Question No. 833)
asked the Minister representing the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice:
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONThe answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
(Question No. 863)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
Are any Commonwealth moneys being expended for the purpose of providing educational facilities for Greek children in Australia. If so, for what specific purposes are the funds allocated, and to whom are payments made?
– The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
If the honourable senator has in mind the special classes established in the community for the instruction of Greek children in Greek language and Greek culture, I can inform him that no Commonwealth funds are being expended for this purpose. The honourable senator will be of course aware that children of Greek origin are included amongst the migrant children who receive special instruction in the English language under the child migrant education programme. Already this financial year the Commonwealth has committed under this programme payments to State Education Departments and the independent school authorities of some $1.4m dollars for the salaries of special teachers and the provision of equipment for classrooms. Separately the Commonwealth is meeting the cost of training courses for teachers and the provision of teaching and learning materials.
(Question No. 973)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice
– Yesterday Senator Foyser asked me a question about sport in South Africa. I said that I would look at the question in Hansard and that if it appeared to me that further information would assist the honourable senator I would give him an answer of a detailed nature today. I now wish to inform the honourable senator of the following:
I would refer the honourable senator to the remarks made by the Prime Minister in another place on 6th April when he made it quite clear that-
– by leave -I move:
That in order to enable Senate Estimates Committees D and E to meet from the first ringing of the bells after the dinner adjournment, the sitting of the Senate be suspended from the suspension for dinner thisday until the second ringing of the bells.
That willbeat approximately 10.45 p.m. That motion means that the bells will be rung after the suspension of the sitting for the dinner adjournment and those 2 Committees will function. The Senate, as a body, will meet at approximately 10.50 p.m., in the normal way
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Murphy)- by leave - agreed to:
That leave of absence’ from the Senatefor1 month be granted to Senator Douglas McClelland on the ground of absence overseas on parliamentary business.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - (Senator Sir Magnus Cormack) - I have received the following letter from Senator Byrne:
I give notice that on Wednesday, 21st April 1971, I shall move that the Senate at its rising adjourn until tomorrow at 10.55 a.m., unless otherwise ordered, for the purpose of debating a Matter of Urgency namely:
Is the motion supported? (More than the number of senators required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places)
Motion (by Senator Sir Kenneth
Anderson) - by leave - agreed to:
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the whole discussion on the subject from terminating not later than 6 p.m.
– The motion which has just been carried by the Senate means that the normalperiod of debate on a motion of this character has been reduced from the customary 3 hours to the period limited by the closure of the debate at about 6 p.m. For that reason it is appropriate that, to enable the maximum number of speakers to address themselves to the debate within the available period, there should be some limitation of the customary time allowed for honourable senators to present their propositions. Therefore it is agreed that I, as mover of the motion, and the Minister for Health (Senator Greenwood), who will be leading for the Government should speak for 20 minutes each and that other speakers correspondingly would speak for shorter periods.
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until tomorrow at 10.55 a.m., unless otherwise ordered.
I do so for the purpose of debating a matter of urgency, namely:
Because of the circumscription of time, I propose to address myself primarily to that aspect of our motion which deals with child endowment. My colleague Senator Little, who will support this motion at a later stage, will address himself more particularly to the other aspects of the motion dealing with maternity allowances, home savings grants and the other matter that comes within the terms of the motion. This is the third urgency motion which has been moved by the Democratic Labour Party in the last few weeks. These have been a coordinated programme of presentation to the Senate for consideration of aspects of Government policy that we think require urgent and particular attention. The first motion dealt with the urgent need to review the level of socal service payments in relation to pensioners. The second motion dealt with the position of those in receipt of income from private superannuation schemes and those who receive their sole source of income from fixed investments. Both those motions were supported by the Opposition and were carried.
This is the third of a trilogy of such motions, on this occasion dealing with child endowment and the other ancillary matters. We move these motions because this is the period in which the Government is considering what propositions will be embodied in the Budget. We feel that it is the appropriate and most effective way for our Party and for the Senate to register concern about these areas which we feel particularly require urgent and adequate Government attention. These areas have included social service payments and the position of people on fixed incomes from superannuation. We now include the position in respect of child endowment. At least it could be said for the first group whom we attempted to assist that following our motion the Government did move and that at least pensioners . are articulate in that they have organisations which can present their case. Pensioner organisations can wait on Ministers and, through their own organs in publicity, can present the case for social service recipients. Certain people are in a position to speak for the participants of private superannuation schemes and those on fixed incomes. Those people are associated with bodies which can speak on their behalf.
Who speaks on behalf of the parents of large families which are vulnerable to the ebb and flow of the economic circumstances of this nation? Nobody speaks for them. By the nature of things they are not organised. They have no organisation to express their point of view or to present propositions on their behalf. Parents who have to look after large families have no opportunity to join organisations or, in many cases, to try to- present their position to the authorities so that the authorities will do something to rectify the position. These people fall within a totally unrepresented section of the community. Other groups have their representatives. The Returned Services League looks after the interests of returned servicemen; the taxpayer associations look after the interests of taxpayers; the Australian Medical Association looks after the interests of medical practitioners; and the trade unions look after the interests of their members insofar as wages are concerned. All these people are in a position to seek at any time professional help to protect their economic position, but who speaks for the large families in this community? Nobody, unless the parliamentarians speak for them.
It is most proper that speeches of this nature should be registered in this place at this time. It is not without significance that, because nobody speaks for these people, they are the ones who have received the least consideration of all in the community. While wages have increased repeatedly at the instance of arbitration tribunals as a result of the representations of employee organisations and while there have been reductions in taxation - no doubt as a result of representations by the taxpayer associations and organisations which are looking after the interests of taxpayers, there has been no variation in the level of child endowment payments since 1967. The speech which I am making could well be spelt out by the sheer brutality of statistics, but time does not permit a lengthy recitation of statistics in this field, telling and all as they are. Nevertheless, the figures which are available spell out a most deplorable story. They spell out a story which completely justifies the very strong terms which I have used in the motion which I have moved on behalf of the Australian Democratic Labor Party. A section of the motion refers to the culpable neglect of the Commonwealth Government in allowing child endowment rates to deteriorate. T believe that the use of the expression ‘culpable neglect’ is completely justified. If one takes into consideration the fact that there has been a grave erosion in the value of money; that this erosion has been going on year after year; that steps have been taken in all other sections of the Community to hedge and to buttress against the effects of this erosion; and that there is one group in the community that is completely at the will and mercy of the government of the day and has not had any steps taken on its behalf for 4 years to alleviate its position one will agree that the use of the expression ‘culpable neglect’ is completely and totally justified.
What is the position of the larger families in our community? It would be easy for me to recite in general terms that their position is bad, but I think it is proper that I should, on an occasion like this, cite authority. 1 cite authority which has been cited in this place in other contexts on many occasions, but it is authority which has brought its work substantially up to date. I refer to the survey which was conducted by the Institute of Applied Economic Research of the University of Melbourne. The results of this survey were reported in a paper presented on 26th January 1969. This document is one of the many reference papers which have been published on the subject of poverty in Australia. I wish to quote a few excerpts from it to show that there is irrefutable evidence, as a result of expert technical investigation, that the large family group is one group which is a victim of the current inflation and that it is a group which is providing one of the gross and grave areas of poverty in our community. The objective of the survey was to discover who were the poorest people and in what ways help could be most efficiently given. A line was drawn arbitrarily at a level equal to $33 a week for a family of a man and his wife and 2 children - this was in 1969 - and anything below that line constituted poverty and anything less than 20 per cent above it constituted marginal poverty. The paper slates:
Of the fairly large group of large families 8.5 per cent were poor and 13.7 per cent only marginally above the poverty line on our index.
That was found to be the position of one of the most worth while groups of citizens in our community, the large families with the little children, in the city of Melbourne. lt is quite obvious that there are pockets of poverty in our community. This survey found that 8.5 per cent of such families were in poverty and 13.7 per cent were only marginally above the level of sheer poverty, being Jess than 20 per cent above the poverty level. The paper continues:
Large Families . . . arc often in lnc marginal category just above our austere poverty line, so that measuring by adjusted income after payment of cost of housing 28.5 per cent were either poor or marginal. ft is important, therefore, to assess the circumstances of these people. The paper states that many children are growing up in acute poverty. It is a matter of national scandal that this position, which was registered before 1969 by the Institute in its analysis and reiterated as late as 1969, should have been allowed for one second to go on without governmental attention, yet more than 4 years have passed - certainly 2 years have passed since this document was published in 1969 - without any action being taken to rectify the tragic position of this group of citizens. The paper went on to report:
The obvious remedy for poverty among large families is an increase in rates of. child endowment. Child endowment payments have not been increased as fast as incomes have risen in Australia in recent years. In 1950-51 they constituted 1.28 per cent of gross national expenditure; by 1968-69 they will be about 0.74 per cent of gross national expenditure.
There has been a tragic deterioration in the relativity of child endowment to gross national expenditure. The figures which are available spell this out in many ways. In an answer which he gave in May 1969 the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) related this figure to average weekly earnings. It has shown that in 1949 child endowment represented 2.6 per cent of the average national earnings, but by 1970 it had dropped to 0.7 per cent. In other words, child endowment has become virtually a worthless contribution towards the assistance, succour and welfare of families of this nature, but nothing has been done about the matter.
The Australian Democratic Labor Parly has elevated into the forefront of its social thinking the position of our young people and of the mothers and fathers who have the responsibility of protecting and rearing our young people and making them good citizens. My Party has over a number of years - by resolutions at its federal conferences, by the presentation in this place in 1966 of a Bill designed to increase the child endowment rates and by an annual amendment to the motion for the presentation of the Budget papers - constantly waged a campaign to have this matter receive the particular attention of the Government, but my Party has not been successful since 1967 in persuading the Government to’ increase child endowment rates. I would say that the position has become totally indefensible. That is why the Democratic Labor Party has raised it as one of the trilogy of matters requiring urgent Government attention at this time.
My Party is alerting the Government, to the concern that it has in this area. It is alerting the Government at a time when the Government is in a position to survey the whole economic and financial range of its administration and to determine what shall be the sources and amounts of its revenue and what shall be the destination of its expenditure in the coming Budget. This is the time when cases of concern such as this should ‘ be presented to those who have the responsibility of framing the Budget. The Democratic Labor Party expects its propositions, particularly this proposition, to be taken into consideration by the Government when it is considering Australia’s financial future, as expressed in the annual statement of accounts, and it will look forward with keen anticipation to whether the Government will be finally able to discover some solicitude for this area of want and drastic need in the community because, as I have already said, these people have nobody to speak for them.
Surely the greatest contnributon to the building of a nation must be the welfare of its young people. Vast sums have been spent by Australia on immigration. The figures represent something of this character: Taking 1964-65 as a base year, the annual expenditure for immigration was about S38m. By 1970-71 the amount had reached S77m. In that period there has been virtually a 100 per cent increase in the national financial appropriation for immigration but only about a 16 per cent increase in the appropriation for child endowment. Where do we put the accent in this country? However worth while it may be to bring new citizens, including children, from other countries do we give them priority in national concern over the creation of a growing national population from our own physical resources? Surely we should be encouraging large families, not merely because they will provide men and women in this community but also because of the very grave social and economic consequences if we do not do it.
If families are living in conditions of want, the physical and dietary deprivation of the children concerned is not the only matter involved. There are very serious social consequences. Investigations have established that children from such homes do not have the same social and economic opportunities as do children from other homes. They do not attend technical colleges in the same number. Instead, they tend to provide the unskilled work force of the community. A nation in our position, a nation that today has not a big population, must rely in an increasing degree upon the application of technology, through technicians and tradesmen, to the mechanical aids that a modern society has. We, above all .nations, therefore, should be training and recruiting young technologists and technicians. We are depriving ourselves of this opportunity by keeping in want and need the families from which so many such young technicians can come, and the social and economic consequences of that can be very serious.
We regard this as a most important matter. We can see no means of assisting these people unless through the goodwill of the Government. We press upon the Government that at this time it should set out to assist in the Budget this growing area of need. We can do no more. We have tried by a private member’s Bill; we have tried by motions and amendments to Bills, and we now are trying by means of this urgency motion to impress upon the Government the seriousness of the position and the seriousness of our concern. We expect to get the support of all sections in the Senate in this matter. We expect as we believe we are entitled to expect, to get the support of the Australian Labor Party. If the Senate supports this motion which we now present as a matter of urgency, it will then go before the Government as the definitive parliamentary opinion of the majority of the citizens of Australia. Even if the Government cannot find it in its heart to support this motion, at least if the Opposition and perhaps Senator Turnbull support it we would represent the majority of thought of the Australian people, and surely a government must have some regard for that. We know no other way in which we can persuade the Government of the seriousness of the position or the depth of our concern.
We point out to the Government that a great number of families in Australia comprise the 8.5 per cent, if that is the national average, which is living in poverty. There are 333,000 families which have 3 or more children. If the 8.5 per cent is applied to the 333,000 families it will be seen that probably 30,000 Australian families of 3 or more children are living in poverty or are below the poverty line. This is a matter of national disgrace. It must not be permitted to continue. If the Government in framing its Budget, fails to make some provision for those people it will deserve, and will certainly attract, the condemnation of the whole of the Australian nation. There is nothing more tragic than poverty in the midst of affluence. Where poverty is shared by all, the position is not so bad but where there is proverty in the midst of affluence there is always a tendency not to notice it, to take for granted that there is no such thing as poverty. That is the position in which so many Australian people find themselves.
I commend this motion to honourable senators. As I have said, my colleague, Senator Little, will discuss the other aspects of it relating to maternity allowance, homes savings grants and the consol idation of child endowment. All of these things are important. All of these things are necessary. All of these things will make easier the lives of young married couples in rearing their children and will enhance the future prospects of the progeny of the marriage. A young nation must have regard to its young. The strength of a nation depends ultimately upon the vitality of its people and the coming of little children in sufficient numbers to regenerate the nation. France and other great nations have always found that to be the case. If we cannot arrive at a consciousness of our responsibility in this field then the nation has lost its sense of national perspective. It will be not only a continuing injusice to the people concerned; it will be not only a continuing deprivation of the nation of the services of young people; it will be more than that: ft will be an undermining of the whole future, stability and structure of an incipient great Australian nation. That is something we cannot afford to do. That is something to which neither the Government, the Opposition nor anyone else can afford to be a party. That is the challenge which lies before us today. It will be a grievous disappointment if this motion does not receive the enthusiastic and overwhelming support of all honourable senators. 1 commend it to this chamber hoping that it will attract such support.
– Senator Byrne on behalf of the Australian Democratic Labor Party has moved a motton to the effect that the Senate at its rising adjourn until tomorrow at 10.55 a.m. for the purpose of debating, as he stated, a matter of urgency. He has alleged a comprehensive matter of urgency. He states that there has been culpable neglect by the Commonwealth Government in allowing child endowment rates to deteriorate in real value. He makes a similar allegation about maternity allowances. He claims that the Commonwealth Government should have introduced a system of capitalisation of child endowment payments similar to that which operates in New Zealand and then, for good measure, he suggests that the Government should have up-dated the amount of assistance given under the homes savings grant scheme. He has delivered himself in a somewhat unusual way of a tirade which suggests that these are the most momentous matters which could ever confront government.
He said that unless the Government did what he was urging it would be undermining the whole stability and structure of incipient Australian growth. They are fine words but I think they are a little out of perspective. The Democratic Labor Party has claimed at election times to be a Party of responsibility. I have no doubt that in one sense it has been a Party of responsibility. lt has always allocated its preferences to support this Government in office and to prevent the Australian Labor Party ever moving to the Treasury bench. That, I think, is the greatest claim of the Democratic Labor Party to responsibility in the eyes of the Australian nation. A proposition of the kind which has been put forward today can be put forward only by a party which has no responsibility in terms of the allocation of the nation’s financial resources. Senator Byrne did not tell us the cost of the various proposals he urged. We did not hear from him any indication of the present expense to the nation’s purse of the provisions which the Government is putting forward. When we consider the various proposals which Senator Byrne said, with some pride, the Democratic Labor Party has brought forward as matters of urgency and attempt to assess the cost of all that has been proposed, we find that the Democratic Labor Party would have absolutely no money left to give to another area where it is urging constantly that more money should be spent, namely, the area of defence.
The Federal Government has the responsibility given to it constantly by the electorate of Australia to determine the priorities among the various demands upon it for expenditure. I suggest that Senator Byrne, if he examined the record, could not sustain the allegation that there has been culpable neglect on the part of the Federal Government so far as child endowment rates are concerned. I suggest that he could not sustain the general porposition he was making - that the Government has been lacking in that responsibility to the family, to young people and to those who are in poverty.
I noted that Sentor Byrne referred to the Henderson report, a publication put out some little time ago by the Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne. But the difficulty in placing reliance upon the Henderson report, as Senator Byrne sought to do, is the very arbitrariness of the definition of poverty. The Institute, in that report, assumed that a standard family consisting of a man, his wife, a son aged from 6 to 14 years and a daughter aged under 5 years, with an income equal to the basic wage together with child endowment, was likely to be in poverty. This sum, at June 1966 - of course, the research now is fairly old - was $32.20. For the purpose of the survey it was assumed that an income of $33 a week for such a family would not be an unrealistic figure to use as a poverty line. It must be emphasised that that figure was chosen arbitrarily and that no actual assessment was made as to the needs of individuals and families of different composition or size. I submit that it would not be possible to make a fair and realistic assessment in the light of the subjective nature of what constitutes needs.
I think that point always is relevant in an assessment of poverty. One can find people in very meagre circumstances as far as emoluments and remuneration coming into the house are concerned who it can be said are not in poverty because they have a richness of life which destroys any idea that they are living poorly. Then you will find those people who have a sum of money coming into the house which, if prudently exercised and spent, would enable them to meet all the exigencies of life, but who because of their way of dealing with funds are really poor people. There is this element of subjectiveness, this element of quality of life which must be taken into account together with material circumstances in determining what is poverty.
The other point I make with respect to Senator Byrne’s reference to the Henderson report concerns what Professor Henderson himself recommended with regard to child endowment. In the book People in Poverty’ - actually it was his report - he wrote that the obvious remedy for poverty in large families is an increase in child endowment rates. He proposed rates in respect of children under 16 years of age. They were as follows: For the first child, Si a week - at the moment it is 50c; for the second child, $1.50 a week, whereas at the moment it is $1; for the third child $3.50 a week, whereas at the present time it is Si -SO; for the fourth and subsequent children $4.50 per week for each child, whereas for the fourth child the present rate is $1.75, increasing to $3.25 a week for the tenth child.
– Undoubtedly he would increase those rates today to allow for price increases.
– One cannot say what Professor Henderson would do. Any assumption that Senator Little makes must be regarded merely as an assertion because one can go only on what the learned professor writes. The point is - this is why J cited what he said - that on the statistics available to us the additional cost of implementing that proposal would be $185m a year. It was also made on the assumption, as appears in that book, that all the concessional taxation deductions for children should be abolished. All these factors have to be considered. The cost of the child endowment provision which the Government made available in the last financial year was $220m. If you add $185m to $220m you get more than $400m as the amount payable for child endowment alone.
I pose this question rhetorically: Where will the Democratic Labor Party find the $200m which it wanted for its pension increases and the many hundreds of millions of dollars increase which it wants in defence expenditure? These are matters of real moment to a government which has the responsibility. Obviously they are matters of no moment to a party which consists of 5 members in the entire Parliament and which has no responsibility for determining how moneys are to be spent. I feel these considerations must be borne in mind in determining whether there can be this grandiose recognition which Senator Byrne is claiming.
– Do you set your face against doing anything?
– I put to Senator Byrne that over the years the Federal Government has recognised a social responsibility. It has recognised it in a variety of ways and it will continue to exercise that same social responsibility. If one takes child endowment as an example, it was the first government headed by Sir Robert Menzies which introduced child endowment as a Federal social service. After the government headed by Sir Robert Menzies assumed office in 1949-50 it made the first change to the rates of child endowment, notwithstanding that the Australian Labor Party said that it could not be done. There have been progressive changes over the years since then. The first change I mention was in June 1950 when endowment at the rate of 50c a week became payable for the first or only child under 16 years of age. The payment of $1 a week continued for the second child and subsequent children.
The second change I mention occurred in 1964 when the rate for the third child and subsequent children in a family was increased by 50c to $1.50 a week. At the same time the rate of endowment for children who were in institutions was increased to $1.50 a week. In 1967 endowment rates were further increased by 25c a week for the fourth child and subsequent children. The rate for the fourth child was increased to $1.75 a week, and so on. I gave the figures a short time ago. Now one finds that a very real benefit is provided for families or for the mother of a large family in terms of the remuneration received. Of course, it increases progressively. Where there are 2 children in the family the amount received is a mere $1.50 a week, but when there are 8 children in the family the amount received is $14.25 a week. If there are 9 in the family it is $17.25 a week, and if there are 10 children it is $20.50.
– lt would pay only the extra sales tax on the goods that the mother is forced to buy.
- Senator Little may regard that as miserly assistance. What I am endeavouring to point out is that the Government has been conscious of the need to give consideration to these child endowment rates and it has done so.
The important point I make is that the situation in which child endowment originally was introduced is not the situation prevailing today. In 1941 when child endowment was introduced the situation was, as the Government said, that the family unit was the cornerstone of national life and the key to our national progress. It was necessary in the national interest therefore to ensure that some substantial proportion of family income was not affected by seasonal or intermittent unemployment. That social objective was met partly by child endowment.
Certainly the situation with regard to the family unit being a cornerstone of national life and the key. to our national progress is as true now as it was then. At present we have a full employment economy and we do not have the . vagaries of unemployment which existed when child endowment was introduced. People now have the ability to earn large and real incomes. They can therefore better provide for their families than could parents raising children in the latter part of the 1930s and the early war years. Many other factors have been introduced which change the whole pattern of our social fabric, contrasting the present position with that which prevailed when child endowment was introduced. For example, there is a variety of aids, benefits and concessions which are designed to make an easier task of bringing up a family. Child, endowment is only one of those concessions.
I remind honourable senators that income tax deductions for children have been substantially increased since 1949-50 Of course, they bear no relationship to the position which prevailed in 1940. Concessional deductions are allowable for all children under the age of 16 years and for students up to the age of 21 years. I also remind honourable senators of the concessional deductions allowable to a taxpayer in respect of his spouse, a daughter housekeeper, student children, invalid relatives, parents., subscriptions to hospital and medical benefit insurance funds, medical and dental expenses, funeral expenses and education expenses. Each of those deductions represents government assistance in ways other than child endowment.
I think the approach of the Australian Democratic Labor Party would certainly have been fairer had it referred to the various ways in which assistance is rendered to families by the Government, instead of being based on the assumption that the Government has culpably neglected child endowment. As Senator Byrne said, the rates of child endowment have not changed since 1967. I invite him to contrast the present national Health scheme with the position in 1941, or even in 1950. A totally different position prevails from that existing at the time of the introduction of c’hild endowment. Through the national health scheme families have a very real ability to insure so that they will be able to offset medical and hospital expenses, a safeguard that was not available when child endowment was introduced.
The point I make is that in considering child endowment one must have regard to the factual position when child endowment was introduced and must consider what other facilities, benefits - and services were then available. If by contrasting the position in 1971 with the factual position in the way of the provision of benefits, concessions and other services it is found that it is totally different now from that obtaining at the time child endowment was introduced, the relevance and importance of child endowment in the social scheme which the Government is providing becomes less significant. ‘ 1 do not suggest that child endowment is riot a real benefit, but I say that it does not loom as large in the social fabric in 1971 as it did in 1941. Nevertheless, the Government constantly considers child endowment rates. It must bear them in mind in the light of its other obligations, and in particular the other services it pro1vides to assist parents and children. I have stressed that the cost of increasing child endowment in the way that Professor Henderson indicated would be SI 85m annually. If child endowment was increased by 50c a week in respect of each endowed child according to his place in the family, based upon statistics of the people receiving child endowment at 4th January last the cost annually would bc about SI 01m. With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate in Hansard a table which sets out the cost of increasing child endowment by 50c a week for each child.
The following table sets out the current cost of paying a 50c per week increase in respect of each endowed child according to his place in the family based on statistics relating to 4 January 1971.
Honourable senators will appreciate from the amount involved that it is not so easy to increase child endowment by 50c a week. There are many things I could say because of the way in which 1 have approached this subject, but having regard to time limitations I will refrain from doing so. The motion of urgency moved by Senator Byrne involves matters other than child endowment. He limited his remarks to the child endowment issue and I have responded similarly, but 1 am sure that my colleague Senator Buttfield, when she speaks in due course, will look at other aspects of what the Government has been doing which are under attack. I have in mind particularly the home savings “rant scheme.
In many areas of social welfare a prudent community with a social conscience can suggest improvements. I do not suggest that the Democratic Labor Party has not a real concern in the area in which it has put forward these proposals, but I do assert that there are many competing claims upon the Government’s welfare funds. The Government has an obligation to make decisions on where limited funds can be most wisely spent. I sense that in the areas in which Senator Byrne has criticised the Government it has a record of achievement which cannot be brushed aside simply by saying that child endowment rates have not been increased, and taking that factor as a measure for critical purposes. The Government’s record in social welfare is a record of which ti can be justly proud.
– f enter this debate because of the concern of the Australian Labor Party for people in need. Although the Australian Labor Party has governed this country for less than 17 years since federation 70 years ago, it has pioneered the vast majority of social services and benefits received by Australians. The Australian Labor Party has pioneered practically all forms of social service legislation despite its relatively short period of office. We are aware of the problems confronting parents of large families, and particularly the problems of mothers. I listened with great attention to the speech delivered with some degree of sincerity by Senator Byrne. He referred to the culpability of the Federal Government in allowing child endowment rates, particularly those for 3 or more children, and maternity allowances, to deteriorate in real value to such an extent that a family obtains no great assistance from the receipt of such payments. I go along with that view.
Certainly my own Party right throughout its ranks has shown great concern since its formation to fight for concessions in all forms of social service including child endowment. In this so-called affluent society unless both father and mother are earning, the benefits of the ordinary working class are very limited. I appreciate that it is difficult for Government supporters to realise that. They come from wealthy groups. They represent wealthy organisations. So, it is very difficult for them, in view of the affluence in which they live, to understand the situation that confronts the ordinary family, particularly the family with more than 2 or 3 children. Knowing the poverty that exists in our community, we have always thought along these lines.
The mover of this motion. Senator Byrne, spoke with some feeling. But unfortunately - I repeat ‘unfortunately’ - the hypocrisy of the whole show is apparent from the fact that if this motion is carried it will mean very little. In fact it will mean only that we will adjourn until tomorrow at 10.55 a.m. or that we will come back 5 minutes earlier tomorrow. That is all this motion means. I repeat that it is hypocrisy. 1 abhor this type of nonsense, although I have respect for the man who moved the motion as 1 served with him in the period prior to 1955 and 1 know of his support for proposals we have put forward in this chamber in recent weeks, particularly the proposal to investigate the problems of physically and mentally handicapped people, especially children, in Australia. I am happy to say that we hope, in the very near future and before the Parliament adjourns, to bring down an interim report on this matter. 1 believe that it will be of value to those people who are in need if the Government is prepared to act upon it.
Senator Byrne went on to say that this is one of a number of motions which members of his Party have been responsible for introducing over recent weeks. He referred to motions on social service payments, superannuation schemes and now child endowment. When the urgency motion in relation to providing increased rates of social service payments to pensioners and others in necessitous circumstances was carried, I waited for a time, wondering what the Government was doing and what action would be taken by the Parliament. Then I raised the matter with the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson). I asked, in effect: In view of the fact that the Senate has carried this resolution, what action will be taken?’ Much to my surprise he said, in effect: ‘We have honoured everything that was decided. On Tuesday we decided to sit at 2.55 instead of 3 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon. In the process of deciding that we had a debate on social services; but let me repeat in direct response to Senator Fitzgerald’s question as to what the Senate resolved to do that in fact the Senate resolved to sit 5 minutes earlier on the next day’. That is what we are doing now. We are deciding whether to sit 5 minutes earlier tomorrow. This is the nonsense that is going on.
I want to bring the members of this little group back to the real situation. This Government is here today because of their support. Senator Greenwood, in making his contribution, paid tribute to them and thanked them. They are the people who are responsible for keeping the Labor Party out of government. They are the people who do not want a Labor government. This is the nonsense they are going on wilh. As Senator Kennelly said the other day, here is the opportunity for them - the people in the centre group, the people who make possible a Labor government or make possible a Liberal government. They occupy a most important position. No legislation could be passed by this Parliament if it was not supported by them. And they stand up here and make all this hullabaloo.
On this question of child endowment I have had the opportunity to go through policy speeches and our ‘Platform, Constitution and Rules’. They are studded with information on what we intend to do when we become the government, as we did when we were the government. Honourable senators opposite have been in government for 22 years without exception or without opposition. For almost 17 years of that period - since 1955 - the members of the Democratic Labor Party have made it possible for them to be in government. Our Platform, Constitution and Rules’ continues. In his policy speeches Mr Gough Whitlam has stated what we will do in the fields of social services, child endowment, housing and so on. The same applies to the policy speeches delivered by Dr Evatt as Leader of our Party. In 1961 this Government was elected with a majority of one as a result of the support of the DLP and, in the electorate of Moreton, the help of Communist Party preferences.
– A unity ticket.
– A unity ticket, as my colleague says. At that time we put forward proposals in the policy speech delivered by Mr Arthur Calwell. He said:
Child endowment rales have not been changed since the Menzies Government came to power, although the first child has been endowed since 1950.
This was in 1961. He continued:
Tn that time prices have risen by more than 100 per cent.
Labor will immediately legislate for these rates - for the first child 10s per week; for tha second 17s 6d; and for each additional child £1 per week. Labor’s policy proposes that child endowment be adjusted in accordance with living costs.
Yet the people on my left, who talk so glibly at the present time about what they want to see done, proudly claim that they were the people who were responsible for Labor’s defeat at that election. I say once again that it was the Labor Government of
New South Wales under J. T. Lang which introduced child endowment. Child endowment has been an issue of ours right from the early days. Labor introduced it in 1927.
– lt was introduced by the Labor Government of New South Wales. It was also a Labor government which, per medium of the social services referendum which was supported by Labor and opposed by the present Government parties one of which called itself by a different name at that time, made possible most of the social services legislation that we have had here over the period since that referendum was carried in 1.946. So, we are very proud of the work we have clone and the position for which we stand at present, lt is no good using the catchcry that no-one is standing for, working for or desirous of doing anything on behalf of those in need. The Australian Labor Party is the party that stands for those people. If the Labor Party had been in government over the last 22 years we would not have the sorry situation that exists at present.
The main difficulty which the people are experiencing at present is the tremendous poverty that exists in our midst. Despite all the talk that is going on, the DLP would not do anything about it because, as Senator Greenwood has just said to the members of that Party: ‘You support our war programme. You support the great defence project that is going on in Vietnam. You support the amount of money that is being spent on the Fill. Therefore we cannot be expected to do any more’. We would do something in this field. In doing so we would give assistance to those in need because we are the spokesmen for those who, we recognise, are in want and desire something at the present time.
– That is no reason for opposing this motion.
– We will support anything at all that is for the wellbeing of those who are in need. The only objection that we have to this motion is that the people who are putting it forward are doing so with such hypocrisy that they do not really mean it. At the present moment they are prepared to put forward a proposal that means one thing, namely,
12668/71- 5.- 139)
that when we adjourn we will come back tomorrow 5 minutes earlier. If they want benefit to accrue to those who are in need, their rightful place is in support of the Labor Party. If they want to put over this nonsense about giving preferences to somebody else they cannot start to cry and scream when this Government which they are condemning at the present moment is not doing what is required for people who are in need. The Government spurns those honourable senators. It hates them. It has no damn time for them. But the fact is that those honourable senators are quite happy at the present moment because they are keeping out of government the Labor Party which will do what is desired for people who are in need. It was the Labor Party which pioneered all forms of social services from the days of the old age pension in 1910 when Deakin was leader of the government. He worked with Watson who was the leader of the Labor Party. Support was given to the liberals of the time on the basis that they would introduce old age pensions.
– How many years ago was that?
– It is going back to 1910.
– Why does the honourable senator not support this resolution on the same basis?
– I am supporting the resolution. I am supporting everything which has been said in condemnation of the Government and everything which has been said to improve the conditions of and give benefits to those people who are in need. That is the policy of our Party. That is the policy on which we stand and will stand at the next general election. We have stood for that at every election over a period of time in which the Democratic Labor Party has been responsible for keeping Labor out of government and robbing the people of the benefits about which it is talking so glibly at the moment.
– I hasten to say that although I am not going to support this motion of urgency I very strongly believe in the importance of a vital family life. I believe in the importance of healthy, happy children, in a home ownership community and in child endowment to go to the mother for the direct assistance of the child.
– Why does the honourable senator not support the urgency motion?
– I am going to tell the Senate why I do not. 1 certainly hope that in time the Government will be able to increase child endowment. We know that the Government has looked at this subject on many occasions. But it has assisted the happy family and the happy, healthy child in many other ways. That is the important point. To pick on a point and say that the Government has been culpably neglectful is most unfair. The Government has an amazing record of assistance for the family. I was surprised to hear Senator Byrne stressing the poverty aspect of this situation. If that is the reason for objecting to the fact that the Government has not increased child endowment why does not the honourable senator suggest a means test so that it will go specifically to those in most urgent need? Why does he not suggest that child endowment bc made taxable in all cases because obviously those in the higher income bracket will not then receive anything. But the honourable senator has not suggested that. He has suggested that child endowment should be raised but he has stressed it is for the people who are in need and in the poverty bracket. That is an unrealistic argument. It seems to me amazing, too, that Senator Fitzgerald has stressed that this urgency motion is hypocritical because all it does is suggest that we resume 5 minutes earlier tomorrow. I am amazed to hear anybody from the Australian Labor Party make that point because we sit here day after day listening to urgency motions moved on behalf of the Opposition when we ought to be getting through the business of the Senate.
We are nearing the end of a session. Very often we waste time on something which cannot affect legislation. Then at the end of the session we will be told over and over again that we are not allowing enough time to debate matters of legislation. That is an incredible argument to come from the Opposition. Senator Fitzgerald also said that the Labor Party initiated all the social services legislation for age pensioners. To me it seems appropriate quickly to run through one or two benefits which the Liberal Party and Country Party have introduced such as medical benefits for pensioners, aged persons income tax concessions, pharmaceutical benefits for pensioners, the aged persons home savings grant scheme, television licence concessions for pensioners, additional pension for second and subsequent children, home nursing subsidy, supplementary assistance for pensioners, nursing home benefits, mothers allowance for widow pensioners with children, subsidies for the provision of accommodation for disabled persons, telephone rental concessions for pensioners, guardians allowance for aged and invalid pensioners with children, sheltered employment allowances, hearing aid services, double pension entitlement to widows or widowers for 12 weeks followng the death of a spouse, training scheme for widow pensioners, subsidies for dwellings for aged persons, personal care subsidy for aged pensioners, home care and paramedical services, and meals-on-wheels subsidy. This is an incredible record. Yet Senator Fitzgerald said that the Labor Party initiated all social services for pensioners.
I said that the Government has an amazing record. I think the Minister for Health (Senator Greenwood) listed some of the things the Government has done to assist the family. I am not going into detail because of lack of time but I shall repeat the things this Government has done to assist the family, either indirectly or directly, and also to assist children in addition to the child endowment allowance. The Government has introduced and increased the benefits under the health scheme. It has introduced the pharmaceutical benefits which assists the family and the child and introduced income tax concessions in respect of children at a total cost to revenue in the year 1967-68 - the latest figure I could obtain - of $266m. The Government has made free milk available for children. It has made provision for handicapped children and the children of pensioners. It has made available hearing aids, education scholarships, maternity allowances and the home savings grant about which I will have a few more words to say in a moment. This Government has made available a wide range of benefits. I repeat that it is unrealistic to pick on one aspect and say that the Government has been culpably neglectful of children.
The second item in the matter of urgency was in respect of a New Zealand scheme for capitalisation of child endowment. I think Senator Byrne would find if he went to New Zealand that this scheme has not been a success. What can happen and what has happened on many occasions is that people who are finding it difficult to buy a home capitalise on their endowment and buy a home which is too expensive for them. Perhaps they cannot keep up their payments properly. Then the child suffers very much because there is no regular payment coming in as our system provides when a mother is receiving a payment directly for the benefit of the child.
– That scheme has been in operation since 1959.
– ft is certainly not unanimously agreed that it is a good scheme. I am saying that it can lead to abuse. We have a much better scheme in Australia where the mother knows that while her children are under 16 years of age she will receive a weekly payment for their direct assistance. I believe that the combination of the 2 schemes which we have in Australia - the home savings grant and child endowment - are much more equitable, generous and effective for children than if we adopted a scheme like the New Zealand one.
Finally, I want to say something about the homes savings grant because it is the third item mentioned in the matter of urgency which states that the Government has failed to assist young married couples by up-dating the amount of assistance given under the Homes Savings Grant scheme. I believe the Government has done a great service for young married people who either have or are about to have families by assisting them to buy their homes. We believe in a home owning community. This scheme has assisted enormously. Two hundred thousand such grants have been made available to families to buy their homes. Under this scheme, those people who receive the grant have to buy their homes. As 200,000 people received this grant that is the number who have bought their homes. This is of enormous benefit to families and children who know that they can obtain this assistance.
The Government has amended the homes savings grants legislation on 3 occasions and has increased the value of a house which can be bought with the aid of this grant. If homes savings grants were increased to $600 at this moment it would cost the Government more than $2m and I do not think it would achieve a great deal. On the matter of costs I should like to cite a few figures to show what would be the cost of implementing the first point contained in the proposal advanced by the Opposition, that is, to raise child endowment If the endowment for each child were raised by 50c per week it would cost about $101m
– We have just spent more than that on a wool scheme.
– We have to make expenditures in all directions. So much is being done in such a wide range of areas that it is not realistic to spend $101m on one item, thereby possibly sacrificing other benefits which would achieve greater effect. It is interesting to note that there are 1,700,000 first children in respect of whom parents are receiving child endowment, that there are 1,165,000 second children, 569,000 third children, 232,000 fourth children, 85,000 fifth children, 32,000 sixth children, 12,000 seventh children, 4,000 eighth children, 1,500 ninth children and 818 tenth or later children. To increase the endowment in respect of each of those children would cost $!01m. Tt seems to me that we should be praising the Government for what it is doing, for having such a wide range of interests in respect of which improvements are made regularly for the benefit of the family and the children, instead of picking out one item and saying that in this respect the Government has been culpably neglectful. I repeat that T hope that the Government can increase child endowment, but T would not like to see it sacrifice other community interests and community services to achieve an improvement in one area only.
– I enter this debate to say that I am disappointed that the Standing Orders Committee has not met to amend the Standing Orders in a way which would permit some emphasis to be given to this motion. Had the Standing Orders been amended to provide for the substantive motion to be what we now regard as the subject matter, we would have been able to amend the subject matter in a manner that would have given some teeth to the proposition. For instance, we could have amended it to say that unless the Government did something in the direction indicated in the motion we would reject the Budget in the August session. But an amendment such as that is impossible in present circumstances and so to some extent this matter of urgency becomes merely a matter for debate.
I remind the Senate that this motion is hyporcitical because its sponsors have brought about the very conditions which they now deplore. I remind the Senate that it was the Democratic Labor Party which supported the Government in all its action during the last Budget session when it increased indirect taxation and effected other changes which immediately reduced the value to the recipients of social service benefits and child endowment payments. Now members of the Democratic Labor Party complain that the Government has not seen fit to increase child endowment or to do other things which are outlined in the motion. In my view this is sheer political humbug because they, aided and abetted by the Government, were the instruments by which child endowment payments have deteriorated to the point they have now reached. Statistics are not needed to buttress one’s arguments in this regard. If we were to ask any mother what the position is with regard to child endowment payments today, without recourse to statistics she would reply that child endowment has eroded to such an extent that its effect is now almost negligible.
Members of the Democratic Labor Party are the very ones who have prevented child endowment payments from being increased. On innumerable occasions the Australian Labor Party has put forward proposals to increase child endowment, but the DLP has supported the Liberal Party and the Country Party at election times and has thus denied to the Australian Labor Party an opportunity to give effect to what the DLP now says should be done. I suggest that it is sheer political humbug to come into this place crying that child endowment payments have been eroded when those senators, combined with Government supporters, have been the instrument by which child endowment payments have been eroded. There can be no argument about that. A cold analysis of the situation reveals starkly that child endowment payments have deteriorated to a degree that is a disgrace to the Government of Australia. In defence of the Government the Minister for Health (Senator Greenwood) and Senator Buttfield referred to what had been done for the people of Australia and particularly for the parents. Is it being suggested that the Government will never give consideration to the erosion in value of child endowment payments and has no intention of increasing child endowment in the future? From the remarks made by Senators Greenwood and Buttfield one is entitled to infer that that is the Government’s intention, its reason being that it has increased some social service benefits in other directions.
This attitude reminds me of the story of the employer who provided better amenities for his workers. The employees had been working in almost gutter conditions, but he lifted their conditions to footpath level. It was obvious that he had no intention of lifing them further from the footpath into a house. That is analogous to the situation we have today. The defence to this motion put forward by Government supporters makes that quite clear. The parents of Australian children should be made aware of the Government’s lack of interest in this direction and should realise that if, unhappily, the Government is returned at the next general election, whether it is in 1971 or 1972, it will be the fate of child endowment payments to remain at their present stagnated level. It is not a very happy thought for the parents of children born in Australia to realise that they are expected to rear their children in the most difficult circumstances and that in future they will be given no relief or assistance by way of increased child endowment payments.
The Government has neglected this area of social services. It has neglected the parents, the people of Australia who are trying to do so much to raise families in the difficult circumstances that obtain today. 1 repeat that it has been aided by the Democratic Labor Party senators now come before us with this matter of urgency, which in fact is an expression of opinion. They have had the opportunity in the past, and they will have the opportunity in the future, to prove whether they are fair dinkum about these matters by getting rid of the Government which unfortunately occupies the Treasury bench of this national Parliament. It is impossible to escape those conclusions if one looks at the situation as it should be looked at. On each occasion on which the Government has imposed increases in direct taxation the DLP has supported its action.
Let me refer to this morning’s issue of the Brisbane ‘Courier-Mail’. The editorial reads in part:
The latest consumer price index again shows Brisbane has recorded the highest cost of living increase among Australian capital cities.
We know that the standard of government in Queensland today is very poor, but the Queensland Government cannot be held responsible for all the increases. The Federal Government must take the responsibility for a substantial measure of cost increases. Yet it comes before this Parliament and says: ‘Look, we have done so much for the parents of children. We are not doing anything more for them. We are going to allow child endowment payments to remain as they are.’ The Government says this notwithstanding the fact that the statistics are against it. The mothers of Australia say that child endowment payments have been eroded as a result of the maladministration of the Government which has been aided and abetted bv the Democratic Labor Party.
I repeat that newspapers and church groups throughout Australia, and the people of Australia, say that child endowment payments have been eroded to a dangerous level. Everybody with the exception of the Government acknowledges that. I was astounded today to hear a responsible Minister of the Crown and a back bench supporter of the Government in the Senate defending the Government for its neglect of this area. These people say that the Government has been very generous to the people of Australia in other directions. When we of the Australian Labor Party are discussing a certain issue we deal with that issue only. It is an inescapable fact that child endowment payments have deteriorated.
With respect, it is a pity that we do not have socialism in Australia today because then we would not have this situation. However, we are living in a capitalist society. Let us try to live in those circumstances but let the Government acknowledge that the parents of Australia are our best migrants. I make no apology whatever for saying that. We spend millions of dollars in trying to attract migrants from overseas. All that is necessary is to provide decent returns for parents in Australia in order to ensure that we have our own fair dinkum migrants, our own Australian children. But the way in which they have been neglected in the past hardly holds out any hope for the future in this direction.
I repeat that I was disappointed to hear a responsible Minister of the Crown stand in this chamber today and try to defend this indefensible situation. He was supported by another Government senator. Perhaps some of us are getting a bit old and do not know what Ls the responsibility of the parents of today. The parents of children in Australia today are in a perilous position in rearing, educating and doing everying right by their children. For the Government to say that it has done a remarkable job will not satisfy the people of Australia. I hope that the Government will learn of this dissatisfaction at the next general election.
The second part of the matter of urgency is in these terms:
The failure of the Federal Government to introduce a system of capitalisation of child endowment payments similar to that scheme which has operated successfully in New Zealand since 1959.
If honourable senators care to check the records they will find that this was part of the policy of the Australian Labor Party in 1963. We find now that the Democratic Labor Party says that the Government has failed to do these things, yet it had the opportunity in 1963 to support the Party which outlined this policy. We have no criticism of the proposal; we believe that it should be done.
– It has been our policy since 1961.
– I suggest that the honourable senator must have been listening to the debates of the Australian Labor Party, because he would not have had the intelligence to. introduce such a proposal. This has been part of our policy for many years, yet the DLP now finds that there is merit in the proposal. Apparently the Government believes it has no merit whatsoever Let us try to examine what could be done. I invite the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) and the Minister for Housing (Mr Kevin Cairns) to have a close look at what can be done to achieve what has been achieved in New Zealand. Honourable senators will find that the introduction of a similar system in Australia will be to the advantage of young marrieds.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT Senator Bull) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired:
– In the very brief time available to me I would like to answer one or two important questions. The first was raised by the Minister for Health (Senator Greenwood) who is frightened at what an increase in child endowment might cost. The Australian Labor Party says that the action of the Australian Democratic Labor Party in proposing this’ matter of urgency is useless because its effect will merely be to adjourn the Senate to a different time tomorrow.
Firstly, I would remind the Australian ‘ Labor Party that when a similar occasion arose at the beginning of this session it wasted its opportunity to do something about pensions. The members of that Party were sending telegrams to one another around the country seeking to have the Parliament called together. We had placed on the business paper of the Senate an urgency proposal. We had the matter discussed properly by the Parliament. For once the Australian Labor Party was prepared to support the constructive and intelligent action of the Democratic Labor Party, and our proposal was carried by the Senate. In spite of what the Australian Labor Party says about hypocrisy and its being useless to bring on this matter in this manner, and in spite of the fact that the Government says that such an increase, which had not been budgeted for, would cost $10Om or $200m and has tried to use these figures to frighten the public, within a few short weeks it saw the wisdom of the arguments that had been placed before the Senate. The Government acted against the advice that it had received and acted on the opinion that had been conveyed to it by this section of the Parliament. The Government decided to increase pensions, in spite of its stated opinions that it was not possible financially so to do and that if it attempted to increase pensions at that stage it would create ruin throughout the country. That is the answer to the criticisms.
The Minister for Health (Senator Greenwood) talked of taxation concessions to supplement child endowment. The increases in child endowment have not kept pace with the general increases in the inflationary spiral which the Government admits have taken place. The Government has claimed credit for . that portion of the increases resulting from increased interest rates. The Minister said that taxation remissions make a difference. Let me remind him that the man most affected by the increases - the man on the basic wage, whose wife does not .work, and who has 3 or 4 children - does not pay any tax. How can taxation remissions alleviate the financial burdens of such families? That shows how arguments can become confused by sets of figures. Let me say this to him: These frightening amounts of millions, which he suggested, will not disappear if the Government pays increased child endowment. This money will be spent in our community. Most of it will go to people who have an urgent need to spend it immediately, even if it is only on school requisites for their children. The sales tax on those items will return some of that money to the Commonwealth Government.
The increased child endowment would merely circulate more money in the community. The Government may say that that will increase the inflationary spiral and that it cannot grant the increase. The Government should get to work and reduce the interest rates to what they were before this inflationary spiral started. That would cure the situation not only in relation to child endowment but also in relation to the other matter that we did not have time to mention in the restricted period of this debate - the home savings grants. I must say something about that. Senator Buttfield suggested that the home savings grants were a great advantage to the young people. They were. The scheme was an extension of the marriage loans scheme that we had been advocating for some time. The facts are that today the young person who buys a home and gets the grant is no better off than the young person who bought his home 3 or 4 years ago and did not get the grant because the price increases that the Government has allowed to develop in the economy and the increased interest rates absorb more than the $500 grant The person who receives the grant is worse off.
The period for this debate is restricted. 1 wish to prove who is being hypocritical. We do not judge measures on who moves them, but on the measures themselves. We might charge the Australian Labor Party with voting with the Liberals as often as we have and with giving their preferences to the Liberals, as they do. In this debate the question is: Who votes where tonight? Unless at this stage of the debate we get some decision so that we can indicate to the Government what it should do, there will be no decision. For that reason, I move:
That the question be now put.
The Senate divided. (The Deputy President - Senator Bull)
Question so resolved in the negative.
– Some people might be surprised by the way certain people voted in the last division.
– It was a breach of the agreement.
– It was not. Let me make my own speech in my own way in my own time. I voted against the motion which was just put for one reason. I was not voting against the motion which was originally moved by Senator Byrne.
– We had an agreement.
– All I know is that the bells rang because a vote was to be taken on the gagging of the debate and the Australian Labor Party decided to vote against the gagging of the debate. My Party did not vote against the principles enunciated in the motion of Senator Byrne. All I want to say is I hope that the enthusiasm which the Australian Democratic Labor Party has shown for the contents of its motion will be equally shown in August of this year when the opportunity will be before the Senate of implementing the wording of the motion.
– The honourable senator will not be here.
– It does not help the Democratic Labor Party’s case to say that 1 will not be present on that occasion. I know that I will not be present. All I am saying is that I am certain that, if the Democratic Labor Party takes the opportunity of supporting the terms of its present motion at a time when its support will mean something to the parents and children of this country, a majority of the Senate will be only too pleased to cooperate. As I said the other night, it may be good or bad politics to put up such a proposal at this stage - I think those people in this country who know politics will say that it is bad tactics - ‘but one must be prepared to support one’s contention in August.
– You would walk out in the same way as you did on the postal charges legislation.
– All I am concerned about is putting the facts of the case to the Senate. I cannot visualise anyone of this side of the House disagreeing with the terms of this motion on that occasion.
– Then why not vote for it now?
– The fact of the matter is the Australian Labor Party wants the Democratic Labor Party to submit this proposal at a time when something can be done about it. More is involved than the question of those people who listen to the broadcast of these proceedings saying that there are only 6 people in the Senate who want to do something about the children of the nation. The supporters of the Democratic Labor Party know as well as I do that they have over a number of years had an opportunity at the right time to come in behind my Party and stand up to what they are proposing.
– We are trying to find out what party to come in behind. You have about 3 of them.
– I know that Senator Little wants to say to the people of Australia: ‘Look what we have done’, but if this motion is carried at this juncture will it mean that the parents of this nation will get one penny more?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - Order! The time allowed for this debate has expired.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 10.45 p;m.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that it had agreed to the amendment made by the Senate to this Bill.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - I inform the Senate that the President has received a letter from the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Murphy, appointing Senator Keeffe to be a member of Estimates Committee A instead of Senator Douglas McClelland.
Statement- by Former United States President - Incorporation of Document in Hansard
Motion (by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) proposed:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Senator Sir . MAGNUS CORMACK (Victoria) (10.51) - Honourable senators will recall that last night in the adjournment debate in reply to the speech made by Senator Keeffe, which appears at page 899 of yesterday’s Hansard, I, with no malice, bad temper or anything else, merely issued the challenge to Senator Keeffe that I would reply to him tonight and that I would quote in full his quotation from the ‘New York Times’. After I left the Senate that night I was somewhat embarrassed because I was relying on my memory. I do Senator Keeffe the justice of saying that he has become the victim of a canard that relates to what President Eisenhower was supposed to have said in 1953 in relation to Indo-China. Yesterday’s Hansard verifies the statement that I made in my short reply to Senator Keeffe last night about the mystery of the 3 little dots. The quotation in the Hansard, which 1 have in front of me, now contains the 3 little dots. Three little dots in a quotation always indicate that something has been omitted.
Earlier this evening I told Senator Keeffe that 1 would reply on the basis of warning honourable senators that, when they make references to and use quotations, the Senate can adopt 2 courses. It can ask that the document be tabled or a senator can move that the Senate take note of the document. I think it important that I should read the quotation from the ‘New York Times’, quoted by Senator Keene last night. This report was published in the ‘New York Times’ of Wednesday, 5th August 1953. The heading of the ‘New York Times’ states: ‘Seattle, August 4th, Associated Press’. It goes on:
Following is the text of President Eisenhower’s address to the forty-fifth annual Governors’ Conference.
Senator Keeffe, without realising the trap that had been laid for him by people who use these quotations, read the following quotation:
Now let us assume that we lose Indo-China. If Indo-China goes, several things happen right away. The peninsula, the last bit of land hanging on down there, would be scarely defensible. The tin and tungsten that we so greatly value from that area would cease coming.
Then come 3 little dots. In the text of President Eisenhower’s address, before that part the following sentence is omitted:
Now, first of all, the last great population remaining in Asia that has not become dominated by the Kremlin, of course, is the sub-continent of India, the Pakistanian Government.
Then follows the rest of the quotation which I mentioned and which ends ‘value from that area would cease coming’, and then follows the 3 little dots. What happens after that is interesting. There is then left out the following which was covered by the 3 little dots:
All India would be outflanked.
Burma would be in no position for defense.
Now India is front on that side by the Soviet Empire. I believe you read in (he paper this morning that Mossadegh …
It talks about Mossadegh in Iran and continues:
All of that position around there is very ominous to the United States, because finally if we lost all that, how would the free world hold the rich empire of Indonesia?
It has nothing to do with tungsten and these other things that are supposed to be in Indo-China. It refers to Indonesia. It goes on:
So you see, somewhere along the line, this must be blocked and it must be blocked now, and that’s what we are trying to do.
All of that is omitted from the quotation. It continues with the subsequent matters that were quoted. Three lines are omitted at the end of the speech. Senator Keeffe’s quotation ends:
. of most terrible significance to the United States of America, our security, our power and ability to get certain things we need from the riches of Indo-China and from South East Asia.
In fact, the actual quotation is:
. significance to the United States ot America, our security, our power and ability to get certain things we need from the riches of the Indonesian territory.
Indo-China is not mentioned. I think that Senator Keeffe has fallen into the trap of quoting a distorted version of what President Eisenhower said on that date which I have quoted textually from the New York Times’ of 5th August 1953. There is some evidence that this matter originated in one of 3 areas; either in the area of Felix Greene, an author, who has written 2 books - one on China and one called ‘Vietnam,’ Vietnam’ - or it originated in the office of Bertrand Russell who was leading a campaign at that time when he was in his senescence. For Senator Keeffe’s further information, so that he can verify this, I refer to a letter written by Mr Barry Jones, a well known publicist in Melbourne, which appeared in the Melbourne Age’ on 24th June 1967. I have taken some time to fulfil the obligation I assumed last night in the Senate of putting this so-called declaration of President Eisenhower’s in its total context. I have illustrated the fact that the 3 little dots which are mentioned in Senator Keeffe’s quotation last night eliminate at least 150 words. Those words enable the whole of the textual matter to come into the picture. The speech does not refer to Indo-China. It refers to Indonesia, India, Burma and Pakistan.
That the document quoted from by Senator Sir Magnus Cormack be tabled.
I do that so that this matter may proceed upon the basis of the document being available for inspection by any honourable senator who wishes to continue the debate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I am rather amazed at Senator Sir Magnus Cormack’s attitude to this matter. Apparently I am not the only one. He has endeavoured to repudiate the statement that I made last night in this chamber. At the outset I want to tell him that there are not 3 dots, there are 4. If he wants to see the document, I will quote to him the authority which I have. It is an extract from ‘Vietnam No. 1’ in the ‘Readin’ series and it appeared at page 102. The publisher was Eyre and Spottiswoode Ltd of 167 Fleet Street, London, EC4, and the printer was Southwerk Offset Ltd, London, SEI. To refresh the memory of Senator Sir Magnus Cormack I again quote from Vietnam No. 1’:
The American Case.
As early as 1953, long before the present scale of American aid was envisaged. President Eisenhower, speaking at a Governors’ Conference, gave a very practical reason for American concern in the fate of Indo-China.
Now let us assume that we lose Indo-China. If Indo-China goes, several things happen right away. The peninsula, the last bit of land hanging on down there, would be scarcely defensible. The tin and tungsten that we so greatly value from that area would cease coming.
Following that are 4 dots and not 3 dots, as Senator Sir Magnus Cormack said. It continues:
So, when the United States votes $400,000,000 to help that war, we are not voting a give away programme. We are voting for the cheapest way that we can prevent the occurrence of something that would be of most terrible significance to the United States of America, our security our power and ability to get certain things we need from the riches of Indo-China and from South East Asia’.
This quotation was taken from a speech to a Governor’s Conference on 4th August 1953, which was before the Geneva Accords on Indo-China. The other statement I quoted was from the ‘New York Times’ of 12th February 1950. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack said that this statement was made m 1953. He said that there were 3 places from where I could have obtained this quotation. He said that I could have obtained it from Felix Greene, who is a very reputable person, or Bertrand Russell who, as far as I am aware, was not a dangerous character. He did not name the third source. Apparently Senator Sir Magnus Cormack thought that I could have obtained the quotation from Sir Robert Menzies or Mr William McMahon because he was not prepared to name the third source. I made this statement in good faith. Therefore, I have no reason to withdraw anything I said. I am sorry that Senator Sir Magnus Cormack feels that the issue is of such great importance that he has felt obliged to come into this chamber and publicly express his views. I am not prepared to say what was said about the matter this evening in private because, as far as I am concerned, that was in club. He said last night that he was going to repudiate everything I had said. I say now that he has failed to repudiate anything I said and he has failed to back up the argument that he placed before the chamber last night. I maintain that the words 1 quoted last night and tonight are true right down to the last full stop.
The Vietnam war is not for the so-called defeat of Communism in Asia but to ensure that the capitalists of Australia and the United States have uncontrolled access to the riches of Indo China and, as I said in this chamber a week or so ago, to the possible oil fields off the shores of South Vietnam. This is why young Australians are being killed in Vietnam. Australians of 20 years of age, who do not even have the right to vote, are being killed in this horrible, immoral war in Vietnam and people like Senator Sir Magnus Cormack are their murderers.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull)- Order!
Deputy President, I ask that that remark be withdrawn immediately and unconditionally.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Senator Keeffe. I ask you to withdraw that remark.
– Unconditionally, too, Mr Deputy President.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Withdraw the remark, Senator Keeffe.
– In which way, Mr Deputy President?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Just withdraw the remark you made about Senator Sir Magnus Cormack.
– There is only one way - the honourable way.
– Senator Gair is a murderer, too.
– Anything you said about me would not upset me one bit.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order! Senator Keeffe, you will withdraw those remarks.
– Mr Deputy President, if both these people feel so worried about what I have said-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! I again ask the honourable senator to withdraw the remarks.
– I withdraw them.
– I want to say a few words about these 3 little dots. I would like to say first that General Eisenhower was a great general. He had the equipment and the numbers to clean up in Europe. The main fighting that helped General Eisenhower to become such a great man was done in eastern Europe. The millions of people who laid down their lives in Europe are still not comprehended by the people of Australia and the United States of America. Many of the people of England, which was really involved in the European war, do not know of the sacrifices that were made on the land by human beings to defeat Fascism in Europe. General Eisenhower became great because the United States of America was able to sit back and inherit the greatness of the British Empire.
– It did the same in the First World War.
– Of course it did the same in the First World War. It did it twice. In doing so the United States inherited all the greatness and power of the British Empire. With the equipment that he had at his disposal and the great power that had been inherited, General Eisenhower went into Europe and mopped up after the main fighting had been done on the ground in eastern Europe and the Fascist Nazi army had been defeated. General Eisenhower then went back to the United States and started to talk about South East Asia, the next part of the world that was in Hitler’s plan of domination, with Italy and Japan, of the world. The great patriots opposite are getting up and speaking because they think that the memories of the people of Australia have faded.
– You were privileged to know about Hitler’s plan.
– You would not know anything. You would have been that far behind in the queue when any fighting was going on that you would not have been seen. You are Little by name and little by nature, so please do not interject. The great expert on South East Asia, General Eisenhower, went back to the United States a hero and great tributes were paid to him. He was hailed as the great scion of the Establishment, the man who won the war for the West, and he became President of the United States. That was typical of this front man. He then became the writer of scripture and, because someone left out some of his magic words and put in 4 dots the great Magnus had to get up here and put the record straight.
Eisenhower said that if Indo-China fell that piece of land would be forgotten and the last great populated area would fall to the Kremlin. I notice that there is one sur vivor of the Australian Democratic Labor Party present. This is the type of thing that the Democratic Labor Party has been living on. It has survived on this myth of the Communists of the Kremlin and China raping women, of red arrows coming down and this type of thing. This type of propaganda has been foisted on the people of Australia because Australia is isolated in Asia. This strip of land in South East Asia and all the people that Senator Sir Magnus Cormack spoke about will be outflanked and will become part of the Soviet empire! What sort of rubbish is this? What sort of propaganda is this? If honourable senators on the Government side are truthful to themselves, do they believe it? There is no hope of this area becoming part of the Soviet empire because the Vietnamese people have had a say in this. The Vietnamese people have said: ‘We are not going to be a little strip of country which will be outflanked and become part of the Soviet empire.’ Even before 1950 they overcame the Japanese. They overcame the French and they have overcome the Australians and the Americans. Their race will survive despite our great overall purpose of subduing them and subverting them. These people will survive as an ethnic race and will guide their own destiny.
The kerfuffle put forward tonight by Senator Sir Magnus Cormack about General Eisenhower’s grand plan and the 4 dots comes down to this: Whatever we like to say in this Parliament, South East Asia is peopled with human beings who have a pride in their race and a pride in their destiny. They are not going to be subverted and subdued by mercenaries, of whom we are a part, who try to overcome them by the strength of arms. We are not going to be persuaded because there are 4 dots which indicate something is missing from Eisenhower’s speech. Eisenhower was a stooge of the system. He will not live in history. He only helped to bring America into its present state of affairs where it is divided over this very issue of South Vietnam.
– Ha, ha!
– This is true, Senator. You know it but you try to laugh it off. I will go one step further and refer to the rich empire of Indonesia. We saw this rich empire under the control of the
Dutch. If ever an arrogant colonial power bestrode Indonesia it was the Dutch. They kept the people in subjugation and poverty. Then Sukarno took over. The Australian Government tried to do everything it could to destroy him. Now another military group has taken over in Indonesia and the Dutch are coming back there to establish the old colonial rule. This is a rich part of the empire.
But we have to live with these people in South East Asia. Geographically we are part of Asia and we are a nation of only 12 million or 13 million. Our good old friends, the Eisenhower clique, the British and the other European people have left us adrift. They have formed their own trade union, the European Economic Community, and they are not going to worry about our future. The former Minister for Defence, Mr Fraser, admitted this in the last few days. He said that we have to look to our own resources and to the very people who are included in the area represented by the 4 dots about which Sir Magnus Cormack spoke. I want to put on record tonight that the rich empire of South East Asia-
– Senators on the other side are running away.
– They had better run away. That is their form. They cannot stand the truth.
– You cannot answer him.
– You cannot either. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack went to thi trouble of referring tonight to the 4 dots in the extract from Eisenhower’s speech. He referred to the deletion. We know what Eisenhower meant. Eisenhower had the great plan, the grand strategy, that the United States had the divine right, after the Second World War and after all the sacrifices by the satellites around the world. I refer to our troops from Australia, from New Zealand and all the other countries which contributed towards the destruction of a negative philosophy of Fascism which was the ultimate of capitalism. Eisenhower inherited this and his words of wisdom have to be quoted in this place in full. You could not afford to have dots inserted. Eisenhower’s philosophy was that America had the prerogative and the responsibility of telling all these people in South East Asia how to run their business, and this has been going on ever since. That is why we are involved in the war in. Vietnam. That is why we are not participating in the possibility of exchanging trade with Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaya, Burma, Thailand, India, Ceylon, Nepal and all these other places. We have no claim to friendship with them. We have never done anything to warrant their friendship. This is the Eisenhower philosophy: Dominate these people and stop the Kremlin from taking over. This war, the fear instilled in the minds of people.
That has been a false philosophy and that is what is wrong with Australia’s foreign policy at the moment. We antagonise the people we should be cultivating, the Indonesians and others in South East Asia, by our attitude and our involvement in the Vietnam war. Australia is a wealthy neighbour and should be giving the maximum possible help to Indonesia. The Dutch, the Canadians and others are giving more to that country. They are doing more to help the Indonesians up the social scale while Australia is staying by the silly old shibboleths of the past, saying that Eisenhower’s philosophy continues and is still valid, lt is not valid. His philosophy was negative and destructive. The policy of the United States in the past has led it into chaos, where it has nothing externally and very little internally.
– Who are you hectoring?
– I am hectoring you about this matter of the 4 dots and the story you told about them. We should not hang on to the old stupid idea that the white man is superior, that the empire and the colonial system have any place in the world. They have had their time in history. We are now on a watershed and have to measure up to the real issues. We are human beings and the brotherhood of man will exercise its power. It is going to exercise its power in Australia. All profit comes from the working men in Australia. Owners of industries have to rely on the working man for their profits. They either have to overcharge the consumer or exploit the employee in order to make their profits. This system has been challenged, thank goodness, and it is the crisis facing us in Australia.
We have to be able to compete and exchange our goods on world markets otherwise we will be the onion in the petunia patch of South East Asia. We have to make friends with the people of Asia. We have no alternative. If we do not trade and exchange ideas and goods, then we will cease to exist economically. We have to forget the Eisenhower philosophy because the days of colonialism are over. The days of world domination by the United States are over. The days of internationalism, the days of the United Nations, the days of world federation of mankind are dawning. The honourable senator stood tonight and spoke about 4 dots which indicated that something was missing in a speech made by an insignificant politician like Eisenhower. Although he was a great general, he was a insignificant politician. Such an act is indicative of the myths and fallacies of this day and age. I think Senator Keeffe did well not to mention those 4 dots and Senator Sir Magnus Cormack did an injustice to the cause in mentioning them tonight.
– I enter this debate in order to put the record right and because I would take exception if someone were trying to influence the Senate by deliberately giving it false information. That is a practice which should be condemned. Tonight Senator Keeffe is in an invidious position in (hat he has been accused of trying to persuade the Senate in that way. Let us look at the facts. 1 think Senator Sir Magnus Cormack, in his attitude of justice, would acknowledge that there was no deliberate attempt to misinform on Senator Keeffe’s part and in fact no misinformation at all was given to the Senate.
Senator Keeffe quoted from a publication. Tonight he has told the Senate the origin of it, the printers of it and the name of it, and that it does mention the words the riches of Indo-China’. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack says that that is wrong because the word used was ‘Indonesia’. He relies on the New York ‘Times’ report. Why the New York ‘Times’ rePort should be more authentic than the publication Senator Keeffe mentioned I do not know. Why, because the New York ‘Times’ says one thing, does that mean that what Senator Keeffe said is not correct?
– It can be found at page 452 of volume 1 of the public papers of President Eisenhower in the Library of Congress.
– I think Senator Sir Magnus Cormack has had enough debating experience to know that he can bamboozle anyone by a quotation of figures or words from a book which may not exist, which may not have that number of pages, etc. No-one would expect me on this occasion to have the reply that it is not on that page; it is somewhere else. This is an old tactic that has been used in debate as long as there has been debate.
The fact is that tonight we are presented with a document to show that Senator Keeffe is wrong. The document is a photostat extract from the New York Times’. We are indebted to Senator Rae on this occasion because he has shown conclusively that, even if there be a misquotation of a word, it does not take away the purport of what Senator Keeffe was saying. As honourable senators will remember, Senator Keeffe, in his speech in the debate on the ministerial statement on the withdrawal of Australian troops from Vietnam, put the point of making mountains of gold out of rivers of human blood and that the engagement in this war was for profit. He linked it up with Australia’s commercial interest in the continuation of the war in Indo-China.
He came into the adjournment debate last night and quoted from a particular publication to show that it was more than a question of the freedom of Indo-China; it was a question of the tungsten, tin and other minerals that America desired. Now we find that, even if Senator Sir Magnus Cormack is right in his quotation from the New York publication, it has not altered the reason why America is in Indo-China. lt is part of its invasion of South East Asia. We find that what Eisenhower said, as recorded in Senator Sir Magnus Cormack’s document, was:
So when the United States votes $400m to help that war -
What war was it? This was in 1953 - we are not voting a giveaway programme. We are voting for the cheapest way that we can prevent the occurence of something that would be of a most terrible significance to the United States of America - our security, our power and ability to get certain things we need from the riches of the Indonesian territory and from South East Asia.
It is not limited. There is the whole purpose of the vote of $400m. These are the very words that Senator Keeffe said last night. He referred to the desire of the commercial interests, and said that that was the purpose of what Eisenhower said when he stated: ‘You have not wasted the $400m
– Not even the Communists agree with you on that.
– I am only using the document that Senator Sir Magnus Cormack presented tonight. It has been made available by the good graces of Senator Rae. Here is the whole reason for America being in Indo-China. It is because of what she may lose. At that time, in 1953, it was worth the expenditure of $400m because of the riches in tungsten and tin that she might lose in Indonesian territory and South East Asia.
Another author has referred to this. It was not the creation of Senator Keeffe. He quoted another author and gave the Senate the authority tonight. That author has referred to South East Asia as Indo-China and linked it up with where America is engaged in certain activities. I do not think there is conflict there. There is no contradiction. We are somewhat indebted to Senator Sir Magnus Cormack tonight for reaffirming what Senator Keeffe said, namely, that American interests are American commercial interests and they ask: What does it matter about people with slant eyes whom you have to kill in the process, as long as you protect the dollar, the tin, the steel and American security? That is the argument that Senator Keeffe put.
Does it matter whether the word is Indo-China’ or ‘Indonesia’? What do the lives of the people who must be slaughtered in this campaign matter as long as we protect the mighty American dollar? That is the story of the campaign. That is the story Senator Keeffe endeavoured to present to the Senate in the hope that he would win some support from some humanitarians in the Senate. That is the story which Senator Sir Magnus Cormack, by the production of his publication tonight, verifies and supports in regard to the American campaign in Indo-China. I join with Senator O’Byrne in saying that it is time we ceased to be parties to the filthy, dirty, commercialised campaign in which we are engaged in Indo-China at the present time.
– Much as I would like to add to the saga of the 3 dots, I wish to speak on another matter. I direct the attention of the Senate to page 901 of Hansard and the speech by Senator Cavanagh. He asked for leave to have a document incorporated in Hansard. He completed his speech by saying: ‘If leave is not given I shall read it’. It was my intention to hear that document read in the Senate. So, when Senator Cavanagh said: ‘If leave is not given I shall read it’, and the Deputy President asked: Is leave granted?’, I said: “No.’ And there the matter ended for the night.
I find that the material that was supposed to be incorporated in Hansard was not incorporated. Since it is of considerable importance to what Senator Cavanagh had to say, I propose to read the introduction and then to seek leave to have the remainder incorporated in Hansard. I will give honourable senators an indication of the type of material I propose to seek to have incorporated in Hansard. The letter is addressed to Senator Cavanagh and it reads:
I heard on the radio your speech in the Senate on 7th April on the subject of conscientious objection to compulsory training to kilt our fellow men, women and children.
You were supported by Senators O’Byrne and Turnbull, and criticised-
– I suggest the honourable senator seek leave to have the document incorporated.
– 1 shall read the first paragraph and then 1 shall seek leave. The document continues:
You were supported by Senators O’Byrne and Turnbull and criticised as ‘quasi-blasphemous’ by Senator Hannan. Your speech was one of reason, humanity and Christianity and deserves support, so 1 hope you will give a copy of this to the Senators named above. lt is refreshing to hear Christian Conscience upheld publicly as you did in your speech.
The writer refers to Senator Cavanagh. The rest of the letter quotes various section of the Gospel of St Luke, lt is in considerable detail, lt is a document which ought to be incorporated in Hansard and I do that with the concurrence of honourable senators.
Senator Hannan said he knew St Luke’s gospel as well or better than you and he startled me bv quoting from St Luke that Christ said ‘If you have a coat sell it and buy a sword’. (Ch. 22.36) That is so contrary to the whole teaching of the gospels that it should be pointed out that Christ was speaking to his disciples who would ‘deny’ him and forsake him at his trial and passion as be had just told them. It was advice to the weak as was his previous advice to ‘the unjust steward’ who made ‘friends of the mammon of iniquity’ as do ‘the children of this world’ when they do not act as ‘the children of light”.
But Senator Hannan should note that Chapter 22 of St Luke continues:
Lord shall we strike with the sword
St Matthew records: Ch. 27.52 ‘Then Jesus said to him: Put up thy sword: for all that take the sword shall perish by the sword.’
St Luke records: Ch. 6.29 ‘And him that taketh away from thee thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also.’
As for being ‘blasphemous’ in identifying man’s weak and erring human nature with Christ, that is just what we are told to do by Christ himself:
St Luke Ch. 9 records:
St Paul, a man as we all are, leaves us in no doubt that we should identify our souls with Christ, our Redeemer. Thus says St Paul to the Galatians:
For a notable example of a Christian man who could not practise the use of sword or bayonet or do any violence to his fellow men, we have Ronald Knox. His life has been widely published as written by the English writer Evelyn Waugh. Ronald Knox, was a member of the Church of England and the son of a minister of that Church. He was Captain of Eton School although he never played any games. In the first World War he went as a stretcher-bearer to the Front lines because he could not bear to use an offensive weapon. He translated the Bible and was chaplain to the Roman Catholic students at Oxford University where I met him, a fine figure of a man, a most popular Christian.
As for myself I also could not be trained to use violence to my fellow men and could not be trained to kill in the Army. When the second World War came, I at once volunteered and joined the Navy which ‘fights ships not men’ and went straight to the protection of convoys in the Battle of the Atlantic as an Anti-Submarine Officer and was the first Australian to be First Lieutenant of a corvette in that Cruel Sea.
I was top of the Royal Navy Radar School in England and first place ‘with greatest credit’ in the United States Coastguard School of Radio Navigation, and introduced and taught Radio Navigation to the Australian Navy.
Like St Paul I “glory”, to use his word, in contending with infirmities and dangers and difficulties, as he tells us at length that he did and would have vis do. In witness of this 1 attach hereto a copy of my article ‘Ski ing through Blizzards for 12 Days’, and a copy of articles from the Sydney Morning Herald of September 8, 1936, and September 1, 1937. Also 1 attach six pages of my article describing how I gave Tasmania its micro-wave radio link with the mainland in spite of tremendous difficulties.
Yet I would hate to be drawn by a marble in the lottery of death at the age of 20. I would regard it as tyranny and slavery.
Certainly the Christian and other human people of Vietnam need our support against Communist terror and oppression. But it should be the support of those who volunteer for it. My neighbour has a son in the permanent Army, and as a young Lieutenant that son has been in Vietnam and severely wounded, he says he volunteers to go back there, for he had experience of a village of 100 people who were kept alive and safe from massacre by the Communists only by the Australian Army, and he would again offer himself to save South Vietnamese from terror and certain violent death.
At a time when Australia was rattling the sabre and was considering going to war with Indonesia over West New Guinea I made a strong bid for peace and friendship with Indonesia as shown by the attached article from the Melbourne Herald of January 9, 1962.
Just as Indonesia needs our help, South Vietnam needs it far more, and Christian charity demands that we give it. But we should not give it by forcing some only of our immature youths to kill and do violence to their fellow men.
Let those who counsel meeting violence with violence go themselves to do it. It is wrong and a tyranny and against Christian charity to gaol young men who refuse to join the lottery of death and violence. It is in line with the Governor who sought to imprison St Paul who identified himself not just with Christ, but with ‘Christ nailed to the Cross’.
– J rise because I believe a great injustice has been done to Senator Keeffe in this Senate. So that I will not be accused of leaving out any words I refer to page 900 of the daily Hansard. These words are ascribed to Senator Sir Magnus Cormack:
I rise not with the preparatory remark, which is common to the Senate, that at this late hour J will not detain the Senate very long. What 1 intend to say arises from the remarks made by the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) in the context of the discussion of the speech made by Senator Keeffe in which he quoted what were alleged to be the remarks of President Eisenhower before the Governors of the United Stales of America. This, one of the most famously distorted canards, has spread around the world. When the original quotation came out it had 3 or 4 mysterious little dots which indicated that something had been eliminated from the report. We have now reached the stage where the 3 or 4 little dots have been eliminated and the statement reads v. though President Eisenhower said what Senator Keeffe has ascribed to him. I advise the Senate, so that this canard can be nailed, that on the adjournment tomorrow night I shall read the correct record of what was said for the benefit of Senator Keeffe.
I think it could be truly said that Senator Sir Magnus Cormack was saying, in effect, that Senator Keeffe was endeavouring to convey the impression to the Senate that General Eisenhower had said something which was not correct. Tonight Senator Sir Magnus Cormack in support of his contention produced a document. I want to read to honourable senators what Senator Keeffe read last night. Then I shall read from the document to which Senator Sir Magnus Cormack referred tonight. This is what Senator Keeffe said last night:
Now let us assume that we lose Indo-China. lt Indo-China goes, several things happen right away. The peninsula, the last bit of land hanging on down there, would be scarcely defensible. The tin and’ tungsten that we so greatly value from that area would cease coming. 1 now ask honourable senators to listen to what the document which Senator Sir Magnus Cormack produced tonight says. I hope honourable senators will read this in tomorrow’s copy of the daily Hansard to see that it is precisely what Senator Keeffe said last night. 1 repeat:
Now Let us assume that we lose Indo-China. 11 Indo-China goes, several things happen right away. The peninsula, the last little bit of land hanging on down there, would be scarcely defensible. The tin and tungsten that we so greatly value from that area would cease coming.
Senator Keeffe then referred to an ellipsis or the 4 dots as they are commonly referred to tonight. He read on:
So, when the United States votes $400m to help that war. we are not voting a give away programme. We are voting for the cheapest way that we can prevent the occurrence of something that would be of most terrible significance to the United States of America, our security, our power and ability to get certain things we need from the riches of Indo-China and from South East Asia
I ask honourable senators to dwell on the words ‘Indo-China’ because that is the only difference between what Senator Keeffe said last night and the document produced by Senator Sir Magnus Cormack tonight. That document states:
So when the United States votes (400m to help that war, we are not voting a give away programme. We are voting for the cheapest way hat we can prevent the occurrence of something that would be of a most terrible significance to the United States of America, our security, our power and ability to get certain things we need from th« riches of the Indonesian territory and from Sou Iti East Asia.
– The honourable senator said ‘Indo-China’.
– My learned friend from Western Australia says that I said Indo-China.
– I did not say that. Senator Keeffe said Indo-China.
– I explained tha? position before I read the document. If I did not make myself perfectly clear to all honourable senators let me repeat that last night Senator Keeffe in reading from his document said ‘Indo-China’ and tonight Senator Sir Magnus Cormack from his document said ‘Indonesian’. That is the only difference between what Senator Sir Magnus Cormack said tonight and what Senator Keeffe said last night. If ever an apology were due in this Senate I submit with respect that it is due to Senator Keeffe from Senator Sir Magnus Cormack. He is not here at this stage of the proceedings so I cannot ask him to apologise. Nor can the Senate request him to do so. But if be is a fairminded Australian and if he is reasonable in his attitude towards the responsibility of this Senate then I say again, with respect, that he should give to Senator Keeffe the apology which is his due. Last night the clear inference was that Senator Keeffe was, to say the least, gilding the lily. I submit that what Senator Keeffe said last night is 99.9 per cent in line with what Senator Sir Magnus Cormack said tonight. I repeat that I believe an apology is due to Senator Keeffe.
– lt appears to me that there has been a considerable amount of what might be described as obfuscation of the original issue. I do not wish to add to that in any way. For that reason I do not answer the matters which have been raised by honourable senators from the other side of the chamber. I simply ask leave to incorporate in Hansard the document which has already been tabled and referred to by Senator Sir Magnus Cormack and other speakers during this adjournment debate so that any person who, at some subsequent time, wishes to determine whether the course of action suggested by Senator Milliner or some other course of action should have been taken can work it out for himself by looking at the document and at the statements which have been made. It does not seem to me that the interests of this country or this chamber will be served by having a long debate on this rather minor matter which was perhaps put on one basis or another. The matter raised by Senator Keeffe last night was entirely different and 1 should have thought that it was not the subject matter of the present debate. Mr Deputy President, I simply ask for leave to incorporate in Hansard the document from which Senator Sir Magnus Cormack quoted.
– That portion of it?
– No, the document which has already been tabled. It is a photocopy of the text of a talk by President Eisenhower, reported in the ‘New York Times’ on Wednesday, 5th August 1953. I ask that it be incorporated so that people may see the context from which the statements were taken.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - ls leave granted?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Leave is not granted.
– I hope that my voice will last while 1 read the document, lt is interesting to note that the Opposition wishes to stay here. I start by reading the document from the top. It states:
The New York Times. Wednesday, August 5, 1953.
Text of Talk by President Eisenhower-
– What newspaper was that?
The Deputy PRESIDENT- Order! Senator Keeffe is completely out of order in interjecting.
– What newspaper was it?
– I shall answer this interjection, but thereafter I shall not answer any interjection while reading this document. I have stated already that it states at the top that it is the ‘New York Times’ of Wednesday, 5th August 1953. I understand the ‘New York Times’ to be a newspaper, and I thought that honourable senators opposite might also have the same understanding. The document reads:
SEATTLE, Aug. 4(AP)- Following is the text of President Eisenhower’s address at the forty-fifth annual Governors’ Conference:
I am here for a number of purposes, but among them is not that of making a long and so-called important speech for the record. The first thought that strikes me as 1 stand up is that Governors’ conferences have changed in type a bit. It used to be something like this, all right, but they didn’t have so much pulchritude in the rear.
I didn’t know that there was an audience of this kind. Nevertheless, while I had on my mind talking of things which I thought would be of interest to the Governors I hope that the remainder of the audience won’t find these things loo boring.
Now first of all, I am here for a very simple purpose. Because of my indestructible conviction that unless we preserve in this country (he place of the state government, its traditional place, with the power, the authority, the responsibilities and the revenues necessary to discharge those responsibilities, then we are not going to have America as we have known it; we will have some other form of government.
And my thought was that if I could come here to pay my tribute of respect to the great responsibilities that you men as the executive heads of your states must carry on behalf of our people, then that alone would justify my trip.
Now, within this concept, of course, is that of the need for the executive heads of each of these states to perform services for their people, the people for whom they serve as chief executives, that is almost without scope and without limit.
By this I mean that merely because a chief executive signs the bills that are presented to him, presents to his legislature a program that he believes to be conceived in the best interests of his state, that is not enough. In this modern and complex time the problems that affect each of our lives very intimately, very definitely, are very difficult to understand.
Duty to Supply Information
A chief executive, in no matter what echelon, be it city, state or Federal, has many sources of information, accurate information, that are often denied to the people in general or, if they are not denied, they come to the people through certain reports that are difficult to relate, one to the other, and therefore see their significance. 1 believe that a chief executive has, among other things, the responsibility of informing his own commonwealth, his own state, about these major problems all the time, be it Korea, IndoChina, taxes, debt limit, no matter what, he has the chore of using the facilities open to him, including that of making talks. (Quorum formed.)
He has the chore of trying to. inform the people in that State so that they will in turn support reasonable programs nationally as well as state-wide.
And indeed, I think at this point in the national and state plan it is again very, very difficult to establish a clear dividing Une. We know this: Unless the United States is prosperous, unless it is strong, unless it is secure; there is no strength, there is no prosperity, there is no security for any state.
Consequently we instantly conclude there is no true division in the scope of our concern for the people we are attempting to serve.
The dividing line, you see, is really how we co-ordinate our several functions so that we are not doing exactly the same things, but so that the efforts of each complement the other.
Cities Request for Study
That is the reason that one of the first acts of mine when I went to Washington and was supported by a cabinet, and, indeed, by advisers who are now sitting around this table and who occupy Governors’ chairs; I asked for a commission that would study this proper division between state responsibility and Federal responsibility, not for one instant meaning that we divide our concern about these major problems of the world and which we have the responsibility of helping to inform our people.
I do not mean to do that exclusively. We have the responsibility. But I do mean that unless we find a way of dividing the responsibility we are bound to blur too indefinitely the line that divides our several functions and eventually, as I say again, it will not be the American system as we have known it.
Now, this goes into every field of activity of which I can think. Long years ago, you know, they attempted to establish security establishments. It was a composition of a regular and professional group supported by what we call national concerns and then the state national guard later, and the Federal. All of that was done in an effort to bring together the best capabilities of the state and of the national Government and to provide security for us at all times and with the least possible cost.
And, indeed, in spite of the tradition that has been directed at us, I believe this: I believe that if every citizen, every state and the national government would do ils proper job under that concept, it would still be a good one for the United States. The trouble of it is jealousies develop. Inefficiencies, and recriminations start, and we have more fun criticizing than we do working constructively. It is odd.
Of course, this is no new discovery of the human mind, but it is odd, isn’t it, that we have so much ian calling the other fellow a so-and-so than getting out and doing something to correct either the error that he has committed on that we have. It is probably one of the things, though, that any President is never allowed to forget, even for a minute.
If we go into the field of agriculture, if we go into the field of Federal power and the conservation of all the resources of this United States, we find this same community of purpose with the necessity of division of responsibility obtains.
As I understand it, this morning you are going to try in a roundtable conference to sort out in your own minds and possibly sort out in our minds what these divisions should be. Certainly I know of no one in the Federal Government today, no matter what his job, who thinks he knows all of the answers. We cannot fail to benefit, then, from a discussion on those subjects.
Sharing of Responsibility lit certain instances, I think very obvious truths should prevail. Unless we are partners in some of these things, they cannot be done. But if partnership is going to consist only in talking about local rights and central responsibility- responsibility, particularly when it is financial - that is going to be a pattern - there is no hope.
When we share responsibility, we share responsibility all of the way through, financial as well as for seeing that the thing is effectively operated.
But if we obey this principle - the closer we leave government and every kind of governmental responsibility to the people, calling in the Federal Government where there is a clear service to be performed, which could not be performed adequately without its cooperation and its partnership, cooperation and partnership in the right direction.
This principle applies in this great problem - I don’t know whether you have yet talked about it - it is one of the controversial subjects - is civil defense. Civil defense is absolutely impossible without complete and enthusiastic cooperation, not merely of governments, not merely of men, but of every man, woman and child in the United States. This is one thing that can’t be handled except for the people of the states.
It is perfectly clear that the first thing that is needed if you are going to have effective civil defense against a possible attack against this country is an ordered or disciplined movement and action on the part of the people in the case of emergency.
Just as you train your children to go on defensive drills in school if there is a fire, that is the way we must be trained and instructed. If they are unwilling to accept that, there is no hope of a solution.
You can dig all the cellars in the world and have the people try to get in them. They wouldn’t know where they were.
– Who said this?
– The statement continues:
Some of you people have been present in a heavy bombing area.
The next sub-heading in President Eisenhower’s speech reported in the New York Times’ of Wednesday. 5th August 1953, is’Need for Ordered Plan’. The statement then continues:
You have seen the panic that overtakes people. The indispensable ingredient-
– I rise to a point of order. I request that the Senate give Senator Rae an opportunity to incorporate the balance of the statement in Hansard.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bull) - Is leave granted? Leave is not granted.
– May I continue reading?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Yes.
– I will begin again from the sub-heading:
Need for Ordered Plan
You have seen the panic that overtakes people. The indispensable ingredient of any civil defense is some self-control, and that’s all that discipline is. On top of it then is an ordered plan to place people in a position of safety. On top of that you can build a number of artificial and organized defenses, even to include your warning services in the case the Federal Government takes over in the field of active defense. But without this ordered, and orderly, action on the part of the civilian population, all safety defense measures will fall Bat.
As it is today, suppose we had an emergency in a department store in Seattle. Any American would feel self-conscious if you gave him a job of, let’s say, going out and helping dragging out fire hose or standing out on the sidewalk with a pocketful of sand.
He would feel self-conscious. Now, there is where the job of leadership has to work. How are we going to get Americans to do these things seriously and soberly and knowing them necessary?
The Federal Government has a very wide, definite, fixed responsibility in this whole program, but we can never do it unless the localities down to the last individual will cooperate.
I could go on enumerating every kind of problem that comes before the state. Let us take, though, for example, one simple problem in the foreign field.
I pause for a moment not only to have a drink of water but also to say that perhaps it is unfortunate that Senator Keeffe and Senator Milliner are not here to listen to this, but I will go on because this is the important part:
You have seen war in Indo-China described variously as an outgrowth of French colonialism and the French refusal to treat indigenous populations decently. You find it yet described as a war between the Communists and the other elements in Southeast Asia, but you have a confused idea of where is located Laos and Cambodia or any of the other countries that are involved.
The Asian Problem
You don’t know really why we are so con cerned with the far-off southeast corner of Asia. Why is it?
Now, first of all, the last great population remaining in Asia that has not become dominated by the Kremlin, of course, is the subcontinent of India, the Pakistanian Government.
Here are 150,000,000 people who are still free. Now let us assume that we lose Indo-China. If Indo-China goes, several things happen right away. The peninsula, the last little bit of land hanging on down there, would be scarcely defensible. The tin and tungsten that we so greatly value from that area would cease coming, but all India would be outflanked.
Burma would be in no position for defense.
Now, India is front on that side by the Soviet Empire. I believe you read in the paper this morning that Mossadegh moved toward getting rid of his parliament,andofcourse he was in that move supported by the Communist party of Iran. All of that position around there is very ominous to the United States, because finally if we lost all that, how would the free world hold the rich empire of Indonesia?
So you see, somewhere along the line, this must be blocked and it must be blocked now, and that’s what we are trying to do.
So when the United States votes $400,000,000 to help that war, we are not voting a giveaway program. We are voting for the cheapest way that we can prevent the occurrence of something that would be of a most terrible significance to the United States of America, our security, our power and ability to get certain things we need from the riches of the Indonesian territory and from Southeast Asia.
Now, that is the kind of thing that it isn’t good enough for someone to decide in Washington. All of us understand, because out of that kind of thing grows the need for taxes. The security of the United States is not just the business of the Secretary of Defense and the Congress and the President and the Secretaries of the services, it’s the business of every man, woman and child and, if it is their business, then it is the business of all of us. We need help.
I don’t care what the problem is. I think I can always talk, my friends, just to get back to this one thought: unless the Governors of the state, I don’t give a hoot whether a Democrat or Republican is in this kind of a job, we are Americans, in the Federal Government, unless we can cooperate on the basis of understanding of the facts and progress steadily, surely and confidently in carrying out a program that we believe will establish the security of the United States, not only from a bomb, from some kind of destructive action of the enemy, but make sure that its surpluses are carried abroad and in return for those surpluses we get back goods that will allow those people to buy our surpluses; unless we have that kind of economic strength we are going to have to live a very different kind of life than we do.
This can all be done only through cooperation. This is no partisan proposition. We don’t have a monopoly on truth or on the facts that affect this country. We must work together.
So far as it goes, that is the document which was tabled. It may be of some interest to those who were keen to debate this subject but not keen to hear the subject matter read to have the opportunity of reading the statement tomorrow, if they so desire, so that they can see whether the context in which they used the statement was a good representation of the context in which it was used originally. I can but emphasise that what was not referred to tonight was the fact that General Eisenhower was talking about trade generally and the beneficial effects it had on the people in both countries who were involved in that trade. I do not debate the subject any further. It is interesting to know that the Opposition is so concerned that a speech of General Eisenhower’s, which may or may not have been taken out of context, should not be available to anybody who reads Hansard that it refused me the leave to incorporate the speech, which caused the Senate to be detained for 15 or 20 minutes while I read the speech. I have now done so and I hope that people will now be able to see this matter in its proper context.
Thursday, 22 April 1971
– I want to add only one point to the discussion that we have listened to attentively this evening. I have listened very patiently to the reading of a statement which is alleged to be President Eisenhower’s speech.
– Not ‘alleged’; it was.
– It was alleged to have been President Eisenhower’s speech. I gathered that about 85 per cent of it, from my estimate of the way in which it was read, was entirely irrelevant to what we are discussing tonight.
– This is interesting.
- Senator Rae may be interested to know that we have had brought before us tonight 2 reporters’ documents. One of them appeared in the New York Times’ and was a report, of what was alleged to have been said by President Eisenhower. The other was also a reputable reporter’s report of what was understood to have been said by President Eisenhower.
– There was an omission of words.
– The difference between the two, even allowing for the omission of the words which do not matter in the context at which we are looking, is infinitesimal. Senator Rae, in his reading of the speech, pointed out the trade that we wanted with this area, which was tungsten, tin and so on. It is easy to imagine that when President Eisenhower was talking about South East Asia a reporter could easily put down Indonesia instead of IndoChina.
– The President was talking about Iran and other places also.
– I am saying that this is an alleged statement. It is not the actual document from which President Eisenhower read. It is not the authorised document that he approved. This is only what appeared in a newspaper. I do not care whether it is the best newspaper in the world. Plenty of articles appear in the Australian Press which report statements made by people, even senators, and are not what was said. There are plenty of instances like that where the subject matter is confused and presented wrongly and the emphasis is put the wrong way. I emphasise that we have 2 statements. I think that the Senate has every reason to accept the one that Senator Keeffe has given. It was the first put forward. I can see no difference in the second, even allowing for the 4 dots because it only refers to Indonesia instead of Indo-China.
– Ha, ha!
– Senator Sim is not aware that tungsten is not found in Indonesia. Tungsten is found only in the area of Indo-China about which we are speaking. That is why the President was referring to this area.
– Where in Indo-China is tungsten found?
– If Senator Rae wishes to bring something of value to the Senate, I suggest that he get the speech of President Eisenhower and have that incor porated in Hansard. In that way we would get the actual words that were said at the time. These are points which should be remembered.
– Would you give me leave to have that incorporated?
– I have suggested that you do that. I think the Senate would agree with the statement that Senator Keeffe put forward.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 12.5 a.m. Thursday
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 21 April 1971, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1971/19710421_senate_27_s47/>.