27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Honourable Sir Magnus Cormack) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I refer to the speech made by Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs in the United States to the AmericanAustralian Association in which he endeavoured to involve leading American industrial and commercial interests in the Australian domestic political scene. I ask: Is this endeavour to seek the intervention of outside persons, however highly placed they may be in their own country, a fair example of the standards which are to be followed by the Australian Government in its handling of foreign affairs?
It is true that the Foreign Minister gave an address at a luncheon of the AmericanAustralian Association in New York on 5th October. It is also true that the substance of his remarks has received Press publicity. It is equally and obviously true that the Australian Labor Party has displayed sensitivity in its reaction to the burden of that speech. I read the draft of what our Foreign Minister said, in part, and I think it is factual. I do not think there can be any argument about it. There is certainly no doubt in my mind about the accuracy of the substance of his address.
The Labor Party has made abundantly clear - and it could easily be documented - the attitude of some of its members and groups to the United States of America. For my part, what I read impressed me as being a reasonable and factual statement. It is to be regretted that the Labor Party has reacted in an oversensitive way to that speech and has treated it as a political issue. For my part, and as I understand it for the Government’s part, the speech was made by the Foreign Minister at a luncheon and in it he pointed out certain trends in our domestic politics and the possible implications for our friends and allies in the United States. I do not have any need to be concerned about what he said. In fact, I agree with what he said.
– My question is directed to you, Mr President. You will no doubt recall that I asked your predecessor to examine the possibility of having speech timing clocks similar to those in another place installed in the Senate chamber? Will you also examine this matter with a view to determining whether such clocks should be installed for the convenience of honourable senators?
– I must confess that I do not recollect a question of that nature being asked of my predecessor, but I welcome the honourable senator’s question for the reasons which I detect lie behind it. I give Senator Poyser and the Senate an assurance that 1 will examine this matter as quickly as possible in order to see whether Senator Poyser’s request should be met.
– I wish to ask a question of the Minister for Health. In view of the statement by the PostmasterGeneral that cigarette advertising on television should not be banned because the commercial stations need the revenue, I ask: Will the Minister confirm that in this matter the Government places a higher value on commercial profit than the health of the community?
– - 1 think it is rather unfortunate that an incorrect interpretation has been made of what I understood to have been said by the Postmaster-General. The fact of the matter is that there is a code in relation to cigarette advertising on television and radio, lt is my understanding that a new code has been negotiated and came into effect on 1st October. At a later stage - if not today, certainly on the next sitting day - I will put down some facts in relation to the new code. It is always a bit difficult, perhaps for the reason of space, to prevent statements from being taken out of context in newspaper reports. I am sure the Leader of the Opposition has not drawn a proper inference. But it is a fact of life that there is advertising of this commodity with certain limitations as to when and how such advertising can take place. I understand that the various broadcasting and television stations are abiding by the new code which came into effect on 1 st October.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts been drawn to legislation being introduced in the Victorian Parliament by which penalties for air pollution in that State will be drastically increased as a result of a maximum penalty of $5,000 being imposed for the contravention of any of the provisions of the Clean Air Act and a maximum penalty of $2,000 being imposed for each day the offence continues after conviction or an order by a court? In view of the laudable activities of the States in combating air pollution, as instanced by this proposed legislation, and the need for the Commonwealth to assist in the fight against pollution, will urgent consideration be given to implementation of the recommendations of the Senate Select Committee on Air Pollution, including the recommendation that special allowances be granted for the depreciation of equipment which is installed by industry to abate pollution?
– I am aware of the Victorian legislation which is currently under consideration. I am quite sure that the Minister for the Environment. Aborigines and the Arts would also be aware of it. 1 think it is fair to say that the Victorian Government has over a fairly long period been taking a leading role in dealing with matters of cleanliness and air pollution. 1 notice that the honourable senator is concerned that the Commonwealth Government should take action along the lines recommended by the Senate Select Committee on Air Pollution - in particular, that it should provide certain tax incentives. That, of course, is a matter of Government policy. But I will convey the honourable senator’s request for information and his concern in this area to the Minister whom I represent in this chamber for his attention.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Will the Minister indicate whether
Qantas Airways Ltd will persist in the sacking of the 138 of its pilots and pilot trainees who were given notice some 6 months ago?
– Those honourable senators who read the newspapers will have noted this morning that a case on this matter is at present before Mr Justic Coldham, the President of the Flight Officers Crew Tribunal. I do not think any further comment by me at the present time would help the matter.
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Senator GIETZELT- I ask of the
Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs a question which follows upon Senator Murphy’s question. Is the Minister aware that editorials in ‘News Weekly’ and statements by the well known commentator Mr Santamaria have criticised changes in American policy? Mr Santamaria is even reported to have said that it would be lunacy for Australia to rely on America in the future. Does the Minister concede that similarly numerous editorials in the major newspapers also have criticised foreign and domestic policy changes by the Nixon Administration? Does the Minister regard these sources as left wing orientated? If the Government recognises the National Civic Council as a right wing organisation and the major newspapers as being anti-left wing, will the Minister advise the former Attorney-General, exMinister for Education and Science and present Minister for Foreign Affairs thai he has an incomplete knowledge of local Australian politics?
– The question is a very broad one. There is only one part of it which is appropriate for impromptu comment and that is the last sentence which I find to be offensive, unfounded and completely impertinent.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service aware that a strike by 3 men who are in key positions in a factory at Devonport and who apparently are the only members of a certain union employed there has caused that factory to cease production, incurring the resentment of at least some of the other employees who have been thrown out of work? ls there any means by which such imbecility can be brought to an end?
– Senator Lillico has brought to attention a matter the details of which are not known to me but which is illustrative of a number of incidents that are bedevilling industrial life and creating misfortune for fellow workers in the (abour field. This persistence in procedures which were appropriate to the last century is quite out of date in a modern, complicated industrial community. The honourable senator and the Senate will know that the Government has under urgent consideration at present the whole matter of remedies to be applied.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer reconsider the present Government policy of refusing to allow donations to overseas aid appeals as taxation deductions?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONThat is a particular question. Perhaps it would have been more helpful to me if the honourable senator had narrowed his question to an organisation that he had in mind. Perhaps we can discuss that later on. I certainly will refer the matter to the Treasurer. 1 feel bound to point out that we are in the Budget session. All these matters have been reviewed. As is the rule, prior to a Budget being introduced these matters are reviewed and examined very critically. I would think that there would need to be an extraordinary reason to justify a variation in a particular item before we had completed the Budget debate.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Is the Australian Government negotiating to purchase a site for a new embassy in Saigon? If so, and in the light of attacks made by the National Liberation Front on withdrawing Australian troops, does the Minister consider any proposed embassy to be safe from NLF attacks? Can he give any guarantee that Australian taxpayers’ money spent on this project will not be wasted as has so much in the past in Vietnam?
– I had the opportunity of visiting and inspecting this site when I visited Saigon within the last fortnight. It has been under my knowledge for some time, and negotiations for its purchase are well advanced, if in fact the contract has not been signed. The Australian Government will purchase a central site upon which a hotel now abandoned, has been partially built. It is an ideal site which is near the British Embassy and opposite the Embassy of the United States of America. lt puts Australia in a highly desirable position from the point of view of focusing in Saigon interest in Western democracy. With regard to the safety of the site, there is always risk so long as North Vietnamese troops and other Communist guerrillas are attacking South Vietnam that they might succeed. With regard to the prudence of Australia establishing an embassy in Saigon, it really calls to my mind with some compassion, that there are people, even within the Senate, who are so small minded as not to see the importance of an Australian diplomatic establishment, that far north on the Pacific coast, which will enable us to exchange diplomatic negotiations, information and intelligence in that vital centre point of Asia.
– I address my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. For the information of honourable senators, will he indicate, in tha light of the discussions that have taken place, what he intends to propose, with tha concurrence of the Senate, should be the order of business today?
I am grateful to the Leader of the Opposition for posing that question. I have had dicussions wwith the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Australian. Democratic Labor Party. I hope that we can conclude question time by a little before 12 o’clock. There are a couple of ministerial statements which we wish to put down. Then I would like the debate on the National Service Bill to continue to enable the Minister to reply to the debate and if possible to take a vote on the second reading before lunch. This afternoon Estimates Committees A and E will meet. I have indicated that the Government is prepared to move - I hope it will be agreed to - that instead of dealing with general business tonight we resume the debate on the National Service Bill and dispose of it this evening. This will require a degree of co-operation, but I think the will of the Senate is that this course be followed, and 1 am prepared to move accordingly.
– The Senate will not be sitting this afternoon?
The Senate as such will not be sitting this afternoon, but Estimates Committees A and E will meet.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is the Government aware of the campaign being mounted in the London Press by the mining entrepreneurs Hancock and Wright against the Western Australian Government as a result of that Government’s decision to repossess certain mining tenements which were held by them in the Pilbara iron ore region? Is the Government concerned at the tenor of the campaign which is to the effect that the Western Australian Labor Government cannot be trusted to honour its agreements and that such a campaign might affect the confidence of overseas investors in Australia? Will the Government consider taking steps to counter this campaign and the serious consequences which it might have for Australia?
The Government is aware that the Western Australian Parliament recently passed legislation to provide for the orderly and planned development of the Pilbara iron ore resources and to clarify rights of occupancy of some areas where iron ore resources are located. In connection with this matter, there has been a case before the Western Australian Supreme Court involving the State Government and Hancock and Wright and associates. The Court has upheld the State’s action. Also, the Commonwealth Government has noted Australian Press reports that Hancock and Wright are conducting some sort of campaign to publicise their side of their dispute with the State Government.
In relation to the second and third parts of the question, this is a matter which clearly involves legal aspects within the responsibility of the State Government, lt is noted that the Minister for Mines in Western Australia has refuted, on behalf of the State, recent statements published overseas regarding iron ore matters in Western Australia. The Commonwealth Government, for its part, has sought over many years to build up confidence, both at home and abroad, in the opportunities for profitable investment in Australia. Most overseas investors have come to recognise the advantages Australia offers in respect of a stable political and economic climate. We would be most concerned to see any loss of confidence if that resulted from situations such as this. It must be pointed out, however, that the dispute is between Hancock and Wright and the Western Australian Government over a matter which does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Government.
– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It follows upon his answer to Senator Murphy about the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Was the Minister for Foreign Affairs requested or instructed by the Government to support the recent complaints by the Prime Minister to the United States Administration that it had not properly consulted with Australia, or even given Australia sufficient information, about moves by it in matters which jointly concerned Australia and the United States? If the Minister was so requested, why were not his representations made diplomatically during his presence in New York to attend a very important world conference? Does the Minister agree that, having regard for the traditions and importance of the office of Minister for Foreign Affairs and his task in New York, he should use the occasion publicly to partly support these complaints by attaching the Labor Opposition?
I find some difficulty in associating the 2 matters. Senator Murphy directed a question to me, as he was entitled to do, related to a speech that was made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs at a dinner in New York. The other matter is one which I feel, comes more within the portfolio of foreign affairs than within my area as Leader of the Government. Unless Senator Wright, who represents the Minister for Foreign Affairs, wishes to respond to it, I ask that part of the question be placed on the notice paper.
– 1 ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether it is a fact that the Leader of the Opposition in another place, when recently visiting mainland China, returned information to Australia that the Government of that country would welcome and would be encouraged to learn of a change of government in Australia. Could this be considered an attempt at interference in the internal political affairs of Australia? Does this fact make the cries of members of the Australian Labor Party appear quite hollow in relation to the statements of the Minister for Foreign Affairs in New York?
– The honourable senator is very timely in reminding the Senate of the gross indiscretion and national disservice committeed when a leader of a parliamentary opposition party in Australia makes direct approaches to the head of another government and invites consideration in his favour of political party matters. By way of distinguishing between the 2 situations, I point out that the Minister for Foreign Affairs yesterday addressed a luncheon meeting of the American-Australian Association. According to sensitive Labor parliamentarians, he had the temerity on this occasion not - as they so frequently accuse us of doing - of palavering with Americans and saying how great they are and that we are going to follow them step by step.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr N. H. Bowen, took the opportunity with his inevitable gentlemanliness of reminding the responsible audience - which he addressed as the embodiment of things which have made this country great in every sense of the word - of points of discomfort which had arisen in various fields such as the law of the sea, trade and defence matters of common interest. He referred to a section of the Australian community which happens to be banded together under the name of the Australian Labor Party - although Mr Bowen forbore to give its name - which, with the support of highly influential Communist led unions constituted in Australia a body of opinion which that audience might not wish to subserve. In that respect Mr Bowen discharged a great service to Australia.
– Mr President, I rise to order. I ask you to uphold the ruling you gave in relation to standing order 100 yesterday.
- Senator Wright has come to the end of his rejoinder to the question.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry whether he is aware that South Australia faces a surplus of between 6,000 and 20,000 tons of fruit juice oranges which poses a threat to the stability of prices in South Australia? To rectify this situation more promotion of citrus fruit in the fresh and juice form is required. As this can be done only on a Federal basis by the setting up of a Federal citrus board, which would be strongly supported by the Citrus Organising Committee, and as this industry is vital to South Australia, will the Minister consult with the Citrus Organising Committee for the purpose of investigating the possibility of setting up such a board?
– I shall certainly take up the honourable senator’s question with the Minister for Primary Industry. I recall that a question along these lines was asked a few weeks ago by another honourable senator from South Australia. In that question he suggested that I should make inquiries regarding the powdering of citrus juice. I undertook to direct that question to the Department of Primary Industry. I shall obtain information on the 2 questions and give the honourable senator the result.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Health. By way of preface I refer to principles enunciated by him in a letter to Dr Martin on participation in the national health scheme. 1 now ask the Minister whether he thinks the time is overdue to attend to the pleas from the New South Wales Minister for Health, Mr Jago, rank and file members of the Victorian Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia and myself that provision be made in the rules of the Hospitals Contribution Fund and the Medical Benefits Fund of Australia for members to be consulted on all major policy decisions involving fund rates and the distribution of fund reserves?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI would like to respond to that question in some depth because it gets into a very sensitive area. First of all, it involves the application of funds with the background of the Nimmo report and the aspect of Government decisions in relation to the Health Act consequent upon movement in the funds and variations in the Health Act is a very sensitive question in relation to the inherent rights and responsibilities of organisations. I am not unhappy about the question and I would like to respond to it, but I think that in fairness I should give a considered reply. When I do so I shall have the reply printed and circulated to honourable senators. I do not think there will be an opportunity for me to do this today, but certainly if it is not done today it will be available for honourable senators on Tuesday next.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts. Is it correct that one of the important aspects of the responsibilities of the Ministers in the other place is the role of co-ordination? If so, will the Minister ascertain from his colleague and report to the Senate what steps have been taken since his appointment to co-ordinate the actions of the various Commonwealth departments and the actions of the Commonwealth and the States in relation to pollution abatement and control and towards achieving a balance between conservation and development?
– I shall convey the honourable senator’s question to the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts with a view to his setting out in some detail the steps which have been taken. I do know that he has been responsible for bringing together the various State Ministers for discussion on these matters and that a further meeting of Ministers is planned for later this year. But that is only part of the general work that he has been undertaking. I shall ensure that the honourable senator’s request is conveyed to the Minister whom I represent.
– I ask whether the Attorney-General’s attention has been drawn to a letter in this morning’s ‘Australian’ by a well known conservative academic, Dr Frank Knopfelmacher, in which he refers to the recent ‘spectacular and futile’ police operation on the University of Melbourne campus and in which he states:
There arc in my view 2 hypotheses which may explain this act for which the Attorney-General, Mr Greenwood, bears direct personal responsibility.
One is total personal incompetence. The other is political ‘Machiavellianism’ of an infantile kind - the desire to manufacture a political stunt in the interest of a political party in decline, carried out with reckless disregard for the fortunes of a major Australian university.
Does the Attorney-General agree with Dr Knopfelmacher’s conclusion that the chief result of the police operation has been to provide ‘an imported, ineffectual “radical” leadership’ - that is at the University - ‘virtually overnight with a mass following and helped to “radicalise” students throughout the country’?
– I think it would go without saying that I do not agree with the conclusion which has been attributed to the academic upon whom, for the first time ever I imagine, the honourable senator has chosen to rely. I would simply say that the language which was used in the letter, to which I do not feel the honourable senator should have given any credence by repeating it in the way in which he has in the Senate, reflects an unfortunate approach to matters of this character.
I repeat what I have said to the Senate before, that there were persons in the University of Melbourne for whom warrants of apprehension had been issued and were in the possession of the Commonwealth police. These persons were challenging authority and were contemptuous of authority. In those circumstances I think the action of the police was prudent. I do not think that the Australian Labor Party serves itself or the nation well by engaging in this belittling endeavour not only to denigrate the Police Force but also to denigrate those persons who believe that the law should be enforced. I can only regret that Senator James McClelland has chosen to give further credence to the unfortunate personal remarks of a man who is an isolated person on the University of Melbourne campus.
– My question also is addressed to the Attorney-General. Has the Minister read an article in the ‘Age’ newspaper this morning in which the Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne still maintains that the Commonwealth Police were asked to produce warrants when they entered the Union premises last week, but that they declined to do so? Can the Attorney-General say whether he has inspected the warrants and whether there is any doubt concerning the legality of the police entry onto the Union premises?
– I have seen the report in the Melbourne ‘Age’ which attributes to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne an affirmation of a statement, which he earlier made, that a request was made to the Commonwealth Police about 2 hours after the entry to the University of Melbourne had occurred last Thursday for warrants to be produced. I informed the Senate earlier this week that on my information, which I had obtained from the Commonwealth Police who were there at the University, whilst a discussion had taken place between the Registrar and the police officer then in charge, no request for the production of warrants had been made although there was a general conversation as to the authority by which the police were on the premises. In these circumstances it may be that there is a misunderstanding. It may be that there is a conflict in recollection which I am unable to determine.
In one sense that is unimportant if the existence of these warrants can be verified and established. I regret that Senator
Brown, who, 1 understand, raised the first doubt as to the existence of these warrants by a question in the Senate on Tuesday, has not pursued the matter and sought to have the warrants, which 1 said I would consider producing, made available. 1 have seen the warrants, Mr President. 1 have photo copies of the warrants with me now and if any honourable senator asks me to table them I am prepared to do so. Those warrants clearly indicate that all members of the State police in Victoria were to apprehend certain persons. By the Commonwealth Police Act, warrants so directed in respect of Federal offences may be executed by members of the Commonwealth Police. I also have in my custody here a photo copy of a search warrant for illegal radio transmission equipment in the Union building and that specifically gave authority to the Commonwealth Police to break and enter the premises in order to obtain it. In those circumstances I can say only that lawfulness of the police entry last Thursday ought not to be questioned because it is irrelevant to the issues which ought to be regarded as important in this matter.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for the Army aware that the Army has spent $856,000 approximately on building a firing range in the upper Ross River area of Townsville? Is he aware that the construction of the range has reduced considerably the real estate values of the area and that many complaints have been forwarded to the Minister regarding this matter? Can the Minister inform me whether the firing range is likely to be a permanent institution or whether there is any possibility of it being shifted to a less populated area in the immediate future?
– I would have to check whether the honourable senator’s figures are correct. I would also have to check for further details. I shall do this and give the honourable senator an answer.
– In addressing my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry 1 refer to the use of the pesticide lindane to combat the current locust plague. Having regard to the health of humans and the environment generally, is it a fact that the pesticide malathion would be the best choice but that because of its higher cost its use has been rejected by all agencies other than the Victorian Government? Will the Minister investigate this matter with a view to giving financial assistance to agencies such as the New South Wales Government so that the best and least ecologically damaging pesticide may be used against this locust plague?
– I do not think the honourable senator would expect me to answer him now off the cuff. I shall certainly make inquiry of the Minister for Primary Industry and provide an answer.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry aware of the tremendous demand created by Australian weight watchers for grapefruit and grapefruit juice? Does the Minister realise that the same results can be achieved by the use of unsweetened orange juice? In the interests of the orange growers of this country who have surpluses of oranges, will the Minister ask his colleague to consider conducting a public relations campaign advocating the publication of diet charts incorporating orange juice as an ingredient which will benefit diet conscious Australians?
– I am aware that at times there is a shortage of grapefruit in the shops. If the honourable senator’s suggestion that unsweetened orange juice will serve the same purpose is correct, the use of oranges could be of assistance to citrus growers. I will make inquiries of the Minister for Primary Industry and supply an answer to the honourable senator.
– Can the Minister for Civil Aviation announce any firm proposals for the rebuilding of the TransAustralia Airlines terminal at Brisbane airport which was destroyed recently by fire?
– Not at present. The matter is under very detailed investigation by TAA and the Department of Civil Aviation. We are making temporary arrangements because one has to consider that the full airport plans for Brisbane are almost completely developed - they are very close to finality now - and the present terminals will not be in use for much longer. In the light of that, it is very hard to tell the honourable senator what the situation will be but he may rest assured that I am watching it very closely. I shall be in Brisbane again November to check on progress, and if anything arises then which will be of assistance to the honourable senator I shall advise him.
– I preface my question to the Attorney-General by reminding him that on Tuesday I asked for the tabling of all warrants that would have been necessary to effect the intention of the rail last Thursday on the University of Melbourne. Will he now table the warrants?
– As I said earlier in reply to a question from Senator Durack, 1 have photocopies of the 8 warrants of apprehension which were held by the Commissioner of Police who led the search party at the University of Melbourne last Thursday, and also the warrant to search which was held by the member of the Postmaster-General’s Department who had obtained it and who accompanied the police on that occasion. I am prepared lo table those documents in the Senate and I do so now.
– I remind the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry that yesterday I asked him a question about the purchase of wool by the Australian Wool Commission. 1 now ask: How long will a bale of wool need to remain in storage before its accumulated storage cost equals the original purchase price of the bale? Does the Minister agree that every effiicient business should have a quick turnover of stock? Does the Australian Wool Commission intend to ignore this standard business practice and allow its wool stockpiles to mount up into a modern Tower of Babel?
– The role of the Australian Wool Commission is that of another buyer in the marketplace. So it has the effect of providing greater competition at sales. The best position for the AWC to occupy would be not to buy any wool at all; in other words, to provide such competition that the wool trade would buy all the wool. In the role that the Commission has sei out for itself it has endeavoured to pursue policies that accord closely with sound commercial principles and with the accepted practice of the wool trade. T would not know how long a bale of wool would have to stand in a store to attract storage costs equal to its value. That is an exercise that would require a lot of study and I do not believe that it would be worth undertaking.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral a question in relation to the use of warrants during the raid a few days ago at Melbourne University. Did I understand him to say that the police taking part in that raid had in their possession warrants to enter and search, and despite the fact that a conversation took place as to the propriety or right of the police to be there, it was 2 hours later that the police taking part in the raid actually produced the warrants which gave them the right to be there? If that is so, is it not a rather incredible situation that discussion had taken place about the right of police to enter, the police had warrants with them, but in fact did nol produce them at the time?
– I must say that Senator Devitt’s apprehension of the facts is completely erroneous. I am sorry that he has not read the Hansard reports of last Tuesday’s proceedings or listened to what I said today. I simply make this point: There is one document which constitutes the warrant in respect of each person for whose arrest a warrant was required to be issued. Last Thursday morning the senior police officer who led the search party had in his possession 8 such documents. When one refers to warrants, those are the documents in question. If the Commissioner leaves the university and takes those documents with him, obviously the police left at the university do not have them. I think that is a basic and factual statement which may help to clarify the situation.
When the police went into the university no-one asked them to show the warrants. Approximately 2 hours after the search had started, when senior police officers had left the university, the Registrar asked the senior police officer then in command: ‘By what authority are you here?’. The senior police officer did not have any warrants in his possession. I am assured that in any event he was not asked to produce the warrants. He was simply asked by what authority he was there. He said that he had ample authority. I hope that clarifies the situation not only for the honourable senator but also for anybody else who might have had some doubts.
– Without any wish to inhibit honourable senators I remind them of what appears to be an express agreement between the Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Leader of the Opposition as to a timetable for questions. I have called each honourable senator who has risen to ask a question today. It is still a matter for the senators themselves, but if they are agreeable I would like to close off questions. However, I do not want to impede any honourable senator.
– I appreciate what you have said, Mr President, but my question is supplementary to a question asked by my Leader. I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate: How does he reconcile the order of business that he has proposed, with a semi-pledge given on 5th October that a formula would be devised to deal with the notices of motion, in respect of which with all sincerity my Leader had difficulty in placating people like myself? I should add that with his usual persuasive ways he did placate us.
Thank you, Mr President, for your assistance. I do ask the Senate to give me its co-operation. I understand that Senator Brown has a question that he wants to ask. After that question has been answered we can get on with the programme of work before us. Discussions have been held about the notices of motion on the notice paper. The result of those discussions will emerge during the course of today.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. This question has in part been asked before, but I propose to expand on the previous quesion asked. Is the Attorney-General aware that the Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, Professor John Andrews, is reported in today’s Melbourne ‘Age’ as having reaffirmed his statement of 1st October that Commonwealth Police were asked to produce search warrants when they raided the university that week? Is the Attorney-General aware that Professor Andrews said that the Registrar, Mr A. T. Bell, asked the police to produce their warrants at about 7.15 a.m. but they did not do so? Is he also aware that Professor Andrews said that the statement by Senator Greenwood in this chamber on Tuesday of this week was incorrect? In view of the serious implications of Professor Andrews’ statement, will the Attorney-General reconsider my request of last Tuesday and initiate an open inquiry in the interests of the Commonwealth Police and the responsible officers of the University of Melbourne?
– I answered the greater part of that question when I replied to Senator Durack. I then said that either a misunderstanding or a conflict in recollection would appear to be the only way in which one could explain what would appear to be 2 differing accounts of what happened. I also said that that ought not to be of any consequence because if there were warrants the lawfulness of the entry of the police would not be capable of being questioned. I have, in response to the honourable senator’s question, tabled in this chamber photocopies of those warrants. I can assure the Senate that from the investigations I have undertaken of those warrants it would appear that they were in order and that they thoroughly entitled the police to take the action they did take. 1 should also say that this question of the production of warrants would appear to be an unnecessary, inconsequential and irrelevant entry into this matter.
I am informed that at a discussion which took place before entry into the university and before any question of searching the university had arisen, namely, at a conference between university officials, officers of my Department and Commonwealth Police on the Wednesday, the Registrar asked how he was to know that the police had warrants. I am assured that the offer was then made to produce the warrants to him if he had any doubts and that he indicated that he did not want them produced. I cannot understand why so much emphasis is being placed upon a matter which ought not really be the focal point of concern. I am not prepared to accede to the honourable senator’s request for an open inquiry because the circumstances, as I understand them, do not warrant one.
(Question No. 1419)
asked the Minister for
Civil Aviation, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
One proposal would involve an extension of the main runway towards the south-east but another proposal, which at the moment appears to be favoured, only required a strengthening of existing pavements.
The Department and the Authority are also in consultation concerning the siting of a second major airport to serve the expanding metropolitan area of Adelaidein the longer term. This will also include land use zoning near the finally agreed site.
(Question No. 1425)
asked the Minister for
Civil Aviation, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
(Question No. 1241)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
What has been the intake of Irish immigrants each quarter since September 1970 in the categories listed in the answer received to Senate Question No. 874 of 18 February 1971.
– The Acting Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Since September 1970, the numbers of persons arriving for permanent and long term residence in
Australia who stated on arrival that their country of last residence (for 12 months or more), was Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Ireland (undefined) were as follows: -
(Question No. 1392)
asked the Minis ter for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
Will the Minister provide a report on the disposal of sewage from the Bankstown Airport, with particular reference to any agreements made with the New South Wales Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board?
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
It is the intention of the Department of Civil Aviation to connect the sewerage within Bankstown Airport to the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board seweragewhen these are available to receive sewage by gravitation from the airport.
The Board’s proposed Milperra Low Level Area 2 sewerage scheme will include a pumping station in Horsley Road and it will be possible to drain the airport sewage to this pumping station.
The Board has previously advised that this scheme would not be considered for inclusion in a construction programme until the development of the area increased. The latest advice from the Board indicates that development of the area is approaching this requirement and this work could possibly be included in the 1972-73 or 1973-74 construction programme.
As a result the Department of Civil Aviation is planning to connect the Bankstown Airport sewerage to the Board’s system in 1973-74.
Meanwhile the Department will continue to ensure that the existing airport sewage treatment plant is adequately maintained to ensurethat there is no pollution.
– For the information of honourable senators, I present the Defence Report, 1971.
– Pursuant to section 11 of the States Grants (Dwellings for Aged Pensioners) Act 1969: 1 present the annual statement on the operation of the Act for the year ended 30t.h June 1971.
– Pursuant to section 30 of the Science and Industry Research Act 1949- 1968. I present the twenty-third annual report of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation for the year ended 30th June 1971 together with financial statements and the AuditorGeneral’s Report on these statements.
– I seek leave to make a statement.
– The honourable senator may do that later on.
– lt is in relation to that report.
– I do not think the honourable senator can make a statement at this juncture. I will consider the matter. I will ensure that his rights are not impinged.
– J seek leave to make a statement in relation to the States Grants (Dwellings for Aged Pensioners) Act.
– The honourable senator cannot do that at present.
– May I reserve my rights in relation to that?
– I will give you that right.
– Pursuant to section 21 of the River Murray Waters Act 1915-1970. I present the report of the River Murray Commission for the year ended 30th June 1970, together with the Commission’s financial statements and the report of the Auditor-General on those statements, statements of gaugings during the year, furnished on behalf of the Governments of New South Wales and Victoria and statements of diversions during the year, furnished on behalf of the governments of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
– Pursuant to section 12 of the Petroleum Search Subsidy Act 1959-1969, I present the twelfth annual statement on the operation of the Act and the payment of subsidy during the year ended 30th June 1971.
– by leave - I table a document which is an excerpt from the proceedings of the Internal Security Sub-Committee of the United States of America Senate Standing Committee on the Judiciary. I shall seek leave to have the document incorporated in Hansard. I shall do that because the document is the information on which I based a question in the Senate on 30th September. That question now appears as a question on notice on page 3618 of today’s notice paper. Since asking the question I have received a number of inquiries about the matter. The document is an English language translation of evidence given by a Russian before the United States Senate Committee. It is easier to read it in print than it is to listen to it being read. I seek leave for it to be incorporated in Hansard so that all senators will be able to examine it.
– Is leave granted?
– There being an objection, leave is not granted.
– In that case I propose to read the document.
– I will consider that matter. If Senator Gair will permit me, I would like to finalise the formal presentation of papers and deal with the matter he raises in a moment.
– In response to a question asked of me during question time I indicated the order that business of the Senate will take today. This afternoon Estimates Committee A will meet in the Senate chamber and Estimates Committee E will meet in LI 7. They will meet at 2.15 p.m. I understand that Senator Murphy wishes to amend some notices of motion. If he moves his amendments I can dispose of them by a blanket proposal to adopt them.
– I refer to Business of the Senate, notice of motion No. 3, which reads:
That there be referred to the Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts the following matter - The petition presented to the Senate on 18th August 1971 by Senator Devitt concerning the granting of deductions from income for taxation purposes. 1 move:
After the words ‘Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts’, insert the words for ils information’.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Opposition) - I refer to Business of the Senate, notice of motion No. 6, which reads:
That there be referred to the Standing Committee on Health and Welfare the following matter - The petition presented to the Senate on 15th September 1971 by Senator Mulvihill concerning the transfer of social service entitlements.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Opposition) - I refer to Business of the Senate, notice of motion No. 5, which reads:
That the Committee report from time to time on the operation of Australia’s international trade agreements and the development of trading relations and, in particular upon -
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON (New South Wales - Minister for Health) - I move:
I have not included in that motion notice of motion No. 4 which stands in the name of Senator Byrne because Senator Byrne is not here. When he returns, subject to his approval, 1 see no reason why that matter should not be referred to the Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts. Before doing so, I think we should await his return, which I understand will be next week. I will take up the matter with him at that stage and then move forth adoption of his notice of motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– by leave - Honourable senators will be aware that in May this year the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) announced the Government’s intention to institute an independent non-parliamentary inquiry into the rationale and principles of the repatriation system. This decision was in some measure due to representations made from time to time, particularly by Returned Services League of Australia, other ex-servicemen’s organisations and the public, and to the preliminary work done on the departmental review. Consideration then had to be given to the selection of a suitable person to conduct the inquiry, to the appointment of people to assist him and to the exact terms of reference. I am pleased to inform the Senate that the Government dicided to invite the Honourable Mr Justice P. B. Toose, C.B.E., of the Supreme Court of New South Wales to conduct the inquiry and that he has accepted this invitation. The Government is fortunate to secure the services of this distinguished gentleman and I wish to record my appreciation on behalf of the Minister for Repatriation (Mr Holten) of the action of the New South Wales Government which has agreed to make Mr Justice Toose available.
Mr Justice Toose has a wide legal and Army background and is eminently suited to the task. He had a distinguished career at the Bar which culminated in his appointment to the Supreme Court Bench, firstly as an acting justice in 1966 to 1967 and subsequently to a permanent appointment in June 1969. He is the author of some well known legal textbooks and, prior to his elevation to the Bench, took a great interest in a number of professional and community matters including the Bar Association of New South Wales, the Australian Law Council, the International Commission of Jurists and International Legal Aid Association. He was an Australian delegate to the First World Peace Through Law Conference and has been a Chairman of the Trade Practices Committee of the Law Council of Australia and Secretary to the General Law Association for Asia and the West Pacific. His other community interests have included VicePresidency of the Marriage Guidance Council in New South Wales from 1963 to 1 968, membership of the New South Wales Medical Board from 1966 until his appointment to the Bench, and membership of the Asthma Foundation.
Mr Justice Toose served throughout the 1939/45 war. He was a gunner in the Citizen Military Forces prior to the outbreak of the war and during his service rose to the rank of major in the Royal Australian Artillery, Second Australian Imperial Force. He was in command of the 2/ 17th Light Airborne Anti-Aircraft Battery in New Guinea and Brigade Major with the Anti-Aircraft Defence, New Guinea Force administration command. He also commanded in New Guinea the 52nd Composite Anti-Aircraft Regiment and for a time served with the American Forces Artillery in New Guinea. He is Patron of the 52nd Regiment Association and is President of the 2/ 17th Light Airborne Anti-Aircraft Battery Association. 1 am confident that the appointment of Mr Justice Toose will be well received.
The terms of reference for the inquiry are:
Requests were made that any independent inquiry should make specific recommendations on rates of pensions. However, the Government decided instead that it would include in the report the collation and presentation of views put to the inquiry on pension rates. The major reasons for the decision on this particular aspect were that, it will make known the views of the ex-servicemen’s organisations and the public on pension rates; and that, in view of the very large sums of money involved in even minor changes in rates payable to over 500,000 clients of the Department, it was considered inappropriate, to place on the Chairman of this inquiry the heavy responsibility of reaching conclusions on matters involving such large amounts of Commonwealth money.
At relevant stages of the inquiry the Chairman will have available other eminent people of appropriate diverse experience to assist him on a part time basis. These people will be selected as and when the need arises during the course of the inquiry.
The inquiry will commence as soon as His Honour can be relieved of his present judicial duties. Interested persons or organisations will be invited to submit in writing, in the first instance, any evidence they wish to place before the inquiry. This will be done by advertisement in the Press around Australia. The Chairman of the inquiry may then invite persons or representatives oforganisations to give evidence in person and he will have a discretion to hear evidence either at a public hearing or in private. The dates and places for public hearings will be notified in the Press. In addition to obtaining evidence in this way the chairman will be free to pursue such other lines of inquiry as he sees fit. In conclusion, I assure the Senate that when in due course the report is submitted it will receive the Government’s careful consideration.
– I move:
I seek leave to make my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– by leave - In May of this year the Law Reform Commission Ordinance 1971 of the Australian Capital Territory was made and it provided for the establishment of a Law Reform Commission for the Territory. I take this opportunity to inform honourable senators that the members of the Commission have now been appointed, that it has established itself in suitable premises and that I have referred to it 6 matters for examination and report. The Ordinance provides for the Commission to consist of a chairman and 2 other members, all of whom are to be appointed by the Governor-General. The GovernorGeneral has been pleased to appoint Mr Justice Blackburn to be the Chairman and
Professor P. S. Atiyah and Mr N. M. Macphillamy to be the 2 other members. All these persons are eminently qualified for the positions to which they have been appointed. Mr Justice Blackburn, who has been appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory, had for some 5 years before his appointment been the Senior Judge of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory. His Honour had a brilliant academic record, having been a Rhodes scholar followed by a period of 8 years as Bonython Professor of Law at the Adelaide University and a further period of seven years in private practice.
Professor Atiyah, who holds a professional appointment in the Faculty of Law in the School of General Studies at the Australian National University, has had a distinguished academic career in the course of which he has written a number of books and articles on legal subjects. He was a member of the United Kingdom Law Commission’s Advisory Panel on the codification of the law of contract. Mr Macphillamy is the senior partner in one of the largest firms of Canberra solicitors. He has had an extensive practice, particularly in the areas of company and commercial law. He was the Secretary of the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory from 1956 to 1959 and also from 1964 to 1967. The Commission’s premises, which are open to the public, are situated in the AMP Building in Hobart Place, Canberra City. Section 12 of the Law Reform Commission Ordinance provides for the Commission to undertake and report on matters referred to it by the Attorney-General, whether at the suggestion of the Commission or otherwise. Pursuant to that provision, on 17th September 1971, I referred to the Commission 6 matters, which I shall now mention. The first matter is:
Whether and in what respect the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act 1S98 of the State of New South Wales in its application to the Australian Capital Territory needs to be amended, having regard, in particular, to the changes that have been effected in New South Wales by the Conveyancing Act 1919-1964.
By way of explanation, I mention that the registration of titles to real property, generally known as the Torrens title system, is provided for in the Australian Capital Territory by the Real Property Ordinance.
The genera] law relating to property, both real and personal, insofar as it depends on statute law, is contained in the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act 1898 of New South Wales in its application to the Territory. That Act was repealed in New South Wales by the Conveyancing Act 1919, which has since been substantially amended. Some only of the provisions of the Act have been adopted as a law of the Territory by the Conveyancing Ordinance 1951, the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance 1958 and Trustee Ordinance 1957. The Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory has made representations that the whole of the Conveyancing Act 1919 of New South Wales should be adopted as a law of the Territory. It has been claimed that there are serious problems because our law is out of date. It will be the task of the Commission to recommend what should be the law of the Territory in this field. The second matter is:
A review of the Imperial Acts that still apply in the Australian Capital Territory with a view to recommending which of those Acts, in their application to the Australian Capital Territory, should be repealed; which should continue to apply in the Territory; and which should be replaced hy legislation in more modern form.
By virtue of section 6 of the Seat of Government Acceptance Act 1909 all laws in force in New South Wales on 1st January 1911, the date on which the Territory was established, were continued in force, so far as applicable, until other provision was made. A large number of Imperial Acts are still in force in the Australian Capital Territory by reason of the fact that they were in force in New South Wales on 1st January 1911. Many of them have outlived their usefulness. Moreover there is no official publication which indicates what these Acts are. In both Victoria and New South Wales Acts have been passed declaring which of these Imperial Acts are still to apply without amendment, re-enacting others in modern form and repealing the remainder. The New South Wales Act cannot be followed without considerable adaptation in the Australian Capital Territory because many of the State’s laws are different from those in the Territory. The Commission will examine the position of the Imperial Acts in the Territory and the recommendation it makes will pave the way for similar legislation for the Territory.
The third matter is:
The identification of all New South Wales Acts still in force in the Australian Capital Territory and a review of those Acts with a view to recommending the repeal, in relation to the Australian Capital Territory.
As well as Imperial Acts, there are a number of New South Wales Acts which were continued in force, as far as they were applicable, by section 6 of the Seat of Government Acceptance Act. In many cases, it is doubtful whether they were then applicable and whether or how they have been affected by subsequent legislation. There is. therefore, some difficulty at present in ascertaining with certainty what New South Wales Acts are in force in the Territory. The Commission will undertake the task of removing this difficulty.
When the two projects relating to Imperial and New South Wales Acts are completed, it will not be necessary to look beyond Acts of the Parliament or ordinances of the Territory to determine what statutes apply in the Territory. It may, of course, be necessary to refer to an Imperial or New South Wales statute, but only when so indicated by Territory legislation.
The fourth matter I have referred to the Commission is:
Whether and in what respects the provisions of the Lunacy Act 1898 of the State of New South Wales, in its application to the Australian Capital Territory, relating to the management of the property and affairs of persons who are mentally ill needs to be amended.
The law of the Territory relating to mentally ill persons is continued in the Lunacy Act 1898 of New South Wales, the Insane Persons and Inebriates (Committal and Detention) Ordinance 1936-1937, and the Mental Health Ordinance 1962.
The law has been critised on the ground that it is both inaccessible and uncertain, especially with regard to the management of the property and affairs of persons who are mentally ill. The provision to be made for the treatment of mentally ill persons is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) and any amendment of the law in this field will depend on the development of psychiatric services which is currently progressing. However, a review of the law relating to the management of the property and affairs of mentally ill persons is desirable at this stage and the Commission will now undertake this review.
The fifth matter that has been referred is:
A review of the civil procedure of the Court of Petty Sessions with a view to recommending amendments that will be desirable if the present monetary limit of $1,000 in the Court’s civil jurisdiction is increased by several thousand dollars.
The rules of civil procedure of the Court of Petty Sessions have remained largely unchanged since the Court was constituted in 1930. They are relatively unsophisticated, as compared with the procedures in the Supreme Court, but are reasonably well suited to the purpose of achieving justice between the parties where the amount in dispute is small and where more thorough and expensive procedures are unwarranted.
In an effort to decrease the work load of the Supreme Court the jurisdictional limit of the Court of Petty Sessions was in 1969, increased to $1,000. This change, however, merely kept up with inflationary trends, and it is now proposed that the jurisdiction of the Court of Petty Sessions will be further increased. The precise extent of this increase has not yet been determined, but it is expected that the new jurisdiction will extend to approximately $5,000. Before the jurisdiction can properly be so increased, however, it is necessary to revise the procedures of the Court. It is necessary that those procedures should be appropriate to cater for the more important and more complex question that will fall within the new jurisdiction of the Court. It is desirable, moreover, that the procedures should be related to those applying in the Supreme Court of the Territory.
The last of the matters referred to the Commission is:
Whether it is desirable that the Landlord and Tenant Ordinance 1949-1957 be amended so as to make provisions for the recovery of premises other than prescribed premises, *nd if so what the nature of the provisions should be.
The Landlord and Tenant Ordinance 1949- 1957 provides in Part III that the recovery of possession of ‘prescribed premises’ may be obtained only in accordance with that
Part. Part III provides that a notice to quit must be based on one of a number of prescribed grounds. Proceedings under the Part are taken in the Court of Petty Sessions. Originally, business premises were included in ‘prescribed premises’, but by virtue of an amendment in 1957 they ceased to be so included. Doubts have been expressed whether the 1957 amendment had the effect of restoring the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1899 of the State of New South Waleswhich was the law on the subject prior to the making of National Security Regulations and subsequently the Landlord and Tenant Ordinance - relating to the recovery of possession of business premises. If the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1899 of New South Wales have in fact been restored in their application to the Australian Capital Territory, it is still questionable whether they can be regarded as appropriate for present requirements in the Territory. The Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory has made representations to have the Landlord and Tenant Ordinance amended to provide for recovery of possession of business premises, and the Government has now seen fit to refer the matter to the Law Reform Commission for its examination and report. 1 am sure honourable senators will be pleased to know that the Law Reform Commission of the Territory has been established and that these important matters have been referred to it. I am confident that the work of the Commission on these matters which, in accordance with the Ordinance, will be tabled in Parliament in due course, will be a notable contribution to the cause of law reform in the Australian Capital Territory.
Motion (by Senator Wright) agreed to:
That the Senate suspend from 12.45 p.m. this afternoon until 8 p.m. to enable Estimates Committees A and E to meet.
Motion (by Senator Wright) agreed to:
That Government business take precedence of general business after 8 o’clock this evening.
Debate resumed from 6 October (vide page 1216), on motion by Senator Wright:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– in reply- I rise to reply to the debate that has taken place in the last 2 days on the Bill to amend the National Service Act. lt is my understanding of the substance of the debate that the real issue that was debated was whether or not, as the Government proposes, the degree of national service should be reduced from 2 years to 18 months, with a corresponding reduction of personnel from 44,000 to 40,000 national servicemen, or whether or not, as the Australian Labor Party has claimed, the Act should cease to operate immediately. In respect of that, it has been affirmed on our part that national service in not linked with engagement in Vietnam, that compulsory national service was decided on before our commitment with Vietnam and that, although there is a proposed withdrawal from Vietnam, it is essential for us to continue compulsory national service. The facts stated in the second reading speech, that national service al present is contributing 70 per cent to the Army reserve and 35 per cent to the Citizen Military Forces, are facts which, of themselves, are so formidable that anybody who advocates a complete repeal of national service takes a rather irresponsible attitude.
In further reference to this question it is appropriate that I cite from the speech, so well publicised throughout Australia in the headlines this morning that Mr Nigel Bowen, Minister for Foreign Affairs, made in New York yesterday. I shall take the opportunity of reading a brief extract from it. He said to the audience, which was the American-Australian Association:
We do notice a feeling developing in this country that for too long you have carried the burdens of defence and of economic development of the free world, and that you attribute some of your current domestic problems to this and that you should carry degrees of commitment and call on others to carry a greater share of the burden. I do not want to be misunderstood on this topic. We understand this position and we have a degree of sympathy for it and we would hope that it is not the first signs of an ultimate policy of isolationism. I do not believe it is. But I want to make one small point relating to the position as it affects Australia and the relations between out 2 peoples. 1 mention this simply in this context that since 1939 Australia has had its troops overseas continuously and over 50 per cent of that time they have have been in active combat. I will not go into details - the Middle East, Egypt. Europe, the Pacific, occupation of Japan, at the time of the blockade in Berlin, our planes in the Berlin airlift, troubles with NATO, our troops in Matta, Korea, the Malaysian terrorists where we were with the British and assisting Malaysia, the time of the confrontation in Indonesia where our troops were fighting and in Sabah and Sarawak, and finally in South Vietnam with you and at the present time our planes are in Butterworth in Malaysia and our ships and our men are in Singapore. And our overseas aid, according to the way they keep international statistics, has now passed I per cent of our gross national product.
Of course the Australian Press has not yet been so perceiving as to think that the Australian people would be reminded suitably of such a pregnant statement as that. The Australian Press prefers a distortion and trivia.
Is there any necessity, as the Government claims, for the continuance of the National Service Act? Senator James McClelland, who led the debate for the Opposition, sought to create a tremendous impression by citations he made from a speech of Professor Howard. I regret completely the emphasis that the honourable senator chose to give to that speech. To put it in its right perspective, without engaging in a thorough analysis of the quotations made by the honourable senators or of the speech, is any honourable senator conscious, after listening to Senator James McClelland, of this pregnant part of Professor Howard’s speech? After saying that there is not a single cloud on the defence horizon that seriously threatens Australia, Professor Howard said this:
But this does not mean that clouds cannot build up with quite startling suddenness, and the problem of Australia’s defence planners is to have adequate and appropriate armed forces to cope with them when they do. Australia’s armed forces are likely to be presented with really acute problems of recruitment, of training, of equipment and of morale, in the face of the natural inclination of their political masters to cut them to the bone. But if they do not retain a capacity for versatile and effective performance in the face of totally unexpected challenges, and a well educated high command capable of foreseeing and responding to the challenges which may face it in a predictably unstable international world scene, the Australian people may one day have cause 10 regret bitterly their reluctance to keep up with their insurance premiums. It seems to me that (he Australian armed forces waste less money, and produce more results with fewer resources, than any that I have yet encountered in the world with the possible exception of Israel. There is a great deal of scope for further streamlining in their administration: but there :s a level of expenditure below which elementary efficiency is really impossible to maintain, and however peaceful the horizon may appear, Australian Governments will tall below that level al their peril - or at peril of their posterity.
That quotation will operate, 1 hope, as a biting rebuff to the honourable senator who so partially quoted from the speech with other emphasis.
On this question of national service I think Senator Carrick made a tremendous impression upon the Senate. He analysed the principles of compulsory military service with great advantage to those whose understanding yearns with anxiety on the question of compelling men to serve for defence. He established the equity of a system of compulsory military service when the defence force requirement is only a percentage of one age group. The considerations that Senator Carrick put before us I found to be most advantageous and helpful, particularly when he referred to a matter on which he was taken into contest by Senator Cant. He averred that even in association with our system of compulsory national service there was an option at the time of registration, and for 14 days thereafter, for a registrant to accept service in the Citizen Military Forces instead of accepting his chance in the ballot. I thought that Senator Carrick put before us most cogently the optional nature, in that sense, of our national service system. That argument was not answered in any way by those propositions of Senator Cant who quite properly, as I see the position, drew our attention to the fact that all members of the CMF are under the obligation, upon proclamation of a state of national emergency, to serve wherever the Government requires, in active combat if need be. That is an obligation which at that stage of national emergency can extend not merely to national servicemen then recruited but to any men of whatever age in the country. Therefore the mere fact that as a concomitant of CMF service a person is under that liability does not reduce the optional nature of that service.
In the limited time that I permit myself I wish to refer with appreciation to what Senator Gair put before the Senate when he gave us figures relating to the armies of other countries whose history we know of and whose association with war is well known. When those figures are examined it must be admitted that Australia’s establishment of 40,000 men could not, with real responsibility, be reduced.
I am totally unable to understand how the Australian Labor Party can build any argument upon what some people in that Party call a lottery. To make the suggestion particularly odious they even call it a lottery of death’. The simple fact is that out of a great number of young men who are available for national service only few are chosen. Not all of them are chosen. The Australian Labor Party has built up an impenetrable prejudice against a system than which nothing could be fairer. How could one establish any fairer means than the birthday ballot - a secret choice of selection by reference to, not their class, their creed, their education, their income or any other distinction that might cause invidiousness, but their birth irrespective of all the other things that divide men. 1 regret as much as does anyone in the House the fact that casualties, some of them fatal, have been suffered by some national servicemen. But let me put the matter in perspective. Since national service has been in operation not less than 596 of those registered have met their death before being called up or balloted. I compare that number with the number of fatal casualties sustained by national servicemen in Vietnam. Some 437 Australian servicemen, 234 of whom were members of the permanent forces and 202 of whom were national servicemen, have met their death in Vietnam. To emphasise the situation I repeat that 596 of those registered for national service met their death in civilian life whereas 202 national servicemen met their death while on military service. With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate in Hansard a table showing that 643,039 young men registered for national service to 30th June 1971 and that 51,279 were called up and enlisted in the Army.
In addition, for the information of honourable senators and with their concurrence I incorporate in Hansard a table showing casualties suffered in Vietnam.
I detain the Senate longer only to express ray abhorrence of the latter part of the speech which emanated from Senator Cavanagh in which, on behalf of a minority however small, he called for an attitude of revolt to legislation that might require defence forces for the defence of this country. That is an attitude which is completely subversive to every fundamental principle of parliamentary democracy as well as being subversive to the security of this nation. Therefore, it calls for my specific rejection and abhorrence. I noticed with regret the marked absence from any Labor Party advocacy during the debate of a claim that the Australian Labor Party could make a voluntary system of defence operate. The Senate will be reminded that. Senator James McClelland repeatedly called attention during Senator Webster’s speech last night to the ambiguous and deceptive language in which the Labor Party platform is presently couched. Having referred to an all volunteer force, Senator James McClelland then summed up Labor’s attitude in the following extract from Australian Labor Party policy:
All forces should be made up of volunteers and conscription as such shall be abolished.
What ‘as such’ means in that context one has to approach with the utmost suspicion. The extract from Labor’s policy goes on:
In the national interest, however, the right must be retained to raise a national service force should the security of Australia be threatened.
So the honourable senator wants to convey for one purpose the idea that he would defend Australia by other than a volunteer force should the security of Australia be threatened. The impracticability of that, of course, is demonstrable. No honourable senator on the Opposition side sought to demonstrate that a volunteer force, adequate and efficient, could be raised thereby avoiding the necessity for compulsory military service. The Minister for Defence, Mr David Fairbairn, in another place referred to the Government’s efforts on previous occasions in improving conditions and rates of pay in the forces to make them comparable to civilian callings, and to the insufficiency of the response in the state of total employment that we have in this country. It is in those circumstances that the Government justifies the small reduction in national service provided for in this Bill, and the retention of the system of national service to the extent that I have indicated.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 3 - by leave - taken together and agreed to.
Proposed new clause 3a.
Senator James McCLELLAND (New South Wales) (12.44)-I move:
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 8 p.m.
– This morning I sought leave to speak in relation to the report on the operations of the States Grants (Dwellings for Aged Pensioners) Act 1969.
– Order! At present we are in Committee on the National Service Bill. When we resume in the Senate the honourable senator should seek leave to make his remarks.
– But when I sought leave this morning at the appropriate time, that is when the annual report was tabled, by arrangement with the 2 leaders, who wanted the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) to be able to proceed with his reply to the debate on the motion for the second reading of the National Service Bill, I yielded on the understanding that at 8 o’clock this evening 5 minutes or thereabouts would be made available to enable me to make a statement.
– I think possibly there was not a firm arrangement in this regard, but certainly there was an understanding. Senator McAuliffe wanted to make a statement and he was dissuaded from doing so this morning. To enable him to make his statement I suggest that the Committee report progress.
– Mr Deputy President, this morning when the report under the States Grants (Dwellings for Aged Pensioners) Act 1969 was tabled I sought leave to make a statement. I again seek leave to make that short statement.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - ls leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I thank honourable senators. I am taking this step because I am shocked by the information which is contained in the annual report on operations under the Act to which I have referred. I am shocked because the figures that I shall cite to the Senate will show that of all the State governments in Australia the Queensland Government is the one government which has shown no interest in the proposal to build self-contained units for certain aged pensioners. It is the only government that has shown no sympathy for thousands of aged and under-privileged people who live in sub-standard accommodation in Queensland in numbers proportionate to the numbers in other States. I am shocked at the news that this aspect of home building has been completely ignored by the Bjelke-Petersen Government.
I shall now refer to some figures to prove what I have said. On 27th September 1969 the Governor-General gave assent to a Bill to provide $25m by way of grants to the Sates to provide self-contained units for certain pensioners. The schedule to that Bill showed that $3,350,000 was to be set aside for grants to the Queensland Government. In the first annual report for the year ended on 30th June 1970, which was tabled in this chamber, we were told that 665 units had been constructed throughout the various Slates of the Commonwealth other than in Queensland. The report generously said that proposals were currently being developed in Queensland. This morning the second report for the year ended on 30th June 1971 was tabled. From that report we learn that approval has been given for, and construction completed of, 1,433 units at a cost of $8.5m but that the princely number of 18 units had been built in Queensland, that is, 18 out of 1,433. Of the $3,350,000 available to the Queensland Government by way of grants under this Act, that Government has seen fit to avail itself of about $130,000 only.
I am claiming that while the Queensland Government is ignoring homes for the aged, though professing to be a government which represents the ordinary person in the community, it has engaged in a bewildering number of costly and in many instances unnecessary expenditures. Some hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent in Queensland to purchase and maintain a private aircraft for the Premier. In his most recent Budget the State Treasurer made provision for a development fund to improve the real property of race clubs and to provide amenities for their members. If the State Government needs money for housing it could review the royalties payable on Queensland’s mineral wealth, instead- of accepting an ice cream for a ton of coal. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on accommodation for more police than were required during the Springbok tour, and this money was easily found.
In exposing this situation I sincerely hope that the Queensland Government will pull up its socks and face up to its responsibility to pensioners. Let it show some compassion for the people who are urgently in need of good shelter. During the recent state of emergency in Queensland it appalled me to hear my State referred to as the police State. That was bad enough. But now to hear it referred to as the peasant State is just too much. 1 feel that all honourable senators from Queensland will share my view that at this point the Queensland Government must give some account to the people of Queensland as to why it has not availed itself of the $3,350,000 grant from the Commonwealth to the State to provide self-contained units for pensioners at a rental of $3.50 per week. It should explain to people why it has not availed itself of this finance to provide homes for underprivileged people. The record of the Queensland Government is shown in this report to be a bad one. In 2 years the State has built 18 units, out of a total of 1,433 which have been constructed throughout the Commonwealth. Queensland’s effort has been equal to one-ninth of South Australia’s effort, one-sixth of Western Australia’s effort and one-third of Tasmania’s effort. This is not good enough. I suggest that the national Parliament should ask the Queensland Government whether it is interested in continuing with the scheme and, if it is, when it intends to do something to provide homes for pensioners, as is being done in every other State.
– The amendment which I moved prior to the suspension of the sitting would, if carried, have the effect of repealing the principal Act as from 1st January 1972. This, of course, raises the question of the whole philosophy of the Act. 1 am afraid that I have to say that the appeal that I made at the outset of my remarks in the debate on the motion for the second reading of the Bill fell on deaf ears. I had expressed the hope that the level of debate would be rather higher than it usually is when defence matters are being discussed. However, I am afraid we were treated to the familiar stuff about yellow perils and what would have happened to us if the PKI had won in Indonesia in 1965. In fact at several stages of the debate I felt that the appropriate thing for the Government to do was to order immediate total mobilisation. I felt that we senators and members of the House of Representatives should be out on the lawn drilling in readiness for the imminent invasion with which we were threatened.
I would like to reaffirm very briefly the points I made in respect of the proposition that conscription should be abolished. There is no discernible threat. This statement is supported by the expert 1 quoted, Professor Michael Howard. An attempt was made by honourable senators on the Government side to denigrate this authority but nobody managed to cut down the statements he made. Certainly nobody was able to suggest that there flowed from any of his observations of our condition any suggestion that we needed conscription in this country. This analysis of our situation is supported by the statement of the exPrime Minister, Mr Gorton, that there is no discernible threat facing this country for the next 10 years. None of the speakers on the Government side appeared to be prepared to grapple with this comment. We must assume that they find it too embarrassing even to mention the name of the man who was their leader until so recently.
I also pointed to the fact that to suggest that we are any more adequately protected by having 40,000 men than 28,000 men is sheer fantasy. I pointed out also that no serious attempt had been made by this Government to make the volunteer system workable. I referred to the prospects of increased recruitment in the wake of the improved pay and conditions recomended by the Kerr Committee. I cited in support of this proposition the statement of a well known and not very radical supporter of the Government in another place, the honourable member for La Trobe, Mr Jess. I also pointed out that this question of conscription is inextricably bound up with the question of the war in Vietnam. I referred to the hypocrisy of the Government in being unwilling to admit that now that the Vietnam commitment is drawing to a close any justification which ever did exist for conscription has ceased to exist.
After listening to Senator Carrick, who was the principal contributor from the Government side of the chamber, I am persuaded that the real reason why the Government might want to continue conscription is that it has in mind further adventures of the Vietnam type. In this regard I would like to refer briefly to a statement to this effect by Senator Carrick, when he was at his most virtuous, in respect of the tasks which this Government and this country should take upon itself. He stated:
If we want to have the respect of the nations of South East Asia we must be willing to go to their assistance when an independent sovereign state is invaded, as we have done.
I interjected and said: ‘Any one of them?’ Senator Carrick replied:
Yes, indeed. When there is aggression from without it is our duty to go to their assistance.
Perhaps this would cover an invasion of China by Russia. Does the honourable senator suggest that because one country in our region invades another it is incumbent upon us to give assistance no matter what the real politics of the matter, no matter what the problem involved and no matter what the relative strength of the contending parties might be. He may say, of course, that that area is not in South East Asia and that his proposition was limited to South East Asia. But why should we stop there if we want to be the boy scouts of the Pacific? What about the case of a war between Laos and Cambodia; or between Malaysia and the Philippines; or between Indonesia and Thailand? All of these are possibilities in the uncertain world depicted for us by the Government, and where does it stop? Perhaps this is the reason why the Government considers it necessary to maintain conscription. But, of course, once more Government supporters are out of step with their ex-leader who, in one of his memorable contributions to the journalism of this country, pointed out that in his defence policy he did not want Australia’s young men dying in jungles and swamps because of possible Balkan-like quarrels which he felt were the responsibility of the local government.
– Has the ex-Prime Minister advocated that national service should cease?
– No, he has not advocated that national service should cease but be has a totally different picture of the apocalyptic fate that awaits this country from that of the people on the other side of this House. If you were not here-
– You misrepresent things.
– I do not. I suggest that if Senator Sim wants to comment on anything I have said he at least should be in the chamber to hear everything I have said. What I am talking about is the different vision of our situation presented by the people who have spoken here to that of their former more realistic leader. Presumably they deposed him, among other reasons, because he had a more realistic view of our situation than appears from the fantastic statements we have heard in this debate from the spokesmen in favour of conscription.
I now come to the most glaring misconception, to put it no higher than that, of Senator Carrick when he suggested that honourable senators on this side of the House and all of those who have opposed conscription and the involvement in Vietnam over the recent years have been living some sort of a lie by suggesting that men who are subject to the draft are subject also to being involved in a war overseas in which they do not believe. Senator Carrick made great play of the proposition that this really was not what they were confronted with. He pointed out that a man, on being called upon to register, could, if he chose, opt for service in the Citizen Military Forces. According to Senator Carrick, that freed him from any obligation cfr any possibility of being involved in an overseas war. That statement was disproved by speakers from this side of the chamber, by Senator Cavanagh and by Senator Cant. There has been plenty of opportunity since then for the pundits on the Government ride, including Senator Sim, to show that this was false. That course also was open to Senator Wright, the Minister for Works, who introduced this legislation. But have wc heard anything from any of them in rebuttal of that proposition? The fact is that the Defence Act clearly states that a member of the military forces can be required to serve here or abroad. Is that a fact or is it not a fact? 1 am greeted by a deafening silence on that point.
– We are anxious to hear you say when you believe that national service should be introduced in Australia. That is the point of your motion.
– I will present my case in my own time and in my own order.
– I will bet you do not come to it. 1 will bet you do not tell us.
– I will come to it in my own order. When we are considering the Hobson’s choice that confronts our 2-year-olds-
– I mean 20-year-olds. Two-year-olds probably would be conscripted under your Government’s scheme, Senator Sim. The choice is that 20-year-olds facing the possibility of conscription can opt to serve for 5 years part time in the Citizen Military Forces but they can still be sent overseas to a war which they may consider criminal. When this was stated by honourable senators from the Opposition side of the chamber in the debate on the second reading there were gasps of indignation from the Government side that this should be resented in any way by 20-year-olds. But let us look at the figures. The Minister has stated that 12,000 people who were called up for national service had opted to serve in the Citizen Military Forces as at 30th June 1971. An official document I saw today, the Defence report for 1971, states that as at 30th June 1971 there were 29,364 personnel regularly serving in the Citizen
Military Forces. So that according to my arithmetic there are only about 17,000 other citizens of all ages in Australia who consider it their duty to be performing some sort of military service at this stage. What then becomes of Senator Carrick’s other great democratic principles which he expressed in terms I will quote? I must confess that I rubbed my eyes when I heard him say it. His words are enshrined in Hansard. He was talking about the 2 basic principles of democracy, the first one which does not concern us at the moment. He described the second principle in this way: i add as a supplement that no person has the right to ask more public burden of his neighbour than he is willing to bear himself.
What a mealy-mouthed hypocrisy that must appear to be to our 20-year olds. Every Australian, except the 17,000 whom I have mentioned and who are in the Citizen Military Forces, is asking more of a public burden of these 20-year olds. I submit that conscription was noi justified in 1964 and it is even less justified today now that the Vietnam war is coming to a close, and it should be scrapped immediately.
– ] move for an extension of lime so that Senator James McClelland can describe to us the situation in which his Party would enforce national service.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - No. Senator.
– I appreciate that it is the wish of the Government to ha/e this legislation passed as expeditiously as possible and I am led to believe that we can expect from the Opposition co-operation in achieving that objective. However, I feel that when the Opposition moves amendments and asserts a case for those amendments as vigorously and devotedly as Senator James McClelland has done, it is at least incumbent upon the Government to sustain the position it has put forward. I sense that in what Senator James McClelland has said he will by an appropriate amendment at the Committee stage seek to assert again the argument presented by the Opposition during the debate on the second reading of this Bill.
The Opposition wants to end national service and by its proposed amendment seeks to have it concluded by the end of this year. On the other hand the Government, conscious of its obligation to Australia and our national defence, does not believe that national service should be abolished. It believes that the defence of Australia requires having available at all times personnel to comprise the defence forces which would be necessary in any situation which can be foreseen in the immediate future. I think it was most revealing to hear Senator James McClelland referring to activities which Australia could perform in the Pacific area as those of boy scouts in the Pacific. I think that typifies the attitude of members of the Australian Labor Party. They have no real interest in the defence of this country as they would regard the defence forces of Australia as no more than boy scouts. 1 hope that the people of Australia will have an opportunity to appreciate the way in which the Labor Party regards the defence of Australia; in the words of Senator James McClelland, it. is simply a boy scout operation.
I think that the defence of Australia is vastly more important and requires a much more mature approach. We heard from Senator James McClelland an approach which I can only say is either misleading or deceptive. He made the point that nobody on the Government side ha; justified the assertion by Senator Carrick that a person who chooses to join the Citizen Military Forces is not required to serve outside Australia. I am quite sure that Senator James McClelland knows the legal position under the Defence Act. The way he expressed his case tonight is either misleading or deceptive and I am sure he knows it. The position is that a person faced with the obligation of undertaking national service has an alternative. He can accept the obligation of national service or he can join the Citizen Military Forces. If he undertook national service, until quite recently he would have been at risk to become a member of the force to see service in Vietnam; but if he joined the Citizen Military Forces he was not under any obligation to go to Vietnam. I believe that the honourable senator knows that fact. If any honourable senator opposite challenges what I say, I challenge him to point to any member of the CMF who against his will and inclination was compelled to go to Vietnam.
I am quite confident that no honourable senator opposite can point to any such individual. Senator James McClelland said: Of course a person in the Citizen Military Forces can be required to see service at home or abroad’. What he ignored or did not say is that the only time that a person in the CMF can be required to undertake service outside Australia is in a time of war or a time of defence emergency .
– And you can declare the emergency.
– Of course it is open to the Government to declare a time of emergency, but at no stage in the past 6 years, much to the chagrin of the Opposition, has the Government declared a state of defence emergency. The simple point is that if a person is in the CMF he can be required to see service outside Australia only in a time of war or a time of defence emergency. Each of those circumstances requires a real situation of positive imminent threat to the security of Australia.
– So Vietnam was not a real situation?
– Above the babble of noise coming from the Opposition I say that its members have demonstrated conclusively that they are not interested in rational argument but simply by the force of noise to shout down a view with which they do not agree. They arc not concerned with the facts of the situation. I thought it was deplorable that Senator James McClelland misled the Senate or deceived the Senate in the way he did. The fact is that a person in the CMF is not obliged to see service outside Australia except in the very real circumstances which the Labor Party accepted in 1942 as requiring service outside Australia. The Government has clearly indicated that it believes in the concept of national service and adequate defence of this country. It rejects an Opposition amendment which would end national service at the end of this year and therefore jeopardise the defence of this country.
– As a result of the overwhelming debating victory scored last night by the Opposition, with the possible exception of my contribution - this is not self praise - we find that the Minister responsible for this legislation in the Senate is unavoidably absent while it is debated.
– That is unfair. You knew that he was going away this morning.
– I said ‘unavoidably’. So we have heard from the paranoic Minister who has a hatred of the 20-year olds who would undergo national service.
– Tell us about John Curtin.
– The honourable senator does not want to hear logic on this question. Because his argument is defeated he wants simply to out-shout someone else. The Minister was very definite in his claim that Senator James McClelland was telling untruths. I would be the first person to condemn Senator James McClelland if he tried to put something over the Senate or if he told untruths.
Let us examine, as the Attorney-General would be capable of doing, the legal alternative available to a person who has a conscientious objection against serving in Vietnam. It has been argued that an alternative available to such a person is to join the Citizen Military Forces. Are the AttorneyGeneral’s views more correct than the laws of this Parliament? Which should we accept? Section 50A. of the Defence Act 1903-1964, which was initiated by this Government, states:
In time of war or in time of defence emergency -
Those are the criteria- the Governor-General may, by proclamation, call out the Citizen Forces, or any part of those Forces, for continuous full time service.
Section 50C. of that Act was amended by the Defence Act 1965, apparently as a result of the introduction of national service. Section 16 of the Defence Act 1965 states:
Section SOC of the Principal Act is repealed and the following section inserted in its stead:
SOC. Members of the Military Forces may be required to serve either within or beyond the territorial limits of Australia.’
It does not state anything about serving outside of Australia at a time of emergency. No exemption is is provided in this Act of this Parliament for someone who has a conscientious objection. Such a person can either join a national service corps and take the risk of being sent to Vietnam or accept the alternative course of joining the Citizen Military Forces in the knowledge that he could be sent anywhere at the decision of the Governor-General, acting upon the advice of his Ministers. That is the alternative available to such persons. How could anyone who has a conscientious objection to going to Vietnam agree to accept an alternative form of service which could result in him being sent to Vietnam as a result of a declaration by the Governor-General.
– What do honourable senators opposite say about that, Senator Webster?
– What about it? We are waiting for Senator Cavanagh to tell us what the Australian Labor Party would do if it were in office. What would it do?
– Order! 1 am sure the honourable senator does not need the assistance of other honourable senators in putting forward his views.
– I will tell Senator Webster what the Australian Labor Party would do if it were in office. It would make conditions so attractive in the Services that the manpower necessary to defend Australia would be obtained from volunteers. After the initial training of this voluntary manpower it would be possible to get some 5 years’ service out of them. In that way a defence capability would be obtained at a much cheaper rate than it is obtained under the present system of national service. I explained yesterday and Senator James McClelland explained today that Australia cannot afford, in the interests of its defence, to continue the present system of national service. In case honourable senators opposite want the views of another authority on this aspect, I shall quote what Sir Robert Menzies said on 10th November in a ministerial statement on defence and national service. He said:
In assessing (he length of service required, an average of 6 months must be allowed for recruit and corps training. Provision must also be made for leave, movement and acclimitisation should the national servicemen bc sent to an overseas theatre. In order to permit a period of at least 12 months effective service in a unit a total period of 2 years full time duty is required and this will be the basis of the Government’s scheme. This will bc followed by a period of 3 years on the Reserve.
In Sir Robert’s opinion it takes at least 6 months to train a national serviceman. In fact, he said that with leave entitlement, and acclimatisation if it is necessary to serve outside Australia, it would take 12 months. In other words, the Government has in operation a system whereby it calls up national servicemen for the sole purpose, if they are required to serve outside of Australia, of getting 6 months’ service out of them. Can this country afford to continue this system?
– In what year did Sir Robert make that statement?
– In 1964.
– Does the honourable senator not think that the Army may be a little bit more modernised now?
– I know that Sir Robert is regarded as a figure of the past now that he has gone. However, at the time he made these remarks he was the bastion of the Liberal Party of Australia. He is now disowned by it because the views he expressed at that time do not suit the Government now. During the whole of his second reading speech the Minister for Works (Senator Wright), who represents in this chamber the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch), criticised members of the Opposition because they said they could train a serviceman in 6 months. It would appear from what the Minister for Works said that it takes longer. If it takes longer or if Sir Robert was correct and it takes 6 months - or, if they have to serve overseas, 12 months - to train a national serviceman it is a colossal waste of expenditure by this Government on defence if it can get only 6 months service out of the youth of Australia.
In 1964, because of the possibility of having to fight in Vietnam and because we were fighting in Malaysia, it was necessary to have a strength of some 30,000 men. With no possibility of any dispute arising at present and, according to the previous Prime Minister, with no visible possibility of an invasion of Australia or of a necessity to defend Australia in the next 10 years, it is apparently necessary to have a strength of 40,000 men in the defence forces. If we had adopted the advice of military experts in 1964 we could have today, by way of normal recruiting methods, sufficient servicemen from whom we could get 5 years’ service. As I said last night, it is possible that Senator James McClelland and the Labor Party are prompted in their actions by the fact that it is contrary to the Labor Party’s policy to have compulsory military service. But there is no logic in arguing that because the Labor Party opposes compulsory military service it is not interested in Australia’s defence. The Labor Party is interested in Australia’s defence. The Government is sacrificing Australia’s defence by following a useless system of training men at a colossal cost to the nation. This money could be well used in other avenues.
– I wish to make only a few brief comments. Senator lames McClelland quoted Professor Howard as one of the experts on whose opinion he relied. But he only quoted half of what Professor Howard said. The Senate is indebted to Senator Carrick for completing the quotation. There is no doubt that Senator James McClelland attempted to mislead the Senate. Senator Cavanagh has just said that national service is a colossal waste. The opinion of the Labor Party’s own expert, Professor Howard, is, as Senator Carrick reminded us last night, that Australia’s defence scheme is one of the least wasteful in the world. Honourable senators opposite have been condemned out of the mouth of their own expert.
The second matter to which I wish to refer is Senator Cavanagh’s comment that only 6 months’ service is obtained from a national serviceman after he has received training. What Senator Cavanagh completely ignored was that we are building up a substantial reserve force which, for 5 years, at least is trained and available for any emergency. That is completely and conveniently ignored. The third matter f mention is this matter of conscientious objection. For once and for all let us do away with the complete hypocrisy and humbug of members of the Labor Party on the matter of conscience. While they become quite emotional about conscientious objection to military service, if a man because of a conscientious objection does nol want to join a union they condemn him as a scab. He has no rights. His conscience is not recognised. Let us do away with this hypocrisy and humbug of Senator Cavanagh of the Opposition about this selective conscience. When it suits honourable senators opposite a man has a right of conscience. When it does not suit them the man is a scab.
– I had no intention of entering this debate. I have done so only because of the provocative statements made by the Minister now in charge of the Bill, the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood). The position as I see it is that we are discussing legislation that will continue to call up 20-year-old Australian lads - people who have no right to vote on the type of government that they want in Canberra. On the other hand I he Government has a power that goes beyond the power that any democratic government should hold.
– Like John Curtin had.
– Whether John Curtin or anyone else had this power, it is wrong for any government to have the power, upon declaration of the GovernorGeneral and without discussion in the Commonwealth Parliament, to declare a state of emergency or a war. lt should be written into the Constitution that this shall not or cannot happen. It is nol a matter of a Ministry or even a Cabinet making decision as to whether there is a state of emergency; one individual can do this, that is. the Prime Minister of the day. Out of pique, because he has had a row with some other nation, one individual can decide that a state of emergency can exist. It should be written into the Constitution that if this nation goes to war it does so upon a decision of the Parliament - the elected representatives of the people - and not by 12 persons tied up in a Cabinet or by an indivindual who can direct the Governor-General to proclaim a state of emergency which will mean the calling up of all 20-year-olds whether they have been called up for national service, whether they have opted to serve in the Citizen Military Forces or whether they have been members of the Regular Army Reserve, which was referred to by Senator Sim. These powers are too great to give anybody at any time.
In a nation of this size, with the type of transport facilities that are available, in the worst emergency a meeting of this Parliament could be called within hours. The objectionable part of the legislation is that a state of emergency can be declared by the Governor-General. Only one person would advise him. Whether he would accept that advice is another matter. But this is the constitutional position. The Parliament should make these decisions when the lives of young Australians are at stake.
– 1 thought I made a point in rebuttal of what Senator James McClelland had said. Senator Cavanagh and subsequently Senator Poyser sought to sustain the position taken by Senator James McClelland, which position 1 think is quite untenable. Because they have done so I fee) that I should refer precisely to the sections of the Defence Act which indicate the obligations of a person who undertakes service in the Citizen Military Forces. I understood Senator Poyser to say that no government should ever have the power to call up persons for national service or to the defence of their country in a time of emergency. Senator Poyser said that unless the Parliament was sitting so that by a process of debate it could determine the merits of the situation no government should have any power to call up persons in the defence of their country. He does not accept the fact that an emergency situation may require emergency measures. I regret that the Australian Labor Party has such a doctrinaire approach that it is not prepared to accept pragmatically that emergency situations require steps which may have to be reported to the Parliament as distinct from being debated by the Parliament.
– I thought Senator Poyser was speaking on his own account. I do not think anyone would support him.
– The Labor Party is prepared to accept Senator Poyser as one of its spokesmen on this issue. Until the Labor Party says that he is wrong I think I am entitled to assume that he speaks with the voice with which his Party speaks. If I am wrong I am sure a member of the Labor Party will indicate that Senator Poyser does not speak for the Party. I refer to the obligations of a member of the Citizen Military Forces under the Defence Act. We in the Government have said that any young man who is required to render national service may, if he chooses, render service in the Citizen Military Forces and he will not be obliged to render national service. That has been a feature of the national service programme since it was instituted. What is the obligation of a member of the Citizen Military Forces? I do assert what I earlier stated, that is, that a member of the Citizen Military Forces is not required to serve outside Australia except in time of war or in time of defence emergency.
– That is the whole point. The legislation gives that power to one individual.
– It is difficult, when one is endeavouring to explain a point and to do so with emphasis, to speak against this constant barrage from members of the Opposition whose practice in this chamber is to interject continuously because that is a better way of putting a point of view than attempting to argue it rationally. Section 50 of the Defence Act says: (1.) Subject to this section and the next two succeeding sections, members of the Citizen Military Forces are not bound to serve continuously but are bound to render military service for such periods as are fixed by or in accordance with the regulations.
Without going into the text of the various regulations, I do not think anyone will dispute that the period of service which a member of the Citizen Military Forces is bound to render is 33 days a year, comprised of continuous service of weekly periods and of daily periods. The section continues: (2.) The regulations may make provision for different periods of military training with respect to different parts, or members within specified classes of members, of those Forces. (3.) A member of the Citizen Military Forces may, at any time, voluntarily undertake to render continuous full time military service for a period specified by him . . .
He may do that. The point is that a member of the Citizen Military Forces is not bound to render full time continuous service but is obliged to render only the part time periodic service which the Act requires. Therefore it is impossible to send a part time serviceman overseas, because overseas commitments require full time service.
Section 50a of the Defence Act alters the position in the circumstances set out in the section as to when a member of the Citizen Military Forces may be required to render full time service. It reads:
In time of war or in time of defence emergency, the Governor-General may, by proclamation, call out the Citizen Forces, or any part of those Forces, for continuous full-time service.
What is meant by ‘in time of war’? What is meant by ‘in time of defence emergency”? Usefully those expressions are defined and quite clearly set out in the Act. What do they mean? The words ‘in time of war’ mean:
I interrupt my reading of the definition to emphasise it. It states:
I proceed with the definition: and includes the time between the issue of a proclamation of the existence of war or of danger thereof and the issue of a proclamation declaring that the war or danger thereof, declared in the prior proclamation, no longer exists.
What does ‘time of defence emergency’ mean? It means:
I appreciate that the publication of a proclamation is required, in terms of the defin- tion of ‘time of war’ and there certainly is required in the case of the definition of time of defence emergency’. I agree that that will be done by the Executive Council, the Governor-General acting on the advice of his Ministers. I would have thought the situation in which war or emergency arises could require immediate action to be taken, but it is not the situation which Senator Poyser has suggested to the Senate. It is not that situation because section 50a, reverting to the original section I was reading, indicates what shall be done when such a proclamation is made. Section 50a (2.) states:
The proclamation shall state the reason tor the making of the proclamation.
Sub-section (3.) states:
If the Parliament is in session at the date of publication of the proclamation, the GovernorGeneral shall forthwith communicate to each House of the Parliament the reason for calling out those Forces or part of those Forces.
Parliament would be immediately informed and therefore would immediately be able to debate any proclamation which was made. Sub-section (4.) states:
If the Parliament is not in session at the date of the publication of the proclamation, it shall be summoned to meet within 10 days after that date.
It makes mockery of the supposed arguments which Senator Poyser has sought to adduce to this Senate as some reasons for the attitude which be has been expressing. I have mentioned that those are the circumstances in which people in the Citizen Military Forces who are not required to render continuous military service may be called out to render continuous military service, lt is only in those circumstances that members of the Citizen Military Forces, who, by definition, are part of the military forces, can in the terms of section 50C be required to serve either within or beyond the territorial limits of Australia. Commonsense indicates that the only persons who can be required to serve beyond the territorial limits of Australia are those persons who are rendering continuous military service. The persons who are rendering continuous military service in the Citizen Military Forces are those persons who by virtue of a proclamation in a time of war or in a time of defence emergency are bound to render continuous military serbound to render continuous military service.
I have set those facts out because it seems to me that they are the absolute, unquestionable answer to this furphy which is being put by members of the Opposition. A person in the Citizen Military Forces is not required to serve outside Australia except in time of war or in time of defence emergency. If the members of the Opposition are prepared to say that in no circumstances - even in time of war and even in time of defence emergency - are members of the Citizen Military Forces required to serve out of Australia, I think the people of Australia are entitled to judge them on that basis. It was not the viewpoint which Mr Curtin adopted. It was not the viewpoint which Mr Chifley, as a member of Mr Curtin’s Government, adopted. But it has been the viewpoint of these woolly minded leftists who run the Labor Party at the present time. When one considers where the ideology of the leftists leads them in this worldwide idological conflict, it is easy to see what their thinking is. It is high time that the people of Australia were called upon to judge what is the real approach to members of the Labor Party. I suggest that if they are called upon to judge there will not be any question as to where their votes and their sympathies will lie.
– Already we have come a long way from the proposition of Senator Carrick that no draftee is in peril of being sent to a foreign war in which he does not believe. What Senator Greenwood has said just now illustrates the classic attitude of the lawyer in a corner and that is: When in a corner talk your head off. Nothing that he has said in citing sections 50, 50A and 50C of the Defence Act detracts one iota from the proposition that I have put forward tonight, and which Senator Cavanagh also has put forward. I have heard nothing from honourable senators on the other side of the chamber that would lead me to trust the judgment of these people about what constituted a state of emergency. They live in a state of permanent hysteria. They think that we are about to be engulfed by yellow hordes every moment. The fact is that under these sections of the Act, if the Government has the numbers in the Parliament, it can at any moment declare a state of emergency and any member of the Military Forces can be required to serve anywhere in the world.
– How would you do it?
– I am talking about what the law is, Senator Sim. I can quite appreciate your difficulty in following this, but the fact is that, by Senator Greenwood’s own admission, a government which has the numbers and which decides to declare a state of emergency can send people anywhere in the world to fight in a war which they may not believe in, and nothing that Senator Greenwood says will get away from that fact. That is the law. We are not concerned with that proposition; this is not the way we would implement it. I do not trust these people, from what I have heard from them in this debate, to be the judges of what is a state of emergency.
– 1 wish to raise 2 matters as a result of the remarks made by the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood) on ‘.his question. 1 think we are indebted to the Minister for explaining what the Act says. I think the Act supports what Senator James McClelland said. What the Minister is trying to convey is that the possibility of going overseas in the Citizen Military Forces is very remote. We know that this is so because it can happen only under certain circumstances. First of all, the person would have to be a full-time serviceman and, secondly, a slate of war or a state of emergency would have to be declared. A state of emergency is declared by the Governor-General who acts upon the advice of his Ministers. If the Parliament is in session when the proclamation is made it meets to approve the proclamation. If it is not in session at the time, it is called together within 10 days. Of course, if the Government has the numbers it makes no difference what justification is given for declaring a state of emergency. It does not matter because if the Government has the numbers when it calls the Parliament together, the Parliament simply approves an action that possibly should not have been taken.
The point I want to make is this: How can anyone who has a conscientious objection to serving in Vietnam but who will serve in any other theatre of war - he does not agree with what is going on in Vietnam; he does not agree with napalm bombing of children and women; he does not agree that it is other than a war of aggression in Vietnam; he does not agree that we should force a system of government on Vietnam - put his name to an alternative type of service which provides that if the Government declares a state of emergency which is approved by Parliament he shall go to Vietnam? It is contrary to his whole conscientious belief and it is not an alternative to national service.
The other statement that I want to correct is one that has been repeated throughout this debate, namely, that Curtin introduced and supported compulsion for overseas service, which is quite contrary to the fact.
– To his everlasting shame.
– It is quite contrary to the fact. I am glad to hear the honourable senator -saying that that would have been to Curtin’s everlasting shame. We are agreed that it would have been to his everlasting shame had he supported compulsion for service anywhere outside Australia.
– Not outside Australia.
– Those are the words I used; and the honourable senator said: ‘To his everlasting shame’. Obviously he does not support compulsion for service outside Australia.
– Who said that?
– That is the only interpretation we can place upon the honourable senator’s words. When Curtin was faced with the possibility of an invasion of Australia he had a regular force which could operate anywhere in the world, as necessary for the defence of Australia, and he had a militia establishment which could operate only on the shores of Australia in the defence of Australia. In 1943 Curtin, with the approval of the Labor Party, amended the Defence Act to permit the militia, which previously was restricted to the shores of Australia, to be employed in a denned area in the West Pacific south of the equator.
– Most of them were completely untrained.
– That is another matter. The point 1 am making is that to say that Curtin approved of compulsion for service anywhere in the world is incorrect. What Curtin said was: ‘Here is a force that we have in Australia at the present time for the defence of Australia. We have reached a stage where an enemy is on Australia’s shores and is bombing cities in Australia. It would strengthen our defence if we could use that force in a wider area but we do not want to break the Labor Party’s traditional opposition to conscription. We do not ask that that force be available to be used wherever the regular force can be used: we ask the Parliament to extend the area of defence of Australia to the denned area of the West Pacific south of the equator’.
That was all Curtin did, and it was in complete conformity with the Labor Party’s opposition to compulsion for service outside Australia. It is a complete distortion of fact to say that Curtin was a conscriptionist for service anywhere at all.
It is doing a disservice to a great Prime Minister to say that. Let honourable senators who are interjecting look up the Defence Act 1943 and see what it says-. Honourable senators opposite are bringing in these lies and. distortions at this stage in an effort to justify the continuation of an Act which cannot be justified and which cannot be permitted to go unchallenged.
– I rise only because Senator Cavanagh deliberately misrepresented my interjection. When he referred to the fact that Mr Curtin introduced conscription of troops who could not serve outside a defined area 1 said that that was to his everlasting shame. Senator Cavanagh distorted what I said by saying that my interjection implied that it was to Mr Curtin’s everlasting shame that he introduced conscription. This distortion is typical. When I was speaking last night Senator Cavanagh interjected, referring to South Vietnam: Menzies said that the Communists would win if there were free elections’. Later in the evening he wanted to make an explanation because I had challenged that as a true quotation of the statement made by Sir Robert Menzies. I rise only to say that these instances are typical of the distortion which he accuses others of practising. He went on to quote from Hansard what Sir Robert Menzies said. Let me quote only the last part of what Sir Robert said:
We must. therefore. not overlook the possibility- not that the Communists would win, as Senator Cavanagh said - that a free election may- again a qualification - be an election which establishes a Communist administration in the whole of Vietnam.
I suggest that those are 2 clear examples of distortion by Senator Cavanagh which he seeks to hide or disguise by accusing others of engaging in distortion.
Question put -
That the proposed new clause (Senator James McClelland’s amendment) be inserted in the Bill.
The Committee divided.
Ayes . . . . . . 22
Noes . . . . . . 26
Majority . . 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clauses 4 to 6 agreed to.
Proposed new clause 6a.
– I move:
Briefly, the amendment suggests that there should be a right of conscientious objection to a particular war instead of. as exists at present, to any kind of militaryservice. It also provides that a commissioner for conscientious objectors be appointed in each State instead of the matter being decided by a court of summary jurisdiction as it is at present. The amendment also provides for an appeal to the Supreme Court of a State or Territory. The court shall comprise 3 judges. The alteration proposed in the existing law is that there will be an appeal as of right instead of the appeal being confined, as under the present Act, to a point of law, or, if more than a point of law is involved, only to cases in which leave is obtained from the Supreme Court. Of course the final appeal to the High Court is left as is provided in the Act at the present time.
With the withdrawal of Australian troops from Vietnam it may be thought that this amendment is largely academic. But we would like to establish the principle of the right of a conscientious objection to a particular war. We also look to the fact that the end of our commitment in Vietnam does not - on the indications that we have not only in this debate but also from our experience of this Government - exclude the possibility that we may be quickly embroiled in another war. A government which could, behind the backs of the people, with no formal declaration of war and with a total absence of moral, political or military justification embroil us in the Vietnam tragedy might well decide with the moral flexibility for which it is notorious to involve us in a war with, for instance. South Africa. If that were to occur some of the great defenders of apartheid on the other side of the chamber might discover the value of conscientious objection to a particular war. Though I loathe apartheid 1 could defend their right to object to being conscripted for a war in South Africa just as I object to our young men being conscripted into a war in Vietnam.
Also we have to beware of the future wars which Senator Carrick evidently has in store for us. At any time any sort of a conflict of any dimension may blow up in South East Asia. From Senator Little’s interjections I take it that he would be in favour of our intervening in a war between Russia and China. The other alteration which is proposed by this amendment is that an application for exemption on the grounds of conscientious objection would be heard by a judge instead of a magistrate. We believe that this matter is of sufficient social importance to justify a man with the status of a judge determining the matters involved. Also, we believe that there would be a likelihood of greater uniformity in decisions if a man with the status of a judge - as is proposed by this amendment - were to make decisions in these matters. We believe that if both these-
– What would happen if an individual lost his appeal?
– If the honourable senator read the circulated amendment he would see that a provision is made for that position.
– What happens if he refuses to serve then?
– If he refuses to serve and if he has exhausted all his rights - I cannot concentrate while what I called recently the ‘Neanderthal grunts’ on my left persist. In reply to Senator Webster’s interjection I remind the honourable senator that the Act with which we are confronted is not an Act created by the Labor Party. Any of the penalties which devolve upon a man who has exerted all his rights to be a conscientious objector are penalties imposed by an act which we attempted to abolish altogether. If Senator Webster is trying to trap me into admitting that a conscientious objector who has been unsuccessful then has to go to gaol, 1 say to him: ‘Yes. In the last resort a conscientious objector who has exercised his rights under the superior provisions which we propose would, since we have been unable to abolish the Act altogether, finally have to go to gaol to the shame of this Government’. Does that satisfy the honourable senator?
– The honourable senator is not changing the law by this amendment.
– We suggest that if both these reforms are adopted there would be a more just and humane system for conscientious objectors. There would be a greater feeling of confidence in the tribunal if it were under the supervision of a man of the status of a judge rather than of a magistrate.
– I rise to oppose the amendment because I believe that there is not any real necessity for it. In 1968 I was responsible for extending the right of appeal for the conscientious objector, i have the greatest respect for the genuine conscientious objector, whether he objects on religious or any other ground, but it is the impostor - the person who pretends to have a conscientious objection - for whom I have no time and in respect of whom I believe the law should be invoked. My amendment extended the right of appeal up to the High Court of Australia. Senator James McClelland referred to the necessity to have a judge to ensure that a person is given a greater measure of justice than he would receive from a magistrate. According to the terms of my amendment of 1968, if any person is dissatisfied with the magistrate’s decision he can take the matter further - to a judge and even to the High Court. What on earth more than that would anyone want?
I remind the Senate that when amending the Act in regard to conscientious objection I, on behalf of my Party, was responsible for removing section 55 - that objectionable pimping provision. The Act had been before the Senate and had been amended half a dozen times yet the Australian Labor Party failed to remove the section which provided that a boy’s father, mother, doctor and others had to pimp on him.
– ls the honourable senator supporting the amendment?
– No. I am not because I think that the provisions for which I was responsible are adequate. All that the honourable senator is trying to do is to abolish national service training or to so widen the grounds of conscientious objection as to render impossible the normal operation of the Army, In spite of the Opposition, we believe that the provisions for which we were responsible are adequate. We embarrassed the Opposition into having to support us in 1968 because it lacked the initiative to do what we did. The same remarks apply to the pimping provisions of the legislation. As I have said, the Act had been before us half a dozen times yet no member of the Opposition had objected to asking a parent to pimp on his son. The credit for the removal of that objectional provision rests with the Australian Democratic Labor Party.
– The Government will oppose on a number of grounds what is a comprehensive proposal. As to the first part of the proposed amendment which seeks to add to the existing grounds of conscientious objection the ground that a person may object to a particular war or, as is actually stated, to particular circumstances, the Government believes that would make a mockery of the whole purpose of national service. I am prepared to accept that that is what the Opposition intends.
Let us look at what the Opposition is putting forward: It proposes that a person whose conscientious beliefs do not allow him to engage in military service, either generally or while particular circumstances, including a particular war or particular warlike operations, exist is, so long as he holds those beliefs, exempt from liability to render service under this Act. That would extend extremely widely the existing grounds of conscientious objection. At present, under the existing law, a person who has a conscientious objection to rendering any form of military service is entitled to be a conscientious objector. Of the persons who apply for exemption on that ground, approximately 90 per cent gain the exemption. Therefore, one might ask this question: What is the inadequacy of the existing provision?
The inadequacy of the existing provision, in the eyes of the Opposition, is that it does not cover those persons who are opposed to any form of national service. At present - I regret it - 3 people are currently serving sentences of imprisonment because they are not prepared to render national service. Currently there are 10 people in regard to whom warrants for arrest have been issued and who are evading the Commonwealth police. Until a month or two ago the usual statement that came from these people was that they were prepared to go to gaol because they objected to our war in Vietnam. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Mr Barnard, said-
– Mr Barnard is not the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
Murphy always gets very touchy about the way in which one refers to these people. Mr Barnard, who I believed was the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the other place - maybe his title is Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives - is reported in Hansard of 19th August in this way:
From my understanding of this young man, one can place complete and absolute reliance upon the statement of Charles Martin made to the Adelaide Advertiser’ and which I have just quoted to the House, that his conscientious objection is based on a particular war, the war in Vietnam. Obviously this is a statement of a man of most intense feelings of conscience against that war.
One can accept that that was the view held by Charles Martin and for that reason he was prepared to go to gaol. I will not denigrate one who holds his convictions so strongly that he is prepared to go to gaol for them. But how true is this? The Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) made the statement on 19th August that no national serviceman would be sent to Vietnam hereafter. If Mr Barnard was correct in his statement of what Charles Martin believed, namely, that his conscientious objection to the National Service Act was based on our participation in the war in Vietnam, why is Charles Martin not now prepared to say: As 1 cannot be sent to Vietnam 1 am prepared to do my national service within Australia’? I say here and now that if he said that, he could be released immediately under the provisions of the Crimes Act and he would be under an obligation to complete his national service in Australia. But he is not prepared to do that. As I read the Press reports, he has said bluntly thai he will not do that.
Where does that put his objection? Where does that put the great protestations that these people were opposed to the war in Vietnam? It puts them in the limbo of statements which were not meant because there is a very real objection to doing any form of national service. In those circumstances, what would be the effect of the Labor Party’s proposed amendment? A person who has a feeling that he will not do his national service but will let the 99.8 per cent of those who are called up do their service, will say: ‘I am entitled to go scot free’. He will seek to avoid the penalty of a person who does not obey the law by saying: ‘I have a conscientious belief that while particular circumstances exist I am exempt from liability to serve’. What would he say were the particular circumstances? He would say, as Senator James McClelland and others have said tonight, that because there are people in government who are not members of the Labor Party, you cannot have any confidence in the way in which this country is being governed. He would say: I hold the belief very deeply that while the particular circumstances of a Liberal Government continue, I am not prepared to render service’. Under this proposal, as a matter of form that would be sufficient to entitle him to gain exemption from national service.
It is absurd. I wonder at the temerity of the Australian Labor Party in seeking to delude the Australian people by coming forward with an amendment of this character because it makes a mockery of the whole concept of national service. The whole thing gets back to the basic difference between us as a government and an opposition. We believe in the defence of this country and the obligation, unpleasant as it is at some times, to impose upon the young people of Australia an obligation to render national service in the national interest. The Opposition, for its part, whatever it might say about the defence of this country, is not prepared to take the people of Australia into its confidence as to how it would manage that defence. That is one of the very substantial differences between us.
When one looks at the other provisions of the proposed amendment one sees also what is involved. There is a provision in this which would enable a person to put in an application for exemption on the ground that he is a conscientious objector and, from the time that he puts in that application until the time when the tribunal hears the matter, he is exempt from any liability. So what do we find? We could find people, like a number of young people at present, who would put in an application for exemption from national service and then go into hiding. They might entice a few students at a university to hide them away in one of the Union buildings, challenge the police to come and get them and then say that it is very hard to be arrested when one really wants to be arrested. Then, when the police come, they flee away in the dark of the night just so that they will not be arrested.
– Supported by the Australian Labor Party.
– This is what they might do. I am indebted to Senator Marriott for his remark. Those persons might be lucky enough to get one of the Australian Labor Party presidents, like the man in Victoria, to say: ‘I will get the unions to provide a bodyguard for you.’ If this amendment were carried they would be able to say that without a word of demur or a word of opposition from the Leader of the Labor Party, Mr Whitlam, or the lawyer who leads the Party in this place, Senator Murphy. After all, there is some advantage in being able to put in an application and hide away in those circumstances, knowing that one will be exempt from any liability until one comes before the courts for a hearing of one’s case, or in this case before the commissioner which the Labor Party proposes. As the authorities could not go to the courts to get a warrant for arrest because there was no obligation upon a person to go before the commissioner, we would have a situation in which the man who made an application would go absolutely scot-free. If one analyses the amendment proposed by the Labor Party one sees that its tactics are patently clear. It is a brand on the Australian people and it ought to be nailed as such.
Then we have the supposition that if we have a commissioner for conscientious objectors there will be a uniformity which will overcome the differing views of differing magistrates in different courts. What is ignored, of course, is that there will be a separate commissioner for conscientious objectors in each State, so we would not have that standard of uniformity which is regarded as being of such importance. I believe that what the Labor Party is putting forward is hypocritical in the extreme. An analysis of this provision indicates that the Labor Party would seek to destroy our national service system, and would do so by a cloak of words which have a superficial appeal. There is no appeal at all. It is simply a means by which people who want to evade their obligations can evade them, and those who are prepared to perform their lawful obligations will ba compelled to perform them.
– I am compelled to rise and speak on this matter because 1 feel that what has been said by Senator Greenwood, who is the AttorneyGeneral of the Commonwealth, should not be allowed to go without some notice. He was speaking to an amendment which was moved in the other House and which has been put forward by the Australian Labor Party in somewhat the same terms for some time. This amendment represents our policy for an improvement of the National Service Act, in the sense of mitigating what we conceive to be its undesirable effects upon the people. We are opposed to the National Service Act and we seek its repeal. What the Attorney-General has done this evening is extremely disturbing to me. He has, for the purpose of combating a simple amendment, attacked the motives of those advancing the amendment. He has dealt with the situation of people who occupy positions ia the Australian Labor Party and he has addressed himself to the position of persons in the community who may or do face criminal charges.
In the last few years we have sometimes had temperamental Attorneys-General. We have seen Attorneys-General do some extraordinary things. However, I do not think there has ever been in history - certainly not in the last generation - an AttorneyGeneral who has so far failed to distinguish between his position on the back bench and his position as Attorney-General of the Commonwealth as we have seen in the present Attorney-General, and a performance such as we have seen in the last few minutes against the background of what we have seen in the last few days. I do not think the amendments which are put forward in this chamber in the Committee stage should be dealt with on behalf of the Government in the way in which they have been dealt with, on the basis of motives not only of the persons-
– Did the honourable senator listen to Senator James McClelland putting what he said about the amendment?
– Yes. The AttorneyGeneral dealt with the amendments not only in relation to the motives of those who are putting forward these matters but also in a way which is exteremely prejudicial to the persons who may have to appear in the courts of the land. It is not proper for an Attorney-General of the Commonwealth to speak, as he did, of those persons who may have to come under the present provisions of the law before the courts of this land. I suggest that this Committee of the Senate should examine these matters free of the considerations which have been advanced by the AttorneyGeneral and I would suggest, with great respect, that no Attorney-General should speak as he has spoken in relation to persons, whether or not they are members of the Australian Labor Party, who would seek to invoke the law as it stands or as it may be amended.
– 1 also have been impelled to enter this debate, although 1 had not intended to do so, because of what has just been said by the Attorney-General (Senator
Greenwood) in relation to the amendment which is now before the Committee. I find it rather remarkable that the AttorneyGeneral should introduce into this debate the name of Mr Martin who at present is serving a term of imprisonment in South Australia. It appears that the AttorneyGeneral is not satisfied with the fact that Mr Martin is serving 2 years imprisonment but needs to denigrate him, to attack him in this chamber, and to make imputations against his integrity and his courage. It should be recalled, when we hear Government senators, including those of military age and their supporters, continuing to speak in favour of conscripting Australians to go to Vietnam, that they have made no sacrifice whatever. It has to be conceded, I should think by even the most enthusiastic supporter of the failed policy in Vietnam and this National Service Bill, that Mr Martin has made a sacrifice. He has made a sacrifice of 2 years of his life in prison. A comparable sacrifice has not been made by any of those honourable senators who sit opposite us.
What concerns me is the frivolity, the flippancy and the lack of seriousness which the Attorney-General brings to this very important amendment which is before the Committee. All he sets out to do is to impute base motives to the mover of the motion, members of the Australian Labor Party in this chamber and elsewhere, and to persons who are serving 2 years imprisonment. None of the basic issues raised in the amendment moved by Senator James McClelland have been dealt with in the reply by the Attorney-General - not one of them.
The proposition being put forward by the Labor Party is that a ground for conscientious objection should be that a person who is subject to conscription may object to the particular war for which he is being conscripted. We are saying nothing in our amendment about the fate of Charles Martin or the particular situation of any other person. We are putting forward as a serious proposition that a ground for conscientious objection should be that a person has an objection to the particular war in which he would be obliged to serve.
The Attorney-General treats this as if it is all part of some conspiracy by certain members of the Australian Labor Party. I find this rather surprising corning from Senator Greenwood who quite often, when he is not attacking the characters of other people, is professing his own dedication to the Christian faith. One would think that Senator Greenwood would agree that one of the foremost and substantial beliefs of many Christians is that a man is nol justified in serving in an unjust war and that the question of whether a war is just or unjust is for the conscience of that man. Indeed, I would have hoped - although 1 am quite sure my hopes would have been dashed - that Senator Greenwood, who takes a lively interest in conscripting people to fight in wars which he supports, would have known that there is a very substantial body amongst the Catholic clergy and laity in the United States of America who argue for precisely the proposition submitted by the Labor Party in the amendment moved by Senator James McClelland - that there should be provision for conscientious objection on the ground that the proposed conscript believes that the war is unjust. A substantial and not insignificant number of Catholic clergy and laity believe that this is in strict accordance with the doctrines of the Catholic Church, as they understand it; that a man shall not fight in an unjust war, and furthermore, that the judgment of what is just or unjust should be arrived at by the exercise of his conscience.
I am not here to argue for the Catholic clergy or laity. I am saying that this is a serious proposition which has been put forward seriously. If one looks at such important American Catholic theological journals as ‘The Commonweal’, published by the Society of Jesus, one finds that this is a doctrine which has been put forward consistently for the past 5 or 6 years by this very eminent organ of responsible Catholic opinion in the United States. Senator Greenwood may repudiate this doctrine. I would not say that he is not entitled to do so. I nm not saying that because a certain group of Catholic clergy or laity puts forward an argument Senator Greenwood or anyone else is bound to support it. But I would suggest that arguments as serious as those which have been put forward seriously tonight by Senator James McClelland should be given more serious consideration by the Attorney-General than merely his usual performance of insulting members of the Australian Labor Party, impugning their motives, impugning their patriotism and attacking men who are in gaol.
– The last speaker, Senator Wheeldon, made an attack on the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood). Probably Senator Wheeldon would be the first to agree that spiteful words do come from the Opposition side, and not only from the Government side. I think Senator Wheeldon has heard members of his Party attack people; yet he is objecting to the AttorneyGeneral attacking him. The last 2 speeches I have heard from Senator Wheeldon and Senator Murphy revealed a complete lack of attention to the amendments that the Labor Party has moved. Instead they constituted a grave attack on the AttorneyGeneral. That is correct, is it not, Senator Murphy? I have some sympathy for Senator Murphy because it was necessary for the Attorney-General to point out to the Labor Party what the passage of these amendments would mean. I have some sympathy wilh you, Senator Murphy, in that you were unable to stand and defend those amendments. You spent your time personally attacking the Attorney-General.
– Not personally. If you are addressing yourself to me, I attacked him officially because I have never seen such a performance by an AttorneyGeneral of the Commonwealth, as distinct from Senator Greenwood personally. He is the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth and I have never seen or heard such a performance by an AttorneyGeneral.
– It is my view that he made a very close dissection of the amendments that have been moved. I held the view originally that perhaps this proposition had been given to Senator James McClelland because he was a reasonably new senator; that the job of defending this particular amendment was handed to a junior member of the Opposition side. I realise that Senator Murphy as the Leader of his Party, did not defend in any way the amendments put forward. Instead you attacked.
– What is your point?
– It is very difficult to see the point because you, Senator Wheeldon, also spent your time not in defending the motion but in attacking the Attorney-General. I think the points made by the Attorney-General should be noted because it is important that the Australian public understand the true facts of what the Opposition proposes in relation to national service. Senator Murphy may prompt me if I am not correct in believing that the whole ambit of the National Service Bill and the changes proposed by the Labor Party are put before the Senate as amendments representing legislation which Labor would put forward. I believe that Senator Greenwood dealt fairly with the amendments. He made these points. He said firstly that the Opposition would propose a change from the various levels of appeal open to one who objects to serving in the national service scheme in Australia today. The Labor Party would alter the system by appointing a commissioner for conscientious objectors. That is the proposition put forward in proposed clause 29B. J think there is a relationship between that clause and the type of appeal which a person who holds a conscientious objection is able to establish today. I think, in fairness, the Labor Party goes further and says that if that individual fails in his appeal to the commissioner for conscientious objectors another appeal is open to him. I quote proposed clause 29D which states: (1.) Where a Commissioner for Conscientious Objectors for a State or Territory has given a decision on an application under section twentynine B of this Act, a party to the application may appeal from that decision to the Supreme Court of that State or Territory constituted by not less than three judges.
I think the mind of the Attorney-General was drawn to the fact that over a number of years we have heard comments by various Labor speakers about what should be the rights of a person. Under existing conditions today if a person is adjudged as being not a true conscientious objector and will not serve his period of training, this Government has decided that he must serve a term of imprisonment for failing to comply with the law. The proposition of the Labor Party has been that that person should not be pressed to serve the law and certainly should not serve time in gaol. Reference has been made on numerous occasions to how heartily the Labor Party objects to this imposition. Senator Cavanagh is one of the leaders in this field. Within these amendments there is no suggestion by the Labor Party about the logical conclusion for an individual whose objection has not been sustained by a commissioner for conscientious objectors and who has failed in his appeal to the proposed Supreme Court constituted of not less than 3 judges. What proposition, Senator Murphy, does the Labor Party have for such an individual?
I think the Attorney-General was attempting to prompt you as to what you should do. Senator Wheeldon quoted the Catholic laity and said that men should not fight in an unjust war or in wars to which they object. Senator Wheeldon probably believes in that view and is probably closer than arm’s length to the comment made by Senator James McClelland, who, during his speech tonight, admitted that the whole ambit of change to the National Service Act was contained in the Labor Party amendments and finally said: Yes, if we were the Government we would have to gaol an individual such as that.’
– I did not say that. If we were the Government we would not have the Act.
– We can see that in this proposition the Labor Party has made no move to state what it would do with an individual who finally exhausts his 2 avenues of appeal. We know quite well how the left wing members of the Labor Party would perform.
– To whom are you referring?
– You know who they are within your Party. What would they do? I have in mind those senators who have said that they believe that a citizen has the right to object against a law, that is, to defy the law.
– Are you a left wing member of your Party?
– No. You know that we are a middle of the road Party.
– But are you a left wing member of your Party?
– I think Senator Murphy would agree that many members of his Party who may at some stage constitute a major part of the party in power will say that an individual has a perfect right to object. Senator Murphy would agree that an objector certainly should not be put in gaol. I have not heard from Senator Murphy how he would deal with an individual who holds an objection on general grounds - whatever that might mean - or who on particular grounds objects and loses his appeals both to a commissioner for conscientious objection and 3 judges. What would Senator Murphy do with an individual in that position? The Opposition is very quiet. I hope that some member of the Opposition will for the benefit of the Australian public indicate how the Opposition would deal with an individual who loses both appeals.
– Of necessity I will be brief but one or two things must be said, particularly about the speeches of Senator Gair and Senator Greenwood. Senator Gair gave an account of the position of the Democratic Labor Party in regard to the 1968 amendments which disagrees with my recollection of what happened, but I do not want to take issue with him on that point. The amendments made in 1968 improved the Act insofar as they extended the right of appeal and the grounds of conscientious objection. Whoever was responsible should enjoy the honours. However. I take exception to the comment that going beyond the 1968 amendments to the Act is simply providing protection for the imposter in view of the fact that he can obtain a decision from the High Court.
The amendments proposed by Senator James McClelland seek to alter the Act in 2 ways, the first of which is to grant exemption to an individual who holds a genuine conscientious objection to a particular war. The other change sought is for a commissioner to decide such questions. A person may ho’d conscientious objection to any war. on religious or other grounds. Such a conscientious objection to fighting at all is ground for exemption from military service. Another individual may hold conscientious objection to a particular war, the war in Vietnam or any other war; for example, a war which might break out in the future in a less developed country. Because he holds the belief about a particular war does not mean that his conscience is not just as firm as that of a man who, on religious grounds, objects to the taking up of arms.
Each case is a matter of conscience, but in the second case the conscientious belief is held that it is wrong to fight in a particular war, while in different circumstances fighting could be justified. A person holding such a belief is not an imposter seeking to dodge the provisions of the Act. He must establish in a court that his conscientious objection to a particular war is solidly based. It is not a simple way to dodge the Act. It must be a genuine conscientious objection. People who hold a strong conscientious belief should not be asked to disregard it.
The Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) referred to the difference on this question between the Labor Party and the Government. He said that the Government would enrol everybody to defend the country and the Labor Party would not. The greatest attribute of the Labor Party is that it recognises a conscience. We differ from the Government in that we acknowledge a conscience and uphold the right of conscientious belief. I think that is a greater asset than any of the material aims and aspirations of the Government.
– Will you tell us the story about compulsory union tickets here tonight?
– I think that will be dealt with in due course. A right of appeal lies to the High Court and the amendment we propose does not take away that right. We are seeking uniformity in the methods of acceptance of conscientious objection by a court. A conscientious objector may have his views accepted in one State, while in another State they would not be accepted. Different grounds are accepted in different States. The AttorneyGeneral referred to Charles Martin. I have a particular interest in Charles Martin because I have met him and have a great appreciation of him. The Attorney-General said that anybody undertaking national service who objects to going to Vietnam will not be sent there. He said that if Charles Martin holds an objection to going to Vietnam he could make a declaration to undergo national service and he would’ be released from gaol immediately. Under the amended Act Charles Martin will have received the full penalty provided by the law for his disobedience of the law.
He is not a radical student. He does not have a group around him. He was a carpenter going about his lawful business, working on house repairs for his father’s firm in Strathalbyn, in the hills district outside Adelaide. Members of his family had always voted for the Liberal Country League in South Australia. They are not radical, militant or connected with the trade union movement, political parties or any such organisation. Charles Martin had a close association with local church activities. As a result of his study of the history of Vietnam Charles Martin came to the conclusion that his concience would not permit him to serve in that country. He registered in accordance with the provisions of the Act and attended for a medical examination; but he said that it would be impossible for him to conform with all the provisions of the Act. Without his conscientious objection being submitted to an examination by the Minister he had to serve his time in gaol. When the proposal was put forward to amend this Act the honourable member for Adelaide (Mr Hurford) approached him and asked him to make a request to the Attorney-General seeking a release from gaol as soon as this legislation went through the Parliament. Martin’s reply was: ‘I shall ask no favours of the McMahon Government which put me into gaol’. Politics have made a militant person out of a member of a small farming community who follows Christian principles and whose family had Liberal Party philosophies. My Leader has just reminded me of the necessity to get this Bill through the Parliament tonight as the very freedom of this man depends on it.
– It would be entirely wrong of me if I were not to reiterate to the chamber the point that the Australian Labor Party has not established or even attempted to discuss. What would be the position of a person purporting to hold a conscientious objection whose conscientious objection was rejected by the commissioner for conscientious objectors and whose appeal was rejected by the 3 judges to whom he appealed? The previous speaker, Senator Cavanagh, had every opportunity to state in the interest of the public what the Australian Labor Party would do in those circumstances, but he avoided that point completely.
– I shall not take long as 1 do not wish to impede the passage of this Bill. However, 1 think it is encumbent upon me to reply to certain things which have been said by the Opposition. In the first place I wish to say that this proposal does not simply say that objection to a particular war is a ground for exemption from military service. I would certainly object to it if it did say so. But the language of the Opposition’s amendment is infinitely broader. It uses the expression ‘particular circumstances’. 1 instance what Senator Cavanagh said a moment ago to make my point. A person may say: ‘1 will not render national service whilst the McMahon Government is in power’. That is a particular circumstance. He could say: ‘I have a conscientious belief against the McMahon Government and therefore I will not render service’. It is these shades of belief which make it an impossible proposition.
The second point I wish to make is in regard to Senator Wheeldon’s suggestion that there is the concept of a just and an unjust war. I know that some theologians do hold that view. But the amendment does not raise the concept of a just or an unjust war; it simply raises an objection to particular circumstances. I imagine that the reason why the Australian Labor Party does not raise the concept of an unjust war as a ground for exemption from national service is that if it did so a conscientious objector would have to show that his conscientious belief was based on religious factors, which is not what the existing Act says and which is not a concept that I believe the Labor Party would be prepared to accept.
The third point I wish to make is that Mr Charles Martin is not the only person who has served a gaol sentence because, as he says, he objects to the war in Vietnam. Mr Mullen has expressed the same objection and he is serving a sentence at the present time. He is not due for immediate release. All I wish to say is that if such a person is prepared to say when the obligation to serve in Vietnam has disappeared that the ground for his objection has disappeared and he is prepared to render national service there is ample provision to enable him to do so. Nevertheless, it would seem that there is more to it than the alleged objection to serving in Vietnam.
Finally, I wish to say that Senator Murphy’s statement that my personal conduct has been the worst he has ever seen in that no Attorney-General in his experience has ever behaved in this way is merely a matter of words. Until he argues the pointsI have put forward - I think I have put forward reasoned opposition to this amendment - I will regard the words he has used as being simply the words of someone who lacks anything better with which to attack reasoned argument.
That the proposed new clause (Senator James McClelland’s amendment) be inserted in the Bill.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Prowse)
Majority . . . . 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clauses 7 and 8 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Proposed new clause 8a.
– I move:
After clause 8, insert in Part II. the following new clause: 8a. Section51c of the Principal Act is repealed and the following section inserted in its stead: 51c. - (1.) Section five of the Commonwealth Prisoners Act 1967 docs not apply in relation to a person serving a term of imprisonment imposed following a conviction for an offence against section fifty-one or section fifty-one a of this Act. (2.) A person referred to in the last preceding sub-section shall, for the purpose of his release on parole, be treated as if his term of imprisonment had been imposed following a conviction for an offence against a law of the State where he is imprisoned . . . ‘
As time is going by and as we are anxious to complete the Bill tonight I will explain briefly the purport of the amendment. Section 51c of the National Service Act deprives people convicted of an offence against the Act of the benefit of section 4 of the Commonwealth Prisoners Act. Section 4 gives all Federal offenders, including murders, rapists and burglars the benefit of a minimum non-parole period. For example if a magistrate sentenced a man to 5 years imprisonment he may set a minimum non-parole period of 4 years which is, in effect, a way of shortening the sentence, subject to certain conditions imposed by the Commonwealth Prisoners Act. Under the National Service Act a man is deprived of that benefit. This procedure is inconsistent also because there is preserved to Federal offenders under the Commonwealth Prisoners Act the ordinary remissions for good conduct. Yet persons convicted under the National Service Act are deprived of that right which is considered to be, according to modern criminology and the practices in all States, the right of every man convicted of an offence. We believe that men convicted of an offence against this Act are in no sense to be considered more criminal than people of the type that I have named who have the benefit of this non-parole period. That is the purpose of our amendment.
Another subsidiary aspect of the amendment is that section 5 of the Commonwealth Prisoners Act provides machinery for the implementation of this non-parole period. It is in the hands of the AttorneyGeneral who recommends to the GovernorGeneral that certain action be taken. We believe that this power should reside in the State authorities - that is, parole boards and organisations of that character - as in the case of other offenders. For that reason we commend the amendment to the Committee. We believe that by putting the implementation of this into the hands of parole boards the politics are taken out of the. matter and Federal offenders are put in the same position as other people who have been sentenced.
– The Government will oppose this amendment. At present section 51c of the principal Act, which is sought to be repealed by the amendment, has the effect of excluding section 4 of the Commonwealth Prisoners Act from operating in respect of the sentencing of men convicted of failure to report for or to render national service. Therefore the effect is to preclude magistrates from varying the period of sentence of 2 years prescribed in the present legislation, because parole under section 5 of the Commonwealth Prisoners Act is available only where a minimum sentence is prescribed. It also precludes the operation of the parole arrangements. In short, as I understand it - and Senator James McClelland put it neatly - what is designed by this amendment is to enable a parole provision to be inserted. The Government opposes that. In addition to the basic reasons which the Government has, there are a number of considerations which have escaped the Opposition’s attention or to which it is not prepared to give any consideration.
The basic reason why the Government opposes this amendment is that it is clearly essential that men imprisoned because of breaches which they have committed against the National Service Act should, as far as practicable, be subject to a uniform period of civil imprisonment in the different States in which they are committed to custody. To provide for parole arrangements would introduce a situation of unnecessary and potentially inequitable variations in the periods of imprisonment. The effect of the amendment would be to enable courts in New South Wales. Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia to fix a non-parole period or a minimum period of imprisonment to be served by a prisoner before becoming eligible for release on parole. In New South Wales a non-parole period must be not less than 6 months, but in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia a lower non-parole period may be fixed. In the other States there is no provision for the fixing of a minimum term. In some States, therefore, a national service defaulter would serve only a very short non-parole period, but in the other States the full term of imprisonment would have to be served. Therefore there would be an inequality in provisions for punishment for national service defaulters. The effect of the amendment would be to attempt to give the State parole boards the power to release a national service defaulter serving a nonparole period in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. We submit that it would be unsatisfactory for the administration of the Commonwealth criminal law to have a situation in which 4 States had the power to release a Commonwealth prisoner before the expiration of the full term of imprisonment, that power being vested in a State board. The essential ground of objection, quite apart from the inequalities which this provision would create, is that where there is an obligation to render national service and a person chooses not to render that service but to defy the law, as has been the case, he should not be put in a more favourable position than the vast majority of people who. at a lot of inconvenience to themselves, cheerfully - and sometimes uncheerfully - accept the obligation which the law imposes.
– The Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood; hits pointed to the inequalities in the operation of State procedures and in the operations of State law courts when administering Commonwealth law. It is true that State criminal and civil laws vary so much that a person in one State might be treated differentially from a person in another State, both of whom are charged under Commonwealth law. The rights of people in different States might differ. A case under Commonwealth law might succeed in one State, but it might fail in another State. The Commonwealth chooses to differentiate only in relation to persons convicted under the National Service Act and to insist that such persons shall not have the benefit of State laws. We do not accept that position. I would suggest that the matter be put to a vote.
That the proposed new clause 8a (Senator James McClelland’s amendment) be inserted in the Bill.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Prowse)
Majority . . . . 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clauses 9 to 17 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Where a person is, on the date of commencement of this Act, serving a term of imprisonment imposed following a conviction for an offence against section51 or section 51a of the National Service Act 1951, or that Act as amended, the term of imprisonment so imposed shall be. deemed to be such term as the court would have been required to impose if the amendments made by Part II. had been in force when the person was so convicted, but nothing in this section entitles a person to be released from custody before the commencement of this Act.
– I move:
Briefly, the effect of the amendment would be to end the sentence of those people at present serving a term of imprisonment as at the commencement of this Act.
– I wish to make one or two brief remarks. The Government will oppose this amendment. It considers it to be unreasonable because these people have been sentenced to imprisonment in accordance with the law. We say further that people performing national service in accordance with lawful obligations are not sought to be given some benefit under this provision. We think it is inequitable. For that reason, if for no other, we oppose the amendment.
– The views of the Senate will be evident on this question. We do not choose to divide the Committee on the amendment but will let it be decided on the voices.
Clause agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Adoption of Report
Motion (by Senator Greenwood) proposed:
That the report be adopted.
– I take this opportunity to raise briefly another matter within the ambit of this Act. Perhaps the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood) is not in a position to give me answers tonight but I would like them next week.I refer to 2 categories of young men. The first group includes those who have met their obligations under the National Service Act and who subsequently, when in their midtwenties, have migrated to the United States of America. Some have done so on temporary visas for 3 months and others have done so on a business appointment for 2 years. I would like the Minister to ascertain on- a government to government level what is the situation.I made some private inquiries from the American Embassy and from our own Department of Labour and National Service. As I understand the position, the United States authorities do not take any action against young men who have fulfilled the normal call up requirements in Australia and who can produce a discharge paper. But when those young men who have registered but were not called up go to the United States there is some confusion as to whether they are there on a temporary visa. I will quote one case in a moment or I will give the details to the Minister after this debate has concluded. It concerns a boy who was married here in Australia, was working for an American firm and was then transferred overseas. He could be over there on the appointment not for 3 months but perhaps for 2 years. The American authorities are in some doubt as to his obligations for Army service in the United States. This is a sort of by-product of this legislation on which I would like government to government discussion so that I can get some answers.
– I assure the honourable senator that I can provide him with the detailed information he seeks. There is a protocol which was agreed to by the United States of America in 1932 and which regulates relationships between the various States with which the United States enters into these arrangements so that there will not. he the imposition of what could be a double obligation for service.I cannot recall the precise terms under which this was made, although I did have occasion to look at this not so long ago. In those circumstances, I ask the honourable senator to accept my assurance that when I see the Hansard record of what he has saidI will provide him with an adequate reply.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill (on motion by Senator Greenwood) read a third time.
Incorporation of Document in Hansard
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate,I formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– Earlier today I was refused leave to incorporate a document in Hansard. At the time the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) approached me and sought a copy of the document which I had obtained leave to lay on the table of the Senate and which I tried to have incorporated in Hansard. I provided a copy of the document for Senator Murphy’s perusal and the perusal of members of his Party. In order to save time, I again seek leave to have this document incorporated in Hansard. The alternative is that I shall read it, which would not be an easy task for me. It is an excerpt from the testimony of George Karlin to the internal security sub-committee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate.
– Order! Is the honourable senator seeking leave to incorporate the document in Hansard?
– I again seek leave to incorporate this document in Hansard.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The document is as follows:
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
Mr Sourwine. Or mainly for propaganda purposes?
Mr Karlin. Oh, yes, for propaganda purposes they were used, but it is the collective work, it is not only KGB work, it is Central Committee work, better to say the KGB could use them in a “dark way,” to use their information, whom they met, you see, to ask them, “Well, you met this man. What sort of a man is he, what is his character?” That is very important and a very big work of the KGB, to collect all possible information. That is nothing new for you in what I am telling you.
Mr Sourwine. Did you know Solshenytsyn?
Mr Karlin. I never met him.
Mr Sourwine. Were you acquainted withhim? Did you know him?
Mr Karlin. No.
Mr Sourwine.I am sure you know who he is.
Mr Karlin. Oh, yes.
Mr Sourwine. What others, what other persons that you have not testified about did you know who like you were working for the KGB?
Mr Karlin. Well, there are many of them.
Mr Sourwine. That is rather a large question. Suppose instead of asking you to answer that now, I ask you to keep a little list and jot the names down as you think of them. Jot down the names of others who like you were co-opted or otherwise put under KGB orders, and who worked for the KGB.
Mr Karlin. You want to know my knowledge about the co-opted institution?
Mr Sourwine. In a sense, yes. You have already told us part of what it did. Now contribute what you can about who was in it.
Mr Karlin. All right.
Mr Sourwine. And how extensive it was. The time has arrived at 12 o’clock.
Suppose we take a recess.
Can you come back and testify further this afternoon?
Mr Karlin. Sure. (Whereupon, at 12 meridian, the subcommittee was recessed to reconvene at 2 p.m., the same day.)
Senator Thurmond. The hearing will come to order, the witness will resume the stand.
Mr Sourwine. I believe that we had concluded the discussion of the subject we were in before the recess at noon.
Mr Karlin. Yes.
Mr Sourwine.I wonder if we could start this afternoon and make a record with respect to what you know about Wilfred Burchelte.
There is mention of him at several places in the record, but if you will just start fresh and tell us who he is, what you know about him, when you first met him and go on from there.
Mr Karlin. OK.I will do that briefly.
I met him in Germany in 1947 when I went there by the order of the KGB, to “sell myself,” to find the good buyer, particularly among the British Intelligence Service. At that timeI met Burchette and we went together to the Peenemunde. That is a German place where the rocket installation was at that time. When we came back he later telephoned, he sent through another gentleman the message for me to come and sec him and he told me that some special gentleman from the British Admiralty came to talk to him, to spend with him the night to understand what the situation has been in Peenemunde because he was one of the first correspondents who visited it.
And then later Burchette took a position to show his sympathy to the Soviet side, to the Communist ideas, and he realized, I guess, that I was rather more than assistant of Mr Besaalpv, who was the Chief of the Bureau of Information of the Soviet Military Government in Berlin. Therefore, he wanted to make a good “friendship” with me.
Mr SOURWINE. Are you saying that you think he recognized you as KGB?
Mr Karlin. Well, probably not exactly, but, you know, he could.
Mr Sourwine. You came to know him later as a man who was himself very experienced in espionage; did you not?
Mr Karlin. It is correct.
Mr Sourwine. So under the circumstances, it is quite reasonable that he might have recognized that you were a little more than you appeared to be.
Mr Karlin. Yes, sir; that is what I wanted to say.
Mr Sourwine. Go ahead.
Mr Karlin. And even he invited me once, I remember, to his party when his father came from Australia, because originally he was an Australian man, and his old father, he was oh, 60, 65 maybe at that time, or 70, but very active man, who was in conversation with me, I remember, he openly declared his Communist ideas.
Mr Sourwine. The father?
Mr Karlin. Yes. The father, he said something about his other sons. 1 know there were two or three of them, in the family, and some of them were in the State of Victoria in Australia.
He wanted to create -I guess he did it specifically by the order of Peter Burchette - to create an atmosphere when it would be easier for Peter himself one day to say that he is a Communist.
Mr Sourwine. By “Peter” you mean Wilfred Peter Burchette?
Mr Karlin. It is correct. In everyday life everyone called him Peter.
Mr Sourwine. Was Peter his first name?
Mr Karlin. Yes, I suppose so; but I really do not know.
Mr Sourwine. Peter Wilfred?
Mr Karlin. Yes, Peter Wilfred.
Mr Sourwine. All right.
Mr Karlin. And he tried any possible way to become closer to me. Well, he tried to be in a close relation with some of our other officers, too, not only with me. He tried to visit our place many times and to come in a particular time when there wasn’t any other foreigners.
Mr Sourwine. Did he speak Russian?
Mr Karlin. No; from my point of view he did not, but I told last time, in my testimony, that the KGB from the beginning when Peter Burchette appeared in my horizon, they didn’t want me to relate with him, in other words, to be sold to him, because they had some information about him which wasn’t so positive from their point of view. They told me that probably even he talked Russian, and they told me that in some situation, in some circumstances, he was in Russia,in Siberia, that he worked in the Intourist Agency. But that was all rather strange because, you see, there wasn’t any confirmation from his side, you know, any evidences. They told me something’ about his private life, about his wife and so on.
They wanted to prevent my relation with him at that time, but later they changed their mind. I repeat in the beginning, they don’t want me to relate win him, with the idea to be recruited by him. But later on when I reported how he behaves, bow he talks to me, situation rather changed.I remember such an episode, one American, whom I mentioned, Robert Gray, came to our office, and before him Burchette came, and we have been in the Bespalov private room, and someone came and said Gray came, his car is there on the street, and Burchette said immediately: “I don’t want him to see me here, please let’s do something.” And I remember how I with him went to another room and we waited there until the American came, talked with Bespalov and left.
Mr Sourwine. What American was that?
Mr Karlin. It was Robert Gray. And then I remember how Burchette told me: ‘Oh, look, I would like to give you advice. This rather dangerous man, this American, it is better for you not to see him.” And they were antagonistic between . them. It wasn’t you see, the usual relation between correspondents. It was something special.
Mr Sourwine. Did he warn you against Gray?
Mr Karlin. Yes.
Mr Sourwine. On what grounds?
Mr Karlin. On the grounds that he was rather suspected by foreign correspondents, that he is not only a news man. but something else. He gave me such a hint.
Mr Sourwine. Did you ever learn whether there was any truth in these reports?
Mr Karlin. Well, my idea about Bob Gray wasthat he worked really in the news department in American military government, but I think that it was very clear that he had some relation with the American Secret Service.
I remember, by the way, that Gray reacted probably in the same way when we talked about Burchette, Gray told me: “Oh, he is awful, you know, he is a very suspicious man and it is better for you not to meet him.”
Mr Sourwine. What was your relationship with Gray, if we may digress long enough?
Mr Karlin. I gave Gray a hint that probably I would be happy to defect to the U.S.A. and he organized my meeting with another American who represented at that time, the American authority, to discuss my possibility to go to the States with some valuable information.
Mr Sourwine. With whom did he arrange that you discuss this?
Mr Karlin. Gray.
Mr Sourwine. Yes.
Mr Karlin. He introduced me to a gentleman named Henry.
Mr Sourwine. Just the one name?
Mr Karlin. Just the one name.
Mr Sourwine. Did anything ever come ofthis beyond the discussion?
Mr Karlin. Well,I met him many times oh, not many, but probably three times. And that was close to the realisation in some way. But then the Soviet, the KGB, called me back to Moscow for 2 weeks with the idea to come back. But then I stayed in Moscow and they didn’t send me back.
Mr Sourwine. So nothing came of this?
Mr Karlin. Nothing came of it, correct.
Mr Sourwine. As far as any pseudo defection?
Mr Karlin. Correct.
Then particularly in the German period Burchette gave me all necessary hints that he is very close to the Communists, and that he wants to have a special relation with me.
Mr Sourwine. You say the German period. You mean while you were in Berlin?
Mr Karlin. That’s correct. Sir. That means from May 1947 until November of 1947.
Mr Sourwine. All right.
Mr Karlin. Then when I came back to Moscow, well, in some years’ time, I wouldn’t say that I heard much about him, but I heard that he was in Korea.
Mr Sourwine. When you say some years’time, you mean several years?
Mr Karlin. Several years, right. That was the Korean war, and he published something, it was republished in the - not in the Soviet press, but in the, how they call it, “progressive” European press. In Paris I think there was some publication in French, someone told me there was a Burchette article. And then I heard that he went to China, he stayed there, and then he went to Vietnam. That is all I heard from some people. I guess it must be emphasized that Burchette was a real and very good newspaperman, columnist, a talented columnist. In 1956 the telephone in my ‘ flat rang and when I took the receiver it was Burchette’s voice. He said he just arrived to Moscow, and that he is now in the Hotel Savoy which now is tilled Berlin. It’s only for foreigners. There were at that time the New York Times bureau, the Reuters Agency and so on.
He asked me to come to see him, and I called to my KGB boss then it was a Captain Churanov. Well, he told me that I can - I am sorry, it’s a mistake, because Churanov was later. Firstly it was Krasilnikov. I telephoned him and I said there is a Burchette here in Moscow, what to do, go to see him or not. Well, a little bit later he told me all right, go and talk to him and probably you will know what he wants, why he called, where he is going, and so on. I went to see him. He was on his way from Hanoi to Bulgaria, to Sofia. Because he was married, it was his second marriage, the Bulgarian girl. He wanted to go to Sofia, then to Warsaw and then to Berlin. That was his idea. Yes, it was the beginning of 1956, because I remember when he came back he told me about some unsettled situation in Poland, particularly in Posnan.
And in that time when I visited him and we went to a restaurant, he openly told me that he is a member of the Australian Communist Party, but for the benefit of party, he is on the illegal underground position, and that - he showed me his document, that was a rather strange paper which was issued in Hanoi, by the North Vietnam Government - but he told me that he hadn’t an Australian passport. He told me that the Australian authority refused to give him the passport. Then he told me that he was in Korea, and then he was in China. He worked there as a free lance correspondent but he was supplied, he was paid by the Chinese Communist Party all that period. Then when he came to Vietnam he was under the - all his expenses were paid by the Vietnam
Communist Party, by Ho Chi Minh, and he mentioned that he was in a very close relation with Chou En Lai, that’s the Chinese, he is now Prime Minister of China, that he was in a very close relation with Ho Chi Minh himself. He told me that he visited him many times, that Ho gave him a house in Hanoi, and a car, a secretary, that he was “equipped” very beautifully by the Vietnamese Communist Party.
And then he said that, he had now a new idea - in that time he told me - that he wanted to come to Moscow and to stay in Moscow because now, after the Khrushchev speech, Moscow became the most important place in the world. And he gave me a bint that he wants to be in Moscow in the same position as he was in China and in Vietnam. In other words, to be a free lance correspondent, representing the American newspaper “National Guardian.” It’s a small “progressive” pro-Communist newspaper, which could give him accreditation because he still formally needed to be accredited. And then he told me that he could get these papers, he could officially bc accredited in Moscow, but money was a problem, because no one would pay him money and he asked money from the Soviet Communist Party.
He told mc all these directly and he said that it would bc nice if I would be able to find right man to discuss all this.
Then he went to Bulgaria. When I reported all that to the KGB well, they thought a long time, you see. And when Burchette came back to Moscow, they ordered mc to tell him that practically, with some hesitation, but still that it is possible for him to come to Moscow and work here and everything would be all right. They told me something like that. And I told him something like that And he went back to Hanoi, and couple years later 1 received a telegram from him that he would arrive such a day, such a plane, and so on
I called to the KGB boss. I told him that Burchette is coming. And at this time a rather funny story happened because instead of the KGB boss whom 1 mentioned as the Krasilnikov, there was another one, Churanov, and probably he didn’t know all about it before, but in the first time there was a confusion. He said, well, we don’t need him, and so on. But Burchette was in Moscow practically. So, situation was not clear. Burchette said, “Well, I would like to go to sec Representative of the Australian Communist Party.”
They both were at that lime in Moscow because it was particularly the time of the Soviet Communist Parly Congress, and they came as guests, visitors, you know. After his meeting wilh them, which I don’t know how it happened, he did it himself, everything was quite all right and the KGB gave him the good flat and, well, 1 guess necessary money. But in that time they asked me to introduce Peter Burchette to the former KGB man, whom I mentioned before, Kartsev. After 1 introduced him, they told me that now this gentleman would relate with Burchette and that it wouldn’t bc necessary for me to continue my relation with him. Later on, from this Kartsev, I knew that they, together organized some operations, they called to London because Burchette was a long-time correspondent of Daily Express, that’s a London newspaper. They called somewhere, somebody, and they expected that someone would come from London to Moscow, and they discussed how to meet him and so forth. That is what I don’t know exactly. I heard only some words from Kartsev. One day he met me and he said everything is well, and there is some operation underway, then Peter called to London, we are expecting someone, and so on.
Then only once I met Peter accidentally, near the gas station in Moscow, and I asked him, whom do you represent, Peter? He said, being proud, “The Daily Express.” That wasn’t correct, of course. But probably there was some relation again, he started to resume his relation with the Daily Express. 1 have seen in his car another gentleman; he was from Germany, (he correspondent of the East Germany News Agency, who just visited Peking and who was on the way back to Berlin.
Well, Burchette came to Moscow wilh his two kids from his second wife. Another son from his first wife, and his first wife, herself as far as I know, are in London.
Once when 1 went to Japan I met in the ship Ordjonikidze, an English reporter from Daily Express, Seeman, a very well-known reporter. He told mc that he is coming from Moscow, he passed through the whole Russia, and now he is going to Japan. He said that in Moscow he mct Burchette. I said, “Well, I knew him in my past. How is he?” Seeman said, “He is a good reporter, he is a very good newspaper man, but we are totally different and his position in Moscow is rather strange.” lt was his opinion. lt was last time when I heard about Burchette.
Now, I know that Burchette had a close relation wilh the boss of the KGB special department which is responsible for the whole foreign correspondents in Moscow. That’s Colonel Barsegov. But I don’t know particular cases which were organized.
Well, I think that is basically the whole story with Burchette. I mentioned before ,hal dealing wilh me firstly, when he wanted to show how valuable person he is, he said about his relation with Marguerite Higgins, an American correspondent and he said that he was in very close intimate relation with her, and then that she even wanted to marry him, and then that she married American Air Force general. He said, “We could use this possibility”, but at the same time he told mc that for him to come to America means to be arrested here automatically. But later on I heard and 1 even read in newspapers that Peter Burchette was m Paris at the peace conference, being wilh the Viet Cong or with Vietnam delegation, and I read in the newspaper that he wanted to be accredited in the United Nations. That i« what I read in the Newspaper.
I think it is all what could be said about Burchette.
Mr Sourwine. Does that conclude your story?
Mr Kurlin. Yes,I think it does. I don’t know whether it is necessary to mention, perhaps this could he off the record.
Mr Sourwine. Off the record.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.32 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 7 October 1971, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1971/19711007_senate_27_s49/>.