27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I present the fol lowing petition from 99 citizens of the Commonwealth:
To the Honourable the President and Senators in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That the Postmaster-General’s Department Central Office policy, of centralising Post Office affairs and activities under the various titles of Area Management, Area Mail Centres, Area Parcel Centres and similar titles is resulting in both loss of service and lowering of the standards of service to the public, directly resulting in the closing of post offices, which is detrimental to the public interest.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the Senate in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to:
Call a halt to all closing of post offices and reorganising within the Post Office until full details of the proposed savings and all details of alteration to the standards of service to the public are made available to Parliament, and
Initiate a joint Parliamentary inquiry into the Postmaster-General’s Department, to assess the degree on which it should be run as a normal business undertaking and to what extent its unprofitable activities should be subsidised as a public service charged more correctly to National Development.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
Similar petitions were presented by Senator Cavanagh, Senator Maunsell and Senator Townley.
Petitions severally received.
Communications Tower on Black Mountain
– I present the following petition from 156 citizens of the Commonwealth:
Tothe Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned respectfully showeth:
That the Australian Post Office proposes to construct a solid concrete tower, housing radio- telephony/television transmission facilities and including a viewing platform and restaurant on Black Mountain in Canberra.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the Senate, in Parliament assembled should:
Take note of the opinion of many responsible citizens that such a tower would seriously impair the beauty of the city and is likely to lessen the value of the Black Mountan flora and fauna reserve.
In view of the need to preserve the environmental quality of the national capital, urge the government to examine this proposal, and in particular to consider placing the solid radiotelephony structureon one of the alternative sites, using Black Mountain for a television transmission mast only.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– I present the following petition from 20 citizens of the Commonwealth:
To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:
That the Australian Education Council’s report on the needs of government education services has established serious deficiencies in education, the most important areas being a severe shortage of teachers, inadequate accommodation, and, as a result, oversized classes.
That extra Federal finance is urgently required to save the government school system.
That while the needs of the government schools are being neglected, large amounts of public money are being given, in various and numerous grants, to private schools.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the Senate in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to make emergency Federal finance available to the States for State school education, and divert the large sums of public money being spent on private schools, to the government school system for which the government is specifically responsible.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– I present the following petition from 16 citizens of the Commonwealth:
The Honourable The President, and Senators in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That on 10th December, 1948, Australia signed the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’,
Article 23 reads: ‘Everyone has the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age and other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.’
Yet, 23 years later, in our country of great national wealth and abundance it is to the nation’s shame that many thousands of our people live in a state of being inconsistent with the dignity and worth of the human person - languishing in poverty and want, neglect and the lack of proper care necessary for their health and well-being.
We; the undersigned, respectfully draw to your attention that the conscience of the nation is not at ease while the records of our country show (hat social services are not comparable with that of other advanced countries administering such services, therefore, we call upon the Commonwealth Government to immediately legislate for:
Base pension rate - 30 per cent -of the average weekly male earnings, all states, plus supplementary assistance and allowances based on a percentage of such earnings. Unemployed benefits equal to the foregoing.
Completely free health services to cover all needs of social service pensioners - hospitalisation, chronic and long-term illness, fractures, anaesthetics, specialist, pharmaceutical, hearing aids, dental, optical, physiotherapy, chiropody, surgical aids and any other appliances.
Commonwealth Government to promote a comprehensive national scheme in cooperation with the States and make finance available to provide for the building of public hospitals, nursing and hostel-type homes necessary to effectively meet the special requirements of aged people, in conjunction with a comprehensive domiciliary care programme to enable aged people to stay in their homes.
Mental illness placed in the same position as physical illness.
Substantial Commonwealth increase in the $5 subsidy a day per public bed, pensioner patient in general hospitals.
Ten per cent of Commonwealth revenue to local government for general activities which now include social welfare, health conservation and other community needs. Commonwealth subsidy for the waiving of rates for pensioners.
Commonwealth Government to increase the non-repayable grant to the States for low rental home units for pensioners.
Royal Commission or other form of public enquiry into Australia’s social welfare structure that Australia may be brought into line with accepted world standards of the most advanced countries.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever prn,
Petition received and read.
– I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move:
The proposed takeover of Ansett Transport Industries Limited by Thomas Nationwide Transport Limited and in particular
and matters incidental thereto.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether he is aware of the increasing concern in Australia at the continuance of terrorist activities associated with the Ustashi? Will he tell us whether one of the practices of the Ustashi is to commemorate the anniversary of the establishment, under the auspices of Mussolini and Hitler, of the fascist state of Croatia which was an enemy of the Allied forces in the last war? Will he tell us if he can, even in broad terms, just what is being done by police forces under his control to see that crimes which have occurred apparently in association with the activities of members of this organisation are cleared up? What disposition of the forces under his control are assigned to this matter? What does the Attorney-General propose to do about it if, as has been reported, he does not intend to take any kind of special approach to the matter?
– I am afraid that the range of the question asked by Senator Murphy is so great that I cannot possibly give him the type of answer he wants, but 1 hope that an opportunity can be provided in the not too distant future for something quite comprehensive to be said. I am aware of recent events which have taken place in this country. I am also aware of the events which have taken place outside Australia and which reflect the divisions between peoples who come from Yugoslavia. I certain deprecate and deplore the activities which are occurring among members of that community in Australia. The tactics which have been adopted and the bombings which have occurred are totally alien to Australian traditions and I think that they have to be condemned on all occasions by all Australians. I am not aware that these activities are associated with the Ustashi, and I think it is regrettable that the suggestion should be made that they are connected with the Ustashi, because it adds a political clement to what should be a situation of real concern to all Australians.
From the inquiries I have been able to make I have found that the Ustashi is an organisation which disappeared after the war. 1 think the attempt to regard all Croatians as members of the Ustashi or Croatian movements as Ustashi, is very wrong. There are individuals who are prepared to disobey the laws of this country and to engage in practices which we find abhorrent. I think that in those areas the police are doing as much as they can in order to ascertain who are the offenders. The police have had success in times past. lt has been suggested that some police are not interested in pursuing these inquiries and bringing the offenders before the courts. As far as I am concerned the Commonwealth police liaise effectively with State police and act in this matter to the best of their abilities. In some areas on some occasions people have been apprehended, brought to court, convicted, and sentenced to imprisonment. The police will continue their efforts.
– I ask a question of the Acting Postmaster-General. Does the Minister propose, when filling the vacancy on the Australian Broadcasting Commission caused by the death of Brigadier Masel, to follow precedent and have the replacement appointed only for the balance of what was Brigadier Masel’s term? When does the Minister expect to be able to announce the name of the replacement?
– Only yesterday the General Manager of the Australian Broadcasting Commission informed me that there was a vacancy. As far as I can ascertain, it has been in existence for approximately 6 weeks. I understand that the Postmaster-General, who as honourable senators know is ill, has the matter under consideration.
– Would the Minister speak up? I cannot hear him. The sound reinforcement system is not functioning.
– 1 think I should start again. Only yesterday the General Manager of the Broadcasting Commission came to talk to me. Among the things he discussed was the vacancy on the Broadcasting Commission caused by the death of Brigadier Masel who, I understand, was a distinguished member of the Commission. I am informed-
– Will the Minister speak up? We still cannot hear him.
– Order! I have instructed the Usher of the Black Rod to investigate what is happening with the sound system in the chamber. Until such time as he reports back to me honourable senators will have to be patient.
– 1 do not think I will begin again. 1 will do my best to pick up where I left off. The problem due to the lack of microphone capacity is compounded by the youthful interjections from the other side. I understand that Brigadier Masel was a distinguished member of the Commission. The Postmaster-General has in mind the re-appointment position. As honourable senators know, he is ill. I expect him to be back before very long. I shall be in touch with the PostmasterGeneral’s Department and the Commission about the matter.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry inform the Senate why the Cannon Hill, Brisbane, abattoir has lost its licence to process meat for sale in the United States? How long is this suspension likely to last? I point out that the peak of the meat export season is approaching.
– I cannot inform the Senate why the abattoir has lost its licence, but I can say that 1 appreciate the urgency of the matter and its importance to the abattoir concerned. I promise the honourable senator that I will make urgent inquiries and let him have an answer as soon as possible.
– J direct a question to you, Mr President. What procedures do you adopt when calling persons to speak on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate? At what time were you informed that Senator Murphy wished to speak on thai motion last night? At what time were you informed that Senator Webster wanted to speak on that motion last night? I advise you that at 4.30 p.m. yesterday I gave notice to the Deputy President that I wished to speak on that motion. Is the system of bureaucracy which operates in relation to the calling of senators to ask questions without notice operating also in relation to the calling of persons to speak on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate?
– I shall give Senator Cant’s series of questions the deepest consideration in the next hour and reply to them later.
– 1 call Senator O’Byrne, the Opposition Whip.
– I thank you Mr worthy President. My question is directed to the Minister for Air. He will remember that I raised a matter relating to the practices at the Royal Australian Air Force Radio Apprentices School at Laverton. He advised the Senate that there had been a court martial which imposed penalties on several second-year apprentices. To clear up the matter I ask the Minister: What measures have been taken to prevent a repetition of such practices? Did the RAAF Command promulgate instructions to all training and other establishments re-stating that severe disciplinary action would be taken in respect of any such conduct in the RAAF? What other measures have been taken to improve the standard of living-in apprentices at the Laverton school? Will the Minister agree that Aircraftsman Apprentice Jacob was justified in objecting to the conduct of the secondyear apprentices at the Laverton school and bringing about this obviously necessary shake-up in supervision of standards of conduct?
– When the honourable senator asked me in my office one day what action I had taken I gave him a full list of the action the Royal Australian Air Force had taken, including the repromulgating of these orders throughout all appropriate RAAF units, taking action as suggested by the court of inquiry to ensure tighter discipline during the leisure hours of the apprentices by seeing that more non-commissioned officers and officers are on duty during these hours. I can obtain further information and give it to the honourable senator if he so wishes. As to whether Jacob was right in doing what he did, I believe that every airman should have the opportunity of bringing an injustice before the notice of the authorities. But there are certain procedures for doing this and one of them is not running to the Press.
– Is the Minister for Civil Aviation aware of the strong representations being made by employees of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd to honourable senators and members of the House of Representatives urging the Government to intervene in the takeover bid by Thomas Nationwide Transport Ltd? Will he consider these representations as urgent and take action to examine the requests of these people?
– Yes, I am aware of the representations. I am aware of the telegrams. I know that all honourable senators are receiving them. I receive them myself. Honourable senators may be assured that the whole situation will be taken most seriously. It may interest honourable senators if 1 read a telegram that arrived today from Thomas Nationwide Transport Ltd. It reads:
Our board assures you that if the proposed merger of TNT and ATI occurs we do not contemplate any reduction whatsoever in airline operational staff and very minor reductions, if any, in head office clerical staff except to the extent that reductions would have occurred in the normal course of business had no merger occurred.
I think it is quite proper for me on every occasion I can to make available all the facts I have. I reiterate: Yes, the matter will be taken seriously and it will be kept under very close review.
– I direct a question to you, Mr President. Are you aware that the publication of yesterday’s Senate Hansard has been delayed by nearly 4i hours today, thereby causing great inconvenience to honourable senators, departments, the diplomatic corps and other recipients? Was this delay due to a mechanical breakdown at the Government Printing Office? If so, will you use your good offices with the Treasurer to have the Government Printer’s obsolete machinery replaced with modern equipment, as recommended by the Joint Committee on Publications last year?
– It is my understanding that there was a mechanical breakdown affecting the printing of yesterday’s Senate Hansard. I am sure that no-one regrets this more than the Principal Parliamentary Reporter, who is at the table. As to whether I have any good offices with the Treasurer to use in the interests of the Senate, I am doubtful. But if they exist, I shall see that they are exerted.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Health. By way of brief preface, I state that on 2nd December 1971 in answer to a question of mine he said that he would give consideration to the points raise.d in the debate on the National Health Bill in 1970 relating to medical benefits for the services of ophthalmologists and optometrists and the prescribing and supply of spectacles. The Minister said further that he would be prepared to put down a ministerial statement in rela tion to the matter. I now ask the Minister whether he will give consideration to making that ministerial statement at the earliest possible time.
I do recall the statement that I made in response to the question. Naturally, what I said automatically would go to the Department. In fact, the issues that were raised are continuing and are under consideration at present. I have not yet in my possession the views that I would wish to study before transposing them into a ministerial statement. But this will be done and there will not be any delay. So, when I do put the ministerial statement down, it will have the full value of the study that I have given to it.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Was Mr A. J. Vasey, Chairman of the Australian Wool Industry Conference, correctly reported when he claimed that the Minister for Primary Industry, Mr Sinclair, told AWIC members on 10th March that a salary of $20,000 was the absolute upper limit for a government instrumentality of this kind? Is the Government likely to submit to the pressures being brought to bear on it to agree to a salary of $40,000 to $50,000, as is anticipated by the AWIC? Is it the intention of the Government to fix the salary of the chairman of the instrumentality, or will the suggestion of Mr I. P. Heffernan, Chairman of the Victorian Farmers Union Wool Committee, be accepted when he said that it was unrealistic that the salary for such an important position should be fixed by the Government? Will the Minister inform the Senate whether the chairman of the instrumentality will be likely to represent the grower organisations, or is it likely that the chairman will come from the broker organisations?
– I am not aware of what Mr Vasey said. I certainly shall ask for a copy of his remarks. When I receive that copy I will be in a position to answer not only that specific point but also all the other points that the honourable senator has raised.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science. Has the attention of the Minister been drawn to a Press release by the Press officer of La Trobe University, Mr Robert Seagrave, that most of the campus flats were occupied by unmarried couples, that one must be realistic and that there are some married couples in the flats but they are in the minority? Mr Seagrave said that he believed a similar situation would arise next April when a $3m housing project got under way. Will the Minister inform the Senate whether the $3m provided for this purpose will be loaned from university funds to a non-profit company managed by representatives of various university authorities and students? What terms of repayment are usual for such moneys; or are the buildings retained by the university and are only current expenses met by the company? Does the Federal Government approve of portion of the education grant to the State of Victoria being used to provide a building for the purpose outlined by Mr Seagrave?
– 1 have seen quite a deal of reference to this matter, particularly in the form of a reported statement by the honourable senator himself, followed by a statement by the Minister of Education in Victoria and some statements from some officers of the university. At this juncture I will not even attempt to state any facts in regard to the matter. I ask the honourable senator to put the question on the notice paper and I will seek early consideration of it. That is also my attitude with regard to the particulars of the loan to which the honourable senator referred, as to which I have no precise information which would be of any value to the honourable senator and which I can give him today.
– I preface my question, which I direct to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, by reminding him that on 23rd February last I directed a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate in his capacity as Minister representing the Treasurer. My question related to specific grants to the Tasmanian Government to be passed on to the Tasmanian companies concerned with canning fruit, particularly apples. Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson said that be would redirect the question to the Minister for Primary Industry. My question is simple: When may I expect a reply to that question? I now ask the Minister whether he will ask the Minister for Primary Industry to visit the apple and pear growing areas of Tasmania as soon as possible to examine at first hand the needs of the orchardists and canning companies.
– 1 will admit that it has been a rather long wait since 23rd February, but the honourable senator has indicated the background to his question. 1 shall certainly chase it up, see where the matter rests and endeavour to obtain an answer for him. I will also pass his invitation on to the Minister for Primary Industry and ask him to reply to the honourable senator directly.
My question is directed to the Acting PostmasterGeneral. The Minister will recall that yesterday he said he had directed the Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board last week to study the position of the licences of Channels 0 in Melbourne and Brisbane in the event of a takeover of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd by Thomas Nationwide Transport Ltd. I now ask the Minister whether the report has yet come to hand. If so, will the Minister say what is the position in respect of the transfer of the licences to the takeover company? If the report has not come to hand, will the Minister request the Board to furnish it to him as a matter of urgency? When he has received it, will he advise the Parliament of the exact position so far as the future of the licences is concerned?
– I think the honourable senator will agree with me that I made the point that late last week I had read in the Press comments about this matter and that I had asked the Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to supply me with information about it. Work is proceeding on that point, but I think I ought to mention additionally that late yesterday afternoon a request was received from TNT for approval to acquire 23i per cent of the shares in Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. The Australian Broadcasting Control Board will therefore, having received that official request, be making a full investigation of the TNT shareholdings to determine whether the acquisition is permissible under the Act. It will then report to the Minister. I do not think I can go beyond that at present, except to say that I accede to the honourable senator’s request for the earliest possible action.
– Has the AttorneyGeneral seen a statement by Dr J. F. Cairns, a prominent Opposition spokesman, calling for yet another Vietnam Moratorium demonstration? Will the AttorneyGeneral give the Senate an assurance that the rights of individual citizens will be protected and that industry and commerce will not be disrupted by the supporters of North Vietnam and other outside influences?
– I have seen the statement attributed to Dr Cairns in which he called for people to go into the streets to protest. I must say that it is a most remarkable and self-damning statement by a front bench member of the Australian Labor Party. Not only does he call for public support for North Vietnam in the face of activity which is clearly aggression by North Vietnam, but he also asks people in those circumstances to return to the streets in protest. I understand, Mr President, that Dr Cairns proposes a pattern of activity comparable to that engaged in during previous moratoriums, but this time openly in support of North Vietnam. Involved in this course is wholesale breaking of the law by people in such numbers that the processes of law enforcement are impeded. It is licence of the few in dental of the rights of the many.
It is significant to note that one change in this moratorium is supposed to be that people will go onto the streets in Melbourne at the time when there is Friday night shopping, which clearly indicates the intent of those who are engaging in these activities. I cannot give the honourable senator the assurance which he seeks - that rights of individual citizens will be protected - because essentially the maintenance of law and order in those circumstances is very difficult and primarily the responsibility of an overtaxed State police force. One can say only that possibly the greatest incentive to the assurance which the honourable senator is seeking would be if the leadership of the Australian Labor Party were to repudiate Dr Cairns and repudiate all association by the ALP in this moratorium.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior whether he can inform the Parliament whether information gleaned by census takers is confidential. Is the Minister aware that a census taker is alleged to have informed Councillor S. Marsh of the Mulgrave Shire Council that up to 27 Aborigines were living in a home in Hall Road near Edmonton? What was the name of the census taker and has disciplinary action been taken against him for disclosing information which should have been confidential?
– An allegation is made that something has happened and then I am asked to take disciplinary action on that allegation. All that can be done here is to ask the responsible Minister what are the facts in this matter in order that the honourable senator can be told of them.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Civil Aviation. I refer to the proposed visit of the Concorde to Australia in mid June of this year and the Minister’s Press statement that the Concorde could fly at supersonic speeds only over remote areas of Australia. Can the Minister say whether tests will be conducted by his Department in relation to the effects of the sonic boom and other aspects while the Concorde is flying at supersonic speeds in Australia?
– I have some information on sonic boom which will probably help the honourable senator. It may not answer his question fully but to the extent that it does not 1 will obtain extra information for him. The Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, England, for some time has been carrying out sonic boom tests using the Concorde. In Australia, while Qantas Airways Ltd continues to study the economics of the aircraft, the Department of Civil Aviation has been keeping in close touch with developments relating to supersonic aircraft noise and the possible effect of the sonic boom. Special International Civil Aviation Organisation committees are studying both these aspects and Australia is represented on both those committees. The Australian Academy of Science has carried out an independent study on possible effects on the upper atmosphere, and its report concluded that significant effects could not be expected from supersonic operations. The Department advises me that it is not intended to carry out any sonic boom tests dining the proposed visit of the Concorde to Australia. We as a Department are awaiting the final detailed reports of the Royal Aircraft Establishment testing at Farnborough, England. As mentioned in yesterday’s Press release, the Concorde could - 1 underline the word ‘could’ - fly at supersonic speeds but only over very remote parts of Australia.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Supply aware that there have been further dismissals of top grade electrical technicians by the Goverment Aircraft Factories at Avalon, Victoria? Does this mean that the Government has no immediate plans to place orders for the excellent STOL aircraft known as Project N? Is the Government aware that technicians of the quality of the tradesmen dismissed are hard to come by and that it is being very shortsighted in dismissing men of their calibre if it has any intention of rehabilitating this very important industry in Australia?
– I am not aware that the honourable senator has stated a fact but I shall make inquiries of the Minister concerned and obtain some information for him. As I have said before, Project N is still undergoing an evaluation of the military need for this aircraft in the Department of Defence. It has been stated that this evaluation is hoped to be completed in the latter part of April. We have not arrived at that position yet, so I do not know where the honourable senator gets his information that the Government has shelved the project.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. (1) Has the Government any information as to whether Lin Pao, the former Deputy Premier of the People’s Republic of China, is alive or dead? (2) If it is believed that he is dead, is there any information as to the nature of and reasons for his death? (3) Would it not be a matter for proper inquiry and debate at the United Nations level that the Deputy Premier and heir apparent of numerically the largest nation on earth can disappear without explanation being offered for his disappearance?
– I approach the problem of penetrating this mystery in a reply to a question without notice with some hesitancy. I feel that in a matter of such importance T should ask for precision in the answer and I therefore ask the honourable senator to put the question on the notice paper.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation. In view of the fact that as Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation you, Mr Minister, in correspondence with me on 1st March 1972, expressed the belief in the penultimate paragraph of the letter that the independent committee of inquiry into the Repatriation Act had power to consider the limb making activities of the Repatriation Department, and as this would appear to be denied in correspondence of 13th January 1971 from Mr Williams, the Secretary to the inquiry, to Mr Jones of Appliance and Limb Centre Pty Ltd of Sydney, I ask: Will the Minister for Repatriation examine the actual terms of reference to ascertain whether the belief held by you, Mr Minister, or the belief held by Mr Williams, is the correct one? If it is found that the inquiry cannot inquire into the limb making activities of the Repatriation Department, will the Minister broaden the committee’s terms of reference to give it power to inquire into what the Minister believed he had given the power to inquire into, and being of that belief must have been of the opinion that the inquiry was needed?
– I do not readily recollect the point that the honourable senator is making and the correspondence concerned. But I will most certainly draw his question to the attention of the Minister for Repatriation and obtain an answer for him.
– By way of preface to my question I refer to a viewpoint expressed by Senator McManus on South Vietnam and the rather cautious responses from both our Minister for Defence and Minister for the Army. I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether he considers, in view of past happenings, that the fragmentary society that exists in South Vietnam makes a viable state impossible and therefore the Government’s policy now is more in accord with what the Labor Party has advanced for the last 4 years.
– Certainly not.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Has the Minister noted the proposed merger so far as vegetable processing is concerned in Australia of British Tobacco Co. (Australia) Ltd and Watters Industries Ltd of New Zealand? Has there been an assessment of the significance of this move to Australian producers, some of whom are already producing at little more than the cost of production? Can the Minister indicate whether this move is likely to result in an increase of imports of frozen vegetables on to an already glutted Australian market?
– I did see a report of this proposed merger, but I remind the honourable senator that the principal part of the trade in processed vegetables carried out under the New ZealandAustralia Free Trade Agreement, is 13071/72- S.- f38 mainly in peas and beans. The Government has set up a pea and bean panel comprising representatives of the growers and processors and officials from the Department of Primary Industry and the Department of Trade and Industry. Under the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement there is a further joint panel which looks into trade between these 2 countries. I understand that this panel has done a pretty fair job of watching the trade interests of both countries. The only other information I can give the honourable senator is that I understand that there was a meeting of that panel in Wellington, New Zealand, last week. No doubt the representatives at that meeting considered the point that the honourable senator raised about the proposed merger of these 2 companies.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport: What action is proposed to be taken in the way of staff changes and reorganisation of administrative and managerial practices in the Australian National Line following the staggering revelation that there were 11,500 unfilled passenger berths on ANL passenger-vehicle ships on the Tasmanian run during November and December 1971 and January 1972? Does the Government accept that the situation so revealed reflects gross managerial incompetence to an extent which threatens the economic viability of the Line’s passenger services and does serious harm to a sensitive area of the Tasmanian economy almost entirely dependent on shipping?
– I am surprised to hear all this. I thought there was some problem facing people trying to get berths to go from the Austraiian mainland to Tasmania and to return. I read a letter in a newspaper recently written by somebody complaining about having had to wait 6 months. What the honourable senator has suggested is a mystery to me. I can go no further than that. I do not know to what extent the Australian National Line - is dependent for its income and profitability upon the passenger trade between the Australian mainland and Tasmania.
– You were the one who wrote to me. It was your letter.
– What I did was to send a letter to you from the Minister for Shipping and Transport.
– That is right.
– Please try, if you can, to be a little reasonable. I represent the Minister for Shipping and Transport; I do not write his letters. I endeavoured to get for you a reasonable answer. I will do the same again in this case.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. I refer to a statement made by the Minister in the Senate towards the end of last session, informing the Senate of the provisions which, it was then stated, the Government proposed to include in its forecast legislation for the supervision of general insurance companies in Australia. Is the Minister in a position to assure the Senate that this legislation will be introduced during the current session?
I am not in a position to state with precision the legislative programme for this series of sittings. I will seek the information from the Treasurer and respond to the question later.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation: What is the current position relating to the announcement by Qantas Airways Ltd of services between Australia and London for a fare of $420 and for an excursion fare of $700? Have any aviation authorities in Britain, France or Germany yet determined their attitudes towards the Qantas proposal? Tn the event that these authorities reject or frustrate the proposed fares, what prospects are there for an early commencement of such services?
– I have. 3 pieces of information bearing upon the question asked by the honourable senator. The reactions of other airlines have been varied. Some governments have indicated that the matter is still under consideration while 2 governments have suggested that the new fare be discontinued at least until it can be discussed unilaterally. I understand that the position is that the governments concerned have not finalised their attitudes towards the new fare pending consideration of the matter at a meeting of the European Directors-General which is currently taking place and which was in session yesterday. I think the general position is one of which the honourable senator is well aware. It is an attempt to provide a cheaper form of travel for many Australians to the United Kingdom, Europe and return and, equally, to build up the market situation of Qantas Airways Ltd which is being heavily diverted through Singapore. I think that the booking conditions are well known to the honourable senator. Most airlines are marketing the new fare and the airlines which have a substantial interest in flying to and from Australia are most concerned to maintain that situation. Other airlines which, primarily, have a European interest are less enthusiastic. We are watching the position very carefully. More information will come forward. I will be happy to have the honourable, senator ask me questions about this matter or I shall talk to him about it as the information comes in. It is coming in every 4 days.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science. Is it a fact that because, of adverse weather and other environmental conditions the amount of time unsuitable for outdoor physical education programmes in State high schools is, in no State, less than 25 per cent of the school year? Is it also a fact that 75 per cent of State high schools do not have gymnasiums or suitable indoor facilities for physical education activities? Will the Minister inform the Senate what steps, if any, the Government proposes to take to make these indoor facilities available so that physical education programmes in our schools will be more effective in that they will be continuous, varied and balanced and not dependent on weather conditions?
– I do not have the information available to say to what extent environmental or weather conditions preclude outdoor recreational activities in schools. With regard to the question about the provision of gymnasiums, the priorities for the development of any particular educational facility must be recognised to be a matter of State responsibility. In that regard I remind the Senate that over the last 10 years State expenditure on education annually has increased from $401m to $l,284m this year. As to whether the Minister will take any steps in this sphere to make available physical education programmes, I remind the honourable senator that, a few weeks ago, I think he asked a similar question of my colleague the Minister for Health. I understand that that question is receiving attention.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry confirm or deny the truth of a report which appeared in the ‘National Times’ last week that the Randall Committee report on the wool industry is decidedly cool towards any idea of total acquisition of the wool clip?
– I cannot give any information. The newspaper is expressing a view and that is all there is to it.
– I ask a question of the Minister for Civil Aviation and refer him to a question relating to the Concorde aircraft which I asked yesterday and which appears on page 908 of Hansard. I do not believe the Minister replied satisfactorily to the question. In a Press release dated 22nd March concerning the possible atmospheric effects of supersonic, aircraft the Minister stated that the Government had always emphasised that it would make any decision on the Concorde or supersonic jet aircraft in the light of all the expert evidence available. I ask the Minister: Is it not a fact that the pioneering work of Dr H. Johnstone of Berkeley University, the decision of the Canadian Parliament to prohibit supersonic flights and a recent scientific conference in Massachusetts, United States of America, have all contradicted the conclusions of the Australian Academy of Science in relation to the Concorde aircraft? I appreciate that today a question was asked of the Minister, by Senator Young from South Australia. But I say: How can these views be reconciled with the reply given by the Minister yesterday that the matter of the projected Concorde visit is, as stated by the Minister: ‘still under careful and detailed study’ when he has already decided to allow the Concorde to visit Australia? Can I take it from the reply that he has given to Senator Young today that the Concorde will be permitted to produce sonic booms during its visit to Australia?
– No, the honourable senator cannot. He may take it that the Australian Government and the Department of Civil Aviation have a very high regard for the Australian Academy of Science. They are not able to establish the same high regard for Professor Johnson; neither, apparently, is the Academy of Science. To the extent that the honourable senator feels not as satisfied as he normally would expect, his question yesterday and my answer will be studied and, as always, if my answer needs to be amplified, such amplification will be provided to him.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science. Is it not a fact that one of the primary conclusions of the report of the Advisory Committee on the Teaching of Asian Languages and Cultures in Australia was that there was in Australia inadequate treatment of Asia in social studies and other courses at secondary school level? What steps are being taken by the Commonwealth Government to remedy that situation? If no steps have yet been taken will the Minister make representations to his colleague the Minister for Education and Science to have action implemented to achieve adequate treatment of Asian languages and cultures in secondary schools in Australia?
– I remind the Senate that the Government set up a very skilled committee to advise it on the steps to be taken to amplify studies of Asia and Asian languages in Australian schools. It is almost coincidental that about one year ago this day the report was tabled in Parliament. I can assure the honourable senator that any implication in his question that the report is not being paid sufficient attention can be dismissed. That report has been the subject of consideration by several, committees created on an ad hoc basis. as different problems required solution, lt has also been the subject of discussions with the State authorities in whose schools the implementation of the report would primarily be carried out. These consultations having concluded recently, the report is now under examination, for recommendation by the Minister and then for decision by the Government.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. As the Government has announced that it will take no action against the illegal activities of the Rhodesian Information Centre and that it will change the law to suit the Rhodesians, can the Attorney-General indicate what other areas of the law he intends to change to suit the wishes of the people opposing those sections of the law? If it is deemed desirable to support Rhodesia against the United Nations, would it not be reasonable to amend the National Service Act so that thousands of young men who object to this law can have their wishes met by a government which apparently is ready to amend and apply the law to suit its beliefs and attitudes?
– The honourable senator’s question is based upon certain statements which are not true. Consequently, all the conclusions which he draws and upon which he really asks for my comment are quite unwarranted and unfounded. The fact is that as far as the Government’s examinations are concerned there are no illegal activities of the Rhodesian Information Centre. It must be appreciated that the Minister for Customs and Excise indicated in a statement which he made in the other place yesterday that certain documents which were put in his possession contain material which he believed were prohibited imports. If the honourable senator looks at the Customs Act he will find that is adequate ground for the Minister for Customs and Excise to retain those articles. Of course, the documents which were handed to him came to him by a very circuitous route, and who knows from what source they came and what might have been added to the documents before they came into his hands. Dealing with the question of changing the law to suit the Rhodesian Information Centre, there is no such intention, nor has there ever been any statement which would warrant that interpretation. The fact is that the Government has not adopted the approach of backing Rhodesia against the United Nations. Statements such as those which the honourable senator made, today merely compound the many untruths which have appeared in the newspapers over the past 2 weeks regarding what has been occurring in this area.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Health been drawn to an article appearing in the ‘Age’ of 5 th April 1972 directed to the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders which states that venereal disease is widespread among Aborigines of the Northern Territory? Can he assure the Senate that his Department will investigate this claim to ensure that my fellow Aborigines in the Northern Territory will be given every medical help in this matter?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONYes, I have seen the article in the ‘Age’. In fact, I have it in front of me. I want to respond to the article by saying that there is no evidence that the incidence of venereal disease in the Northern Territory poses a threat to the survival of the Aboriginal race. It is true that there has been an upsurge in the incidence of venereal disease of various kinds in the Northern Territory in recent years. This is a reflection of an Australia-wide, even a worldwide trend. The steps that have been taken in recent years to combat the problem in the Northern Territory include the introduction of provisional notification which means that a doctor gives notification before final confirmation of the existence of the condition. This greatly facilitates any contact tracing that may be necessary. In addition, direct reporting from laboratories to the Department of Health of all positive tests is now required. In the field of health education a specialist has been appointed whose duties include the exploration of ways in which the Aboriginal’s knowledge of the dangers of venereal disease can be increased. Health education pamphlets are issued in several Aboriginal languages and free treatment is available. I assure the honourable senator and the Senate that the Government is well aware of the seriousness of the problem and will continue to take positive steps towards its control.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Health. As the Drug Evaluation Committee has recommended that soap powders and pastes containing hexachlorophene should not be used on young babies or for certain other uses associated with older people except by prescription by legal practitioners, and as the ordinary person does not know the ingredients of many soap powders or pastes, will the Minister insist that any product containing hexachlorophene be so branded?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI would like to give a little supplementary information on the question which the honourable senator has posed. The Australian Drug Evaluation Committee has reported that it is not aware of any antiseptic of equal value which has been as exhaustively studied and that it considers the continued use of hexachlorophene in hospital nurseries both safe and desirable. The Committee has recommended that preparations such as creams and powders for routine baby care should not contain hexachlorophene or other similar antiseptics. This recommendation does not apply, however, to preparations prescribed by medical practitioners for the treatment of skin conditions in babies.
Convulsions and other signs of central nervous system toxicity have been observed in patients with extensive burns bathed in hexachlorophene. The Committee has recommended that hexachlorophene should not be used for the cleansing of severe burn wounds. The use of hexachlorophene by surgeons for scrubbing prior to surgery - we all know that ‘scrubbing’ means scrubbing up for surgery - and the use of medicated soaps under medical supervision are not regarded as hazardous and the Committee sees no reason for these usages to be discontinued.
With regard to cosmetics and toiletries, there is no evidence to show that the inclusion of hexachlorophene or other antiseptics in these products serves any useful purpose other than as a preservative. As such, hexachlorophene should be used in concentrations no higher than 0.1 per cent and then only when no safer preservative is available. That is the background leading to consideration of the general question that has been posed.
The responsibility for restricting the use of hexachlorophene is vested mainly in the various State health departments by the inclusion of hexachlorophene in the appropriate poisons schedules of the States. Accordingly, the Poisons Schedules SubCommittee of the National Health and Medical Research Council is to consider the Committee’s recommendations. That is where the matter sits at the moment. It is not yet completely resolved. It is now in an area where it is being studied in the context largely of the question posed by Senator Cavanagh.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation: Is it a fact that Australian insurance companies have announced that they will not issue cover against property damage which might result from supersonic aircraft boom? Will the Minister ascertain the reasons why the insurance companies have applied this restriction? Will this matter be investigated with a view to such cover being made available to those who desire it to be included in their comprehensive property insurances?
– When I read this report in the Press, I directed that an inquiry be made into the matter because it seemed to me to be quite unrealistic, to say the least, for insurance companies to express reservations well ahead of any potential event or any possible contemplated danger.
– Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that Mr E. W. Barr, the Assistant Manager of H. J. Heinz and Co. Australia Ltd, claims that a 10 per cent price increase will occur in canned food charges if the Standards Committee on Packaging insists that cans containing 16 oz, or 454 grams of food, be increased to hold 500 grams, because cans would need to be taller and bigger labels and bigger cartons would be required? Can the Government assure consumers that they will not be penalised by price increases because of the decision to change to the metric system?
– Senator Keeffe directed to me, as I recall it, 2 questions in relation to the situation that may emerge with respect to certain commodities as a consequence of the switch to the metric system of weights and measures. I think that at the time I said that the questions should be referred to the Treasurer and that I would do so. I was informed subsequently that the questions should be referred to the Minister for Education and Science. A committee which has the responsibility, to a degree, in relation to questions which may well arise in the changeover period, including those which have been asked here, is under that Minister’s control. So, my answer to Senator Poke’s question is that I will have it referred to the appropriate department. This question will be referred in the same way as the. 2 questions that Senator Keeffe put to me have been referred.
2, 4, 5-T
– Has the Minister for Health noted the action of the New Zealand Agricultural Chemicals Board which has imposed restrictions on the weed killer 2, 4, S-T because it has been associated with deformities in new born babies? I therefore ask the Minister: What action is he contemplating on this question in conjunction with State authorities?
I have here some background information in answer to the honourable senator’s question. The matter was raised by Dr Everingham in another place some little time ago and again yesterday at another level by Senator Wilkinson. The weed killer 2, 4, 5-T was the subject of a recent series of questions. As I understand the situation reference was made to a statement by the National Health and Medical Research Council in April 1970. In that statement the Council said that scientific evidence available required verification because the work done did not specifically incriminate 2, 4, 5-T as a toxicological hazard to humans. However, the Council recommended that (a) the use of 2, 4, 5-T in areas where other water contamination could occur should not be permitted; (b) until further evidence is available precautions should be taken to avoid the exposure of women, particularly those in the child bearing age group, to 2, 4, 5-T.
The relevant State authorities have been informed of the recommendations. I am advised that arising out of the application of State legislation to chemicals used for agricultural, pastoral and horticultural purposes 2, 4, 5-T on retail sale in Australia is labelled with safety directions. Insofar as the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory are concerned the authorities responsible for the control of catchment areas in respect of public water supplies have been informed of the statement by the National Health and Medical Research Council with particular reference to the advice on water contamination. If it is felt that further information is required I will be only too willing to seek it and to make it available without delay.
– Does the Minister for Health accept that there has been an increasing incidence in the number of cases of bends and other medical problems frequently leading to death which have resulted from the growing practice of deep underwater diving with the use of currently available equipment? I refer to diving for both commercial and pleasure purposes. Can anything be done to test this diving equipment? Is anything being done to test the suitability of the equipment which is readily available on the market to divers and also to test the knowledge, competence, and physical capacity of people who engage in sustained, deep underwater dives? Is it possible, in view of the increasing medical problem, to reduce by education or other acceptable means the, deaths and injuries currently resulting from this activity?
Insofar as the Department of Health is concerned, I would need to be briefed about the matter. When I was Minister for Supply certain studies of deep diving were being carried out in a defence laboratory or one of the other sections of the Department. I am relying on memory now: I will get a report from my own Department without delay and I will also seek some background information from the defence Complex. I have an idea that the Navy was involved in the problem. It is a very Interesting question which involves cases about which we sometimes hear. I am sure that we would all like to be, informed of the current situation.
– Earlier this afternoon I called Senator Cant to ask a question without notice. I must confess that I thought the power was going into another circuit and I was rather surprised to find that the question was addressed to me. I will reply to it, as I undertook to do. I thought that the honourable senator’s question centred on the word ‘bureaucracy’. There is no bureaucracy in the Presiding Officer’s duty. If there is a bureaucrat, it is I, but I thought that I would be the last senator who would be accused of a bureaucratic approach to anything. However, I now wish to reply specifically. The general question of calls made by the President or Chairman of Committees involves a right that is centred in the Chair. Noindividual senator has a right to claim priority over any other senator. The practice in general terms, and it is one that I certainly follow, is to provide equal opportunity for every honourable senator alternatively from the right and the left of the chairin order to keep the debate going as well as is possible and to stimulate progressive argument.
As to the question of calling senators during the debate on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate, I attempt to do what in fact I did last night; that is, to group the debate as much as I possibly can in order to facilitate the task of the Minister whose duty it is to reply. In other words, it gives him some time to consider the matters that have been raised by various senators in the debate. As to the priority or otherwise of honourable senatorsin this situation, it is true that all senators are equal, but it is equally true that,in George Orwell’s phrase, some are more equal than others. I therefore accord priority to the Leaders of the parties; first to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, then to the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party. I shall continue to follow that practice.
As to the particularity of what occurred last night, I wish to reply as follows: Yes, Senator Cant advised me early yesterday morning of his wish to speak during the adjournment debate. Had he informed me earlier than Senator Murphy, the Leader of the Opposition? The answer is yes, he had, but I applied the rule of equality to Senator Murphy by calling him first. I then applied the general rule which I follow by calling Senator Webster who sits on my right, as distinct from Senator Murphy who sits on my left. I am glad to notice the difference. There are times when I would be worried if they sat together. Senator Webster then initiated a debate which triggered a whole series of demands and wishes from senators for acknowledgment by the President. I clearly discerned that the senators who were following Senator Webster were wishing to express a point of view which could be grouped in the way that I described earlier. I became increasingly worried because I realised that Senator Cant would find some difficulty in placing his debating material before the Senate.
I called up Senator Cant and apologised for putting him further down the list. Senator Cant, most generously I thought, indicated to me that he did not wish to keep the Senate sitting very much longer and he would withdraw. That is my explanation. I then said that I would call Senator Cant tonight to speak first in the adjournment debate, if he wished to do so. Perhaps Senator Murphy might accord some priority to Senator Cant in these circumstances.
(Question No. 1801)
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
Who is to determine the particular brand of oil dispersed to be offered by the Commonwealth Government for stockpiling by State Governments?
– The Acting Minister for Shipping and Transport has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
A Technical Committee with representatives from Departments of the Navy, Primary Industry, National Development, Shipping and Transport and from CSIRO and industry is currently examining a specification for a suitable dispersant. It is anticipated that their recommendation will specify a chemical formulation or a capability requirements rather than a particular brand of the commodity.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1932)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The members whose speeches were circulated following addresses given by them to the Councils concerned were- Mr E. M. C. Fox, M.P., (Chairman of the Immigration Planning Council), Mr K. C. P. Enderby, M.H.R., (a member of the Opposition), the Hon. Phillip Lynch, M.P. and Senator G. S. Davidson (Chairman of the Immigration Advisory Council).
(Question No. 1969)
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
and (2) The article referred to in the question does not say how long ago it was since Mr Graham McMahon had visited the area. Since evidence was given to the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution 2 years ago, considerable sums of money have been expended towards rehabilitation of the River and its environs. Measures taken have included -
The Australian Atomic Energy Commission is looking into ways and means of further rehabilitation. Some experiments on revegetation are being carried out by the Northern Territory Administration on behalf of the Commission.
(Question No. 1944)
asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
What is the financial commitment of the Department of Civil Aviation for the financial year 1971-72 in (a) the Northern Territory, and (b) South Australia.
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Part of the information requested is set out in the attached statement of estimated expenditure by Department of Civil Aviation on fixed and movable assets for the financial year 1971-72 in (a) the Northern Territory, and (b) South Australia.
In addition, the estimated total expenditure by the South Australia/Northern Territory Region for Salaries, Administration and General Expensesis $8. 88m. A dissection of this amount between the Northern Territory and South Australia is not readily available, as departmental financial management operates on a regional basis.
– Yesterday Senator Keeffe asked me how many Dakotas are in service in the Royal Australian Air Force, and if they could be used to carry freight in Bangladesh. The present position is that there are 20 Dakota aircraft in the RAAF, all of which are being used for operation purposes. Of these 20 aircraft 13 are used as freighters, 9 of them in Australia and 4 at Butterworth, Malaysia. All these aircraft are serviceable. The normal approach for use of these aircraft would be through the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I am not aware whether such a request has been received by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to use any of these aircraft either to carry goods to Bangladesh or to be used within the country. However should such a request be made I will see that it is examined in detail and see what help by these aircraft could be given, taking into account the operational needs of the RAAF.
(Question No. 1319)
asked the Minis ter for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
Docs Qantas Airways Ltd have any role in co-operation with South African Airways and the
British Overseas Airways Corporation in maintaining air services to Rhodesia; if so, does such action contravene the United Nations Security Council sanctions against Rhodesia.
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Qantas Airways Ltd has no role whatsoever in maintaining air services to Rhodesia.
(Question No. 1524)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
– As Acting Postmaster-General I provide the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1658)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
– As acting PostmasterGeneral I provide the answer to the honourable senator’s question as follows:
Capital Equipment- $14m
Operational - $22m
These Estimates however will need to be revised in view of the announcement of the introduction of Colour Television; this will be done as soon as possible.
(Question No. 1805)
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
What financial grants have been given to the States in the past 5 years for:
Railway rolling stock and track improvements; and
Special grants to the railways to offset interest on capital loans.
– The Acting Minister for Shipping and Transport has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1808)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
– As Acting PostmasterGeneral I provide the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1809)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
(Question No. 1817)
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:
– As Acting PostmasterGeneral I provide the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The forms of cadetship made available in recent years by the Australian Broadcasting Commission to young men and women are as follows:
The ABC News Service has been offering 2 types of cadetships in journalism -
School-leavers are required to wait for 1 year before undertaking part-time University studies. This is to enable them to concentrate on gaining a grounding in working journalism, shorthand and voice-training. Cadets entering the second year of their cadetship are encouraged to enroll for University courses (generally Arts or Commerce) and fees are paid by the ABC. Time off is given to attend lectures.
These were available to school-leavers who had preferably completed at least fourth year at High School.
The traineeship was for a period of 5 years combined PMG/ABC training to qualify as a Technician.
From 1968 to 1970 inclusive, of the 43 Technicians-in-training, 7 were indigenous trainees in Papua New Guinea.
At the commencement of 1971 the type of training changed to a Technical College Certificate Course of 4 years in order to gain sub-professional- qualifications as a Technical Officer. Fees are paid by the ABC.
These cadets are offered a full-time 4 year course to obtain the degree of Bachelor of Electrical Engineering.
Specialist Traineeships are offered to meet the needs of the various specialist areas in the ABC, for example, Music, Education, Current Affairs, Rural Broadcasts, Sporting, Religious, Publicity, etc.
The usual basic qualification required of Specialist Trainees is the Higher School Certificate N.S.W., or its equivalent. Any trainees recruited at this minimum level are encouraged to undertake tertiary studies on a part-time basis. The ABC pays fees and allows time off to attend lectures.
Trainees recruited who have commenced tertiary studies are encouraged to continue on a part-time basis in order to complete their Degree course. Again, the ABC pays fees and allows time off to attend lectures.
Scholarships for string players are offered for a period of 2 years, while scholarships for woodwind, brass and percussion players are offered for 1 year. However, in each case there is provision for an extended period of training if recommended.
These cadetships are offered to indigenous personnel. They comprise a full-time 3-year Arts course at the University of Papua New Guinea. Fees are paid by the ABC.
The forms of Cadetship made available during the first 2 months of 1972 by the ABC are:
Commonwealth and Papua New Guinea.
Current Affairs (Four Corners)
Programmes (TV and Radio)
(Question No. 1822)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
Which countries now have colour television or have announced a date for the introduction of colour television.
– As Acting Postmaster-General I provide the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
From the information available to me, which may not necessarily be complete, the following countries have colour television or have announced a date for its introduction.
Belgium New Zealand
Democratic Republic Poland of Germany Sweden
Federal Republic of Taiwan
Finland United Kingdom
France United States of
Hong Kong America
Hungary U.S.S.R., and
(Question No. 1839)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
– As Acting Postmaster-General I provide the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1840) Senator DOUGLAS McCLELLAND asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
What consideration, if any, has the Government given to the calling of applications for a second commercial broadcasting licence in Canberra.
– As Acting Postmaster-General I provide the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The Australian Broadcasting Control Board has the question of the further development of the commercial broadcasting services under continuous review and in this connection the possibility of the establishment of a second commercial broadcasting station to serve Canberra has been under consideration for some time, but 1 am not yet in a position to indicate the outcome.
(Question No. 1876)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1910)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
What financial and other assistance to the various State Good Neighbour Councils -
was provided by the Government during each of the last 3 years, and
is budgeted for during the current financial year.
– The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Financial assistance is provided to the various State Good Neighbour Councils through GrantsinAid.
The amounts provided for the last 3 financial years were:
For 1971-72, $526,000 has been provided as follows:
The Grants-in-Aid are planned to cover the basic administrative costs of the Councils in order that they may most effectively co-ordinate voluntary community effort in the integration of new settlers.
Financial assistance is also made available to Good Neighbour Councils under the scheme administered by my Department whereby a grant amounting to some $8,000 annually is provided to community agencies engaged in a direct service to the migrant community, to provide for the employment of a qualified social worker and associated costs. Four of the Good Neighbour Councils (New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia) have qualified for this grant.
The Department of Immigration maintains a small section to administer the Grants-in-Aid, to provide guidance for each of the State Good Neighbour Councils and to co-ordinate their activities.
In addition, the Department’s Information Branch provides an officer to form a link between the Good Neighbour Councils and the Department in publicity and information matters, with the responsibility of developing informative and interesting news items and reports about Council activities for presentation in publications, in Australia and overseas. He arranges press, radio and TV coverage of Good Neighbour Council Conferences, Annual Meetings and other activities with the assistance of officers of the Information Branch based in the Department’s State Offices.
The Information Branch also makes available display material for use at Council exhibitions and conferences. It assists the Good Neighbour Councils in the preparation and production of brochures, booklets, pamphlets, and other printed material. When appropriate, Good Neighbour Council activity is mentioned in Departmental films, radio programmes, publications and articles.
The Department has undertaken special advertising campaigns in the foreign language press and English language newspapers outlining the services provided by the staff and voluntary workers of the Good Neighbour Councils.
In 1970 the services of an officer of the Department were made available to the Good Neighbour Councils of New South Wales and Western Australia, and in 1971 to the Good Neighbour Council of Victoria, to advise them in matters of organisation and methods,.
The Department’s State Offices make available to the Councils information relating to migrant arrivals to facilitate initial contact and counselling. They also assist Councils with advice and guidance on matters of immigration procedure.
(Question No. 1989)
asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Roebourne Shire Council for the provision of facilities at Dampier aerodrome. There are several under discussion.
In the case of Dampier, presumably because of its remoteness, it was found impossible to arrange a satisfactory installation contract within the time available. My Department therefore undertook to carry out this work with its own staff on the understanding that 50 per cent of the cost would be provided by the Council.
(Question No. 2000)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The Minister for Labour and National Service has supplied the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 2008)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
– The Acting Minister for Shipping and Transport has provided the following answers:
(a) on 25th January, by the Prime Minis ter;
– In the Senate on 8th March 1972 Senator Kane asked me, as Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, the following questions:
The Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts has furnished the following replies:
– On 9th March, Senator Mulvihill asked the following question, without notice:
How does the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior reconcile the spirit of Estimates discussions, where answers in depth are given, with the failure until now of the Minister for the Interior to release the findings of an expert committee warning of mining depredations adjacent to the Northern Territory Top End National Park when the report in question was in the hands of the Minister late last year?
The Minister for the Interior has provided the following reply to the honourable senator’s question:
The report concerned became available in October 1971 but it was then necessary to print sufficient numbers to permit general distribution. The report was released on 6th March.
Although the Government has not yet accepted all the recommendations in the report it recognised the wide public interest in the proposal and in the concept of preparing a scientifically based report on the area proposed for a national park.
In releasing the report the Minister for the Interior stated that it would be considered by the Government in relation to development proposals for the East Alligator River area generally, and would provide a valuable basis for deliberation on future land use in that area.
– On 21st March 1972 Senator Gietzelt asked the following question, without notice:
I ask Senator Cotton a question in his capacity as Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. Does the Minister agree that all citizens of the Commonwealth over the age of 21 years should be afforded a vote in the Federal elections? In these circumstances, what steps, if any, have been taken to enrol several thousand Aborigines in the Northern Territory so that they may participat . in the forthcoming Federal elections?
The Minister for the Interior has provided the following reply to the honourable senator’s question:
The Government believes that all persons over the age of 21 years should be afforded an opportunity to vote at Federal elections.
Enrolment is not compulsory for an Aboriginal native of Australia and it is an offence for a person tointerfere with or to attempt to interfere with the free exercise by an Aborigine of his choice whether or not to enrol as an elector. Electoral Officers regularly conduct educational programmes to inform the Aboriginal people of their franchise rights and the next such educational programme for the Northern Territory will be undertaken during August/September next.
– For the information of honourable senators I present the report of the Australian delegation to the twenty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly.
– 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 1971, together with the Commission’s financial statements and the report of the Auditor-General on those statements, statements of gauging and diversions during the year, furnished on behalf of the Governments of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
– Is Notice of Motion, No. 1, Government Business, formal or not formal?
– I move:
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report:
Construction of new ward and paramedical building at Repatriation General’ Hospital, Hobart, Tasmania.
The proposed building will accommodate 60 patient beds together with supporting medical and paramedical facilities and will replace 2 existing wards of timber construction erected some 50 years ago which have deteriorated to the stage where they need replacing. The estimated cost of the proposed work is $2. 2m. I table the plans of the proposed work.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Is it desired to post pone or re-arrange the business of the Senate?
– Before the Senate proceeds with item No. 8 I ask for leave to move a motion for the appointment of a senator to the Standing Orders Committee.
– Is leave granted?
– I do not understand the procedure.
– I was advised by the Assistant Clerk that this would be an opportune moment at which to ask for leave.
– The procedure is that a senator gives notice of his intention.
– I was advised that I should ask for leave to move a motion so that I could then proceed to move that motion. It was advised that this was the procedure that should be adopted. I am somewhat ignorant of what ‘ procedure should be followed.
– I was not informed in advance of your intention to follow this course of action. I suggest that I give leave and we will wait to see what action we shall take after you move your motion.
– If leave is granted I will then move a motion forthwith.
– I advise the honourable senator that one dissentient voice is sufficient to prevent leave being granted.
– I do not object to leave being granted but I will take the adjournment when the honourable senator moves his motion.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I move:
That Senator Gair be appointed to All the vacancy on the Standing Orders Committee.
Honourable senators will recollect that recently the report presented by the Standing Orders Committee recommended the increase of the personnel of the Committee by one. I think that this was in contemplation that the Australian Democratic Labor Party might well fill, or should fill, that vacancy. Honourable senators will recall that standing in my name on the notice paper under General Business is notice No. 5 which states:
With a view to the Standing Orders Committee being as representative as possible of the composition of the Senate at anytime, the Senate resolves that - (1) Standing Order 33 be amended by that - (1) Standing Order 33 be amended by leaving out the words ‘seven senators’ and inserting in lieu thereof the words ‘such other senators as may be appointed by the Senate’; and
– Has that been effectively achieved by what we have done?
– Yes, it has. My motion continues:
That motion has never come up for discussion. lt has in fact been superseded by the decision of the Senate on the report of the Standing Orders Committee to increase the personnel by one.
– Perhaps we can dispose of the motion right away.
– Is the motion seconded?
– I second the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Can we ask for leave to discharge notice of motion No. 5 from the business paper?
– If necessary I will move accordingly: I move:
That notice of motion No. S under General Business standing in my name be discharged from page 5087 of the notice paper.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– by leave - Throughout the past year, the basic underlying policy of the Government has been to maintain balanced economic growth, including the provision of employment opportunities for our growing workforce, while at the same time braking the upward pressures on costs and prices. In a period of continually changing economic circumstances, this policy has required an appropriate flexibility of policy.
Honourable senators will recall that in his Budget Speech the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) said that the Government would be keeping the whole situation to which budget policy was directed under very close review throughout the year. The Government’s purpose in so doing, he said, was to make any adjustments in policy which might prove to be necessary.
In accordance with this statement we have been taking action, as necessary, to meet changing social and economic circumstances. To recapitulate the highlights, we took action in October and November to increase bank lending and reduce bond rates. In December non-metropolitan employment-creating grants were introduced and the availability of credit was eased substantially. Prior to the Premiers Conference and Loan Council meeting in February we made substantial further reductions in bond rates and in bank lending and deposit rates.
At the Premiers Conference itself we settled upon sizeable increases in the works and housing and the semi-governmental borrowing programmes of the States. At the same time we announced the doubling of the grants to the States for the amelioration of non-metropolitan unemployment, special revenue grants to the States, and substantial increases in unemployment and associated benefits. With a view to boosting confidence, the investment allowance on manufacturing plant and equipment, which had been suspended in February 1971, was restored.
Since those February decisions there have been further reviews of the economy carried out in the Treasury and the Reserve Bank. These reviews were brought to completion 10 days or so ago. After assessment of them the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and the Treasurer in consultation, and then the Government, have concluded that further measures directed towards our economic management and social objectives are now warranted.
Before detailing those measures, however, let me briefly sketch in the developing economic situation as the Government sees it.
First, let me deal with the increasingly favourable side of the economic scene. I think it fair to say that the whole tenor of public sentiment about the economy has undergone a very marked improvement. This change in mood is pleasing, confirming as it does the continuing soundness and strength of the economy.
Strengthening confidence reflects, among other things, the objective facts of our economy, which has grown strongly and with only occasional and moderate pauses for over 2 decades. It reflects the improving current economic indicators - for example, the strengthening trend in housing approvals, the more optimistic outlook evidenced recently in the motor vehicle industry, the big export orders secured by the steel industry, the better wool prices recently evident, the general improvement in the rural sector, and so on.
The Government sees these developments as very encouraging. But we have not been completely satisfied that the developing situation is fully matching up to the possibilities. In particular, we have noted the sluggish trend in consumer spending. Retail sales have been notably weak after very moderate growth in the 6 months to November 1971 they actually fell, in seasonally adjusted terms, by one per cent in the following 3 months to February 1972. Although revisions may alter the import of these preliminary figures, and although the figures for February have been rather better than their predecessors, there is no doubt that consumer spending has slowed markedly this financial year. The reviews available to the Government have placed some stress on this fact.
Certainly, the Government considers this trend in consumer spending to be a matter requiring its attention. First, although as we expected unemployment has fallen off fast in absolute terms, we feel that an improvement, in seasonally adjusted terms, is still desirable. Secondly, and as a broad social rather than narrowly economic consideration, the slowing in consumer spending, at least in real terms, in part reflects the fact that price increases have had adverse effects on the purchasing power of those whose incomes depend on social service payments. Thirdly, there is the question of confidence.
I said earlier that there has recently been a heartening resurgence of confidence. It is essential that this development be sustained and nurtured. The Prime Minister and the Treasurer have been considering carefully the far from simple issues of economic management inherent in all this. In doing so they have had in mind that, with consumer spending sluggish, there is an obvious problem in terms of whether demand will expand sufficiently, in the period ahead, to sustain that confidence to which I have already referred and upon the maintenance of which the further steady expansion of total demand depends considerably.
In weighing this demand-supply situation they have had in mind at the same time, the fact that the rise in costs and prices is continuing. As I said at the outset, braking the upward pressures on costs and prices is one of the Government’s central economic policy objectives.
The measures being proposed aim at a moderate increase in demand which we now judge to be, within the productive capacity of the economy. They should not, therefore, create strains leading to rising costs. Moreover, the increases in disposable incomes which will follow from them’ will not add to costs - in contrast to increases in money wages. When the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission brings down its judgment in the national wage case, we shall see whether our hopes of some easing of wage pressures on costs and prices are to be realised. The Commonwealth has, of course, argued before the Commission for an outcome which would be consistent with those hopes, but the decision is now in the hands of the Commission. Meanwhile, it becomes every day more necessary to consider the plight of those members of the community who are largely defenceless against the erosion of their real incomes resulting in the main from wage inflation.
In considering these and other aspects of the matter in relation to what might be done about them now, we have also looked ahead a little towards the financial year ahead of us. It is as yet far too early to be considering in detail what may prove to be the shape of the Budget we shall bring down for 1972-73. It is apparent to us, however, that we will be able to take positive action in the Budget on both the revenue and expenditure sides. Obviously in any budget a basic problem is reconciliation of priorities. After full examination, in consultation with the Prime Minister, the Treasurer concluded that the measures shortly to be announced would in any event, merit the highest priority in the, forthcoming Budget context and would certainly not go beyond the range of prudent possibilities. Of course, the taking of measures now will re.duce the scope available to us in the Budget. What capacity will remain at that time in the policy areas now to be announced remains to be determined.
In bringing forward now what would otherwise be Budget measures, we have in mind several considerations. First, it will reinforce the recent resurgence, of confidence. We want it to strengthen further and we see the. measures proposed as being, among other things, a measured response to this end. Secondly, the measures proposed will support consumer spending while, at the same time, bearing on the complex of social and other considerations I have mentioned earlier. Thirdly, the measures proposed are all measures which, in the normal course, we would have been including in our Budget for 1972-73. The effect of bringing their announcement forward will therefore chiefly be to bring into earlier operation policy decisions which would have been made anyway. It is our considered judgment that, in these particular circumstances, the change in timing for certain measures is feasible and I now outline them.
In the 1971-72 Budget the levy on personal income tax was increased from 2i per cent to 5 per cent. The rapid increases in the level of money incomes has led to a large rise in effective tax rates and there has been a big increase in the. overall weight of taxation on individuals.
In the light of the consideration I have already outlined, it is proposed to reduce the levy on personal income tax from 5 per cent to 2i per cent. New payasyouearn deductions will be applied as from the earliest practicable pay-day. That is, the levy will be reduced, on an on-going basis, from the present rate of 5 per cent to 2i per cent. In the absence of further action, the rate of levy will thus remain at 2i per cent for the 1972-73 income year. The cost to revenue in 1972-73 will be $117m.
As to the current financial year, the new and lower pay-as-you-earn deductions will be applied, as I have said, as soon as practicable. In assessing incomes for the 1971- 72 financial year we propose to proceed as though, notionally, the reduced rate of levy had been effective for the last quarter of the year - that is, the rate of levy for 1971-72 as a whole will be 44 per cent. The cost to revenue in 1971-72 will be $12m, although I should add that some part of the benefit to taxpayers in respect of income year 1971-72 will accrue to them in 1972-73 in the form of greater refunds - the estimate of a cost to revenue of $117m in 1972-73 includes the effect of such increased refunds. Appropriate arrangements will be made to deal with the position of provisional taxpayers, including those who have already paid provisional taxation on the basis of the 5 per cent levy. The necessary legislation to reduce the levy will be introduced forthwith.
The Government proposes also to vary the operation of section 26 (a) of the Income Tax Assessment Act which provides that the assessable income of a taxpayer includes profits arising from the sale of any property acquired by him for the purpose of profit-making by sale. There has been much said about the operation of this section recently. The Government has decided that the basic principle of section 26 (a) is proper and that it should be maintained. However, in order to provide greater certainly on the part of people having stock exchange transactions in shares it is proposed to amend the law so that profits or losses arising from the sale of snares which have been held lor 18 months or more will not be taken into account for taxation purposes. The amendment will not, however, apply in the case of transactions in shares which are part of, or incidental to, a business being carried on. Nor will it apply in respect of transactions which have been the subject of notification under section 52 of the Act. Transactions in shares falling within the 18- month period will continue to be treated on the basis of the current provisions of the law. Further details will be announced when the legislation is introduced.
The Government also proposes measures to increase pensions. As regards age, invalid, widows’ and repatriation service pensions, it is proposed to increase by $1 per week the standard rate and by 75c per week the married rate from the earliest possible date. The corresponding rates of tuberculosis allowances, long-term sickness benefits and sheltered employment allowances will also be appropriately increased. The estimated cost of this proposal in a full year would be $53m. On the assumption that the increased rates will be paid as from the first pension pay-day in May, the estimated cost in 1971-72 is $l lm.
I should emphasise that these proposed pension increases will not be restricted, as in the case of the April 1971 and the October 1971 increases, to pensioners receiving pensions at or near the maximum rate of pension. We have also decided that as from the date of effect of the general increases now proposed those pensioners who did not participate or who participated only partly in the April and October 1971 pension increases will receive additional increases in their weekly pensions assessed by reference to the new maximum rates of pension.
As a result of these proposals, the limits of means-as-assessed for pension eligibility purposes under the ‘tapered’ means test will .rise from the points at which they were frozen in April 1971 to $46.50 and $81, expressed in weekly terms, for single persons and married pensioner, couples respectively. The estimated cost of unfreezing the taper and granting eligibility for the 1971 pension increases is. $23m in a full year and $4m in 1971-72, on .the basis that the increases become payable from the first pension pay-day in May. . .
Increases are also proposed in war pensions - $2 in the special rate payable to a totally and permanently incapacitated war pensioner and $1 in the intermediate rate and war widows’ pensions. There will be some consequential adjustments in other repatriation benefits. These war pension proposals will cost about $0.9m in 1971-72 if payable from the first pay-day in May and $5. 3m in a full year. The appropriate legislation will be introduced as soon as possible by the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) and the Minister for Repatriation (Mr Holten). . .
People whose eligibility for pension arises solely from the application of the tapered means test will not qualify in conformity with the decision taken when the tapered means test was first introduced, for Commonwealth fringe benefits. It is not proposed to make any variations in the age allowance for income taxation purposes at this time - this question will be brought forward for consideration in the context of the next Budget.
Inquiry into the Taxation System
I turn now to a more general subject. Australia’s taxation system is- becoming more and more the subject of contentious debate. All taxes - personal income tax, company tax, indirect taxes - are subject to criticism, often severe criticism, for their effects on equity, incentives, or on the grounds of anomalies. There is a consensus that what is wanted is tax reform. That, however, is as far as the consensus goes. Views in the community on the direction that such reform should desirably take are very much divided.
The Government has decided, therefore, to set up a high level expert body to conduct a full-scale public inquiry into the taxation system. The inquiry will have broad terms of reference and it will be expected to hear evidence on and conduct studies and investigations into the overall operation of the taxation system. The inquiry will thus permit a thorough public examination into the taxation system and put the Government in a position to have an overall look at tax policy. The precise terms of reference for this inquiry will be announced at an early date.
Because an inquiry of this wide-ranging nature may take a little time to bring to full fruition, I should perhaps say that, as a matter of practicality, the Government will of course not regard the establishment of a public inquiry into the tax system as precluding it from any action it may consider necessary in the period during which the inquiry is proceeding.
Conclusion 1 come back now to the context in which we set these various measures. Leaving aside the proposals regarding the taxing of profits on share transactions, and for a public inquiry into the taxation system, I direct myself to the other matters I have set forward. First, the proposed increase in benefits to pensioners will, we believe, relieve the worst hardships which, during the period since the Budget, the rapid inflation of costs and prices has imposed upon them. That is desirable in itself; but given the nature of the expenditure patterns involved, increases in these benefits should have a direct impact, some few months earlier than otherwise, on the level of consumer spending. For reasons I outlined at the outset, we believe this would be desirable.
The effects of this first measure will, we think, be reinforced by the second, namely the proposal to reduce the on-going levy on personal income tax from 5 per cent to 2i per cent. This too will have, we think, a useful impact in consolidating, at this time, the recent resurgence of confidence to which 1 earlier referred. Its significance, however, as we see it, goes wider than that For one thing, it will have the direct effect of increasing somewhat the level of take-home pay from existing wage and salary levels. It is therefore to be seen not merely as a fiscal measure in its own right but also as being consistent with our wider approach to wages policy. Because of that, and because as I noted earlier we believe that the increase in demand flowing from these measures will not now create strains upon the economy’s resources, we see them as fully consistent with our continuing aim of curbing cost and price pressures. The measures I have outlined will come as a surprise to many. Certainly they are not conventional as to their timing, but we have given the most careful consideration to this question of timing and we think that what we propose is right at this time in terms both of our economic and of our social objectives. Our confidence in the essential strength of the economy is firm. We therefore believe that these measures, taken now, will be to the benefit of the economy, as well as being just in terms of social needs.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) read a first time.
(5.4) - I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to give effect to the decision which was announced a few moments ago in this place and which was announced by the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) in the other place last evening to reduce the levy on personal income tax. The cost to revenue of this reduction will be $12m in 1971-72 and $117m in 1972-73. For reasons that have been explained it is proposed that the rate of levy on personal income tax be reduced from 5 per cent to 2½ per cent. New pay-as-you-earn deductions reflecting the lowering of the levy to 2½ per cent from now on are to apply as from the earliest practicable pay-day. As honourable senators will appreciate, the job of printing the deduction scales is a big one, but it has been put under way in order that copies can be distributed quickly. The scales being printed are, in fact, those that applied from 1st October 1970 to 30th September 1971 and many employers will no doubt still have a copy of them available. The Commissioner of Taxation has advised that it will be in order for employers who have a copy to use it straight away. An announcement will be made when the copies now being printed become available at post offices and taxation offices.
In assessing incomes for the 1971-72 financial year it is intended to proceed notionally on the basis that the 5 per cent levy applied for three quarters of the year and a levy of 2½ per cent for the last quarter. For assessment purposes the one rate of levy is to be applied and there will be no division or apportionment of 1971- 72 income between quarters. Consequently, the rate of levy to be applied for income year 1971-72 as a whole will be 43/8 per cent.
During the current financial year, taxpayers deriving income from sources other than salary or wages are receiving assessments based on the 1970-71 income year in which provisional tax is levied in respect of the 1971-72 income year at the rates declared by Parliament for that year. The rates now in force include the 5 per cent levy and these rates will continue to be used in assessments that issue before this Bill becomes law. Any overpayment of provisional tax will be adjusted automatically when the provisional tax levied this year is set off against the amount payable in next year’s assessment. However, any taxpayer who wishes to have his assessment adjusted in the meantime can make an application to the Taxation Office for variation of provisional tax. He will then need to pay only the reduced amount payable under the new law. If the tax assessed has already been paid, the amount overpaid will be refunded on application to the Taxation Office. While this Bill in effect fixes the levy only for 1971-72, it is the Government’s intention that the reduction in the levy will be on-going into 1972-73. As is customary, legislation declaring the 1972-73 rates will be presented during the Budget sittings. A memorandum explaining technical features of the Bill is being made available to honourable senators. I commend the Bill to the Senate. I hope the Bill has as speedy a passage in this place as it had in the other place.
has made - a gentle request. I think we would be a little remiss if we did not take heed of what he said. The Bill was introduced rather unexpectedly, I think we could say, into the other place last night. The Opposition did not oppose it because the Bill was largely in agreement with some of the objections that we raised to the Income Tax Bill last year. The Bill now comes before us for ratification. We have no intention of extending the debate. We think that the Bill should be passed as soon as possible. Clause 2 says that the Act shall come into operation on the day on which it receives the royal assent. Because the Bill will be of such great advantage to pensioners particularly - I am thinking not so much of the reduction in the income tax levy to2½ per cent which is a very good thing and which is in line with our policy at the time of the Budget - the Opposition is not opposing the Bill. We welcome the Bill, which has come rather later than we had hoped it would.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill proposes minor amendments to 2 sections of the Customs Tariff, section 8 relating to the free on board price of goods and section 31 relating to overseas freight and insurance in connection with the landed cost of goods. Honourable senators will be well aware that the determination of the correct amount of duty on goods, and hence the effectiveness of tariff protection, depends, in most cases, on the correct rate of duty being applied to the correct value of the goods. Since Values can be manipulated by arrangement between exporter and importer and since attempts at tariff avoidance will always appeal to some types of people, Parliament, in 1965, gave the Minister for Customs and Excise power to determine the free on board price of goods in certain circumstances - in the main, whenever he was satisfied that an importer and exporter had fixed the free on board price with the view of paying no duty or less duty on those goods.
As I said earlier, some types of people will engage in tariff avoidance. Recent investigations have disclosed new arrangements for manipulating free on board prices and these fall outside the scope of the present legislation. For example, if an importer and exporter adopt, as a subterfuge, a system of buying and selling which includes the appointment of a whollyowned subsidiary of the importer to act as the selling agent of the exporter the present provisions of the law can be circumvented. Other variations of tariff avoidance of this nature have also been identified. The purposes of this Bill are, therefore, to ensure the intensions of the existing legislation are not defeated and the tariff protection authorised by this Parliament is not negated by arrangements between interested parties - whether two or more principals and/or agents or other intermediaries are involved or whether the duty avoided is ordinary duty or support duty. I commend the Bill.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
– I move:
That the Evidence (Australian Capital Territory) Bill 1972 be referred to the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, for inquiry and report.
Honourable senators will recall the events which, prior to the Easter recess, led to the passing by the Senate of a Bill to amend the Australian Capita] Territory Evidence (Temporary Provisions) Act of 1971 for the purpose of extending the operation of that Act until 31st March 1973. The enactment of that Bill will provide a law of evidence in the Australian Capital Territory and so prevent a hiatus in the law of evidence which would have occurred if reliance had been placed upon passing the Evidence (Australian Capital Territory) Bill prior to the expiration of the Australian
Capital Territory Evidence (Temporary Provisions) Act of 1971. In the result we now have a body of evidence which will be in operation until 31st March 1973. That will provide time for the many considerations which were raised in the Committee stage of the Evidence (Australian Capital Territory) Bill to be explored fully and in a manner which will enable all points of view to be examined properly.
In my second reading speech on the Evidence (Australian Capital Territory) Bill prior to the Easter recess I indicated that I had in mind moving a motion to the effect that that Bill be referred to the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs. The debate on the Bill in Committee has raised many issues of considerable) complexity and it seems to be accepted generally by those senators who spoke during the course of the debate in the Committee stage and who have interested themselves generally in the Bill that there would be benefit if such matters could be considered by the Standing Committee. In these circumstances there seems to be little point in continuing the consideration of the Bill or the amendment of which Senator Murphy has given notice or the amendments which I was led to believe might be forthcoming from other honourable senators in the debate in the. Committee of the Whole. Indeed, discussion of the character which these various points have raised is best conducted in a forum which a standing committee can provide rather than in the more formal atmosphere of the Senate. I am sure, that the Standing Committee will be in a position to give adequate time for proper consideration of the Bill and in due course make its report to the Senate. The Senate will need plenty of time, as the debate which has already taken place on the. Bill indicates, to consider the Standing Committee’s report. It seems desirable to me that at the earliest opportunity one should take the step of referring this Bill to the Standing Committee.
– I do not oppose the motion which has been moved by the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood). The provisions of the Evidence (Australian Capital Territory) Bill 1972 areextremely important. It is probably wise, now that the issues of some complexity have been revealed, that they be discussed in a committee where one can have the advantage of deliberations, of expert advice and of discussion in a way which is not possible in the Committee of the Whole or in the Senate. I think it is fair to say that what has happened has revealed the wisdom of the Senate. As I recall it, the Australian Capital Territory Evidence Ordinance which was disallowed by the Senate last year was disallowed because the Senate took the view that a matter of such importance as the bearing of evidence in the Australian Capital Territory should be determined after debate in the Parliament. The difference between providing for a law by way of ordinance, as was done, and providing it by way of an Act of this Parliament is that although the Senate, or, for that matter, the House of Representatives if it cared to, could disallow the ordinance or parts of it, it is not able to amend it such as by making additions. The Senate or the House is quite circumscribed.
I think that even in the Australian Capital Territory where the power to disallow is a little wider than attaches in regard to regulations in general, it is still far too limited. I think the power is to disallow parts of the ordinance and in the way that is dealt with some extra width is given. But it is not at all comparable with what can be done in the Parliament. The view which the Senate took was that this was an important matter and ought to be debated in the Parliament. As I recall a different view was taken then by the AttorneyGeneral. I remind the Senate of this not by way of any criticism at this stage because we welcome the fact that the AttorneyGeneral has recognised the necessity for a deeper examination of the provisions. I. remind the Senate of it because it is good to know that the Senate and those honourable senators who are not members of the Government have access sometimes to a wisdom that is not always located in government. The view is often put forward that the Government and its advisers know best. On this occasion we were told that they knew best and that the experts who advised on the Evidence Ordinance were so outstanding that no-one could possibly suggest that the provisions ought to be looked at and perhaps could be improved by discussion and amendment in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The Senate, in its wisdom, took the view that the ordinance should be disallowed and declined to rescind its decision. It passed a temporary measure to apply those provisions until a substantive Bill could be passed. Now we have received the substantive Bill it has become quite apparent that the advice which was given is not beyond question and that maybe some of these provisions ought to be altered. The course of events has demonstrated that the views of those who constituted the majority and who ultimately made the decision of the Senate were soundly based. I would hope that in the case of many other technical Bills we take the same course. The dangers involved in such a course are that the Bil] might become bogged down during the Committee’s consideration. If possible, I would like to see the Committee’s consideration of this Bill reported before the expiry of the 12 months which has been envisaged. I realise that if we are to approach perfection it is necessary to spend a long time on these matters. It might be advisable, if the committee could do it, to report concisely and fairly quickly-
– I remind the honourable senator that the whole of the wisdom may not be reposed in the Senate Standing Committee and that other honourable senators may wish to consider the matter.
– That is so but I remind Senator Wright that under the charter of the Senate standing committees it is open for any honourable senator to attend a committee meeting, unless the committee orders otherwise, to participate in the public proceedings of the committee and to move motions and question witnesses. But he is not allowed to vote. So no honourable senator is, except in some special circumstance, excluded from contributing his view to the committee.
– But it is the vote which constitutes the report to the Senate.
– That is true. It is the vote which constitutes the report and I recognise that the committees, like the Government, are not the repository of all wisdom. I think it would be helpful if the committees could get into the habit of reporting to the Senate and doing their best within a fairly short time. We know that this will not be perfect but we know that the procedures in the Senate are less satisfactory when we have to push a Bill through in a couple of hours. If the committee has a few weeks or even a few months to do this we would expect that it would do a belter job. I, for one, will fall on the side of suggesting that the committees should report promptly on the basis that the reports will not be perfect and that they have done the best they can in the short time available rather than stretch out their considerations. That is the danger with a legal Bill. Lawyers will want to be perfect and not make any possible error. That danger ought to be avoided. I think it ought to be said: Here is a group of persons which is trying to do the best it can do within a short time. If there are errors, we can correct them at some subsequent time. I indicate that we of the Opposition support the motion.
– I thank Senator Murphy for his indication on behalf of the Opposition that it concurs in the Government’s proposal that this matter be referred to the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs for consideration and report. I listened with interest to what Senator Murphy said. I am not sure whether what has occurred since the Evidence Ordinance was disallowed in 1971 altogether follows the stereotype course which the honourable senator suggested. 1 think it should be recognised that one unresolved problem in al] of this is the length of time which one chamber of the national Parliament should properly give to the evidence law of the Australian Capital Territory. I think it is very proper that if the time is available honourable senators should be able to spend the length of time that wc have spent already on the law of evidence of the Australian Capital Territory, considering whether the people of the Australian Capital Territory should have a modern and progressive body of evidentiary law. On the other hand, it must be recognised that the time that is taken on this prevents the Senate giving time to national matters which really should be the preoccupation of persons who are elected to the national Parliament. This is still one of the unresolved matters.
It is true that the Evidence Ordinance was prepared for the Government by a committee which was composed of experts in the law of evidence. As Senator Wright mentioned earlier, no one person or group of persons is the repository of all wisdom in these matters. In this respect what Senator Murphy has said is true, that when individual senators who displayed an interest applied their minds to the problems they came up with different approaches from those of the body of experts which originally drafted this measure. It may be that after the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs has examined the matter there will be a different approach when the matter next comes back to the Senate. Although this might be described as a somewhat leisurely form of legislation, undoubtedly it is an approach which will ultimately present us with a measure which represents the best which the consensus of the legal minds in the Senate can agree upon.
I thank senator Murphy for his co-operation and also for the co-operation which enables this much debated Ordinance to remain in force in the Australian Capital Territory for a period of 12 months so that we can discuss whether its provisions have to be altered thereafter. With Senator Murphy I trust that the Committee will be able to proceed to its deliberations with dispatch so that the measure can come back to the Senate as soon as possible, there to await its further examination by the Senate when the debate resumes.
– Mr President, I ask for leave to make a short statement, addressing myself to this motion. I was taken a little aback to realise that this was the matter before the Senate. I feel that there is something that I could say on this matter.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I am indebted to honourable senators. I join with Senator Murphy in welcoming the attitude of the Government and of the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood). I rise particularly to thank the Attorney-
General for the intense personal interest and the elasticity of mind that he has displayed in his approach to this question.
– This year.
– Yes. The AttorneyGeneral was in Brisbane recently and I arranged for him to meet senior members of the Bar in Queensland, including Mr Peter Connolly Q.C., recently President of the Australian Bar, 2 senior leading criminal counsel and another general counsel. I was present also. Those members of the Queensland Bar raised very important considerations as to the content of some elements in the proposed code of evidence. They were considerations which the AttorneyGeneral took very seriously and which he indicated that he would take to heart. It was obvious that this matter would require much deeper study than it had been given. With all due respect to the honourable gentlemen who comprised the committee headed by Mr Justice Fox, as the Attorney said, different people have different approaches. The significance of this body of evidentiary law is that it could well emerge as a standard code for Australia. That is why we must be particularly careful about it. We know that there is developing in the law a uniformity throughout the whole of Australia. This is something which is now being sought and there will definitely be a trend towards the adoption of a uniform application of codes and principles which initially are enunciated and perhaps legislated here. That is why I think that now and in the future we must be particularly careful as to what we legislate or regulate here because it is likely to flow through the whole legal system of Australia. The Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs will find that its task will be of no mean proportions. The gentlemen of the Queensland Bar to whom I have referred have indicated that they would be prepared to co-operate with the Committee, and I expect that they will do so. Perhaps they will be invited to come before the Committee and to indicate more specifically their views on certain aspects of the proposed laws of evidence. In those circumstances I think the reference to the Committee will not only be fruitful but also, in the light of the discussions which have taken place, the concern which has been expressed and the queries that have been raised as to various provisions, is essential. For those reasons I join with Senator Murphy in welcoming the motion proposed by Senator Greenwood. I thank the AttorneyGeneral for the personal interest he has shown in this matter and for his preparedness to take the steps necessary to ensure that the body of evidentiary law that emerges will be an acceptable code that could well become standard for Australia. I support the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 11 April (vide page 965), on motion by Senator Wright:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– I move:
At end of motion add - but the Senate is of opinion that the Bill should provide -
for the provision of a Commission of 3 members of the Commonwealth Teaching Service, one of whom shall be elected by teachers;
for the heightening of professional standards of teachers in the Commonwealth Teaching Service by empowering the Commission to negotiate for the establishment of faculties of education in universities where necessary, including the Australian National University;
for the active encouragement of recruitment and training of teaching staff, not only for Papua New Guinea should it desire this assistance, but for other islands of the Pacific the governments of which seek such aid;
for the provision of an advisory council to assist the Commission, this council to be representative of the community and of educational research and administrative bodies; and
for leave for pregnancy in conformity with the International Labor Organisation recommendation and also to provide generous leave in event of difficult pregnancies or m event of a disability of the infant which requires the mother’s attention for a period after the birth.’
In addition to the motion which I have just moved it is proposed that in the Committee stage other amendments will be moved. To a very large extent they will conform with the principles which are contained in the amendment to the motion That the Bill be now read a second time’. This Bill is a significant measure because, for the first time in the history of this country, it provides for the establishment of a Commonwealth Teaching Service. This is the first time that there will be an educational service with teachers directly under the control of and organised by the Commonwealth Government. In the past teachers have been employed by the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth has been responsible for the staffing of the schools, particularly in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. In addition teachers employed by the Commonwealth have been engaged in other duties. It has not been a Commonwealth teaching service which has had responsibility.
In the Australian Capital Territory the New South Wales Government has provided the teachers by virtue of an agreement between the Commonwealth and that Government, and in the Northern Territory, at least until recently, the South Australian Education Department provided the teachers. There have been teachers in Papua New Guinea also, but not constituted in the manner which is envisaged by this Bill which provides for the establishment of a national teaching service to be known as the Commonwealth Teaching Service. As far as this goes, the Australian Labor Party certainly does not oppose the provisions of the Bill.
The Australian Labor Party does believe that it is desirable that there be a Commonwealth Teaching Service and that there is a special role which the Commonwealth can play in education which may be assisted by the establishment of such a service. The existence of a Commonwealth Teaching Service will enable the Commonwealth to provide teachers in Papua New Guinea until such time as that Territory achieves its independence. Indeed, we hope that after Papua New Guinea has achieved its independence this Commonwealth Teaching Service will be able, if the people of Papua New Guinea desire it, to assist in the establishment of their school system and their education department. As is expressed in paragraph (c) of the amendment, it also is hoped by the Australian Labor Party that the functions of the Commonwealth Teaching Service will be extended so that assistance may be provided by the Commonwealth of Australia to other countries in the Pacific area which, in many instances, are still in a rather rudimentary stage in the development of their education systems and may look to this country to give some assistance at some time in the future.
The most significant objection which the Australian Labor Party has to the Bill is to the manner in which the new Commonwealth Teaching Service will be administered. The Bill provides that there shall be a Commissioner of the Commonwealth Teaching Service - a single commissioner. lt is our view that it is quite improper for a service as important as this one to be conducted without any representation upon its governing body of the people who are actively engaged in the profession or occupation which will be governed by that body. We agree with the submissions of the Australian Teachers Federation that the teachers themselves should have at least a representative on any body created to manage this Commonwealth Teaching Service.
As my colleague, Mr Beazley, said in the course of the debate in another place, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has taken decisions to the effect that there should be representation of teachers on the governing bodies of education services. For that reason and in order to provide for this representation, paragraph (a) of our amendment suggests that the Bill should provide for the establishment of a commission of 3 members of the Commonwealth Teaching Service, one of whom shall be elected by teachers. The reason why this provision is in our amendment is that, if there is to be teacher representation, obviously there has to be a commission. We are not suggesting that the single commissioner should be an elected representative of the teachers. But we do believe that there should be teacher representation. In order to provide for that representation, there needs to be a commission rather than a commissioner. We believe that it is not an unreasonable proposition to suggest that, in the circumstances, there should be a commission of 3 members, of whom the teaching represenatative would still be in a minority, with people representing other interests in the service maintaining a majority on the commission.
– The voice of the teachers should be heard.
– Yes. As Senator Douglas McClelland interjects, certainly we believe that the voice of the teachers should be heard in the highest body governing this newly constituted service.
As was said in the debate which concluded recently, when the Commonwealth establishes a national organisation or engages in legislation relating to matters which are dealt with by the States also, it oan well be accepted that what is being done by the Commonwealth does establish a precedent for the States and that it does set up certain national standards of what we believe ought to be the case throughout the whole of Australia. As it would seem fairly obvious to all of us that the role of the Commonwealth Teaching Service will expand over the years, it is our view that, at the earliest possible stage, steps should be taken to see that there is a properly constituted commission to control the activities of the Commonwealth Teaching Service.
If I may say so, the views of the Australian Teachers Federation have been rejected by the Government without any great attention having been given to them in the second reading speech of the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser). Beyond his saying that he was not convinced by the arguments of the Federation, I have not found any substantial arguments which have been put forward by the Minister as to why the views of the Federation should not be accepted. One could scarcely imagine that any other authority of this nature would be created by this Government without representation being given to the people who are engaged in the profession or occupation which most significantly forms part of the enterprise. One cannot imagine a wool commission without representatives of wool growers. One cannot imagine any authority to deal with wheat without representatives of wheat growers. With respect to the Australian Honey Board, provision is made for representatives of the apiarists to sit on that Board.
– But they own the product. You ought to have parents; they own the children. They should be represented.
- Senator Withers* argument - it is one of which I hope all the teachers of Australia will take note as this is apparently the ideology of the Liberal Party on this question - is that apiarists ought to be on the Australian Honey Board and that wool growers ought to be represented on the Australian Wool Commission, but teachers have no right to be represented on a teaching commission because they do not own the product. I doubt whether the Minister for Education and Science would have wished Senator Withers to say what he just said; I do not think that he would be very proud of it. But these remarks do represent the subconscious attitudes of the Liberal Party, namely, that the teachers do not own the schools, so they are not entitled to representation, and that the teachers are only people who work in the schools. As far as the Liberal Party is concerned, unless they actually own the schools they should not have any representation on a commission. I thank Senator Withers for, I think quite inadvertently and certainly without any consultation with his Minister, having given us a very clear insight into the real reasons which have motivated the Government in coming forward with this proposition.
– What about parents?
- Senator Withers goes on to ask: ‘What about parents?’ Well, indeed, what about parents? If Senator Withers is so concerned about parents, I assume that at some later stage he will be moving that a commission be established on which there would be a representative of parents. I can assure him here and now that, if he is anxious that parents should be represented upon an Australian teaching commission, the Australian Labor Party will be right behind him when he moves his amendment to that effect. We will be right behind him every inch of the way. We look forward eagerly to later this evening hearing Senator Withers propose an amendment that parents should be represented on a commission. This is completely in line with our own policy. I thank Senator Withers very much for this suggestion. We are looking forward to the proposition coming from him.
– Where is it in your amendment?
– Where is what?
– Where are ‘parents’ mentioned in your amendment?
– We realise how constrained Senator Withers is to have parents on a commission. We are waiting to hear him. He has raised the question of the representation of parents. We look forward to Senator Withers moving the appropriate amendment. What we are talking about is the representation of teachers. Senator Withers has said that, as teachers do not own schools, they should not have any say in the management of schools and that only those people who have private personal property are entitled to any say in the running of this country. That is the point of view of Senator Withers. We repudiate this view. We shall take good care to see that the Australian Teachers Federation is acquainted with Senator Withers’ views and that it is made quite clear to them that this is the reason why they are being excluded from representation in the establishment of this Service.
Sitting suspended from 5.4S to 8 p.m.
– Before the suspension for dinner I was outlining the approach of the Labor Party as expressed in paragraph (a) of the amendment I have moved. We believe that a commission of the Commonwealth Teaching Service should consist of 3 members, one of whom should be elected by teachers. Senator Withers interjected to explain the Liberal Party’s position on the difference between the proposed commission and bodies such as, for example, the Australian Wool Commission. Honourable senators may note that the structure of the proposed commission is quite rare by the standards normally found in Australia; that is, the members of the occupation to be governed by this commission are unrepresented upon it. Apiarists are represented on the Honey Board; wool growers are represented on the Australian Wool Commission; wheat farmers are represented by the Australian Wheat Board, and so on.
Senator Withers explained by way of interjection that the Liberal Parry’s position is that the proposed commission is different because the apiarists, wool growers and wheat growers have a financial interest as the owners of property and therefore are entitled to representation; but as the teachers of Australia do not own the property in the schools in which they teach, they should not be represented on the commission.
Paragraph (b) of the amendment calls for the heightening of the professional standards of teachers in the Commonwealth Teaching Service by empowering the commission to negotiate for the establishment of faculties of education in universities where necessary, including the Australian National University. It is the opinion of the Labor Party that education ought to be regarded, if it is not so regarded, as a profession; that the people engaged in teaching in the primary and secondary schools of this country are performing one of the most valuable occupations within the community; and that there ought to be a level of expertise possessed by teachers at least equal to the expertise which is required of lawyers, doctors, architects and members of other learned professions. It is our view that one way that this result can be achieved is by the Commonwealth’s taking care to see that in all universities there are faculties of education so that a systematic academic course of study in the principles and practice of education may be given by qualified persons, in the same way that when a person wishing to become a civil engineer- normally enters a school of engineering in a university; a person wishing to become a lawyer joins a law school in a university; and a person wishing to become a doctor enters a medical school.
The Australian Labor Party welcomes the proposition that the Commonwealth Teaching Service should provide teachers for Papua New Guinea. This country has a very great responsibility to the people of Papua New Guinea. We have held part of the Territory, first under mandate from the League of Nations and then under trust from the United Nations. We have held the other part, the former Territory of Papua, under our jurisdiction for over 80 years. We believe that we have a responsibility to ensure that there are adequately trained people to administer the Territory which, within a few years at the longest, from whichever point of view one looks at it, Will be obtaining if not independence at least self government.
It is essential that when Papua New Guinea obtains self government, or indeed, while it is on the road to self government, it have people who are competent and properly qualified to administer the many complex tasks which must be undertaken in a developing country. But we believe we should go further. Australia occupies a special position in the South Pacific area in which we live. We are the largest relatively advanced country in the area. A number of smaller adjoining countries are mentioned in more detail in the amendment which I propose to move subsequently at the Committee stage. Australia, from not only the point of view of humanity but also from the point of view of self interest, should play a role in encouraging and assisting these people in their development, if they wish us to do so.
We are not suggesting that there ought to be some sort of colonialist or neocolonialist relationship between Australia and the smaller developing countries in the Pacific. We believe that if those countries seek assistance from Australia, Australia should be in a position to provide it. One of the most important ways in which we can assist these developing countries is by the provision of adequately trained teachers to help in the development of their educational services. For that reason we feel that the Commonwealth Teaching Service should recruit teaching staff not only for service in Papua New Guinea but also for service in the other islands of the Pacific when the governments of those islands seek our aid.
We also believe that as education is a concern of practically everybody in the community there should be in addition to the commission to which we have already referred an advisory council to assist the commission in its deliberations. Various statutory bodies already have such advisory councils. I refer, for example, to the Australian Broadcasting Commission which, both nationally and in the States, has advisory committees on all sorts of matters. No matter how important those matters are, it would seem that they are not as important as the matter of a national education service. Senator Withers indicated earlier that he was concerned about the fact that parents are not to be represented upon the commission of the Common wealth Teaching Service. It could well be that on the advisory council that we propose there would be representation of teachers and other groups of people, of the already existing organised bodies of citizens throughout the country who have an interest in education.
We are not saying that a body such as this should have power to determine the policy of the service. We say that the commission of the Commonwealth Teaching Service should have available for consultation an advisory council consisting of representatives of the citizen’s groups in Australia who are concerned with the problems of education, including its future. Paragraph (e) of the proposed amendment calls for the provision in the Bill of leave for pregnancy in conformity with the International Labour Organisation recommendation and also generous leave in the event of difficult pregnancies or in the event of the disability of an infant which requires the mother’s attention for a period after the birth. We are seeking to do more than to secure the practical adoption by Australia of one of the important decisions of the International Labour Organisation. Many such decisions have been ignored by this Government.
We feel that, this proposition should be supported particularly in respect of teachers, because there are a great many women teachers and considerable hardship is inflicted upon them at present in many instances because of problems resulting from their having children. Hardship is inflicted not only upon them but also upon the whole education system. Their services are lost to the education systems of this country. We believe that the Commonwealth should give a lead in this Bill, which establishes for the first time a Commonwealth Teaching Service, by making provision for women teachers who may well become pregnant and who could well be involved in quite serious problems with their infant children after the birth. They should not be precluded from taking their places in the teaching services of the Commonwealth; at the same time the Commonwealth Teaching Service should not be damaged by the loss of their services for these reasons.
I believe, all of the matters I have put forward are of considerable importance, but the most important part of the proposition which is contained in our amendment is for the alteration of the existing proposal that there should be only one Commissioner administering the Commonwealth Teaching Service to the establishment of a commission which we suggest should comprise 3 members. One member of this commission of 3 should be a representative elected by the teachers employed by the Service. As I have indicated already, in saying this we are carrying out the wishes of the Australian Teachers Federation and we are acting in conformity with the recommendations of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and various other international bodies which have stated repeatedly over past years that it is essential in the conduct of an efficient and worthwhile teaching service that teachers themselves should be represented on the administration. I commend this amendment to the Senate.
– The Senate is debating a Bill for an Act to establish a Commonwealth Teaching Service, and this of course is a new departure. The Act is necessary arising out of the fact that the Commonwealth has a responsibility for education in its Territories. It has a responsibility, first of all, in the Northern Territory for its community schools and Aboriginal schools; it has a responsibility in the Australian Capital Territory for its government schools; and it has other quite significant responsibilities for teachers, some of whom have been appointed already - the number is growing - both in Papua New Guinea and elsewhere. As Senator Wheeldon pointed out, until now the provision of teachers for those services has been met by 2 States. Provision of teachers in the Northern Territory has been met by the Government of South Australia and in the Australian Capital Territory by the New South Wales Government. The primary reason for this Bill arises from the fact that in 1970 the South Australian Government gave notice that in 5 years time it would like to be freed of the responsibility with regard to the provision of teachers for the Northern Territory. I think the Federal Government has in mind that perhaps the New South
Wales Government might so wish to acquit itself in long term of this responsibility. Another factor is that in the Territories there is a rapidly growing population, and our commitments may grow elsewhere. Against that background we have before us a Bil] to establish a Commonwealth Teaching Service.
I think the Australian Labor Party in its attitude to this Bill has failed to understand its purpose. The aim of the Bill is stated in clause 16. Clause 16 (1.) reads:
The function of the Commissioner is to make persons available for the performance of teaching duties in Commonwealth schools and other schools in accordance with this section.
Let me spell out what the Bill is and then let me state emphatically what it is not. The Bill aims at the employment of teachers. It aims to provide upon request qualified teachers on appropriate terms and conditions. It provides for the setting up of a supplying or an employing authority. Much of the misunderstanding of the Labor Party and much of the misunderstanding that lies within its amendment arises because the Labor Party has failed to see the limitation of this Service. Let me state emphatically that this Service is not a teacher training service. It is not a service with authority over school systems. It is not a service with authority over education policies. With respect to Senator Wheeldon, each time that he referred to teachers in terms of schools and teaching in the schools and then tried to relate this to the Bill he failed to understand the aim of the Bill - so much so that the amendment in itself is either redundant, as I would like to demonstrate, or the proposals it puts forward are incorporated in the present legislation already.
In regard to teacher training, the Labor Party has talked about the need for diversification, about the need to set up institutions of high quality and high capacity for experimentation, innovation and academic excellence. This Government would agree entirely with that principle. May I commend to the Senate the report on teacher education of its Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts in which honourable senators will find set out not only the existing attempts throughout Australia to achieve quality in teacher training but also recommendations to do all those things which Senator
Wheeldon in fact is seeking to do in that section of his amendment which aims at the upgrading of excellence in the quality of teachers. I remind you, Mr Deputy President, that whereas in the past the normal situation in Australia was that the teacher was trained in a teachers college for a very short period - mostly 2 years - the abnormal situation was that the teacher would do a degree course at a university. We are moving more and more rapidly towards a situation where teachers, instead of receiving their training at teachers colleges, attend colleges of advanced education which have a similar status to that of universities and where universities have either an integrated education course or an end on course of the B.A. or Dip.Ed. type.
The fact is that throughout Australia great things are happening in teacher education. Therefore, it is not necessary in an employing authority to build in these kind of qualities. In Australia we are separating the training authority from the employing authority. In Australia we are taking away standardisation by allowing in some dozens of different institutions throughout Australia different methods of stimulating teacher training. So this country is embarking already on the adventure of attaining professional standards, and this Senate is about to embark on the adventure of examining further policies in that regard. Nevertheless, under the provisions of this Bill it is competent for the Commissioner to take such steps as necessary in this regard. He has very broad powers to do these kinds of things if necessary in order to upgrade the quality of teacher training. But this Bill certainly does not envisage that the Commissioner should be interested in school systems, education policies or curricula.
The whole aim of the Bill, as it was spelt out in the second reading speech, is to ensure that the supplying of teachers caters for a diversity of systems. There would be the Northern Territory system; there would be the Australian Capital Territory system; there would be the Papua New Guinea system; and perhaps there would be other island territory systems. There would be the demands of the underdeveloped countries or requests from overseas and, who knows, there may be demands from other States. So there would be not any one system to supply but a diversity of systems and therefore there would be a diversity of qualifications to be met. Consequently, the Service will be the employing agency.
The Bill before us is an enabling Bill. It is extremely flexible. It sets out powers, principles and general guidelines and very largely relies on regulations and the broad powers of the Commissioner to carry out its work. Senator Wheeldon sought to have the Commissioner converted into a commission, his argument being that there should be a commission with a broad base with representation by teachers and perhaps others. If in fact there were to be a commission which controlled or supervised an education system as distinct from being emphatically an employment agency then there well might be the argument put that we ought to have the expertise of teachers alongside to advise and to assist. That, I think, might be very much a valid point. But I remind you, Mr Deputy President, that the Public Service Board as an employing agency does not regard itself as having to have on it a specialist in every particular profession that it employs as such. It is an employing agency. Any industry or profession as such uses an administrator with qualifications to be the employing agency, and, shall we say, the staff officer or industrial officer who is given and develops some standards and carries them out.
In the first place the broader commission suggested by Senator Wheeldon is not necessary because the functions of the Commissioner are very narrow indeed - they are very narrowly defined. Secondly, for quite some time to come the total number of staff whom the commission will handle will be relatively small. Therefore, one commissioner is adequate. If there are defects in the argument that I advance in regard to one commissioner, let me say that to the extent that they might be found they can be patched up or overcome, because the Bill itself provides exactly what the Labor Party amendment seeks - advisory committees to be set up at all points to advise the Commissioner oh all specialist and all technical matters and all expertise.
– Actually this would give it a broader base.
– As Senator Young said, it gives a broader base than if we had some artificial commission consisting of 3 members. The arrangement proposed by the Bill gives the commission an enormous flexibility to draw upon the whole community. 1 remind the Senate that the Minister for Education and Science, when introducing the Bill in another place, drew attention to the fact that a committee has been set up under agreement with the Australian Council for Educational Research comprising Dr Radford, the Director of the Council, and Professor Neal of the University of Alberta. That committee has been asked to look at and conduct investigations into the current and emerging ideas in schools and staff organisations in Australia and overseas countries. Here, right at the beginning, there is classical evidence of the fact that the Commissioner will be able to draw upon first class expert evidence. He will be able to call upon evidence from educators and teachers to assist in decisions. This is exactly what the Labor Party is seeking. Indeed, I would hope that in each stage where the outlook of the teacher is concerned the commission would seek to consult with teachers. It would be very remiss if it did not do so.
The idea is that here we should have an employing authority; he should be one man; and he should be a statutory authority responsible to the Minister and outside the Public Service. I am mindful of the fact that the Teachers Federation has been very keen over the years to take its teacher services outside the Public Service in the various States. So on this point, and on many other points in this legislation, the Australian Teachers Federation as I understand it has found a comity of view with the Government. Although there may be some differences, as I understand it the broad base of agreement is wide at the moment between the Federation and the Government.
The Bill has some very interesting characteristics. First of all it says that when the commission looks at standards for promo- tion it shall look to efficiency as the criterion. Clause 28 sets out quite clearly the following: (1.) In the selection of an officer for promotion to a vacant: position, consideration shall be given first to the relative efficiency of the officers available for promotion and, in the event of equality of efficiency of two or more officers, then to the relative seniority of those officers.
The clause goes on to give a definition of efficiency’. I think that those who read it would find it to be adequate. 1 commend this clause because if we are to have incentive and stimulus in the teaching service, which I regard as the highest temporal service in our nation, we must reward efficiency and put a premium on excellence. Therefore, all other things being equal, efficiency should be the basis of promotion.
– That knocks the Peter principle.
– J agree that this may knock the Peter principle. But perhaps I have risen above the level of efficiency if I understand the Peter principle. Whenever an important decision is to be made a commission on a broader base is formed either by way of a promotion appeals board or by a disciplinary appeals board. This, 1 think, is significant. The Labor Party has sought to bring in teachers representation at various levels, and in particular at the level of the Commissioner. I suggest that this representation can be brought in at will by the advisory bodies. It can be brought in at the level of the promotion appeals board.
I draw attention to the fact that clause 30 sets out that a promotion appeals board shall consist of a chairman appointed by the Minister, an officer appointed by the Commissioner and an officer elected as prescribed by the officers of the Service. Therefore officers of the service will serve on these boards. Also there is provision for an appeal from any arbitrary decision on promotion. This is something that I think all of us on both sides of the chamber who look towards an effective arbitral system would approve. I note that the Labor Party has accepted this, presumably without comment. Also, it is to be noted that where there are appeals on salaries and conditions the Bill makes provision in clause 38 that the provisions of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act shall be invoked. Therefore, teachers have recourse, as is the case in other sections of the community, to the arbitral processes to settle any disputes, assuming that they have gone that far.
Where a question of discipline occurs and where there is any challenge to the authority of the Commissioner, such matters will be dealt with by a disciplinary appeal board which is set up under clause 37. The board shall consist of a chairman appointed by the Minister, an officer appointed by the Commissioner and an officer elected as prescribed by the officers of the Service.
Quite clearly the person appointed by the Minister as chairman undoubtedly would be someone learned in the law, such as a magistrate or some other independent person, so here again fairness and equity is built into this legislation. I draw attention to the provisions of the Bill which enable the Commissioner to offer scholarships - scholarships on extraordinarily generous terms, I notice, free of bonding - to encourage people to come along and develop their skills.
I want to deal paragraph by paragraph with the amendment moved by Senator Wheeldon on behalf of the Opposition. In the first paragraph of the amendment the Opposition seeks a commission of 3 persons instead of one Commissioner. It seeks to have one member of the commission elected by the teachers. I have said that this is to be purely an administrative employing body; that it is, and will be for quite some time, a limited body in terms of the number of teachers; that it can and will seek - and indeed already has sought - expert advice from teachers and educators at every point, and that it will no doubt support itself with advice from advisory bodies which will be heavily interlarded, no doubt, with teachers and other educators. Therefore it seems that it is a reasonable decision that it should be a commission of one. Where the question of an arbitrary judgment arises, at the point of promotions appeal and at the point of disciplinary appeal, there is to be a commission of 3 which will include a Service officer representative and an independent person. This seems to me to be excellent.
The second paragraph of the Opposition’s amendment says that the Bill should provide: for the heightening of professional standards of teachers in the Commonwealth Teaching Service by empowering the Commission to negotiate for the establishment of Faculties of Education in universities where necessary, including the Australian National University;
There is no doubt at all that under this Bill the Commissioner will have full power to do exactly those things. In addition, it is far and away the responsibility of others, including the Australian Universities Commission, the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education, the various registration boards for teaching in the various States and the State education departments, to look for the heightening of professional standards of teachers and, through these institutions, to set about developing those qualities. The Commissioner has clear powers, by stimulus and by incentive, to encourage this. But surely he would consult the Universities Commission and with the Advisory Committee on Advanced Education. Surely he would have talks at the level of the Council of Education Ministers in order to get throughout Australia some understanding of the needs, standards and requirements of the teaching profession. Therefore I say that paragraph (b) of the Opposition’s amendment in fact has been catered for more than fully and that that will be the case in the future.
The third paragraph of the Labor Party’s amendment states that the Bill should provide: for the active encouragement of recruitment and training of teaching staff, not only for Papua New Guinea should it desire this assistance, but for other islands of the Pacific the Governments of which seek such aid;
This clearly is spelt out in the Bill. Indeed, Mr Deputy President, the Bill goes further than that. It foresees not only that the Commonwealth Teaching Service might be asked in the future to provide special teachers with special qualities for the Territory of Papua New Guinea or elsewhere; it foresees that the very existence of the Service should enable a continuity of service by high quality teachers in those Territories. Whereas a high quality teacher might not be willing to go to the insecurity of the Territories after they gain independence, the existence of this Service and the fact that a teacher can be seconded gives the teacher the kind of security which will enable a high quality indeed to emerge inside Papua New Guinea. I commend the Government for this concept. I commend it also for its foresight in expecting that more and more, not only from the island territories around us but also from various underdeveloped countries, there will be requests to us, as there are today, to provide teachers by way of loan to advise on specialist subjects. If we have a permanent employing body such as the Commonwealth Teaching Service we can give continued service to the teaching profession. I say emphatically that paragraph (c) of the Labor Party amendment in fact has already been satisfied in the Bill, and more adequately than the Opposition seeks in its own wording.
The fourth paragraph of the amendment paragraph (d) says that the Bill should provide: for the provision of an advisory council to assist the commission, this council to be representative of the community and of educational research and of administrative bodies; . . .
In this respect I want to draw attention to clause S3 of the Bill which states:
The Governor-General may make regulations, not inconsistent with this Act, prescribing all matters that are required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed, or are necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act, and, in particular:
providing for and in relation to the appointment of committees of persons to advise the Commissioner in connection with the performance of his function under this Act; and
providing for penalties, not exceeding a fine of One hundred dollars, for offences against the regulations.
Clause S3 (a) gives to the Commissioner complete power to set up advisory bodies or advisory councils to do exactly the things spelt out in paragraph (d) of the Opposition’s amendment, or more. I would say it gives the Commissioner more power because throughout the Bill the powers of the Commissioner are extraordinarily wide. Clause 1 6 (8.) of the Bill states:
The Commissioner has power to do all things necessary or convenient to be done for or in connection with the performance of his function under this section.
Clause 16 relates to the function of making persons available for the purpose of teaching duties in Commonwealth schools and in other schools as set out. I doubt that I have seen in any legislation a wider power of initiative given to any Commissioner.
Before coming to the ultimate suggestion in the Labor Party amendment I want to draw together the first 4 suggestions. As to the proposed commission of 3 members, I say that this is a misunderstanding of the functions of the Service. The functions are those of employment, not of teacher training, not of school systems, not of education policies and not of curricula. The upgrading of standards and qualities of the profession primarily must be the function of the bodies charged with those responsibilities - the Universities Commission, the Advisory Committee on Advanced Education and the various State bodies. Consistent with that, the Commissioner will have enormous powers to upgrade the quality of his staff. He will have power to send any officer to an institution to provide scholarships and other living allowances and to pay fees, in order to give him training in specialist courses. The Commissioner can do that. Indeed, the Commissioner will have the advisory bodies which the Opposition refers to as advisory councils. These are more than adequately catered for in clause 53. The final paragraph of the Opposition’s amendment relates to accouchement leave - leave granted to female employees on account of pregnancy. As I read it the paragraph says, in effect, that we should embrace the conditions for accouchement leave as laid out in the International Labour Organisation recommendation. Clause 33 of this Bill sets out the conditions of accouchement leave. I note that the Minister for Education and Science in another place said - I have no knowledge either for or against this statement - that it is his understanding that the provisions of this Bill are, in fact, in accordance with the ILO recommendation. That may not be so; there may be need for other steps to be taken. The step to form a Commonwealth Teaching Service is a novel step. It is an important step for the Commonwealth and in the whole orchestration of education in this country. Its impact will be felt not only here but also in the territories and countries around us.
This Bill must not be looked at as a Bill which provides all the answers to education. Clearly it must be looked at as one instrument in the orchestra. The enormous need in this country in relation to education is not for us merely to work on the basis of old principles and values and apply ourselves to those principles but, first of ali, to lake slock and decide whether what we did in the past is right for the future. I mention again the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts in relation to the Commonwealth’s role in teacher education. When it comes before this Senate honourable senators will note that pride of place is given to a scries of recommendations for widened research. 1 conclude by saying-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– The Australian Democratic Labor Party supports the Commonwealth Teaching Service Bill, lt will not support the amendment which has been moved on behalf of the Opposition. As 1 understand this Bill, it marks a decision to set up a Commonwealth Teaching Service because of the feeling among certain State authorities that the assistance that they have given over the years should no longer continue and that the Commonwealth should become the employing body of the teachers who serve its schools. I have informed myself of the circumstances under which the Bill comes forward by a certain amount of research and also by an examination of the debates which took place elsewhere. In view of the statements which have been made in the course of the debates and the keen interest which bodies such as the Australian Teachers Federation have taken in this measure 1 have been somewhat surprised that the interest did not extend to any action to inform the Democratic Labor Party of views held by such bodies. Most people are aware that where there is a difference of opinion between the Government and the Opposition the Democratic Labor Party is in a position to influence the ultimate decision very strongly. For that reason it has become the commendable practice of persons who are interested in Bills coming before the Parliament to inform not only the Government and the Opposition but also the Democratic Labor Party of their views.
Reading the debates I have been struck by the fact that organisations representing teachers have been represented as being particularly concerned over matters con tained in this Bill. I find it hard to believe that that concern could have been as great as has been .stated because I am unable to find any honourable senator in my Party who has been approached in regard to this matter or who has been given any information as to the views of the teachers organisations concerned. 1 do not believe that reputable organisations would have acted through political bias and, as a former teacher with a high regard for my profession. I do not like to think that they acted from ignorance. I do not know why they have acted so. I can only say that my Party regards the statements that the teaching service is very keenly interested in what happens to this Bill with a certain amount of doubt and hesitancy. We feel that if people have views to put forward and feel strongly about them at least they should have gone to the trouble to let us know their views.
Looking at the Bill anyone such as myself who has worked in a very extensive educational service will be struck by the fact that the new service to be set up is far from being an educational service to the degree of that operating in each of the States. It may well be that one day it will become such a service. But even speakers for the Opposition in another place stress the point that, after all, this is only an enabling Bill, lt is a Bill to set up a skeleton service. In those circumstances 1 cannot go along with some of the suggestions which have been made. In putting before Parliament an enabling Bill which will set up a skeleton service which will be merely an employing authority without the other wide responsibilities which teaching services in the States have at present, I cannot go along with the plea that at this stage we should set up another bureaucracy. While, as a former teacher, I would be in favour - in a service of significant size - of the provision for a commission of 3 members, as one who has become also frightened by the allpervading atmosphere of bureaucracy in this city, I am not prepared to set up a bureaucracy in the infant stages of the Commonwealth Teaching Service. I believe that in view of the limited nature of the duties which the Commissioner will perform and in view of the fact that he will operate only in a very limited field in regard to teachers, for the time being the attitude of the Government that there should be one commissioner is justified. At a future time when the infant service has grown, when it has a significant number of teachers associated with it and when the Commonwealth Teaching Service is able to take over those many other duties which come under a State system, my altitude will be different. But at the moment when we are setting up, as is admitted, the skeleton of a service 1 will not vote for a commission of 3 commissioners because, candidly, I do not know what two of them will do.
The other points which have been made appeal to me very much. The second paragraph of the Opposition’s amendment deals with the heightening or improvement of professional standards of teachers by the establishment of faculties of education. The third paragraph deals with the provision for the recruitment and training of staff, not only for Papua New Guinea but also other Pacific islands if they seek our aid. The fourth paragraph relates to the provision of an advisory council. I agree with all those, bin I notice from the second reading speech of the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) - it has not been denied or negated in any way - that there is already provision in the Bill for paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) of the amendment to be complied with. Under those circumstances 1 see no reason for saying that the Bill should contain those paragraphs. 1 have no doubt that in its own good time, when the Service has reached the appropriate stage, specific provision will actually be made for those things. [ believe that the provision in the Bill that those things can be done is quite sufficient. Therefore I see no reason to vole against the Bill on those grounds.
The final paragraph of the Opposition’s amendment deals with provisions of leave for pregnant teachers. In another place the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) has said categorically that the leave provisions in the Bill for pregnancy are in conformity with the International Labour Organisation recommendation. Therefore it is for the Opposition, if it says that the provisions are not in conformity with that recommendation, to produce evidence to that effect. If the Opposition produces that evidence my attitude will be different. In the present circumstances, when the Minister has made the state ment in the other place and when his statement has been subject to examination and rebuttal - I am unable to find any instance of rebuttal that satisfies me - I feel that I must accept the Minister’s point of view until it is proved to be wrong. T know of no attempt to date to prove it to be wrong. If evidence is brought forward, my attitude will change. Until that happens 1 propose to support the Bill. 1 am glad that the Commonwealth is setting up its own Education Service, lt is another stage in the advancement of educational authority in the Commonwealth. 1 think that the fact that it has its own Service and that it does not have to rely upon temporary assistance from outside will eventually produce a more efficient and a more satisfactory teaching service in those areas over which the Commonwealth has control. Therefore my Parly supports the Bill and is unable to support the amendment.
– When the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts was giving consideration to the Commonwealth’s role in regard to teacher education and when it was compiling its report which, as honourable senators know, was tabled in the Senate, it prefaced the report by making reference to the role of the Commonwealth in education. At. the beginning of chapter .1 the Committee pointed out that the Commonwealth has statutory responsibility for education in the Territories and that under several sections of the Constitution it can exercise powers and responsibilities in a limited area throughout the Commonwealth. The Bill takes up that theme and reflects the general idea set out in the report and the general idea contained in the constitutional references. Therefore the Bill, which seeks to set up a Commonwealth teaching service, represents something in the nature of a pioneering effort. In common with all pioneering efforts it has elements about it that are bold. On the other hand it has elements about it that mark it as something that seeks to crawl before it can walk. In short, it is moving forward on a perfectly graduated scale, making each move step by step anc at the same time giving itself considerable room in which to move.
I suppose it is fairly obvious, but nevertheless it is very important to say that the presentation of the Bill is an important milestone in the development of the Commonwealth’s responsibilities in education. It is important because it provides opportunities, because it seeks to establish a career service, because it is a flexible measure and because, I think, it will become very attractive to members of the teaching profession in future, lt appeals to me mostly because it has ingredients about it that will contribute towards what I will call the stability of the teaching profession and because it places the vocation on a high and useful level. In essential terms it is, as other speakers have said tonight, a Bill that is a mechanism, a Bill that provides for the movement of people, a Bill that provides a flexibility for the whole teaching profession and a Bill that provides a continuity of service. It will work particularly for the schools for which the Commonwealth has a measure of responsibility.
I think it is important to remind the Senate that the Commonwealth is attaching a great deal of importance to the Bill. I would also draw attention to the physical size of the Bill and to the length of the second reading speech of the Minister for Works (Senator Wright). We do not always give credit for a Bill which covers many pages, which has many clauses and which sets out a great amount of detail. By the same token we do not always give credit for a speech delivered by a Minister or anybody else if it is a very long speech. Tonight I draw the attention of honourable senators to the detail which was set out by the Minister page after page and line after line, so that the Bill and the Minister’s speech are the Bill’s best recommendations. This important Bill is something that reflects the Commonwealth’s sense of responsibility as it undertakes a widening avenue of service within the discipline of education. As I think honourable senators are aware, the establishment of the Service has become necessary because of the population growth and because of the requirements of people in the Commonwealth’s Territories. This has meant that there has been a growth in education needs. Therefore the Commonwealth has responded!, through this Bill, by providing a Commonwealth Teaching Service to meet those needs.
The need for the Commonwealth to take direct, active and positive responsibility for the staffing of its schools has arisen largely from various historical events. As has been recounted already, the South Australian Department of Education has given notice that it will phase out its activities in the Northern Territory by 1976. The New South Wales Department has had conversations about its role in the Australian Capital Territory. I think it is important to mention at this time the previous arrangements have worked very well. As a South Australian, I think I should pay tribute to the State Department which, for a number of years, has serviced the educational needs of the Northern Territory. I think it is appropriate for the Minister, as I think he has done, to place on record his expression of appreciation. The growth of the Territories over which the Commonwealth has control has lead to an intensification of education services and to a realisation by the Commonwealth that it will have to take direct and complete responsibility for the staffing of its schools. It may be of interest to honourable senators to know that the number of full time teachers in the Australian Capital Territory schools now exceeds 1,000, compared with only 700 four years earlier. In the Northern Territory there are now almost twice as many teachers as there were four years ago.
When we think about teachers we are inclined to think in terms of one grade of school, but we will have to expand this thinking because more and more there will be requirements on the Commonwealth to staff all its schools - not only primary and secondary schools but also the pre-schools, which are very important as we discovered during hearings of the Senate Standing Committee. So it follows fairly naturally that the first purpose of the Bill is to provide for the staffing of its schools within the areas administered by the Commonwealth. They include the community schools and the special Aboriginal schools. The Bill also makes provision for involvement in consultation in regard to the Australian Capital Territory. I am more impressed with the flexibility which is a dominant note running clause by clause through the Bill. This flexibility provides for a great variety of circumstances and needs. Indeed, the flexibility of the Bill provides the perfect negation of the amendment which has been put forward by the Australian Labor Party. If honourable senators examine its S paragraphs they will find that every one of them has a complete and full answer within the Bill.
The flexibility to which I have referred takes on an attractive character early in the Bill. If 1 recall correctly, early in the Minister’s speech he referred, amongst other things, to the provision of highly qualified teachers within the Papua New Guinea area. If honourable senators refer to that speech they will see that he said thai in order to assist Papua New Guinea the Service will include a complement of teachers who will be made available on secondment to the Papua New Guinea teaching service. The Minister pointed out that this arrangement will allow their career status in the Commonwealth Teaching Service to be preserved while they are in Papua New Guinea. Therefore, this Service will operate as a base to which the teachers can return for a period or from which they may move for service elsewhere. 1 draw attention to the fact that this is the complete answer to one of he paragraphs within the Australian Labor Party’s amendment.
Another degree of flexibility provided by this Bill and which has a measure of appeal to me is the opportunity which such a Service will eventually give for far wider professional involvement for members of the teaching profession, lt also will provide an opportunity for teachers to respond to such overseas assignments as may become available within developing countries. In these and other situations a teacher may be seconded to the Commonwealth for a specific project and can return later to the State service. In the case of an overseas assignment, the teacher can have the advantage of joining the Commonwealth Teaching Service for the duration of his tour of duty. The idea behind this measure differs from other teaching services in Australia because as a teaching service it will extend over more than one system or education authority. The good feature about it, of course, is that it will enable the movement of teachers between one school system and another, lt will provide for a greater involvement of teachers in a variety of systems. It will provide for a greater interdependence and a greater communication between teaching systems and teachers.
It goes without saying that this fosters fresh educational thinking. It fosters and stimulates new ideas and above all it emphasises a development in the processes of the art of teaching and of communication. Even so, if the replacement of ali the State school teachers in both the Commonwealth Territories with Commonwealth teachers were contemplated - I understand that it is not contemplated at present - it would still mean that the Commonwealth Teaching Service would be for quite a period a small service. It would be small, especially in comparison with its State counterparts - too small in my view to envisage separate teaching services for each of the Commonwealth Territories. So the Service will never be a large one by Australian standards. While it is in its early stages of development I think it is desirable that its growth be not rigorously and completely defined. I have referred earlier in my remarks tonight to the freedom of movement which the Service has in its implementation stages. The Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and the Minister for Works who represents the Minister for Education and Science in this place both pointed this out in the speeches when they introduced the Bill.
There appear to me to be 3 or 4 general principles on which this teaching service will be based. I would like to spend a little time dealing with these principles. The interesting factor is that the Commonwealth Teaching Service is outside Public Service Board control while the staffing of schools is to be administered by a different authority that is charged with the day to day administration. The staff of the authority should not train the teachers. During the hearing of the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts which dealt with the Commonwealth’s role in teacher education we were confronted on almost every day that we operated with a situation of recognising that many long standing assumptions regarding education were being seriously challenged. We endeavoured to meet that challenge. I invite the attention of honourable senators to our report and the recommendations contained therein. I think it will bc seen that the Senate Committee has responded to the fact that many of the long standing assumptions regarding education are being seriously challenged. I feel that it is very desirable that any initiative and any new thought in the field of education should be adopted and should include the best that can be gleaned from Australian educational experience.
As I have made some reference to the report on the Commonwealth’s role in teacher education, I make further reference to the Bill by saying that this proposed Commonwealth Teaching Service is based on a recognition that it is extremely necessary to take advantage of the new thought and new ideas that are being introduced not only in the sphere of education generally but more particularly in the sphere of teacher education. The Bill and the speeches that have been made indicate that the Service will have only a small beginning. I imagine that the immediate task will be that of staffing the Northern Territory schools. I am pleased to note also, for instance, that the Bill makes allowances for differing needs and requirements of schools in (he Northern Territory and schools in the Australian Capital Territory. This means that while the Service will be a small operation for the moment provision is made for only one Commissioner. This brings me to observe a paragraph in the Opposition’s amendment where it seeks the provision of a Commission composed of 3 members. I come back to the point that 1 made at the beginning of my speech. It is that the Service is an employing, an enabling and an administering authority. By its very nature it needs to be flexible. It needs to be in a position where it can make a decision and where it can meet a particular need. At this point in the life of the Commonwealth Teaching Service it occurs to me that if there were a multiple authority in which occasion was taken to provide for representation of a number of authorities - one does not dispute the fact that they all have a considerable and sincere interest in the Ser vice - it is my view that this would greatly slow down the work of the Service and at the same time complicate it unnecessarily. I have read through the Bill again and I am impressed by the fact that there are a wide range of opportunities in which the Commissioner may, through one form or another, provide himself with auxiliary advice through groups of people or through committees or commissions to which he can turn to assist him in the performance of his functions under the Act. 1 take the liberty of drawing attention to the last clause, No. 53 in which there is provision for the appointment of committees to advise the Commissioner in connection with the performance of his functions under the Act. So 1 see no need at this stage for specific representation of particular interests in the administration of the Service. 1 think that one Commissioner will be able to carry out the duties very adequately, will be able to interpret the Bill and will provide a worthwhile teaching service for the Commonwealth Territories. One of the features not to be overlooked is that the teachers will have their own service separate from the administration of the Public Service Board. I understand that this is something which most teachers working in State education systems consider highly desirable.
The last point that I wish to make concerns a reference that I made earlier in relation to the Bill itself. That is the separation of the staffing authority from the teacher training authority. Amongst other things, this separation flows from the Commonwealth’s involvement in the field of teacher training. As every honourable senator knows, the expansion of universities, for example, has meant that a greater number of teachers is being trained. To this we must add the teacher training programmes in many colleges of advanced education as well as the development of teaches training institutions under the States Grams Acts. In the course of its hearing on the Commonwealth’s role in teacher education, the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts became aware of the widespread opinion that confirms the statement I have just made, namely, that where possible there should be a separation of the appointing authority from the training authority. The Karmel Committee in South Australia makes a similar reference in its report. In one of the reports of my own Committee attention is drawn to the same idea.
The operations of the Commonwealth Teaching Service are not rigidly defined. This leads me to take up a point which also is included in the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts. This deals with the registration of teachers. We members of that Commitee became aware that there was not an adequate system whereby there was a registration of teachers throughout Australia. Teachers qualifications, we found, are not uniformly recognised throughout Australia. We think that the present proposal could represent a very good opportunity for some preliminary work to be done on this matter. While there is no adequate listing of teachers and their qualifications for the whole of Australia, the Commonwealth Teaching Service will need to have some mechanics which will provide it with the opportunity to know, to identify and to recognise not only teachers and the backgrounds from which they come but also their various qualifications and accomplishments. The Senate Standing Committee took the opportunity to point this fact out and to state that the recognition of teaching qualifications, including overseas qualifications, could be effected if there was an adequate registration programme of all teachers throughout Australia. The recognition of overseas qualifications is of particular importance and, indeed, a committee working within the Department of Immigration is looking at that matter. If we could have such registration and if it could be promoted, extended and acted upon, it would contribute to what I referred to earlier as an encouragement of stimulating fresh educational thinking and the promotion of new ideas and creative communication.
I refer also to the opportunity that the new Teaching Service will have in the sphere of research. Provision is made for assistance for the Commissioner from the investigation into practices in school and staff organisations in Australia and certain overseas countries which are the subject of a study being undertaken by Dr Radford and Professor Neal. I am sure that this study will be of the greatest assistance. I note this fact with some particular interest because in the report of the Senate Standing Committee heavy emphasis was laid on the urgent need for research. The Commissioner not only will have flexibility but also will be, as 1 said at the beginning of my remarks, a pioneer in every sense of the word. Therefore, it is essential that he be provided and undergirded with machinery which will enable research to be undertaken into education to meet the needs of the communities which the Commonwealth Teaching Service will serve.
So, I give my support to the measure which is before the Senate tonight. I draw attention to the complete inadequacy of the amendment which has been moved. I draw attention to the fact that the complete answers to paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) are contained within the Bill itself. I have already dealt with 3 of those paragraphs. The fourth paragraph of the amendment relates to advisory councils. In a number of instances in the Bill provision is made for the Commissioner to have councils, committees and groups of people to advise him. I have referred to educational research. 1 repeat that in the debate in another place the Minister for Education and Science said that the provisions regarding applications for leave conform with the conventions of the International Labour Organisation.
I conclude by referring again to the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts. By way of preface to our report on the Commonwealth’s role in teacher training, we ran an extract from an article by Arnold Toynbee entitled ‘Surviving the future’. He states:
We cannot, of course, have a completely different system of education for each individual; yet, as far as possible, the individual’s very subtly distinctive personality should be taken into account in giving him his education. 1 realise that this is difficult. Education has to be standardised to some extent, but it should be as flexible as possible.
While the provisions of this Bill centre on teachers and not students as such, the Bill is designed to be as flexible as possible and to take into account the varying and subtly distinctive needs, which must be met, of the people who live in the Commonwealth Territories. To that end, 1 not only congratulate the Minister but also support the Bill, reject the amendment and wish the Commissioner well.
– I agree that this Bill has many positive features which we on this side of the Senate applaud. It certainly is appropriate that, with the Education Department of South Australia bowing out of the obligation which it has accepted up to now to provide teachers for the Northern Territory and with the possibility that the Department of Education in New South Wales will do the same in respect of the responsibility which it has hitherto shouldered to provide teachers for the Australian Capital Territory, the Commonwealth Government should set up a teaching service of its own. That is what this Bill sets out to do. I also applaud the acceptance by the Commonwealth of a continuing responsibility to do something about supplying a pool of teachers for the needs of Papua New Guinea which is in the process of emerging into a new status but which obviously will need some continuing assistance from the Commonwealth in the early days of getting on its feet. The Government further has faced up to its responsibility in the Pacific region by accepting the responsibility of supplying teachers to territories other than those under its direct control or Papua New Guinea.
Another matter which has been adverted to by previous speakers, especially those who participated with me in the inquiry into the Commonwealth’s role in teacher education by the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts, which- has just recently completed its inquiry and tabled its report in the Senate, is the separation of the authority which has responsibility for the teaching service from the authority which is actually responsible for running the schools. But I think that I sense in what was said by those speakers a misunderstanding of the application of that principle to the present situation. In the deliberations of the Senate Standing Committee, expert after expert who gave evidence before the Committee constantly stressed that it was not desirable that the education departments of the States should have control of the training of teachers who later would man the schools run by those education departments. These experts stressed the desirability of setting up autonomous teacher training institutions throughout New South Wales.
I detect both in the second reading speech of the Minister and in what has been said by speakers in this debate tonight some sort of extension of that principle into a suggestion that the teaching service which is being set up by this Bill should not in any way concern itself with the actual training of teachers but should be content to draw on the other sources which are at present available in the community; they are the universities, colleges of advanced education, teacher colleges and so on. It seems that to do otherwise would in some way be breaching the principle applied by the experts to whom I have referred and which is now enshrined in the report I am speaking of because, as is made clear in the Minister’s second reading speech, the teaching service which is set up by this Bill will not bc part of the Department of Education and Science.
The Department of Education and Science is at present responsible for the operation of community schools in the Northern Territory and as such is an authority under the Bill. As the Minister said, it is his belief that there are advantages in the teaching service being separate from any authority responsible for the actual conduct of schools. This teaching service will be separate from the authorities which actually conduct the schools, and therefore I can see no reason why in the future it should not concern itself also with the actual training of teachers. It should not adopt a policy of hands off the existing institutions and should not wash its hands of any responsibility for training teachers, lt should not merely rely on getting them by advertising or by recruit ug them from the existing institutions. I can see some advantage in the future in perhaps setting up a teacher training centre of some kind in the Northern Territory and I can see no breach of the principle we are discussing if the teacher training centre should actually be under the auspices of the teacher training service set up by this Bill.
We concede that this is merely an enabling Bill which does not set out to give in detail everything which is ultimately sought to be achieved by this measure, but we express some disappointment that after - using the Minister’s words - ‘the drafting of this Bill has taken some time and considerable effort’, the Government has come up with a Bill which is such a skeleton. We are disappointed that the Government should have left the fleshing out of this skeleton entirely to the making of regulations. We can see the difficulties. We can see that a teaching service in its infancy cannot be expected to foresee all of the problems which may confront it. We are aware that it may not be possible at the present stage to insert in the Bill everything that we would like to see in it, but I join with honourable senators who have already expressed the hope that in drafting the regulations the Government will not lose sight of the lessons that were drawn after the exhaustive hearing of evidence by the Standing Committee of the Senate to which I have referred.
As both Senator Carrick and Senator Davidson have said, the schools of the future will not be anything like the schools of the past or the present. All of the experts we listened to spoke with one voice. They said that education is really just beginning to face up to its problems; that fundamental questions are being asked about what is being sought to be achieved by education. Many of the experts frankly admitted that the answers are not yet known. For my part, I hope that the Minister, whoever he may be in the future, when he is drafting the regulations which will put flesh on this skeleton will have regard not only to the inquiry which is mentioned in the Minister’s second reading speech but also to the lessons and messages enshrined in what I say, with all due modesty as a participant in the deliberations of the Committee, is a very learned and helpful report.
Some of the specific criticisms that have been levelled at the amendment moved from this side of the House do not really stand up. I have in mind particularly the criticism of the first paragraph of our amendment which calls for the provision of a commission of 3 members of the
Commonwealth Teaching Service, one of whom shall be elected by the teachers. It is said that the move is unjustified on 2 grounds, firstly because it is possibly envisaged in the spirit of the Bill itself, and secondly, that because the Teaching Service in its infant stages will not be large, it will not be necessary to have more than one commissioner.
This does not seem to me to be a very valid reason. After all, there is widespread movement in the community for participation, especially in spheres such as education, of wide layers of the community. It would be very hard to imagine any government’s setting up a body relating to architects and not having any architects on it. It is even more ridiculous to imagine a body concerned with doctors which would exclude doctors from its management. We can see no reason, even though the service in its infancy will bc small and will not have very great tasks to perform, why it should not get off on the right foot from the beginning. We believe that it is beyond argument that the deliberations and practical work of such a service would be assisted by having at least one practising teacher on its governing body.
One other matter particularly referred to is the alleged misunderstanding on our part of the provision in the Bill for accouchement leave for teachers. It is suggested that the Bill already provides for everything that is insisted on as a desirable standard by the. International Labour Organisation code. It was said that the Minister had made this assertion in the other place, that it had not been contradicted by us, and that we carried some onus to disprove the Minister’s assertion if we were to make out any grounds for the cogency of this amendment. I have referred to the debate in the other place and on my reading our critics have -not correctly stated the position.
The International Labour Organisation Convention No. 103 which, incidentally, has not been ratified by the Australian Government, provides that on production of a medical certificate an officer - in this case a pregnant teacher - is entitled to maternity leave on pay of at least 12 weeks, there being a compulsory period of 6 weeks before the confinement and 6 weeks afterwards. It is true that clause 33 of the Bill provides for an amount of leave at least as generous as that requirement.
– Where did you find the provision that it should be on pay?
– That is my understanding. I do not have it before me. I am open to correction. I understand that that is what the international Labour Office recommendation states. If that is not the case I withdraw what I just said. Is it not the case?
– In that case. 1 stand corrected, lt was my understanding that the requirement was that it should bc on pay.
– lt is for social insurance scheme benefits to the extent. 1 think, of two-thirds of pay.
– In any event, I would like to point out that clause 33 certainly does not provide that the amount of leave granted would include any compulsory payment for 12 weeks leave. That would depend on the amount of sick leave standing to the credit of the officer in question. If those honourable senators on this side of the. chamber who have raised this objection are wrong about thai requirement of the International Labour Office, the misunderstanding has sprung from that point.
There is only one other specific point in the Bill to which I would like to make reference. It is contained in clause 20 of the Bill which seems not only to be archaic but also to contain an internal contradiction. This is a clause which crops up in Bill after Bill which is presented to this chamber dealing with people who become servants of the Commonwealth. It contains the requirement, first of all, that an officer shall be a British subject. This is contradicted in another sub-clause of the same clause. Clause 20 (2.) provides that an officer shall be a British subject. Sub-clause. (3.) gives the Commissioner discretion to employ somebody who is not a British subject. I would suggest that especially in the recruitment of teachers the insistence - it is not really insisted upon and should not be there at all - that an applicant for an office in a teaching service should be a British subject is quite unreal. Surely one of our requirements in the near future as we expand our contacts in the area in which we live and in which we shall have to come to terms will be for teachers of languages spoken in the area. Are the Indonesian, Chinese and Japanese people who may happen to be living in this country but who obviously are not by definition British subjects - I mention also Frenchmen, Hungarians and others in case some objection may be taken to the examples 1 have given - to be excluded from opportunities in this Service merely because they are not British subjects? As I said, there is a concession in this clause. This is not a requirement on which the Teaching Service will be able to insist. 1 have referred already to the contradiction between subclause (3.) and sub-clause (2.).
There is also this absurd proposition, in my view, that anybody seeking office in the Commonwealth Public Service should be required to take an oath or make an affirmation. This is tied up with this question of race, of being a British subject. I suggest that it is something which draftsmen of future Acts of this kind could well look at and omit. It adds nothing to the effectiveness of such a Service to have people going through this solemn procedure of taking an oath or making an affirmation. The larger corporations in this community do not insist on anything like this, and I suggest that it is out of date for this Government to be doing this sort of thing.
– I wholeheartedly support the Bill before the Senate. I think the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and his Department deserve the highest praise and congratulations on what I consider to be a most comprehensive Bill. They deserve full credit for the time that they have spent in preparing it. I think I should remind the Senate that this Bill whose purpose is to establish a Commonwealth Teaching Service is in fact virtually establishing an employing authority. The Bill provides for a Commissioner to be appointed. His function in the words of clause 16(1.) is ‘to make persons available for the performance of teaching duties ia
Commonwealth schools and other schools in accordance with this section’. Sub-clause (8.) of clause 16 provides:
The Commissioner has power to do all things necessary or convenient to be done for or in connection with the performance of his function under this section.
We have heard Opposition members speak on this Bill. We have heard Senator Wheeldon make his contribution. He probably made only one comment of real substance and that was with regard to the matter of appointing one Commissioner to deal with this authority. Senator Wheeldon made the suggestion that there should be more than one Commissioner - that a Commission should be established and that one of the members of the Commission should be a teacher representing the interests of the Australian Teachers Federation. Speakers from this side of the chamber already have pointed to the fact that this is a relatively small Service - a Service which will comprise between 1,500 and 2,000 members. I think we can draw a comparison here between the Commission which Senator Wheeldon proposes and the Public Service Board, which is also an employing authority. It is responsible for employing something like 250,000 people. The Public Service Board consists of 3 people, but upon looking at the Public Service we realise that it is comprised of professional people in various categories yet none of these people on the Public Service Board have any relationship to any professionally qualified people in the Public Service.
Senator Wheeldon made reference also to his colleague in another place, Mr Beazley, when he was speaking on this Bill. I do not think that very much of substance was contributed by that particular gentleman. We on this side of the chamber do become used to divisions of opinion on various subjects among honourable senators opposite. Two topics readily come to mind - immigration and labour, and national service. But on the subject of education I find that there are not one or two opinions coming from the Australian Labor Party but there are 3. This was evidenced recently when a measure was introduced into this chamber to provide for additional help to independent schools. On that occasion we found that 3 shades of opinion were expressed. One was advanced by Mr
Whitlam, one by Mr Beazley and a third interpretation by Senator Murphy.
I refer again to the matter of one Commissioner being appointed to deal with this employing authority, the Commonwealth Teaching Service, by dealing with what Senator McManus said. He is a highly respected former member of the teaching profession. He has indicated already that if this Service is extended to include a greater number of people then measures can be introduced in the future to increase the number of members on the Commission. The Commissioner also has the responsibility to determine salaries and conditions of employment of teachers, but this is done only with the concurrence of the Public Service Board. I understand that some criticism of this proposal has been lodged by some members of the teaching profession. I would like to remind the Senate that this is usual Commonwealth practice when dealing with statutory authorities outside he Commonwealh Public Service Act. It is usual to have the agreement of the Public Service Board in the determination of these matters. The history of such arrangements dates back to the time when the Honourable J. J. Dedman introduced into the Parliament the Science and Industry Research Bill which concerned in particular the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. I know for a fact that the CSIRO finds no difficulty or has no inhibition with regard to its function because of the fact that the Public Service Board has to concur in determinations concerning that body.
In setting up the Commonwealth Teaching Service the Government has in mind the desirability of providing a career structure for teachers enabling maximum flexibility in the educational field and facilitating the movement of teachers not only to various education systems within Australia but to positions overseas where they will be able to participate in the educational fields in developing countries thereby increasing their experience in a very tangible way. The Commonwealth Government is in fact establishing for the first time in Australia a teaching service which will allow teachers in that service to move beyond the areas of a particular system.
Previously in the debate tonight we head good speeches particularly by Senator Carrick and Senator Davidson. Senator Davidson, who is the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts, Senator Carrick, Senator James McClelland, who spoke before me, and their colleagues who are members of that Standing Committee recently brought down a report on the Commonwealth’s role in teacher education. I believe that the Commonwealth Government will do well to digest very carefully and take rapid steps to implement the important recommendations that have emerged as a result of this report.
I think it is fitting at this stage that I should mention the headings of some of the chapters in the report. For example, one heading is ‘The Preparation of Teachers’. This subject has been dealt with in very fine detail. Other headings are: The Continued Training and Employment of Teachers’, ‘The Training of Teachers for non-government Schools’, The Training of Pre-School Teachers’, The Training of Special Teachers’, and The Training of Technical Teachers’. I believe that the last chapter I shall mention - ‘Research in Teacher Education’ - is one of the most significant in the report. I would like to outline the sub-headings of the recommendations. They cover research of teacher education in Australia, the financing of research, research overseas, education of Aboriginal children and the need for future research.
I believe that the key to the upgrading of educational standards is effective research. Several years ago the Commonwealth Government took a significant step in this direction by setting up the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Education, which has become known as the Partridge Committee. It is important that the work of this Committee should be greatly expanded. This means that more money will have to be made available. I believe that the Commonwealth ought to give this aspect of the report very careful and sympathetic consideration and provide sufficient money to implement the important recommendations that the Senate Standing Committee has made with respect to research into teacher training.
My colleagues have dealt pretty effectively with the amendments moved on behalf of the Australian Labor Party. I would like to refer to only one or two measures in the Bill that point to the farreaching effects of it. Senator Carrick mentioned the matter of the selection of officers for promotion. He said that the Bill provides that officers will be considered for promotion to vacant positions, firstly, on the basis of relevant efficiency of the officers available for promotion, and in the event of equality of efficiency of 2 or more officers, selection will revert to the relative seniority of these officers. There is another matter that I should mention because it relates, I believe, quite definitely to part (b) of the Opposition’s amendment which calls for the heightening of professional standards of teachers. I refer to clause 44 of the Bill, which pays regard to the provision of Commonwealth Teaching Service scholarships. This clause in itself is designed to heighten the professional standards of the teaching profession.
– It is a very generous provision too.
– I believe that is quite right. I believe that everyone will agree on studying the detail of the provisions with regard to Commonwealth Teaching Service scholarships that these are most generous. I have pleasure in supporting the Bill and reject the amendments moved on behalf of the Opposition.
– In rising to reply to the debate on the Commonwealth Teaching Service Bill I wish to acknowledge the support that the measure has had from all sides of the Senate, particularly from speakers on the Government side, supported as they have been by quite an attentive audience. This is appropriate because the Bill, although from one point of view it has been described as technical and administrative, nevertheless is a step in the advance that is being made in nationhood by the assumption by this Parliament of its responsibilities in the educational field. That recognition of responsibility has now extended over some 20 to 30 years.
But perhaps in no Bill hitherto has the direct responsibility of the Parliament been acknowledged more poignantly than in this Bill which provides the statutory and machinery authority to enable a commissioner to make available the teaching personnel that are required to discharge Commonwealth educational responsibilities in the primary and secondary field. It is the diversity of those responsibilities that makes the machinery of this Bill appropriate. In the Australian Capital Territory we have a system which operates on an orthodox basis of primary and secondary schools - on the one hand government and on the other hand independent. In the Northern Territory, the other mainland Territory of the Commonwealth, we have community schools. These are government primary and secondary schools. The Northern Territory also has special Aboriginal schools. In addition we have in the Bill recognition of our responsibilities, both present and anticipated to continue even after self-government and independence have been attained by Papua New Guinea. Further, we look to the extension - it is happening at the present time and is expected to expand in the future - of educational aid to those who seek our assistance in countries within the African, Asian and other areas where we have some influence. Finally, to indicate the range of our conception of perhaps not responsibility but availability, we advert to the possibility that we may be invited to make arrangements, perhaps reciprocal in some respects, at the instance of the States. My friend Senator Rae this afternoon asked a question that gave point to a specialty in which an invitation might be expected; that is to say with regard to the development of Asian languages and Asian teaching in the schools conducted by the States.
Having enumerated the diversity of the school systems that are embraced within the Commonwealth conception of its responsibility, the thing then confronting those who developed the policy to which this Bill gives expression was to devise the appropriate administrative mechanism to ensure that the personnel staffing of those school systems would be adequate. Realising the fact that for different and other purposes we had constituted the Department of Education and Science it was recognised that there was a need to establish a special authority whose exclusive responsibility should be to make available qualified personnel in the form of teachers, adequate in numbers, to fulfil the needs of the school systems I have mentioned.
I want to give the Senate some basic figures to indicate the growing need to make provision for the personnel staff to which I refer. In 1968 there were 20,586 pupils in the Australian Capital Territory and this year there are 28,850. In 1968 there were 846 teachers and this year there are 1,178. The corresponding figures for the Northern Territory are as follows: In 1968 there were 8,795 pupils and this year there are 13,370. In 1968 there were 342 teachers in the Northern Territory and this year there are 524. Those figures relate to the community schools in the Northern Territory. Referring now to special schools in the Northern Territory, the number of pupils has grown from 4,761 to 6,479 and the teachers in those schools have increased from 206 to 313. The projected rate of increase in both pupils and teachers in the next 5 years is similar to the rate indicated by those figures for the period from 1968. Therefore I am pleased that the Senate recognises the appropriateness of the provisions of this Bill to provide the machinery and administrative mechanism to supply this personnel staff for those needs.
It was said in the course of one speech during the debate that this Bill regrettably is only a skeleton and that we must look to the regulations to provide the flesh to make it a living organism. That betokens a very improverished perception of the Bill. The Bill certainly relies upon the regulations to spell out in detail certain administrative matters in particular areas but the fundamental principles upon which this employment commissionership is structured are all set out in satisfying detail in the Bill. In the first place the authority to administer the scheme is the Commissioner. We have heard debate about whether the proposal in the Bill for a one man commission is appropriate or whether there should be a 3-man commission. My colleagues, Senators Davidson, Carrick and Jessop, to whom I listened with great interest, demonstrated the soundness of the one-man commissionership to a degree that makes it unnecessary for me to add anything in that respect.
Having established that authority we say in the Bill that the terms and conditions of appointment - I think I am right in using that expression - to the Commonwealth Teaching Service are to be as determined by the Commissioner with approval of the Public Service Board. The Public Service Board, being a Commonwealth agency, must be brought into the situation so that there is co-ordination between the terms and conditions of the staffs of the Public Service and of the Commonwealth’s authorities, otherwise there would be discrimination and chaos. Co-ordination is necessary. But the terms and conditions of appointment are to be such as are determined by the Commissioner. Of course there are certain fields in which the Commissioner will wish to take advise. I indicated in my second reading speech - it is indicated also in the particular provisions of the Bill to which my colleagues referred - that the Bill anticipates that advisory committees may be consulted in those respects and others. The important thing is that the question whether there is a single Commissioner or a 3-man commission dissolves into insignificance when we are reminded that the Teaching Service is to be given access to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in the event of any dispute or difference between the employer and the staff of the schools about any terms and conditions of employment.
In that respect I remind the Senate that 31) or 40 years ago the High Court of Australia decided that under our Constitution the State teaching services were not of the nature of industrial services and therefore their disputes were nol. cognisable in the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The Commonwealth, having authority by virtue of its power to deal with Territories, is not restricted to interstate industrial commission disputes in connection with this Teaching Service and therefore constitutionally is enabled to give it unqualified access to the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. That provision was recommended to the Government by the Australian Teaching Federation. The staff employed by the Teaching Service will have an ultimate tribunal to which to go in the event of any difference or disagreement over terms and conditions of employment. The next main structure of the Bill to which I wish to refer in reply relates to promotions within the service and the subject of discipline involving punishment or demotion or disciplinary orders. In those cases if there is any difference between the individual teacher and the Commissioner a 3-man board - a promotions appeal board in the one case or a disciplinary appeal board in the other - is set up. In the case of each, that is the promotions and disciplinary boards, the teaching staff is entitled to elect a representative to the 3-man board. I think that thereby we develop a picture of a pretty fair system whereby the Commissioner will be enabled to create a just and equitable system which will, as I said in the second reading speech, constitute a service which will attract purposeful teachers proud of their profession to employment within the Service with the knowledge that their conditions arc secure because of the provisions to which I have referred.
To enable recruitment to this Service to be on a basis of some encouragement and assistance I remind honourable senators that the Bill makes provision for the full time students or part time students to receive scholarships in the form of payment of fees, living allowances or the payment of fares. Those provisions will be prescribed by regulations over which this Senate will have an opportunity to exercise scrutiny. 1 hope that scholarships will aid those people who wish to join this Service to prepare themselves for the qualifications which are considered to be of an appropriate standard to enable them to be appointed to the Service. I hope that the best expectations of this Bill under the provisions to which I have referred will be achieved. I am pleased that it has been indicated as the debate has proceeded that that view is held by the majority of honourable senators. That leaves me under the obligation - in the circumstances I feel a small obligation - to say a word of recognition and dismissal of the proposals which have been set out in the amendment moved by the Australian Labor Party. To the motion that the Bill be now read a second time it wishes to add an expression of opinion that the Bill should provide:
I have already dealt with thai matter. The Bill provides for a commission of one man. He is expected to have both administrative and technical qualifications. In relation to promotions and discipline he is subject to boards upon which the teachers are to have representation. In respect of terms and conditions of employment he is subject to the decision of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, lt is an egregious attempt on the part of those who penned this amendment - a political ploy which is transparently futile - to suggest that this is an occasion for the appointment of a 3-man commission. The second paragraph of the amendment slates that the Bill should provide:
My colleagues have already amply demonstrated that there is adequate provision in the Bill to achieve thai objective. The third plank of the Labor Party amendment slates the Bill should provide:
Apparently the author of that proposition did not allow himself the opportunity to peruse the plain terms of the Bill. The fourth paragraph of the Labor Party amendment states:
That proposition has been penned under a clear misconception of the nature of the Bill. An advisory committee of thai sort recruited from the community and the other bodies referred to would be quite appropriate to those authorities which actually conduct the schools, prescribe their curricula and subjects, set out the standards and conditions of entry and such like. But we are not dealing with the educational authorities which will conduct the schools: we are dealing with a teaching service commission which will arrange for the availability of staff to the educational authorities. Lastly, and in labour, the Labor Party puts forward the proposition that the Bill should provide:
Just fancy, however much one may be attracted to the need for assistance in the event of a difficult birth or assistance for the child after the birth, thinking that this is the appropriate Bill in which to provide adequate benefit to the mother who needs assistance! I suggest that the proposition is wholly inappropriate. But while I am on the subject - in view of reference to it in the debate - I wish to say a word about that provision in the hope that what I say will serve to clarify in the briefest form the situation under this Bill with regard to the entitlement of female teachers who require leave because, of pregnancy. The position is that this Bill adopts the provisions of the Public Service Act which we introduced in 1966 and which enabled married female, officers to be appointed as permanent officers. The provision was then made which permitted a female married officer who became pregnant to take leave without pay. The leave might be for a period not exceeding 26 weeks, lt was required to commence not earlier than 20 weeks before expected birth and nol later than 20 weeks afterwards. That was the optional period. It was made obligatory that the expectant mother take leave not later than 6 weeks before the expected birth and return to duty not later than 6 weeks after. In that respect the provisions of the Bill exceed the leave period entitlement provided by the ILO Convention.
Our provision allows leave without pay and notices that any sick leave accruing to the mother or any recreational leave or furlough entitlements that are to her credit may be availed of by her to provide pay on the sick leave, recreational leave or furlough benefit during absence on leave. In that respect we differ from the ILO Convention which provides for leave and requires cash benefits on a welfare basis subject to a means test required for social assistance. The provision is for adequate benefits out of social assistance funds.
Where cash benefits provided under a compulsory system of social insurance, are based on previous earnings, they are to be at a rate of not less than two-thirds of the woman’s previous earnings taken into account for the purpose of computing benefits. That is where the cash benefits are provided under compulsory social insurance based upon previous earnings. It is to be understood that that provision in the ILO Convention has relation to European systems of social welfare benefit - an entirely different basis from the Australian social welfare benefit system as at present provided. The ILO Convention is not interpreted properly if it is said to require leave with pay. In that respect we claim to afford to the personnel employed in the teaching service accouchment leave which is equal tothat provided by the ILO Convention to which I have referred.
Having dealt in somewhat more detail with the other 4 paragraphs, I have now concluded what I wish to say about the fifth paragraph of the Australian Labor Party’s amendment. AH paragraphs taken individually or collectively betoken of completely inadequate and immature understanding of the provisions of the Bill or of the objectives that the author had in mind. I conclude by acknowldging the assistance that the Senate debate has been to our understanding of the Bill and to the expounding of its merits. I ask the Senate to accept the Bill.
That the words proposed to be added (Senator Wheeldon’s amendment) be added.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . . . 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I wish to deal with clause 24 which provides for leave of absence for service with a State or outside Australia. There is a relevant consideration there which I raise not with a view to wishing in any way to amend the provisions but to draw attention to something which I think is of some importance. One of the matters which I think is agreed by most people to be desirable is that there should be an increase in the opportunity for the interchange of experience between universities, teaching colleges and schools. In many instances members of the Commonwealth Teaching Service probably will not be suitably qualified to be engaged in university teaching, teachers college teaching or college of advanced education teaching. But there may be some and it would seem to me to be highly desirable that those people should have available to them the opportunity to serve in a university or other tertiary institution for a limited period and then return to the Teaching Service.
The same position should apply to those who are engaged in the tertiary institutions. They should be able to be seconded to the Teaching Service for a limited period to have the opportunity to become more familiar with current problems and practices so far as practical teaching within schools is concerned. It seems to me that there is a limitation of transfer imposed by clause 24 and by the definition that leave of absence is available only for service in a school operated by a State or other government authority as opposed to a university. I simply draw attention to this. I do not wish it to be pursued at the moment but it may be a matter of some relevance to be considered at some later time.
– -.1 ask the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) who represents the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) in the Senate to look at clause 20 of the Bill, lt deals with the officers and employees. It states in part: (2.) Subject to the next succeeding sub-section, a person shall not be appointed as an officer unless -
The clause continues to list 4 other qualifications for a person to be appointed as an officer. What is the importance or significance of insisting that the person be a British subject?
– This subject was a matter of debate in another place. It will be noted that in regard to a member of the Commonwealth Teaching Service being a British subject various provisions are contained in the Act dealing with an oath that should be taken. The Bill provides that a person shall not be appointed as an officer unless he is a British subject and possesses the educational qualifications as determined by the Commissioner. He must meet the necessary health and physical fitness standards as determined by the Commissioner and be a fit and proper person to be an officer. He must make and subscribe before the Commissioner an oath or affirmation in accordance with the forms set out in the schedule to the Bill, which is an oath of allegiance in effect. The whole Bill is structured upon the basis that the Teaching Service is in line with the conception that it is constituted of teachers who are British subjects.
– We have heard tonight a classic non-answer from the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) who was asked what was the purpose of this provision. He has succeeded in talking for a few minutes and giving no answer to the question. I suppose that the real answer is that there is no justification for that requirement. 1 suppose that we reach the stage where in Bills presented to the Parliament we ought to be seeing references, if they are desirable, to Australian citizens. Perhaps if the Bill were to say that ordinarily a person would be expected to be an Australian citizen but in certain circumstances he need not be, we would accept this. It is time that we departed from the tradition of inserting the qualification that the person must be a British subject. I ask honourable senators to think of the width of the expression and the persons whom it covers. For instance, I am not sure and I do not know whether anyone is quite sure whether the citizens of India are still British subjects. I suppose they are not. There seems to be some confusion about the citizens of Ireland and certainly about those in other parts of the world. I think that the expression ought to be dropped out of our enactments, especially as the United Kingdom is treating the expression ‘British subject’ in a much more restricted way than hitherto, regarding that expression now as really meaning the citizens of the United Kingdom. I suggest that perhaps those who are responsible for this ought to look into these matters and perhaps introduce something which would meet the objection which was raised by Senator Willesee.
– I rise only to refute the gentle suggestion made by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) that my exposition of the justification for this expression in the Bill arises from the fact that there is no justification for it. I appreciate the humour that followed the rather bland exposition of the grounds for the inclusion of the provision. But the reason was not an acknowledgement that there are no grounds for it but rather a supposition that my audience had undergone primary education in social studies.
– I thank the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) for his 2 very clear expositions. I ask him now whether he can again help me. Looking at clause 20 (1.) I notice that it states:
The Commissioner shall, on behalf of the Commonwealth, appoint as officers such number of persons as he thinks necessary for the purposes of this Act.
Clause 20 (2.) states:
Subject to the next succeeding sub-section, a person shall not be appointed as an officer unless -
he is a British subject;
Clause 20 (3.) states:
The Commissioner may, with the approval of the Minister, appoint as an officer a person who is not a British subject . . .
Will the Minister explain to me why one sub-clause contains the requirement that a person shall be a British subject while the other sub-clause has no such requirement? The Minister’s advisers have induced him to write in, or the Minister on behalf of someone has written in, the requirement that a person be a British subject, yet a few lines further down there is no such requirement. I am wondering whether it would not be simpler to take out both references, or would that be beyond the wit of the Government?
– In the mood in which the Committee is tonight, perhaps it would suffice if I were to reply that the 2 expressions to which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Willesee) has drawn attention represent the final and consummate wisdom of another place with which 1 would not have the temerity to suggest interference.
– I am most grateful to the Minister.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Wright) read a third time.
Motion (by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) proposed:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I rise to attract the attention of the Senate to what I thought was a most disgraceful performance by a Minister of the Crown in Western Australia last week. Senator Greenwood, who holds the high office of Attorney-General in the Commonwealth Parliament, visited Western Australia and went on television to complain about a young national serviceman who had committed an offence against the National Service Act, who had been gaoled and whom the Western Australian Government, treating him the same as any other prisoner in Fremantle Gaol, allowed out on study leave for one day per week. I suspect that the activities of the AttorneyGeneral were initiated and contributed to by Senator Durack as a result of a question asked in this place a few days before in order to allow the Attorney-General to make some political capital from this matter. The Minister sought to make political capital, but I can assure him that he gained no mileage in Western Australia from the way that this matter was handled. After the Attorney-General’s performance 1 spoke to many people in Western Australia and found that they were completely disgusted with the attitude adopted by the Miniser.
The Attorney-General said that the activities of the gaol officers in allowing Gary Cook to have one day’s study leave each week was not in accordance with the law. I suggest that, in saying that, the AttorneyGeneral was referring to the written law. But there are other laws. The first law that Senator Greenwood transgressed was the law of decency. As a result of the question asked by Senator Durack, Senator Greenwood communicated by letter with the Chief Secretary in Western Australia, Honourable Claude Stubbs, M.L.C., but he did not have the common decency to wait for the Minister to reply to him before appearing on television. He went to Western Australia determined to make an exposition of this case. Not only did he not wait for the reply from the Minister in charge of prisons in Western Australia but also he did not even advise the Minister that he would be raising this question on television on the programme ‘Today Tonight’. Those 2 points prove that there was no integrity in the Attorney-General’s action in raising this matter.
Quite rightly Mr Stubbs, in a Press statement, said that Senator Greenwood was raising the issue to draw attention away from Federal Liberal problems in an election year. There is no doubt that this was so. Not only was Senator Greenwood tryingto draw attention away from the problems of the Liberal Party, which I suppose is part of politics, but at the same time he was trying to implicate the Western Australian Labor Government in something that he said it should not be doing. He was trying to denigrate the Western Australian Labor Government. He did this for political purposes and for political purposes alone. In acting as he did he had no mora) purpose, no purpose of decency and no purpose of compassion. In the interview with Senator Greenwood on 6th April Mr Graham asked this question:
You are doubting the professional integrity of the prison officers who do this job or are you suggesting that there has been pressure by the Labor Government?
Senator Greenwood replied: 1 have no reason to believe that in any way the integrity of prison officers ought to be questioned.
The question raised 2 problems: Whether the prison officers’ integrity should be questioned and whether the Labor Government in Western Australia was exerting pressure. The pressure referred to could only have been on the prison officers to release Gary Cook for study leave. Having eliminated that part of the question relating to prison officers, the AttorneyGeneral’s answer to the question continued:
I do believe that there has been some political direction in this matter but I have written to Mr Stubbs.
Those honourable senators who are present will realise that this was a deliberate attack upon the Labor Government of Western Australia, and that it was designed to be such. An unfortunate young man who had objections to the National Service Act was used as the vehicle for Senator Greenwood to vent his spleen against Labor. He did it, I believe, in full consciousness of what he was doing. I believe that he had a full appreciation of what would happen, or what he thought would happen. But my conversations with people in Western Australia lead me to believe that it backfired on him. As always happens when one commits acts of indecency, it backfired on him. So the Minister did not get any political mileage out of that point.
He was pressed for proof of his answer to that question by the interviewer. Mr Graham asked:
Yon believe this but do you have any categorical proof that the Labor Government has been exerting pressure in-
He was not allowed to finish the question. Senator Greenwood said:
It depends what you mean by proof.I have said that the Regulations do not permit leave of absence for study purposes. I also said that on my information the Classification Committee has not met, therefore, how was Mr Cook allowed-
Mr Graham asked:
Yes, but when I say proof - proof which would normally be accepted, shall we say, in Parliament, or in a court.
This is talk about proof in a parliament! Senator Greenwood said:
Well that again is so much a matter of opinion. I have indicated the basis on which 1 made my comment and I think that you can appreciate that there is a basis to it.
This is the sort of proof that Senator Greenwood brings before the public. He was not in here playing politics; he was on a public forum where people expect some integrity. The integrity was not there.
Senator Greenwood was questioned about Cook being treated differently from other prisoners. The question asked by Mr Graham was:
But the evidence that we have at the moment is that he is being treated in exactly the same way as any other prisoner.
The transcript of the interview continues:
GREENWOOD: I don’t know what evidence you have. I have examined the Prisons Regulations under which leave of absence is given to prisoners. It is not permissible under that regulation to give leave of absence for the purpose of attending the university. I also understand that there is a procedure in Western Australia under which a committee, I think it is a classifications committee-
GRAHAM: That is correct.
GREENWOOD: . . . examines the cases of people who ought to be given leave of absence and I believe in (he case of Mr Cook that Classifications Committee made no recommendation. It didn’t even consider him.
Now the question whether the Prisons Act and the regulations under that Act do permit the release of a prisoner for study duty arises here-
– Will the honourable senator refer to the particular provision that he is mentioning?
– I hope to in a moment, but I will do so in my own time, not in yours. The Minister is a trained legal man and, I understand, quite a capable legal officer. He says that he has examined the regulations. I do not know whether he looked at the Act, but he claimed to have examined the regulations. I refer to an amendment to the Prisons Act, No. 74 of 1969. Part VIC ‘Leave of Absence to Certain Prisoners’ provides: 64R. With the approval of the Minister-
And I emphasise the words ‘approval of the Minister’-
I do not wish to read all of that provision. In the main, it refers to the periods of leave, leave granted to perform work and the rates of pay and awards that apply to the work that is performed. But sub-section (2) of section 64r - this is where the particulars are laid down - states:
In particular, but without limiting the generality of subsection (1)- which I have quoted -
. of this section, the regulations may make provisions for any of the following matters -
So, we have the provision in section 64r that the Minister may grant leave for a prescribed purpose on prescribed conditions to a prescribed class of prisoner. I think that it is necessary to know what has been prescribed. The authorities in Western Australia advise me that, under the Liberal Party-Country Party Government in Western Australia, the terms and conditions for the release of prisoners were very restricted and that the then Minister for Justice would not agree to any liberalisation of them. But on 4th March 1971 there was an amendment to the Prisons Regulations.
Part 6 of the Regulations is headed ‘Leave of Absence to Certain Prisoners’. In the regulations a prisoner is a prisoner of any sort. Prisoners are not described in different ways. A Commonwealth prisoner in a place of correction in Western Australia is treated no differently, advantageously or disadvantageous^, from any other prisoner. He is a prisoner within the regulations. Regulation No. 280 relating to Part 6 of the Regulations sets out the purposes for which leave may be granted. Among these purposes - and I want the Minister to take particular notice of this provision - is this:
A prisoner may be granted leave for his welfare or the welfare of the family unit.
Will the Minister or any other legal man in this place argue that the words ‘for his welfare’ would not include study leave, or would not include the release of a prisoner to complete his studies or to continue his studies at a university? If they will, they do not understand the common meaning of words. That is what the regulation says but the Minister has the audacity to say that the law does not permit release of the prisoner. In the first place the Minister cannot even do the decent thing. He cannot even notify the State Minister that he proposes to raise the question in a television interview. He does not even do the decent thing and wait for the State Minister to reply to the correspondence. It was only a few days after the Attorney-General had written to the Chief Secretary in Western Australia.
In the second place, the Attorney-General cannot even read the law correctly. To satisfy his own purposes he tried to make a political debate when he had the floor in a television interview and to misinform the West Australian people. I do not know whether the interview was shown in eastern Australia. If it was, it gained greater coverage and misled a lot more people than only the Western Australians. But the matter does not end there, because the Act provides that with the Minister’s approval leave may be granted. No matter what committees are set up, no matter what procedures are followed, it is the Minister who gives the final approval for release. Any committee set up in Western Australia such as the Classifications Committee is no better than any select committee or other committee of this Parliament. It can only make recommendations. In that situation it is for the Minister to grant or to refuse approval when a recommendation is placed before him.
I have gone a little out of my way. I will return to the regulation in case the Attorney-General has a different interpretation of the words ‘for his welfare’. In order for the West Australian authorities to be perfectly sure of what they were doing they sought the advice of the Crown Law Department in Western Australia as lo whether they would be acting correctly under those words in allowing Cook to go to the University. Whilst the Crown Law Department did advise the Prisons Department that the regulation was a little sloppy, it said that its intention was clear and that the release of Cook for study purposes would be within the intention of the regulation. The Comptroller-General of Prisons is reported in the ‘West Australian’ of 7th April as saying in regard to the release of Gary Cook:
Senator Greenwood also claimed on Wednesday that draft resister Gary Cook who is serving a prison term for defying the National Service Act had been given leave of absence to study at WA University as a result of a political direction.
He said he made this claim because there had been a departure from the established ways by which prisoners were granted leave of absence.
I ask honourable senators to note the words ‘there had been a departure from the established ways’. He did not say that there was a departure from the law on this occasion. He said that there was a departure from the established ways. I take it that the Minister at that stage was referring to the Classifications Committee. He did not say at that stage that it was unlawful lc release Gary Cook. He said that it was a departure from the established ways.
– Where did you get that from?
– I told you where I got it from.
– Just repeat it.
– I gave the date of the newspaper.
– Which newspaper?
Seantor Cant - I do not mind being placed in the witness box because, the honourable senator only displays his ignorance.
– J rise to a point of order. 1 would like to ask whether the honourable senator can vouch for the authenticity of the statement.
– There is no point of order. Senator Cant is quoting from a newspaper. You can ask for the newspaper to be fabled. Have you any papers there, Senator Cant?
– J am reading from the edition of 7th April of the ‘West Australian’. I have no objection to tabling it.
– Incorporate it.
– I do not want to incorporate it at this stage because I have another subject to discuss with Senator Greenwood at a later stage and there is some information in this article that I want to use on that occasion. I will table the article without any resistance at all but I would like first to make a photostat copy of it.
– Senator Jessop, are you satisfied now?
– Yes, Mr President. It is rather unusual.
– It is quite all right. There is no point of order.
– It is not unusual for questions to be written out by someone and for Dorothy Dixers to be asked.
– Order! 1 will be the judge of whether the Standing Orders are followed and whether questions are Dorothy Dixers. Senator Cant, you will proceed.
– The article went on:
This allegation was denied yesterday by the Director of the Corrections Department, Mr Colin Campbell. He said that Cook had applied for leave in the same way as any other prisoner who wanted to attend an education course. There were about 25 WA prisoners attending courses at the moment. Cook went to the University once a week. Mr Campbell said that he had recommended to the Chief Secretary, Mr Stubbs, that Cook be granted leave, and Mr Stubbs had agreed.
He was the only person who could agree to Cook’s being granted leave of absence from the gaol to attend the University. No-one else, not even Senator Greenwood, could grant leave on that occasion. Gary Cook is in a State prison and is under the control of the State authorities. The Director of the Corrections Department had recommended that the leave be granted and the Chief Secretary had agreed. The article went on:
Mr Stubbs had made the final decision because he was required to. In all other States such a decision was left to the head of the prison services. Mr Campbell said that Cook’s application for study leave had been referred to the Classifications Committee that examines such cases.
I am not aware whether the Classifications Committee had made any decision about Cook. Senator Greenwood said in his statement that the Classifications Committee had not considered Cook’s case. Mr Campbell said that Cook’s case did go before the Classifications Committee. Honourable senators will appreciate the position in which the Attorney-General, the highest legal officer in the land, puts himself when he goes into a State half informed, not prepared to inform himself fully and makes political capital out of an unfortunate draft resister. He is the gentleman who is placed in charge of the Jaw processes of the Commonwealth Parliament. The Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) is not here, but I suggest that he should reconsider this appointment in the light of the performance of Senator Greenwood in Western Australia last week. I suggest that he may do it. He may be in the position of having to do it when he receives a communication of protest from the Premier of Western Australia about the performances of Senator Greenwood while he was in that State.
– I direct my remarks to the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) who is the Minister in charge of matters of security. One unfortunate result of the fact that the more responsible daily newspapers do not publish in Melbourne on a Sunday is the fact that over a period of time the field has been left to other operators, certain - I repeat ‘certain’ because it does nor apply to them all - of whom have no morals, no ethics and no credibility whatsoever. The outright leader in the van of this type of gutter journalism is unquestionably the Review’ which, selling for 30c, has as its Chairman of Directors one Gordon Barton whose political activities seem well equated with the type of material which the journal carries. I am not a regular reader of this undergraduate type of journal but my attention has been drawn to an amazing article on pages 698-9 of the issue of 8th- 14th April. It is headed ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and purports to give a factual account of the activities of Croatian migrants and their organisations in Australia. The article is not signed and is so full of lies, half truths and distorted propaganda statements that it is not possible in the adjournment debate to traverse it in detail.
I have vigorous objecion to physical violence used to promote a political argument. I disapprove of Croatian extremists in the same way as I disapprove of Communist thuggery anywhere, and especially the barbarity of the Vietcong. However, all Croatian migrants in this country have been smeared with the fascist tag by this scurrilous journal - an allegation which is thoroughly unfair and unjust. Without a scrap of evidence members of the Croatian community have been convicted by this journal, and certain members of the socialist Left of the Australian Labor Party in Victoria, of being fascist terrorists.
To come to a concrete and specific set of examples I will limit my remarks to an incident about which I am fully informed personally. I refer to the case of Father Kasic referred to in the article. Father Kasic is a Croatian Catholic priest in charge of a parish at Clifton Hill, Melbourne. I know him to be intensely devoted to his pastoral duties, to possess a strong love of his mother country and to be firmly opposed to the evil of communism. He is also a client of mine. The Review’ to which I referred states:
The Reverend Father Josif Kasic was named in the ‘Catholic Worker” (February 1963) as one of the main spokesmen for Catholic fascism (whatever that may be) in Australia.
I interpolate here that anyone who is prepared to accept the ‘Catholic Worker’ as an authority on Catholic matters or work or fascism or anything else would be well advised to examine the validity of that authority.
– What is his mother country?
– I quote again from the ‘Review.’
Opposition senators interjecting -
– Order! The Government senators listed to Senator Cant with the silence and the attention which Senator Cant’s speech entitled him to and I would be grateful if other honourable senators would extend to Senator Hannan the courtesy that was accorded Senator Cant.
– The ‘Review’ continues:
The same man was subsequently accused of being a fascist by Captain (sic) Marjan Jurjevic and a libel suit issued by the Church against Jurjevic was eventually withdrawn when the Reverend Father refused to enter the witness box.
I want to nail that lie. What are the facts? Father Kasic has denied categorically any association with fascism or nazism and his character has been vindicated by his ecclesiastical superiors. I was the solicitor handling that libel case for Father Kasic; it was not on behalf of the Church. The facts are these: On 13th May 1964, the Australian Broadcasting Commission conducted a live, as opposed to taped interview with Jurjevic on Channel 2 in Melbourne. In those days Jurjevic was not calling himself ‘Captain*. In the course of his remarks Jurjevic falsely alleged that Father Rasic was deeply involved in the fascist movement, was a terrorist and a war criminal. Within a few days Father Kasic issued a writ against Jurjevic and the ABC for libel. The matter dragged through the court, from the Supreme Court to the High Court of Australia, and was finally withdrawn upon the ABC making a handsome cash settlement and giving a written apology. Because of the terms of settlement I am not allowed to disclose the amount. It is a contemptible lie to say that the writ was withdrawn because Father Kasic would not enter the witness box. He had completely vindicated himself, and by this stage Jurjevic was being legally represented as a pauper by the Public Solicitor. What point would there have been in refusing the ABC settlement?
The basis for the complaints against Father Kasic are made in substance by the gallant Captain Marian Jurjevic. Let us examine the record of the man who has produced these unfounded allegations and who is at present being so tenderly nurtured by Dr Jim Cairns and other members of the Labor Party in Victoria. My information comes from statements supplied for the legal brief for the libel action by Jurjevics’ brother-in-law, Zumberasky, and his friend, Semiga. Jurjevic himself 10id them this. Jurjevic was born in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast in a town called Korcula in 1917. In the early stages of World War II he served in the Croation Domobran, which was the section of the Army used for home defence. About the beginning of 1943 Jurjevic escaped from the Domobran and joined the Nazi German armed forces. This was because at about this time some units of the Croatian Army had been loaned to the Germans for fighting on the Russian front. So he went to the German Embassy and, with the assistance of a Nazi officer, left the Embassy wearing a German uniform and went to Hamburg for training. He then served in the German Merchant Navy, which was a semi-military organisation, and was therefore a thoroughgoing Nazi collaborator. He returned to Croatia twice during 1944 still wearing a German uni form. His claim to have served with the British Navy during the war is simply untrue. This is the man who goes about prattling of war criminals and Nazi collaborators and has become the darling of the socialist Left in Victoria.
There is a good deal of evidence from the Yugoslav Croatian community that Jurjevic has threatened some of his compatriots who disagree with him with deportation when the Labor Party comes to power, lt looks as though they will be staying here for a long time. There is a widely held belief in the Melbourne Croatian community that the bomb which recently exploded at his Carlton flat was put there by himself. I return to the ‘Review* which further states:
Kasic served a total of 6 years in 2 Yugoslav prisons before coming to Australia to take charge of the church at Clifton Hill.
The inescapable inference from this sentence in its context is that he was guilty of war crimes. Let us examine the so-called crimes which were tried before a secret court martial. I have here a translation of the alleged crimes for which this Catholic priest received a 6-year sentence. I interpolate here that being a priest was his main offence. The court martial was held on 22nd May 1954 at Nis. He was found guilty, amongst a number of other piffling allegations, of the following heinous crimes: Firstly, he said that the quarrel between Tito and Stalin was only political. To say that was a crime. He said, secondly, that Cardinal Stepinac was the head of the Church and that no matter what was said he would respect him. It is an extraordinary thing to regard his saying that as a crime. He said: ‘There is no democracy in our country but there is in America’. That is again a crime. The next is a gem. He said he disliked the speeches made by Comrade Raukovic and Comrade Tito in October 1953. Imagine what honourable senators opposite would think if one of them were prosecuted for saying that he did not like the speech made by Comrade McMahon last month. One has only to recite the facts to see how absurd they are. Gilbert and Sullivan never thought of anything as fatuous and nonsensical as this type of criminal proceeding which is used by this journal - words almost fail me - in condemnation of this man. The fifth charge was that the Italians had the support of the West and would retake Trieste and Italy would support a Ustashi Croatian Party.
The sixth charge was that he said he would rather die than live like a slave. The seventh charge was that he said that Comrade Popovic is only Secretary for External Affairs because he is a Serb. The eighth charge - and this is really the star turn of the entire indictment - was that after the clash with Italy in October 1953 he told a joke with enemy content. This is the joke which was a crime in Tito’s Yugoslavia. He said that Tito stood under his own photo which was hanging on the wall and asked it “what will happen if we lose the war with Italy?’ The picture replied: if we lose they will take me down and hang you’. Telling that joke was a crime. The ninth charge was that he referred to the expulsion of some nuns from Skopse and said: ‘This is the freedom the Government guarantees - one thing is written and the other thing done’. These and a few other piffling items are what brought Father Kasic a sentence of 6 years’ strict imprisonment, plus one year’s loss of citizens rights, whatever that may mean in a communist country. God only knows what that means in that country. He had to pay costs - j do not know what the coinage is worth- of 9850 din
Of course Father Kasic is anticommunist. If this unjust sentence was not enough, he saw his father murdered by Tito’s communists because he would not teach in a communist school. Of course he is anticommunist. He saw his cousin roasted on a spit like an animal because he opposed communist policies in Yugoslavia. Of course he is anti-communist. He saw his Bishop thrown into a 3-ft pit half full of petrol. He saw a match thrown in afterwards.
– You are making up stories now, are you not?
– The honourable senator will have to do a lot better than that to rebut this. As a matter of public importance my plea to the Senate and to the Attorney-General is that all Croatian migrants be not smeared as murdering terrorists by Jurjevic and his political asso ciates of the Australian Labor Party and that those Croatians who want to make their homes here, in peace, whilst retaining their love of homeland, be allowed to do so without the persecution of Tito’s agents or any agents provocateurs.
– I intend eventually to deal with the administration of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department which I think the Leader of the Government in the Senate Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) or, the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) will be handling. But before 1 reach that matter I am prompted by Senator Hannan’s submission to follow up a question upon notice that I have asked the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) dealing with the subject of me Ustashi. Senator Greenwood will recall that I referred to the emulation of security methods operated by the Willi Brandt Government in West Germany. Before dealing specifically with the remarks made by Senator Hannan tonight I think it is important to say that we are dealing with a situation of terrorism in Australia and that everything that is argued about the wartime Yugoslavia and the immediate postwar Yugoslavia can be argued in reverse. The crux of the article in the Sunday Review* to which Senator Hannan referred was not on A or B but on the unmistakeable fact that there have been at least a dozen attacks with the use of explosives to demolish the residences of Yugoslavs who had little or no time for people using the veneer - and t use that word - of anti-communism in order to smear every other person in the Slav community who differed with them and were largely of the moderate section of the Yugoslav community.
I cannot speak with a lot of authority about the situation in Melbourne or in Victoria generally, but I do throw the lie back into Senator Hannan’s face in regard to the experience of many people in Australia. Senator Hannan knows - and I think we would agree on this point - that between the wars the Yugoslav community was centred largely or initially on Broken Hill and Kalgoorlie and that it had a very excellent record. One Yugoslav from Western Australia won the Victoria Cross during World War II. Senator Hannan also knows that I am prepared to accept people of all outlooks who want to come to Australia provided they do not pursue their vendettas here. I am buttressed in saying this by having seen files submitted to Mr Renshaw, the then Premier of New South Wales. They revealed that there was not one episode in Sydney, and I am sure that there were none anywhere else which could lead one to say that people of the centre or people of the left - and I use these terms in the broadest sense - indulged in these activities. It is one thing to abuse people and call them communist or fascist. If it is left at that then what has been said will not matter because I know that the old adage of ‘sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me’ can apply in this case.
Various embassies in this country have been blasted. I can well imagine the purge that would take place if someone put a bomb outside of the Spanish Embassy in Canberra. If we want to argue about the need for an equal sense of justice I have a file of correspondence between myself and the former Minister for Immigration, Mr Lynch, which relates to a Spanish migrant whom the Department would not naturalise. When I asked why he was not granted naturalisation I was told that it was because he had carried a banner of protest outside the Spanish Embassy. I believe that the Government is displaying double standards. If Senator Greenwood says - and no doubt he will - that ‘you cannot get the wood on people’, I will lay it on the line for him.
I challenge Senator Greenwood or any other member of the Government to go with me to Sydney and to have a look at the files of the New South Wales Police Force in regard to the Lesic case. It is admitted that Lesic blew himself up. He was on his way to plant a bomb to blow up other people. Do honourable senators know what the Government has done? It has put him on social security. But we forget what he was going to do and we say: Was he not unlucky’. We do not take into account the charmed life that this fellow led.
Senator Hannan talked about law and order. Lesic made a nuisance of himself on the steps of this Parliament House. If honourable senators look at Hansard they will see that he went into various banks and assaulted clerks because they said that they were Yugoslav and not Croats. Senator Hannan knows this. It is their own business whether they are Slovene, Macedonian or Serbian. But you cannot go round and pick on someone else. Who is the aggressor? Has all the aggression come from this side.
I want to nail this canard about Orthodox versus Catholic. I took a deputation of 5 middle-of-the road Yugoslavs to see the Premier of New South Wales. It is not a question of developing a sectarian smokescreen. Four of those people were active in trade unionism in the Labor Party and in their own church which happened to be the Catholic Church in Sydney. But that did not stop them from being smeared and insulted by other people. In some circumstances if a spectator at a soccer match applauded a player for scoring a goal he would be called a Tito whore for doing so. I do not think that Senator Hannan agrees with this type of behaviour. But many of the moderate Slav community want to see some of these people gaoled. I want more than that.
I get back to what Willi Brandt has done in West Germany. Senator Greenwood has said that these bombings are continuing in Australia. They are also occurring in some other countries. But bombings in West Germany in recent times have ceased because the authorities have called together the people who are exiles - and I use that word advisedly - from Yugoslavia and told them that if they wanted to live in West Germany they had better pull in their horns a little. These people know that if they breach the law they will be sent back to Yugoslavia where they will probably be dealt with for other crimes. But 1 do not want to be vindictive.
I come back to members of the Slav community. I have a very good friend who was an 18-year-old interpreter in the railway workshops. He would be about 35 now. He has 2 boys in a country town and they belong to the local Boy Scouts and the local football clubs. In 1954-55, when he became naturalised, he did his training with the Citizen Military Forces. What do you think his reaction is when he gets people of the ilk of those about whom Senator Hannan spoke calling him a fellow traveller and a Com. Those are the words used. Bui where does this mau stand? He looks to the Australian law for justice. 1 have referred to Mr Lesic. 1 will give the honourable senator a few more names. He spoke about another gentleman named Mr Ubantic. He happens at the moment to bc working for the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board. At various times he has worked as an interpreter for the Commonwealth Bank. People can get very provocative. He is so involved now over the Middle East situation and the Israeli war that he believes that there is a plot between Israel and the Soviet Union. As a result of all this the situation in the Commonwealth Bank at Burwood - is that he is° abusing the teller in the next cage who happens to be of Jewish origin. He is accusing him of this sort of thing. Nobody disciplines these people, but you are quite happy to put the finger on a draft resister or someone else and say: ‘Where is the law?’ These are actual incidents. They are nol figments of my imagination.
I want to refer now to something that is going on across the border in Victoria. I have a question on notice about Mr Ivica Kokic who is a high official in the Department of Labour and National Service. Do not run away with the idea of recent years about the ethics of top officials when employing people. I know that many honourable senators present come from the trade union movement and that they know about tradesmen’s rights and that this is a difficult question. It is common knowledge that this fellow did exercise influence. If a man said: ‘Yes, f am a Croat’, he got better treatment than if he simply used the word ‘Yugoslav’. Even if the honourable senator does not believe that I wonder what he would say about a top public servant who attended something in Eastern Europe. Would such a person get promotion? This fellow attended a convention of ultra-rightist Croatians in Chicago. He was a vice president of the organisation or else he held a similar position, but yet he moves in this charmed circle. Do not run away with the idea that there is no malice. I remember a recent occasion when I attended a hostel in Victoria. I started to ask questions. I remember one very militant Croat who told me that it was like my hide to inquire about these things. Well, he got more than he bargained for. This only proved my suspicions. However, 1 do not want to belabour this question. I am not going to resurrect war-time Europe or early post-War Europe. There is only one test-
– This was last weekend in Melbourne.
– If people of the Left carried out their vendettas you would want to deport them. I challenge you to find one case where somebody to the left and centre in the Slav community has been arrested for any extreme cases. They have not. You talk to Detective Sergeant Longbottom and the members of the Special Branch of the New South Wales Police. You come with me to the Maccabean Hall. If you did you would see people hurling smoke bombs. This has gone on for 4 or 5 years, lt is a remarkable thing. Perhaps I could use Senator Gair’s phrase about people being flogged with a feather. What did our Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) say about these people? He said that they are good chaps and that they have a good cause. You look at their cause. The Prime Minister said this when he was returning from a squash match. These people :>ad been turning on a bit of a blue in Knox Street. Double Bay, and the Prime Minister said that they were good chaps and that they had a good cause.
Do you know what is wrong, Senator Hannan? 1 ask you to take this information back to your friends. History has passed these people by. The fact is that there has been a rapprochement with the Vatican and with the Yugoslav Government. Of course the situation is not perfect but they are living in a form of coexistence. They are not persecuted in this country because they are Croats but they are persecuting other Yugoslav people.
– That is what you think.
– That is what is happening in Sydney, senator, and people are getting sick of it. I am not looking upon it as a disinterested observer.
– Order! The honourable senator will address the Chair.
– 1 have had my share of these altercations. 1 enjoy that sort of thing but at the same time I never looked for it in the 2 incidents referred to. Believe me, senator. There was an incident at Erskineville oval where 2 Yugoslav teams were playing. The incident involved a centre forward named Halpin who was not a Croat or a Serb. One of these mad people went to jab him in the testicles with the ferrule of an umbrella. I grabbed hold of the fellow and pushed him against the fence. What was my reward for that? My reward was that about 40 people called me a Red agent and all that sort of stuff. This showed their mentality.
– 1 have expressed my criticism about that.
– All right, Senator
– Order! I asked you to address the Chair.
– AH I am saying, Mr President, about the submission by the last honourable senator who spoke is that we want people against whom charges have been proved to be dealt with properly and not put on a bond. I want to refer now to my original brief. I rose tonight to bring a matter to the notice of the Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson).
– Unfortunately I will not be able to respond because 1 will close the debate. I understand that Senator Greenwood wants to take part in the debate. If he does not speak I can respond to you.
– I am quite happy to make my plea to you as I understand that you will have some say on amendments to the Public Service Act which will affect a group of employees. I think that Senator Douglas McClelland mentioned this matter 2 years ago when the President of the New South Wales branch of the Amalgamated Postal Workers Union pointed out what was happening. Migrants who had been here not long enough to become Australian citizens felt that, being employed in the PostmasterGeneral’s Department and being ready and willing to accept Australian citizenship, they could find themselves in a cleft stick If there happened to be a contraction of the work force. They felt that with less than 3 years service they were in a sort of limbo and were being denied job security. I raised this matter 2 years ago but it was not as important then as it is now.
I have been prompted to raise it following the receipt of submissions by Miss Sonia Posenelli, a very active member of the telecommunications union at the Sydenham workshops. She pointed out to me the injustice of the situation. I am not just springing this matter on Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, as he will appreciate. I documented 4 cases and submitted them to Mr Waterman, the New South Wales Director of Migration, a very efficient officer. I sent a copy of the submissions to the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) well over 3 or 4 weeks ago. I then followed it up with a further letter to the Postmaster-General. There are 2 ways in which this matter can be solved. If the Government wishes to be a little flexible about citizenship it can accelerate the permanency of these people. This has been done in the case of people who did not have Australian citizenship. I refer to people who were good athletic material. I do not cavil at it. It was done in order to enable them to become members of Australian sporting teams, even Olympic Games representatives. This has been done. That is one avenue by which the Government can overcome this problem. Alternatively, the Public Service Act could be amended.
If the Minister wishes to raise the question of security I can answer it in this way: In Hansard of the House of Representatives of 11th April a question was answered by the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) in which he said that some of our embassies employ people who do not hold Australian citizenship. I am not looking for subversion under every bed or at every desk. If the Government can interpret broadly our law relating to the responsibility of embassy or consulate staff overseas I fail to see why it cannot interpret it broadly in the case of process workers or people assembling components for equipment for the Postmaster-General’s Department, lt is time we speeded this matter up. I say quite sincerely that in this age when jobs are not easy to get, when people are looking for security and are ready and willing to accept Australian citizenship, legal process should be accelerated. That is the view of members of the telecommunications union and the Amalgamated Postal Workers Union. I took the trouble to document this matter in detail and to give it to 2 Ministers. I am not blaming Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson but I think it is time a decision was made about this matter.
– The Senate will recall that some days ago Senator Bonner and I clashed in this chamber. I think honourable senators will recall that a personal attack was launched upon me. 1 do not normally indulge in this type of discussion, either inside or outside this chamber. I regret that both the Premier of Queensland and Senator Bonner have seen fit to pursue this personal vendetta in spite of the fact that in a recent statement 1 made at a public symposium, at which either or both of them could have been’ present, 1 did not mention either person by name but 1 did criticise policies. I think that is the fair way to play politics. However, when there is personal criticism of this nature I think that one is justified in defending one’s attitude. 1 propose to do that very thing this evening. I shall read from the ‘Courier Mail’ of Tuesday, 11th April 1972. As Senator Bonner has not denied this statement I assume that what he has been quoted as saying is correct. The report states:
Senator Bonner denied claims by Senator Keeffe that OPAL-
That is the One People of Australia League - was a government-front Aboriginal organisation.
He said that if Senator Keeffe could prove where any member of OPAL had been given an opportunity, of renting a house over someone else deserving of it he would personally investigate the matter.
There are a number of other things that the honourable senator is reported to have said and which basically agree with what I previolsly stated at this public seminar in relation to the shortage of housing, high rents and so on. The report concludes:
He did not know of any occasion when Senator Keeffe had visited any OPAL establishment apart from one meeting in Townsville, where he claimed Senator Keeffe and a group of university students had tried to disrupt the meeting.
I believe that these 2 statements ought to be corrected. In my view it would be a waste of time quoting cases to Senator Bonner. The other evening during the adjournment debate I mentioned occasions during the recent cyclone disaster in Townsville when Senator Bonner promised certain things to certain people but the promises were never carried out. There are many black people in this community who say that they make complaints to Senator Bonner and write to him but cannot get replies to their letters. His statement about my attempt together with some university students to disrupt the meeting is a distortion of the truth because this never took place at all. It was a public meeting which obviously had been sponsored by OPAL. It is interesting to note that at that meeting a number of accusations of ill treatment and neglect were made in relation to Aborigines. It is true that a number of ABSCHOL representatives were present. I throw the story right back to Senator Bonner. I ask him to say publicly and prove to me and all Queenslanders - in fact all Australians - that OPAL is not a Government front organisation.
This organisation is disintegrating in most centres of Queensland. I believe that this organisation was started off with a pretty sincere attitude by a large number of people who joined it. But it was misused for political purposes by the Liberal-Country Party Government in Queensland. It is the organisation through which most of the Government funds are channelled when the Government wants to keep onside. It has been widely said that this organisation is the Uncle Tom of the organisations. There are still a number of very good people in it. But I suggest that Senator Bonner, who is the State President of this organisation, has a responsibility to the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders of Queensland. If this organisation is going to work the way it ought to work - if one can believe in the original objectives for which it was established - perhaps Senator Bonner will explain to me why the Mount Isa branch of OPAL has one member left of whom I am aware today. Did the members leave this branch because of allegations about a fairly large sum of money that may have been spent without authority? Perhaps there is a real explanation for this. Perhaps Senator Bonner has the explanation. Maybe the head office of the organisation confiscated the money. But there are more than rumours around that town as to why that branch disintegrated.
At one time Townsville had a very active branch of OPAL with many good people in it. There are still three or four very good people in it, including the Anglican priest Father Clarkson, who does a tremendous job. There are one or two others, but that about comprises the extent of the branch in Townsville these days. It has fallen to pieces, and it has largely fallen to pieces because of an interracial seminar which was held in the city some years ago. Members of the Special Branch of the police came to town and said: ‘You cannot associate with this seminar because there is a suggestion that there may be communists associated with it.’ There is no local autonomy so far as branches of OPAL are concerned. Perhaps on some future occasion when Senator Bonner has time to reflect on this he will make a public statement and perhaps disprove the allegation I have made that this is a Government front organisation. I would like to know how many branches of the organisation operate in Queensland. It is true that there might be one or two members who are able to do things because they are able to have money channelled from headquarters. Perhaps the honourable senator will explain to us why Mrs Wilding, one of the best known workers for Aborigines in the last 2 decades in Queensland, was dismissed or forced to resign - whichever the case may be - as matron of the biggest establishment that OPAL has in Queensland.
I am not knocking OPAL, but I am saying that unless it is removed as a Government front organisation it is a useless organisation. The Government is able to help its favourites. It is able to help those who say: ‘Yes, boss, we will do exactly as you want and we will carry out your policies.’ If the Government wants to clean up this organisation and make it a real Aboriginal organisation instead of one that is going to serve the Uncle Toms in the community then I shall be the first to help. Perhaps one way you may do this - through you, Mr President, to
– is to make sure that the organisation no longer remains as a Government front organisation.
- Senator Keeffe, I shall interrupt you for a moment. There has been no appeal against your use of the phrase ‘Uncle Toms* which I consider totally offensive if it is directed and imputed to any honourable senator. I would be grateful if you would desist from using it.
– In the way I was using it I was not referring to Senator Bonner.
– You have used it twice, so do not use it any more, please.
– In any case, I have finished that particular aspect. 1 shall now refer to the Premier of Queensland. Remember, this is the same Premier who made a statement some 2 or 3 years ago in the State House of Parliament that he was going to have me followed around the State because I was a definite security risk. This is also the same Premier who, when World War II was on, sought exemption from service to operate his peanut farm. In the same issue of the ‘Courier Mail’ he accused the Australian Labor Party of supporting ils own system of apartheid. The report states:
He said the ALP was doing this in trying to make ‘a political football’ of Aboriginal people.
The ALP, rather than seeking equality for Aboriginal and Islander people’ -
This is Mr Bjelke-Petersen’s published statement- is in fact demanding preferential housing treatment for them,’ the Premier said.
It appears that it is part of Labor’s policy to sponsor racism in reverse in Queensland and other States.
Apparently it is Labor policy also to undermine moderate Aboriginal organisations such as the One People of Australia League.’
The report goes on:
The Premier said yesterday: ‘In Queensland, housing for Aboriginals is based solely on need.’
Heavens above, they really need housing.
The report continues:
The Government seeks the advice of Aboriginal advisory councils in the allocation of homes.’
Just let me give the lie to that statement. Recently I talked to a nominated member of a council on one of the reserves in Queensland. He asked: ‘Why can’t I get a house?’ He was one of those who was supposed to be recommending where the houses went. The report further states:
He said the average cost to the Government of an Aboriginal’s three-bedroom house was $10,000.’
The Premier said that more than $7,300,000 of Federal and State Government funds had been spent. The report goes on to quote the Premier as stating: . . the Government is currently negotiating for tender or has under construction a further 129 homes.
Mr Bjelke-Petersen said Senator Keeffe did not have the support of the vast majority of moderate Aboriginals. 1 think that the last Senate election in Queensland indicated that I had the support of a very great group of Aborigines who had voting facilities. But so few of them have voting facilities that I challenge Mr Bjelke-Petersen’s statement. Firstly, it is incorrect and, secondly, it is one of his extraordinary attitudes to life in general. I shall read from a statement which was incorporated in an article written by Dr Barrie Pittock. Honourable senators will remember that a moment ago I said that the Premier of Queensland was complaining that the Labor Party was demanding preferential housing treatment for Aborigines. In a copy of ‘Identity’ published in January this year Dr Barrie Pit.tock, a well known scientist, said:
Governments and, more particularly, Aborigines and their supporters, have tended to justify favourable discrimination on the general grounds that Aborigines have suffered adverse discrimination and deprivation for so long that a few years of favourable discrimination is the least they can expect, and that it is only by such measures that the glaring inequalities between the standard of living of the average Aboriginal and the average non-Aboriginal can ever be eliminated.
Unfortunately, such arguments, while they sound convincing to the average suburban liberal-
Of course, that is liberal with a small ‘1’ - and even to many politicians secure in their middleclass electorates and the unreality of Canberra, are not at all convincing to many rural people and poorer whites who are themselves facing economic difficulties in a declining economic situation.
Poverty knows no colour bar and there are, no doubt, many non-Aborigines who are in need of financial assistance for housing, education and health services as are the vast majority of Aborigines. Ideally, therefore, one should look towards an economic policy and welfare services which would eliminate poverty of whatever colour. Short of a social and political revolution - and some would say a change in human nature - such a comprehensive solution to the problem of poverty seems a forlorn hope.
We must therefore get our priorities straight. Poverty is bad enough, but poverty combined with racial or colour differences is socially, divisive and may in the long run prove disastrous.
They are the words of a well known scientist. They are a Hat contradiction of the terms of Mr Bjelke-Petersen’s statement. Let us have a quick look at Mr BjelkePetersen. I quote from page 118 of the Blue Book 1971-72’. It reads:
BJELKE-PETERSEN, Johannes. Australian, born 1911. Politician: Country Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland for Barambah, since 1950, and Premier and Minister for State Development and Police, Queensland, since 1968 (member for Nanango, 1947-50; Minister for Works and Housing, 1963-68).
Then it gives his business and private address and the names of his wife and children. ‘Who’s Who in Australia, 1971’ also gives his history. It reads:
BJELKE-PETERSEN, Honourable Johannes, Premier and Minister for State Development. Queensland, since 1968; Minister for Works and Housing 1963-68; M.L.A., (CP) for Nanango 1947-50 and for Barambah since 1950; son of late C. G. Bjelke-Petersen, Denmark; born 13th January 1911, Dannevirke, New Zealand; educated Taabinga Valley School and private studies.
Then it gives information on his domestic life. Let me quote from a book called ‘Sir Henry, Bjelke, Don Baby and friends’. On page 25 there is a reference to Mr BjelkePetersen. lt reads:
His day begins at about six, with physical exercises and a Bible reading. Ft ends, at night, in the same way. The Bible has always been the main book in the Premier’s life. He carries a pocketsized Bible everywhere. In the middle of the day, whenever he can, he takes a few minutes off and reads a chapter or two. Sometimes official business prevents this, but he never misses a morning and evening reading. ‘I have a lot to be thankful for that my parents encouraged me to read the Bible,’ he says. ‘Too many, people have a Bible in their homes but never read it’
I agree with him. Obviously that reference to him is intended to show that he is a good Christian. I would like to see that attitude carried into his public life. In his Press statement he claimed that 701 houses were built in 5 years and that 129 were on the drawing board or under constuction. The construction of 701 houses in 5 years is the equivalent of 140.2 in one year. That is not enough to keep up with the normal population increase in Queensland, a State which has 50,000 Aborigines and
Islanders and a rapidly increasing birth rate. He claims that State and Federal funds expended amounted to $7.3m during that period. I would like to know the break-up of that amount because very little was spent on housing until the Commonwealth Office of Aboriginal Affairs was established and money was made available to the State. If the Premier has the courage to give publicly the break-up of Commonwealth funds and the money that was spent from the coffers of the State Government I think a lot of people will be due for a shock.
Many Aborigines on settlements in Queensland are living in abject poverty. I have complained in this place previously, 1 have complained at public meetings and I have complained in Press articles and on radio broadcasts about the poverty that is being experienced by black people in Queensland, lt has to be seen to be believed. None of the major settlements, including places such as Cherbourg. Woorabinda, Yarrabah, Bamaga, Thursday Island, the Torres Strait Islands and Palm Islands - there is no need for me to list all the settlements - has a provision for the adequate growing of farm crops to feed the children who live on the settlements. Some are pretty big settlements. Palm Island alone has about 1,300 people. None has less than several hundred people. These reserves are administered by Mr Bjelke-Petersen and his State Government. On most of the settlements the children have never had fresh milk. There are herds of roaming cows. Some are scrubbers. I think that the other night I said that 2 stud bulls were imported at Palm Island to develop a beef herd. Only the cows knew why the bulls were brought there. Since that date there has been no breeding for stud purposes. These are tragedies.
Mr Bjelke-Petersen professes to be a good Christian and says so publicly. I admire a man who says that. I like a man who states his beliefs and his principles. But I like him to stick to his principles. In Queensland we only need mention the word ‘black’ and poor old Premier Johannes Bjelke-Petersen sees red. He immediately rushes into print because he gets terribly excited. He is touchy on the subject of the dereliction of duty to Aborigines and Islanders. He goes into a mad panic about it. He is getting into a bigger panic these days because he is only a few weeks away from a State election. He ignores the fact that for a long while his Party has used Aboriginal welfare as a political football. I would like him to make a few facts known to the public. He has long been known as an employer of black labour. It is extremely doubtful whether his black employees always enjoyed the wage rates prescribed by industrial awards. I challenge him to produce his wage sheets for every black person he has employed, lt might produce some revealing evidence. It would also be interesting if the Premier could state clearly that none of his black employees has suffered because he neglected to pay workers’ compensation premiums. These documents are not hard to produce. He is a pretty good business man, according to the mining journals. He should be able to produce copies of all his wage sheets and documents such as those that he has kept as his farm records. I have no doubt that if he has nothing to hide he will be able to have them published on the front page of the ‘Courier Mail’ in the next day or two or perhaps in one of the national or other State papers.
This shocking state of affairs is compounded because the Minister for Conservation, Marine and Aboriginal Affairs in Queensland also comes from a grazing family in a grazing area. I would like to see him and/or his family produce similar wage sheets to see whether their black employees have always got the correct wages. It would not be a difficult thing for these facts to be made public. If the Premier wants to bring personalities into these issues he should not be upset if people defend themselves and challenge him on a personal basis in return. The important thing is that the job which has to be done by the Queensland State Government, by the Premier, by the Minister for Conservation, Marine and Aboriginal Affairs and by the Director of Aboriginal and Island Affairs in that State is to give all 50,000 of the black people of Queensland a fair go.
– A number of matters have been raised tonight - 3 of them concerning portfolios that I administer or represent. I propose to deal with each of the matters in turn. Senator Cant raised the question of certain statements which I made in Western Australia. I understood him to say that the making of the statements was disgraceful. 1 fail to see where there is any disgrace when, in exercising a public office, one makes statements which one believes to be true and which in the public interest should be made. When I was in Perth 1 said nothing more in regard to Mr Cook’s leave of absence, which was given to him while he was in prison, than 1 had said in the Senate when the question had been raised some time before I went over there. If it is thought that this was a matter initiated by me, I can say only that from the moment I stepped off the plane in Perth until I virtually left Western Australia this was an issue about which so many people in the media sought an opinion. I can say only that it obviously is a matter of considerable interest in Western Australia and that my statements were made in response to questions and invitations given to me to state the viewpoint which I held. It was in those circumstances that the matters relating to Mr Cook were raised.
Insofar as Senator Cant’s remarks contained the imputation that I had sought an occasion voluntarily to make statements after I had written a letter to the Chief Secretary seeking bis explanation I can say that this is confounded by the account I have given of how the statements came to be made. It is a fact that I have written to the Chief Secretary for Western Australia seeking answers to a number of questions as to the circumstances in which Mr Cook has been granted leave of absence from prison. I sent that letter on 24th March. As I have said on numerous occasions since, I am expecting that I will receive a reply. The questions naturally relate to the full circumstances of the basis upon which Mr Cook was granted study leave, of whether it was considered by the classification committee and whether any moneys are being paid to the university to enable Mr Cook to study there. I imagine that these matters will be the subject of the answers which in due course I expect to receive.
Unquestionably, this is a matter of political interest and no-one should deny this. We know that the Australian Labor Party has a policy which involves giving support to those persons who are prepared to resist the National Service Act. It is interesting to see the various manifestations in which this support displays itself. We have seen in Victoria the endorsement as a candidate on behalf of the Australian Labor Party of a person who has been convicted for 2 offences under the National Service Act and who has refused to appear in court to answer a charge that he had failed to obey his call-up notice. This person has been supported by the Australian Labor Party in Victoria by being given a forum behind locked doors to address a Labor Party meeting and in other ways his cause has been espoused by leading officials of the Australian Labor Party in Victoria. We have seen the incident in South Australia where another person who has refused to appear in court to answer a charge connected with the National Service Act has again been supported by a group of Young Labor Association members who have abused the police who are merely doing their job seeing if they can detect any of the persons for whom warrants had been issued.
We have heard numerous statements in this chamber from spokesmen of the Australian Labor Party and we have the famous dictum of Mr Whitlam that, after all, draft dodging is not a crime. We know, too, that in Western Australia circumstances exist which, on the face of them, clearly warrant inquiry. One wonders whether what has occurred in Western Australia is simply the western manifestation of this same policy which characterises the Australian Labor Party throughout the Commonwealth. As I have said, I am awaiting a full reply to the letter which I sent. In view of Senator Cant’s remarks I do not think I ought to say anything until I receive a reply. But I do say this: The statements which I have made have been based on information which is available to me and which is verifiable. In the first place I have examined through my Department and obtained through my Department not only a copy of the regulations upon which I expressed an opinion but also legal advice as to their effect. As to the second question of whether the classification committee considered this matter, I have seen Mr Campbell’s statement as reported in the ‘West Australian’. I also have received advice which came to mc through my Department of a conversation which occurred early in March, before Mr Cook had been released, in which Mr Campbell, as the Director of Prisons, advised a police officer in Western Australia that he was under some strong political pressure to allow Mr Cook to undertake a couple of part time university units in philosophy.
Also, 1 have been informed - again this is on the record - on the basis of material which came to me that members of the classification committee had said, again to a police officer in Western Australia, that they had not considered the matter of Mr Cook’s release. This is material which is available to me. 1 did not give that information publicly at any stage. 1 do so tonight only because I have been challenged to give some basis as to why I made these statements. I was prepared, having given the indication that it was my understanding that this classification committee had not met, to await Mr Stubbs’ reply. 1 still await Mr Stubbs’ reply with a great deal of interest. Senator Cant suggested that I was in some way reprehensible in going to Western Australia and making statements without knowing all the facts. I think I have given some indication of the factual basis which was available to me and upon which I made the statements. The Premier of Western Australia suggested that I was prepared to make statements recklessly without belief in their truth. He did not inquire of me as to the basis upon which .1. made my statements. 1 can only say that there was basis for them. What statements have been made were made with a belief in their truth.
The second matter which was raised in this adjournment debate was raised by Senator Hannan. It related to the problems which I hope will not develop in this country of disputes among members of the Yugoslav community which certainly resulted in 2 bomb explosions in Melbourne last Friday morning. It was not specifically those incidents to which Senator Hannan referred, but they are part of the problem which I know to exist. We all must be apprehensive about the developments which could occur if this sort of conduct is in any way encouraged, condoned or provoked. What Senator Hannan related was a particularly slanted, biased and clearly untrue article which appeared in the ‘Sunday Review’ last weekend. 1 say it is untrue because my general information was that there are aspects of truth in the article but that it was highly slanted and highly biased. The particular instance to which Senator Hannan referred is one which, from his personal recollection and knowledge of the circumstances, is clearly untrue. In those circumstances, one can only wonder what credence can be placed upon that article.
I said in answer to a question earlier today that suggestions that the Croatian movements are Ustashi movements or that groups within the Croatian movements are Ustashi movements is completely erroneous. The Ustashi ceased to exist with the defeat of the Axis powers in 1945. After the defeat of the Axis powers the Croatians were subjected to a great deal of travail in Yugoslavia. I do not want to suggest that it has been a one-sided exercise. I understand that during the war number of Croatians were guilty of crimes and activities which no society would expect or tolerate. But after the war, when the Croatians were on the losing side and the communists took over, there was a decimation of the Croatian people which is a source of great concern to those Croatians who have left Yugoslavia and who feel for their own country in the way that so many of them do and identify the problems and the troubles that they have experienced in terms of the communist regime in Yugoslavia. This is part of the problem. I think I can properly use the expression Senator Mulvihill used: We in Australia do not want to see these vendettas pursued in this country. If they are to be pursued in the forms of violence of which we have seen instances, this strikes at something which undermines what we all regard as being most precious in our community. This, I believe, is an attitude, as I hope I have expressed it, that would have the support generally of the vast majority of Australians.
I can only deplore what appears to me to be provocative statements which seek to lump together the whole of the Croatian movement into a so-called Ustashi group. I feel that the statements which have been made from quite a number of persons, including Mr Jurjevic and Dr Cairns, suggest that a number of leading identities in the Croatian movement are war criminals and, in other respects, have been guilty of crimes or ought to be subjected to some penally. All that one can say is that if these people are war criminals there must be evidence of this. They can be extradieted to Yugoslavia if the Yugoslavian Government believes that they have been guilty of war crimes. If that is not established, surely it is provocative to allege these things against Croatian people and to expect them to sit back and not to feel furious and indignant at the way in which they arc being treated. We know that words ought not to hurt the person against whom they are said, but words do hurt a number of people. We see this in the Senate from time to time. If it is part of the pattern of activity in which these groups engage, I must say it does create problems about which we are so concerned.
I think that Senator Mulvihill did not do justice to the broad plea which he is making. There have been instances in which persons who have not been Croatians have been engaged in activities which we would regard as reprehensible. At Footscray in Melbourne in 1968 a Mr Barun who is alleged to be an Ustashi man was stabbed to death. Senator Mulvihill referred to the case of Mr Lesic who, unquestionably, was injured most seriously by a bomb explosion resulting from a bomb being in a suitcase that he was carrying. I think that Senator Mulvihill accepted that Mr Lesic had put the bomb in that suitcase and that what happened was something of his own manufacture and that Mr Lesic caused his own wrong. I do not know whether that is so, but I gather from the police records that this allegation is denied by Mr Lesic and that he was unaware that there was a bomb in the suitcase. 1 do not know where the truth lie.s in these matters. This is part of the problem which the police experience when they seek to detect the. wrongdoers and bring them to book. It is not an easy matter and we would not want to facilitate police activities by giving them powers which we would regard as unwarranted in this country. We hope that no situation will ever arise in this country in which more extensive powers which impinge upon or infringe in some way the traditional rights of individuals will be given to police. I have heard that point of view expressed by some members of the Australian Labor Party and 1 imagine that they would wish to be consistent in the way in which they approach such matters. 1 think that the Senate ought to be indebted to Senator Hannan for what he said. He has given chapter and verse of a defamatory allegation which is being used as part of a political campaign by some with the, purpose of smearing the Croatian community simply because the Croatian community in this country is a vigorous anti-communist community. Against the background of what I have said it must be recognised that those who would use politics to inflame a volatile situation not only are doing a disservice to the people amongst whom they move but also are doing a disservice to Australia because their actions create a situation which, I think, is full of potential danger to the whole nation.
The third matter with which I deal is the remarks made by Senator Keeffe. I find that Senator Keeffe is remarkably inconsistent. That is putting my feeling about him mildly. He rose to speak tonight and said that he was not a man who engaged in personal attacks. There was some mirth throughout the chamber at that remark. I thought that the exhibition we received from Senator Keeffe tonight was essentially a personal attack on Senator Bonner and then a particularly vicious personal attack upon the Premier of Queensland. I should have thought there could be a no more slanderous statement about a person of the Aboriginal race than to call him an Uncle Tom in the context in which that term has been used among Aboriginal people. I am not suggesting that Senator Keeffe used that expression tonight, but he did use it on an earlier occasion when attacking Senator Bonner. To say in those circumstances that he does not indulge in personal attacks is hard to believe, or it indicates that he does not know the meaning of ‘personal attacks’.
I am sure that Senator Bonner, who has been actively associated over many years with the improvement of Aboriginal welfare and with the One People of Australia League, can adequately answer whatever might be the allegations sought to be made against him or that organisation. It is a matter upon which we all ought to have some shame, that the sort of attacks which are being made against the first person of his race who has won a seat in the Australian Parliament should have been made in this chamber by a person Who was once the President of one of the major political parties in this country.
The other matter which was raised related to the Premier of Queensland. I am nol here to defend a man who has proved by his courage and integrity that he can adequately defend himself. But we ought to recognise that, throughout this country, Commonwealth and State Governments are currently spending at the rate of $44m a year on various ways and means of improving the lot of Aborigines in Australia. 1 appreciate that the mere expenditure of money is not the only thing which Australians ought to be doing or the only test by which what is being done should be judged and assessed, but it is an indication of our intention, an earnest, to do the very best we can. 1 do not think the sneers which have come from Senator Keeffe are worthy of a parliament which is genuinely si riving to achieve the best for the Aboriginal community. I would be prepared to give some credence to some of the things which Senator Keeffe said but for his record, which in this area is one of many statements wildly made and subsequently proved to be untrue, and particularly when the statements are made late at night without any prior indication of what is to be said and without any opportunity for anyone at the time the statement is made to put a rebutting case. The effect of this is that headlines have appeared in the newspapers referring to allegations made by Senator Keeffe. They make their mark and when, some 2 or 3 weeks later, the truth is out it is not given the same publicity and, of course, the original slander or defamation goes through the land.
I can only say in conclusion that the lactic used by Senator Keeffe is a tactic which ought to be disowned by his colleagues because they have made some play from time to time on the claim that they believe in certain standards of justice. Senator Keeffe sought to accuse the Premier of Queensland of guilt by accusation. What he said was that if Mr BjelkePetersen could produce his records and his wages sheets then we would be able to see whether he has paid his workers less than the award rates. The imputation behind that is that the man is guilty and that it is up to him to prove that he is not guilty. That I believe is the most vicious sort of attack that can be made. It is a reflection on this chamber that a Senator should make an attack of this nature.
– I regret having to speak at this hour but there are a few things that have to be said about the attitude adopted by the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood). It is not a new attitude. On every occasion that his occupancy or custodianship of the portfolio of Attorney-General and his method of administering that portfolio is questioned he tries to evade the issue by making an attack upon the Australian Labor Party. He was questioned about his attitude in Western Australia, but he related his remarks to Victoria and South Australia for the purpose of making an attack upon the Labor Party. This may be good political propaganda. It may indicate accurately the attitude of the Labor Party in an action which he believes is to be derogated. But whatever the Labor Party’s actions are, in referring to them the Attorney-General is not answering the question asked of him. Tonight I believe that the Attorney-General has been associated with a disgraceful and despicable action. He has disclosed that he is using the Commonwealth Police, whose duty it is to enforce the legislation of the Commonwealth, as a security force pimping on privileged conversations of people engaged in the same occupation as themselves. One can well understand that a clerk employed in the Treasury would say to another clerk there: ‘I do not like the boss. He is doing this and that’. It could be said in a private conversation that should be privileged and not repeated and used publicly.
If the accusation of Mr Campbell was made to the Commonwealth Police that pressure had been applied to him, it justifies disciplinary action against Mr Campbell by the politician who was applying the political pressure. It would be a breach of the Public Service Act if such were the case. Possibly it would justify dismissal. If the statement were made, it was made in some confidence to another policeman engaged in similar activity, in policing the same Act. If the statement were made, the policeman to whom it was made has betrayed the confidence placed in him and has given to the Attorney-General an opportunity, the first time he gets into strife, to repeat the statement publicly.
It is not a case of the head of a department protecting the department, lt is a case of the head of a department exposing the department and being prepared to throw the blame on to an understudy, rather than to take the responsibility himself. Senator Cant said that the AttorneyGeneral’s action was disgraceful. The Attorney-General responded that he thinks he has an obligation to say what he believes to be true and, if it is in the public interest, to say it. I think everyone has an obligation to say what he believes to be true, but when it is an accusation against the holder of another high office and involves a claim of dereliction of duty by the holder of that high office, I think-
– Order! Senator Cavanagh, I would just like to point out to you that what you have done is to try to catch my eye after Senator Greenwood, the Attorney-General, had replied to the criticisms made of him. You then rose to repeat an attack on him when under the forms of the House he is denied any possibility of replying to you.
– With respect, Mr President, he is not. He is prevented only until a later hour of the day from replying if he so desires. I am simply exercising my right to particulate in the adjournment debate. That right continues until the mover of the motion that the Senate adjourn has replied. If the AttorneyGeneral is embarrassed he can reply at a later hour this day during the debate on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate at the end of the Thursday sitting. He can then reply to any attack I may make.
– I just want to point out to you that your entry is an unusual one. That is all.
– Perhaps it is time that we had some unusual entries into this debate. I think it would be a neglect of duty if one permitted a person holding the office of Attorney-General of Australia to evade his obligations in the way that Senator Greenwood has attempted tonight. He has not answered the charges that have been made. He has sought to evade them by an attack on another political party.
– You could have responded on the next day, the same as it has been suggested Senator Greenwood could have done.
– I hope I honour my responsibility. I propose to debate the matter on facts. Firstly, I say that the Attorney-General, before he makes an attack on the basis of dereliction of duty upon someone holding a high office, has a responsibility to hold more than a belief. We have heard nothing which takes it further than a belief. The Attorney-General was told by a Commonwealth policeman who had spoken to the Comptroller of Prisons in Western Australia that the Comptroller of Prisons said that same political pressure had been applied. That could only establish a belief that some political pressure had been applied, but it could never establish even a belief in the accusations that the Attorney-General made in Western Australia. I do not know whether the Attorney-General sought an interview, but he was interviewed. The interviewer commenced by asking about the answer the Attorney-General gave to Senator Durack in this chamber. The interviewer, a Mr Graham, asked about neglect by the Western Australian authority. The Attorney-General replied:
I originally expressed my concern because of two things. The first was that, as I understood it, Cook had been released contrary to what the prison regulation said and contrary to the procedures which the Western Australian Government had laid down for releasing persons for various reasons from prison . . .
That puts a responsibility upon the AttorneyGeneral to tell us how he understood it and what constituted his understanding of it before he made the accusation. How was this contrary to the prison regulations? I think Senator Cant has cleared this up. It is in conformity with the prison regulations under the relevant Act and it is not contrary to the procedures of either the Western Australian Government or other State governments of Australia. In the same interview the Attorney-General said:
It is not permissible under the regulation
That fs the Western Australian regulation - to give leave of absence for the purpose of attending the university. I also understand that there is a procedure in Western Australia under which a committee, I think it is a classifications committee-
Again the Attorney-General is saying that it is not permissible under the regulations. Senator Cant has said that it is permissible and has quoted the words ‘where it is for the prisoner’s welfare or the welfare of his family’. The Attorney-General - a man with a legal mind - has not said that what Senator Cant said is not a correct legal interpretation. The giving of leave was for the welfare of the prisoner and therefore is in complete comformity with the regulations in Western Australia. But the AttorneyGeneral understood and I think further on in the interview he said that he studied the regulations. He went on to say: . . a committee . . . examines the case of people who ought to be given leave of absence and I believe in the case of Mr Cook that Classification Committee made no recommendation.
All we have heard is that Mr Campbell said that there was pressure on him, but at no time have we had a statement that anyone told the Attorney-General that the committee had never considered Mr Cook’s case. The Attorney-General, in making this statement, said ‘I believe’. What is the justification for the AttorneyGeneral’s belief? No justification has been presented tonight. In the interview the Attorney-General went on to say:
I have no reason to believe that in any way the integrity of prison officers ought to be questioned. I do believe that there has been some political direction in this matter but I have written to Mr Stubbs: I’ve asked him to give me the information.
That is as far as it goes. This was possibly justified on the report of the Commonwealth Police to the Attorney-General. The Attorney-General in the same interview went on to say: . . I’ve said that the Regulations do not permit leave of absence for study purposes. I’ve also said that on my information the Classification Committee has not met, therefore, how was Mr Cook allowed to go to college.
If the Attorney-General can go to Western Australia and make accusations which he believed against government officers, let him come out and say that he had some justification for the belief he expressed tonight. We travelled Victoria and South Australia and were able to find no answer to this question of why the AttorneyGeneral believed it. A little later in the interview the Attorney-General said:
I’ve indicated the basis upon which I made my comment and I think you can appreciate that there is a basis to it.
We are still trying to find out what this basis was. The Attorney-General further said: 1 do feel however that when people are released it ought to be a matter for consideration by a body which determines whether it’s going to help that person.
He said later: 1 do not believe that any other person in gaol for a National Service Act offence, and there is only, what, 4 or 5 of them is being let out of prison in the way that Mr Cook is being let out of prison.
Of course, Mr Graham informed the Attorney-General that some 50 inmates of New South Wales gaols are going to school in New South Wales. Despite the fact that this is for the welfare of the prisoner, the Attorney-General thinks that this is something that should not be extended to national service resisters. Apparently they are to be an elite group which receives no benefits. They do not receive the consideration that other prisoners receive. In the Attorney-General’s opinion they are in the lower category of the murderer, the house robber, the rapist and other similar types of people in prison. It is all right to permit these, people to attend school but not the national service resister.
– Do you think it is all right to let murderers and robbers out after 3 months in prison?
– I think it would be foolish and I think this is the reason for referring the matter to the classification committee, and that committee would not let them out because of the danger to the community. But I do not think the honourable senator would suggest that there would be. any danger to the community in allowing a 20-year old attend the university when his only crime has been acting in accordance with his conscience against an Act in which he does not believe.
– He went to gaol because of his conscience.
– He went to gaol because of it. He was prepared to pay the penalty under the conditions of an ordinary prisoner. Incidentally, there, is a person in South Australia who has been imprisoned under the same Act. Senator McLaren has sought to get some privileges for him but the prisoner himself has requested that he not receive any privileges. His attitude is: T am here and I want no privileges other than those given to any prisoner in the gaol who is in breach of the Act’. But here is a man in Western Australia who has asked for the same privileges as those extended by Premier Askin in New South Wales. Later in the interview the Attorney-General stated:
In this particular State the State police will sot execute national service warrants.
I think a thorough explanation of this statement is justified. It is a statement which was made, during the broadcasting of an interview. The transcript of that interview is a public document, but at no time have we received any explanation of how the Attorney-General obtained the belief that he held when this interview was made. The Attorney-General has no explanation, but because he knows that his statement accusing public officers should not have been made by a man holding the position of Attorney-General, he has tried to sidetrack the issue and dodge his obligation by talking about the Labor Party. 1 think that there should be some apology if it is found that there is no truth in the allegation. I think it is a dastardly thing for a man holding the position of AttorneyGeneral to make such an accusation or to disclose to the public what was said in discussion between 2 policemen, possibly in confidence.
(12.25 a.m.) - in reply - I wish to respond briefly to a point made by Senator Mulvihill about a provision of the Public Service Act - I think it is section 34 - which states, amongst other things, that a person is not eligible for appointment to the Commonwealth Public Service unless he is a British subject. It is true, of course, that section 82 of the Public Service Act, which provides for the employment of persons in a temporary capacity, does not contain any provision in relation to being a British subject. It is equally true that people employed in the Australian Public Service overseas who are not nationals of Australia but who are nationals of the country in which they are employed - that is, they are locally engaged - are employed as temporary employees. Senator Mulvihill has, of course, raised a question of Government policy and has expressed a point of view on it. To some extent this matter was canvassed in a debate in the Senate earlier tonight - or yesterday, as it is now early in the morning. All I can say is that I will accept what he has said as an expression of his point of view in relation to the current Government policy and that I will have it referred in the normal way.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 12.27 a.m. (Thursday)
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 12 April 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1972/19720412_senate_27_s51/>.