27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack) took the chair at 3 p.m., and rend prayers.
– I present the following petition:
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 Puree) 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 alterations 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.
– I present the following petition:
The Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That the Postmaster-General’s Department, Central Administration Board’s Policy of re-centralising and concentrating certain staffs, under what is called the Area Management Project, to the great detriment of the economics of the towns and related rural areas, and to the detriment of the overall morale, efficiency and independence of the Australian Post Office is against the public interest and. should be made the subject of special investigation by the Senate’s Social Environment Committee and by the Senate’s Finance and Government Operations Standing Committee.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the Senate in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to refer the above matters to the two committees of the Senate referred to, and in the meantime will order that:
There will be no transfers of persons, areas of authority or operations under the Area Management Project; and,
No further appointments to positions under Area Managers or above them in the State Administrations or Central Administration of the Australian Post Office until the two committees of the Senate have investigated the matters and reported to the Senate and the Government.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate who represents the Treasurer. I refer to the forecast by the President of the United States Export-Import Bank of the probability of an upward revaluation of the yen, resulting in a relative further devaluation of the United States dollar. I ask: Firstly, has the Australian Government firmly committed itself to a devaluation in parallel with further United States devaluations? Secondly, will the Government make a statement, for the information of the Senate and of the public, of the implications for Australia of the new sweeping powers over currency just taken by the Japanese Government and the implications of an upward revaluation by Japan?
The question asked of me in my capacity as the representative in this chamber of the Treasurer by the Leader of the Opposition is a very far reaching one. 1 would be very cautious in commenting on such a question without notice. Indeed,I would have grave reservations about responding to that type of question if it were placed on notice. The question relates to a hypothetical situation. The giving of an opinion in relation to the hypothetical devaluation of the currencies of the world could have tremendous consequences. In fact, I think it could have damaging consequences because Australia is a country whose trade is associated substantially with primary industry. Any implication in relation to the shape of things to come in the hypothetical situation of one other country doing something with its currency - whether it be upward or downward - could be damaging.
– It could be helpful also.
– It could bc damaging to the whole economy in Australia. I said ‘could’. I am not categorically saying that it would or would not. That is the very reason why currency decisions are ones which, like those made in a Budget situation, have to be guarded and why when decisions are ultimately taken and released they have to be made with some precision. In deference to the Leader of the Opposition, having regard to his responsibilities and mine and to his status, I think that question should go on notice.
– I direct a question to the Attorney-General. If it is correct that farmers in Tasmania are being told by processors that unless they accept pea contracts at the cost of production prices laid down by the processors they will be denied a contract for the more profitable beans and other vegetables, I ask: Does this coercion conflict in any way with the Restrictive Trade Practices Act or any other Act?
– I would not wish to give an immediate answer to the question of whether a conflict with the Restrictive Trade Practices Act may have occurred because of the situation to which Senator Lillico has referred. I appreciate the seriousness of what he has said and the implications of it to the growers in Tasmania. If Senator Lillico were to give me details of the particular matter to which he has referred I would take it up with the Commissioner for Trade Practices at the earliest opportunity and seek an opinion from him as to whether prima facie a matter for inquiry is warranted in the terms of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act as it now stands and communicate with Senator Lillico as soon as I am able to do so.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise. Can the Minister give the Parliament full details concerning the quantity of acetic acid exported from Australia and the names of the countries to which that commodity is exported?
– Yes, I will be able to give that information to the honourable senator, but first of all I will have to get the accurate details for him from the Department of Customs and Excise.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Firstly, what numbers of cattle, vealers, sheep, lambs and pigs were slaugthered in each State for the years 1968, 1969 and 1970? Secondly, how many of the above livestock were inspected by the Department of Primary Industry? Thirdly, is approval required for the export of meat? If so, who gives the approval? Lastly, has the increasing number of sheep and cattle slaughtered for export been considered by the Department of Primary Industry in relation to Australia’s stock population? If so, is the percentage at present being slaughtered considered satisfactory?
– Order! I think that question should be placed on the notice paper. I do not think it is within the province of the Minister to answer it.
– I am able to answer.
– The Minister may do so if he wishes.
– As you rightly said, Mr President, I cannot give the numbers. I could not even say how many cattle have come off our family property in the last 3 years. I shall certainly make inquiries for the honourable senator. I oan say whether approval is given because I have had this information in my file for some time. As the honourable senator knows, export abattoirs must be registered with the Department of Primary Industry, as must any premises such as boning rooms, which are used in connection with meat. A company that wants to export meat must obtain from the Department of Primary Industry a permit to export. Furthermore, companies which want to export meat must obtain an export licence from the Australian Meat Board. So approval has to be obtained in respect of 3 different matters. The honourable senator asked whether the Department of Primary Industry or the Australian Meat Board was worried about the number of animals slaughtered. I would say that the Department of Primary Industry and the Australian Meat Board naturally are concerned whether the numbers of livestock that are available for slaughter will enable export quotas to be filled. In this respect the 2 bodies are keeping a careful watch on that matter.
– I ask the Acting PostmasterGeneral a question. Last Thursday 1 asked him whether the Australian Broadcasting Commision proposed to give visiting United States journalist T. D. Allman the royal treatment that normally it reserves for ali visiting leftists. I also asked about various incidents concerning Mr Allman’s past activities in other countries. In replying to my question the Minister promised to obtain information from the ABC. I am now informed that Mr Altman is scheduled to speak on the ABC radio programme Fact and Opinion’ tonight and again next Wednesday night.
– Tell us what time so that we can listen.
– Empty vessels make the most noise. Will the Minister take urgent action on my previous question and the information about Mr Allman’s background to ensure that the position is investigated before Mr Allman leaves the country and not 6 months later?
– Following Senator Gair’s question last Thursday, 1 directed this matter to the Australian Broadcasting Commission. I have not an answer before me, although there may be one in the accumulated pile of files in the office. If there is not, when question time is finished J shall seek the information for the honourable senator.
– The Minister for Civil Aviation will recall that I have asked a number of questions concerning the introduction of a modern jet aircraft between Australia; Norfolk Island and New Zealand. Has he any further information concerning the early operation of a suitable jet aircraft to replace the DC4 aircraft which is now operating?
– The honourable senator will remember that previously 1 said that the Boeing 737 would be test flown, and it was test flown in that area, lt appeared to have some possibilities as a suitable aircraft. The matter is still under investigation by the people concerned, principally Qantas Airways Ltd. There are one or two problems for the 737 with the airstrip on Norfolk Island, but they are not insurmountable. I think I should get the latest information for the honourable senator. My information would be about 10 or 12 days old. I will ascertain whether there is any additional information for the honourable senator.
– 1 ask the Minister for Health another question in my continuing series of questions about the accidental poisoning of children due to the use of unsafe containers for tablets. After 4 years of questioning has his Department a solution?
– Last week Senator Turnbull asked me a series of questions about the matter. During the 1970 Budget sittings he displayed a small container which was known by the trade name of Palm-N’-Turn. 1 can assure the honourable senator that my Department and T are concerned at the incidence of poisoning from the ingestion of drugs, particularly in the group of children between the ages of I and 5 years. The problem is not peculiar to Australia, ft is a world-wide problem. The age group I mentioned appears to be al greatest risk. Poisoning of children by drugs is related primarily to the. careless storage of drugs in the home and is not a new problem. The best and the most effective remedy would be greater parental care with drugs in the home. That is not to deprecate the question, but it is a fact of life, as. I think. Senator Turnbull would agree.
My Department has been examining ways and means of reducing the risk related to careless storage in the home. I was not Minister for Health in late 1970 but I understand that through the agencies of the National Health and Medical Research Council a special communication was sent to all pharmacists commending to them certain action in relation to this risk and in relation to the use of safety containers. The container, Palm-N’-Turn, which Senator Turnbull brought into the chamber does have deficiencies. It has been found that even children in the age group at risk - I to 5 years - have been able to open it, often in a very short period. For tablets other than short shelf-life tablets the container does not provide a satisfactory method of preventing degeneration of the drugs due to the atmospheric conditions. While safety containers have some deficiencies in relation to drug stability, durability, ease of handling and labelling, my Department is currently examining two new types of containers which have been developed recently. In addition, alternate forms of packaging, such as tablets packaged in foil strips, are being examined. AH drugs currently causing a risk problem are being examined in this context. Foil packaging may have an advantage in terms of time taken to break the tablets off the strip and remove the foil. That may guard against the careless use by children, particularly in the 1 to 5 age group. I hope that at an early date there will be further development in relation to the problem. Let us face facts: It is a very real problem in any home into which drugs are taken and in which there are children.
– Will the Minister for Health say how long it is since the Commonwealth Department of Health carried out a survey into the nutritional needs of the people of this country? Has the Commonwealth Department of Health ever investigated whether people on low incomes are financially capable of buying the food they need, from a health point of view? Are any of them suffering from malnutrition, as some people claim to be the case?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI certainly would like to have notice of that question. As the honourable senator knows, the time that I have held the portfolio of Minister for Health would not allow me off the cuff to give the history of investigations which may or may not have taken place in the Department of Health in relation to the overall question of the nutritional standards of some 13 million people in the community. I do not know the answer to the honourable senator’s question but I will obtain it and make it available.
– No doubt the Leader of the Government in the Senate is aware of the result of last Saturday’s State election for the Tasmanian House of Assembly at which the Australian Labor Party won a handsome majority in every electorate, and also that the Leader of the Liberal Party resigned his leadership.
– Order! The honourable senator is giving information. He will ask his question.
– In view of the statement of Mr Bethune blaming inflation, the incidence of unemployment, the need for price stability and internal party disunity as the causes of the defeat, what measures are proposed by the Federal Government to relieve the people of the State of Tasmania of these Commonwealth created disabilities?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONYes, I suppose it is fair to say that I read the newspapers and saw the result of the election. Although 1 am not sure that the final result is known as yet, there is no doubt what the end result will be because of the method of voting employed in Tasmania. If I may say so, the time to ask mc a question in relation to that result is after the honeymoon is over. The honeymoon is now on because of the projected result of the election but we will not know the implications of the result until the honeymoon is over. To paraphrase the famous words of Lord Asquith, I think we must wait and see. Then I will be happy to answer the honourable senator’s question because I know what the end result will be for the people of Tasmania.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs seen reports of (he Melbourne moratorium demonstration led by Dr Cairns last week in support of the North Vietnamese and Vietcong invasion of South Vietnam? Can the Minister say whether reports that stones, bottles, rocks and so on were hurled at police, windows were smashed and cars were battered by demonstrators are correct? Can the Minister say also whether Mr Whitlam and the Australian Labor Party are supporting Dr Cairns and the moratorium on this occasion as they have done previously?
– I read with the utmost regret the reports to which the honourable senator referred. To the honourable senator opposite who groans with unease al hearing of my regret, I say it will be an unfortunate situation if moratoria follow one another in this vein with bottles being thrown, windows being smashed and violence occurring, lt may cause some amusement to irresponsible legislators but it is a matter of great national regret that that sort of incident cun occur more than once in Melbourne, lt has been inspired by Dr J. F. Cairns and he has avowed his support for moratoria campaigns. As to the place he holds in the eyes of his Leader in regard to the matter, I told the Senate last week that Dr .1. F. Cairns said on television that after a speech in the House of Representatives - in effect supporting North Vietnam - Mr Whitlam said that it was a most compelling speech.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise whether the Commonwealth pays book bounty on locally produced books of one-quarter of the cost of production of each book? Has the Commonwealth already paid book bounty on so-called .sex manuals such as ‘Intercourse’, ‘Ways of Loving’ and ‘Call Girl’? If bounty has been paid will the Minister advise me of the cost of production per book, the amount of bounty paid per book and the retail price of each book? Can the Minister confirm or deny reports that his Department has given verbal approval for the book bounty to be paid on the notorious Little Red Schoolbook’. that the estimated cost of production on which bounty will be paid is 19c a copy and that its retail price is $1.75? Can book bounty be refused on a book which is blasphemous, indecent or obscene or which unduly emphasises matters of sex, horror, violence or crime or which is likely to encourage depravity? Does the Minister consider that the ‘Little Red Schoolbook’ and so-called sex manuals listed above merit book bounty of 25 per cent of the cost of production which is paid out of taxpayers’ money when there is such a huge margin between cost and retail price?
– I am aware, in general terms, that there is a book bounty. 1 do not know to what extent it is paid, what it represents as a percentage of cost of production, to which books it is applicable or whether there are any restrictions on people who seek to have it paid to them. The question will have to be answered by the Department through the responsible Minister. I ask my colleague to put the question on notice.
– Order! I remind honourable senators that question time is rebroadcast later in the day. Those who wish to listen to the questions asked in the Senate are entitled to hear first the question and then the answer. They are not aided by adventitious comment from either side of me while questions are being asked and answered.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport seen the comments by 2 visiting American automobile executives that current Australian car models lag four to five years behind their American counterparts in anti-pollution devices? Does the Government intend to act so that Australian motor vehicles will be required to at least meet American standards of pollution control?
– No, I have not seen the comments by the visiting American experts. 1 shall be glad to have them from the honourable senator if he will give them to me afterwards. In general I am aware that the motor car is the principal cause of air pollution in great cities. To the extent that this can be removed or diminished in Australia, I am sure that it will have the support of the responsible Minister.
– My question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. If the Government is sincere about keeping Australian control of our land resources, will it take urgent action against the proposed sale of over 1,200 square miles of the Northern Territory by Gunn Development Pty Ltd, the family company of Sir William Gunn? Will the Government ask the Senate Select Committee on Foreign Ownership and
Control to give this matter high priority as newspaper reports state that although the area will be offered first to Australian buyers the prospectus is aimed heavily at American investors by using an illustration showing small American flags indicating which parts of the Territory are already owned by Americans?
– Order! Senator Poke, you are giving information. Ask your question.
– Will the Government also inquire into whether Sir William Gunn, as a board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia, as Chairman of the Australian Wool Board and as a member of the International Wool Secretariat and the Australian Wool Bureau, is unscrupulously using his position of power to act as a salesman of Australia’s heritage?
I deprecate, and I am sure everybody deprecates, the language in which the question is couched. I choose to ignore it. I hope that everybody will forget that it was said. No honourable senator under privilege should imply things in respect of the character of any person, particularly a person who has given public service of the nature of the service given by the person who was mentioned. If the honourable senator places the first part of his question on notice I shall refer it to the Minister for Primary Industry.
– Will the AttorneyGeneral advise whether any progress has been made in the consideration being given by him and his Department to the introduction of a system of family courts in Australia?
– I think it is quite clear that a need exists in this country for a review of the whole of our law relating to divorce, family law and custody of children. That point of view has commended itself to the Senate which, late in 1971, referred this whole question to one of its standing committees. I am certainly concerned about the matter. A considerable amount of preliminary work has been done within my own Department to assess the position. Part of that work has been done for the purpose of the Senate Standing Committee which has requested assistance. I can only say that a real problem confronts me and, I think, confronts the Government when a Senate Standing Committee is undertaking this work, in knowing to what extent the responsible Minister is entitled to embark upon a considerable inquiry within his own Department. That is a matter upon which the decision of the Government ultimately must be taken. I can only respond to the honourable senator by saying that I have arranged within my Department for some work and attention to be given to this problem. I would hope that, in due course, the results of that initial assessment can be made public.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Health. I refer to the Minister’s announcement reported in Monday’s newspapers that the Federal Government has decided to require the inclusion of a health warning in all cigarette advertising on radio and television and that it will finance a national education programme against smoking, directed particularly at young people. If the Government intends to finance a national education programme against smoking as opposed to the hazards involved with smoking, why does the Government not advocate the complete banning of cigarette advertising on radio and television? Finally, will the Government in its education programme consider producing television advertisements advocating that young people should not smoke and time slot such advertisements at children and family viewing times, at the same time thereby supporting Australian programme productions for children and family viewers?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI feel that the honourable senator and I are at cross purposes, lt is true that I announced at the weekend the decision of the Government on 3 basic policy matters in relation to the hazards of smoking. The whole statement was in regard to the implications of the hazards to health of smoking and it must be read in that context. The Press statement indicated, first, the Government’s intention ‘to implement a national health education programme directed towards young people’. That is to be on the basis of the provision of up to $500,000 a year on a 3-year programme. The second point made in the statement was that the Commonwealth would ‘seek uniform State and Commonwealth action on health labelling of cigarette packages’. The third point was ‘to require all cigarette advertising on radio and television to include a health warning’. Those are the 3 categorical statements. Then there followed in my Press statement explanations under those 3 heads.
It is quite obvious that the decisions that the Government has taken are fundamental decisions of principle consequent upon a submission 1 put to the Government. It is now my responsibility, as Minister for Health, to implement, without undue delay, the principles that the Government has adopted. 1 am happy to be able to say - I have issued a further Press statement indicating this - that there is to be a meeting of Ministers for Health in Sydney next Tuesday al which we will be discussing in particular at least the second point of this programme relating to the uniform labelling of cigarettes with a health warning. I also will be giving the States an indication of the health education programme directed to the young and I will be seeking the cooperation of the States in relation to this matter. Thirdly, 1 will be having some discussions with the States on a matter which is entirely within the responsibility of the Commonwealth. I refer to health warnings in radio and television advertising.
– Do you intend thai the Commonwealth should engage in advertising?
– The honourable senator asks mc about the education programme, lt may well be that, bearing in mind that matters of principle only have been decided, in the education programme directed to the young we will use the facilities of all the State education systems. The education programme may be directed in some way to the normal advertising of health matters relating to the young. It may well be that advertising on radio and television is a natural course to follow. The programme has lo be worked out. This is a big challenge to me as Minister and to my Department. Having had decisions taken we have to implement them. I indicated that I am having a meeting with State Ministers for Health next Tuesday in order to show that there is no delay. I am happy to indicate also that arrangements have ‘been made for a discussion this Friday with certain people representing radio and television interests and also the tobacco industry. Obviously these people have problems so far as this matter is concerned. Everybody will realise that it is one thing to decide that cigarette packages are to be labelled with a health warning but it is most desirable, in view of the fact that this rests officially with the six States other than the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory that we get some degree of uniformity in the labelling. That is one of the exercises that I have in front of me on Friday in my discussions with the industry groups, including the radio and television people, and next Tuesday when I will be talking to the State Ministers for Health.
– Is the Acting PostmasterGeneral aware that practically the whole of the State of Tasmania can be encompassed within a circle of 150 miles radius? Does he not consider that in the circumstances it is ridiculous to have 3 telephone directories for such a relatively small area with a population of under 400,000 people? Will he ask the PostmasterGeneral to take steps to revert to the use of one telephone directory for Tasmania at the next reprint and so considerably reduce the inconvenience currently being experienced by telephone subscribers in that State?
– Last week Senator Willesee spoke to me about this problem in regard to Western Australia. I sought information about Western Australia and Tasmania from the Postmaster-General’s Department to see why it had subdivided the directories.
– I think it was Senator Wheeldon.
– I am very sorry, Senator Wheeldon; and I am equally sorry Senator Willesee. I hope that the information that I have might lead me to be of some help to Senator Devitt also. 1 shall look up that information after question time, lt came to me only this morning.
– I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry to a question I recently asked the Minister concerning war service land settlers in South Australia, with particular reference to rental and financial problems being experienced by war service settlers on Kangaroo Island. As these problems are similar to those experienced by soldier settlers in Zone 5 in South Australia, I again ask whether the favourable determinations made in respect of Zone 5 settlers will flow on and provide similar betterment of the position of Kangaroo Island settlers?
– I think the honourable senator will recall that in answer to his last question on this subject I informed him that representatives of the South Australian Government had come to Canberra and had held discussions with officials of the Department of Primary Industry, and I think they saw the Minister also at that time. Following those talks, discussions were also held with Zone 5 representatives. The problems raised in respect of Zone 5 were specific to the area in which the representatives live. I understand that an examination of their submissions is still taking place. I also understand that a review is proceeding of the war service land settlement situation at Kangaroo Island. As the problems relating to both subjects are rather complex the examinations are still taking place. I understand that most of the settlers in Zone 5 have now signed their leases.
– Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that the President of the United States will make a statement on United States policy on Vietnam at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Australian time? Has the Australian Government been informed of the substance of Mr Nixon’s statement or has it been consulted as to future United States policy on the war in Vietnam?
Obviously any communication between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister is not a matter for discussion at question time.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for National Development: Has Sir Philip Baxter, former Chairman of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission, been retained by the Government in a consultative or advisory capacity subsequent to his retirement?
– I have no knowledge of any such retainer or consultation arrangement, or anything of that kind. The question will have to go to the Minister for National Development in order to obtain his opinion.
– I think my question is appropriately directed to you, Mr President. Will you inform the Senate before the end of the current session of the provisions to be made to ensure that senators will have access to their normal facilities in Parliament House while the South East Asia Treaty Organisation conference is being held in Parliament House in lune?
– The decision to hold the SEATO conference in Parliament House was made last year. However, 1 am currently involved in an intimate study of the question of the freedom of members of Parliament inside Parliament House when the conference is being held. 1 can assure the honourable senator that members of Parliament will be unimpeded in their movements throughout Parliament House, except for one area at the end of the House of Representatives side of the building. That will bc a secure area, but it will not in any way impede members of Parliament.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport noted the tragic number of road deaths on both the Easter holiday weekend and the Anzac Day holiday? Can the Minister advise whether researches which have been carried out on this matter have revealed any steps that could be taken to reduce the road toll? Does the Minister agree that the problem is perhaps more a human one than an engineering one? Will he also advise whether a programme of education on road courtesy is envisaged?
– I noted with great personal sadness and horror the number of reported deaths in road accidents, as 1 think every honourable senator would do. I have some general comments to make on the activities of the Department of Shipping and Transport in the general field of road safety. It has set up an expert group on road safety and since the formation of the Australian Transport Advisory Council the Commonwealth has been undertaking road safety publicity in educational campaigns. Another significant Commonwealth contribution towards reducing the road toll includes grants to the States for road research, research into vehicle design and the servicing of the Australian Transport Advisory Council advisory committee dealing with road laws, vehicle safety and performance. Law enforcement, traffic control, vehicle registration, driver licensing and road designs are matters which must involve State and Territory responsibility. Nonetheless, the suggestion that this is a human problem at which a better level of responsibility might be encouraged through an educational programme is a good suggestion and T shall take it up with the responsible Minister.
– I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Supply to my question No. 1602 which was placed on the notice paper on 9th November last year. Since the question is a simple one concerning the colour of Commonwealth cars, can the Minister explain the delay in providing an answer?
– 1 well recall the honourable senator’s question. I cannot explain the delay, but I shall make it my business to find out and to try to get the answer as soon as possible.
– T address my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise, ls the Minister aware that at the February 1972 council meeting of the Australian Union of Students, its president Mr K. Newcombe stated that an organisation called the Radical Action Movement controlled the copyright of ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’? ls it true that the Radical Action Movement, when originally founded, was known as the Students for a Democratic Society got off further true that the meeting at which the Students for a Democratic Society got off the ground was held at 6.30 p.m. on Sunday, 23rd November 1969, at the Newport Victoria, home of Mr L. Carmichael of the National Committee of the Communist Party of Australia? ls it a fact that the only so-called protest group which is specifically recommended by name to Victorian schoolchildren in ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ is a body called the Radical Action Movement of 57 Palmerston Street, Carlton, Victoria? Would the Minister agree that, if these facts are true, they prove beyond doubt official Communist associations with The Little Red Schoolbook’?
– None of the matters mentioned by the honourable senator is known to me to be either true or untrue. Therefore, I do not think I am properly able to comment on his final suggestion as to what one ought to do but I undertake to pass on the information he has given, which is obviously very precise and well documented, to the Minister for Customs and Excise for his perusal.
– Has the Minister for Civil Aviation read the publication The Case Against Supersonic Transport’ by Richard Wiggs? Does he still stand by his earlier decision to inflict the Concorde aircraft upon the Australian environment in June? If the Minister repudiates the fears of conservationists, what action is he taking, in conjunction with his colleagues, to combat the attempts by insurance companies to capitalise on the flight by increasing their insurance premiums?
– I have not read the book by Mr Wiggs who, I think, is the principal person in the United Kingdom against supersonic transport. I have read a summary digest of his observations and conclusions. Very few of them are supported by the views of other people who are as competent as, and perhaps in many cases more competent than, Mr Wiggs. Be that as it may. The question of insurance premiums has been referred to on many previous occasions in the Senate by other honourable senators, and I have advised that it has been taken up. That is the case.
The question of my inflicting the visit of the Concorde on Australia is, of course, not the case. It is the Government’s decision to permit the aircraft to come to Australia on a flight which brings to this country, and indeed to a wide range of Middle East and Far East countries, a group of English people, among them a distinguished member of the Government - the Lord Privy Seal. We have been very careful indeed to evaluate the whole operation with extreme care, and the evaluation of the flight paths on any demonstration flights is still going on. The honourable senator may be assured that great care is being taken, and that we seek at all times to establish the truth of assertions that are made about supersonic flight. We do it as far as we possibly can on the best information we have, and we do approach it in the public interest.
– I ask the Minister for Health whether he is aware that the Director of Health in the Northern Territory recently gave evidence before the Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment to the effect that the situation in relation to Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory was not improving. Has the Minister any comment to make on this matter?
– lt is true that some evidence was given to an inquiry on health in the Northern Territory about native bom babies. All I can say is that the Department of Health in the Northern Territory has, over a period of time, made strenuous efforts to combat the problems that exist, particularly those in the field of medicine, nursing and nutrition. In the relatively short time I have been Minister for Health I have been to the Northern Territory twice to investigate these problems. As the Senate would know, during my time as Minister for Health the Department of Health has acquired what was the Mount Gillen Motel and converted it into a care centre for, in particular, the babies and young children in the Centre. The efforts we have made over a period of time have saved the lives of many children who would otherwise have died. In the process of doing so we have increased the strain on the existing medical and hospital activities. The problems that exist and the chronic illnesses that have occurred have placed a very heavy and continuing strain on my Department’s resources.
I feel that I would like to make a statement in some depth on the matter. It has become clear that in order to lower the levels of infant and child morbidity and mortality among Aborigines in the Northern Territory it is necessary to have an improvement in the general socio-economic status of Aborigines. To a high degree that would go beyond my Department’s direct responsibility. The need for social progress is particularly evident in such areas as personal and community hygiene and sanitation. An awareness of the causation of disease is one of the requirements of healthy living in larger communities. It is a very complex problem. I do not think that I should at question time go beyond saying that, in collaboration with the other departments which are involved, I am working hard on the matter, f would like to have some discussions with, in particular the welfare section of the Department of the Interior before I proceed any further by way of giving an answer in depth. It is a complex problem. It is a “latter which is a source of continual anxiety to us all. What has to be understood is that whilst one can do all the nest things in the world in the way of providing medical care the real essence of the problem which exists in the Aboriginal community, particularly in relation to babies, is one of prevention of disease. That is the essence of the thing. Prevention is something which, with all the best goodwill in the world, is nol directly within my responsibility. But, as a responsible Minister for State. I would not walk away from any responsibility ro do all that I can to get to the source of the problem, which is really and truly in the area of prevention of disease. If we can get that going in a much more effective manner than it is going at the present time we will be automatically able to take the weight of the load off the medical services, which are overbearing on the medical resources of the Commonwealth in the Territory up to this point of time.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Is it a fact that the national average growth rate of traffic is expected to reach 7 per cent by 30th June 1972 and that the growth rate of Gold Coast bound airline passengers up to 24th March 1972 was 15.6 per cent? In view of the increase in traffic to the Gold Coast and the fact that the facilities are overtaxed at present will the Minister tell the Senate whether his Department will be calling for tenders for the construction of the proposed new airport terminal on the Gold Coast?
– When one considers the attractions of the Gold Coast, both fixed and mobile, it is not hard to realise that it is very close to fact to state that the traffic to and from the Gold Coast by air is about double the national rate. As the honourable senator said, it is a little better than double. Because of this, the Department of Civil Aviation has been conscious for some time that the terminal building needed to be enlarged and expanded. The latest information I have is that our planning work is well advanced. We ought to bc in a situation to call tenders in May or early June.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation, refers to his recent statement regarding parallel flights, but more particularly to the unsatisfactory and largely parallel jet services to Darwin. Is it a fact that presently parallel flights operate on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, generally from Brisbane or Adelaide, and will not be completely eliminated with the revised timetables? Will he endeavour to arrange a more equitable distribution of jet flights to Darwin and generally a more improved service for Northern Territory residents and tourists generally?
– As the Senate knows, it has been a long job to obtain an improvement in the parallel schedule situation. When we were able to obtain the recent improvement and this was announced, it was mentioned that we were seeking still further improvements. One of the areas mentioned was the DarwinAdelaide, Darwin-Brisbane service. While I am on this subject, 1 should mention also that we are not entirely happy with the Canberra-Sydney and Canberra-Melbourne services. We are seeking to improve both those services. There are problems in doing this, at the same time maintaining a fully viable economic operation. Part of the problem is the load factor and the number of people travelling at a given point of time. The honourable senator may be assured that the work of trying to improve this position is still proceeding.
– I direct a question to the Attorney-General who, on 22nd February, advised me that an officer of his Department was going to the Northern Territory to make an on-the-spot investigation of the necessity for the appointment of an extra magistrate. Has this officer completed his investigation? If so, what are his recommendations?
– An officer of my Department has been to the Northern Territory. Extensive investigations into a number of matters affecting the courts in the Northern Territory were carried out. Some of those matters have been the subject of report to me. 1 hope in due course to make a statement.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Health. I refer him to question No. 1784 on the notice paper which I asked on 9th December 1971. It is a short question so I shall read it:
In view of the inability of the States to reach agreement on the health dangers of cigarette smoking, will the Minister consult with his Cabinet colleagues with a view to investigating the possibility of introducing Commonwealth laws banning all advertising associated with cigarettes and other tobacco products?
Although this question was asked last year, it has not been replied to and it is not on the list of answers to questions upon notice supplied to the Senate today. Why did the Minister fail to answer my question prior to making a number of statements last weekend when the Parliament was not sitting? Alternatively, are not such questions referred to the Department of Health for appropriate processing?
I think that even my sternest critics would acknowledge that a genuine effort is made to obtain answers to as many questions as possible. What was the number of the question. Senator Keeffe?
– It is question No. 1784.
There is a simple answer to the question and there is no reason why it should not have been answered. The simple fact is that the Commonwealth has no constitutional power at all in relation to advertising in the States, except in relation to television and radio. Tt has power in relation to other matters within its own territories. That simple answer should have been given almost immediately. The surprising thing is that I did not give it at the time the question was asked. I shall ascertain the reason why. That is the answer.
The question was asked as a result of my issuing a Press statement at the weekend. My statement dealt with the labelling of cigarette packages with a health warning. On the constitutional problem it is well to remember that in this field the Commonwealth has no power in areas other than the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. Happily the States are moving towards such labelling and thai is a plus factor. The second part of the honourable senator’s question referred to an education programme. That is a Commonwealth responsibility. The third part of his question dealt with advertising on television and radio. The Commonwealth does have constitutional power in that regard. I have indicated that we propose to intercede and use our power to insist upon a health warning.
- Mr President, I ask you a question about our temporary parliament house, our more temporary parliament house and the most temporary parliament house that is about to be built. I have just been uprooted from my temporary parliamentary room and moved to the more temporary one. 1 find that [ cannot open the window. That would be all right, if I could control the air conditioning, but there is no control for the air conditioning.
– You are lucky to have a window in your room.
– That is quite true. Then I find that somebody has decreed that the temperature in the room shall be 70 degrees.
– Is not that hot enough for you?
– Apart. from Queenslanders, the norm is 68 degrees. That is the usually accepted temperature for air conditioning. I find my room extremely hot. What can I do about it?
– You could wear shorts.
– I have been informed that I could wear shorts, but I understand that you, Mr President, made a ruling on that. My final complaint is this: I have heard rumours that most temporary accommodation is to be erected. Why cannot the Government get on with the job of building the new parliament house? lt does not matter when the Government decides to do it, there will be opposition. Mr President, could you persuade the Government to take its courage in its hands and say that tomorrow it will start building the new parliament house instead of wasting the taxpayers’ money?
– Order! When 1 have had an opportunity of examining Hansard to see the long list of complaints contained in the honourable senator’s question I shall give him a reply in the Senate, hut 1 assure honourable senators that I regard their, complaints with the same seriousness with which I regard complaints from my wife.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. When will the Government make public its decision on a proposed wool acquisition scheme? I refer to growing reports that the Prime Minister is still stalling because he fears that the cost of at least $300m could be a major vote loser at the next election. Can the Minister state how long Sir Richard Randal) will take to complete his report? Will the Government guarantee that any recommended scheme will be placed before the public well before the election so that its advantages and disadvantages, in relation particularly to the economic factors involved, can be debated at length? Will the Government deny that there is a clash between the Liberal Party and the Country Party over the scheme, with the Country Party Ministers supporting it, for obvious reasons, and the Prime Minister opposing it because he is worried about its vote losing potential in urban electorates?
– I do not know how much of a question which is a lot of rubbish a Minister has to answer, but I will endeavour to answer some points raised by the honourable senator. Firstly, the submissions of the Australian Wool Industry Conference are still being studied by the Minister for Primary Industry. When he is ready to put a submission before Cabinet he will do so. In regard to the Randall Committee report, that Committee is still investigating and I would not know when it will conclude its investigations.
– Can the AttorneyGeneral inform the Senate the minimum age established in Commonwealth law below which charges of carnal knowledge can be lodged against a male for engaging in sexual relations with the consent of the female partner? Now that the publication The Little Red Schoolbook’ which has Federal Government aproval is being distributed in areas of Commonwealth jurisdiction, openly advocating sexual relations amongst school children, and as there is now evidence of distribution amongst primary as well as secondary school pupils, will the Federal Government be considering altering restrictive legislation so that 14- year old schoolboys, who accept the advice of the book to defy parents and engage in such relations with the consent of 12 or 13-year old schoolgirls, will be protected from prosecution under the criminal code?
– I regret that my detailed knowledge of this matter does not enable me to answer accurately the first question which the honourable senator has asked, but I can assure him that there is no intention on the part of the Government to so alter the law to give effect to the promiscuity which the honourable senator is saying will emerge from ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’. I pass no comments on what may be the effect of that book on people who read it. However, I can assure the honourable senator that it is not the Government’s intention to alter the law in the area about which he spoke.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Will he say whether a woman who is required to look after and support one or more children may deduct from her taxable income any costs incurred in having the children looked after during her working hours? If not, will he ask the Government to examine this matter with a view to helping this often financially embarrassed group?
As the honourable senator would know, as a general rule - I think it is a very wise rule - I do not at question time give categorical answers to questions on taxation unless I have been briefed in relation to the direct question. I will obtain the information and make it available without delay. I think it proper that I should not make comments in that way because the content of my answer might lead people to draw the wrong inferences from that answer if I have not understood the implications of the question. However, I will get the information for the honourable senator.
– My question is directed to the Acting Postmaster-General. Will he arrange for the broadcast of the parliamentary proceedings to be relayed through the national network in the Northern Territory?
– Spare them.
– I heard the comment of Senator Gair as I rose to my feet and I wondered whether his sentiments might not be shared by a great many people. In response to Senator McLaren’s question, I shall have to ascertain the views of the Department and whether there is any general wish in the Northern Territory to have a facility to listen to the parliamentary broadcast.
(Questions upon notice and the answers thereto are published at the end of the day’s proceedings.)
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Public Service Arbitration Bill 1972.
Social Services Bill (No. 2) 1972.
Repatriation Bill 1972.
Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Bill 1972.
-I inform the Senate that I have received a letter from the Leader of the Government in the Senate advising changes to Estimates Committees, as follows:
ESTIMATES COMMITTEE A- Senator Maunsell to replace Senator Prowse.
ESTIMATES COMMITTEE D- Senator Hannan to replace Senator Durack.
ESTIMATES COMMITTEE E- Senator Dame Nancy Buttfield to replace Senator Lillico.
– Pursuant to standing order 28a, I lay on the table my warrant nominating Senators Brown and Withers to act as Temporary Chairmen of Committees when requested to do so by the Chairman of Committees or when the Chairman of Committees is absent.
– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969. I present the report relating to the following proposed work:
No. 2 Stores Depot RAAF at Regents Park, New South Wales.
Motion (by Senator Sir Kenneth Ander son) agreed to:
That, following the presentation of ministerial statements,thesittingof the Senate be suspended until 10.15 p.m.. and
That Estimates Committees A and C meet during the suspended period.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) agreed to:
That consideration of notice of motion No.1 be postponed for 10sitting days.
– by leave - I make the following statement on travelling allowances for members of Parliament on behalf of the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon).
In response to representations from both sides of the House, the amounts of travelling allowances paid to members of Parliament have been reviewed. Along with his recommendations for increased salaries, Mr Justice Kerr in his report tabled in Parliament on 8th December 1971 recommended that travelling allowances payable to members and to Ministers and officeholders be increased. The Government subsequently decided not to proceed with any of the 3 Bills relating to increases in Parliamentary salaries and allowances. That remains the position. Travelling allowances are not covered in this legislation and can be regarded separately from salaries, electorate allowances and Ministerial allowances.
The travelling allowance, or Canberra allowance, paid to members of Parliament for living expenses and out-of-pocket expenses incurred in attending Parliamentary sittings has been $15 a day since 1968. Mr Justice Kerr recommended $22 a day. In several areas of the Commonwealth Service in Canberra in the less senior grades, the travelling allowance now paid is higher than the Canberra allowance paid to members of Parliament. It has been put that to meet members’ increased living costs in Canberra and the increased costs of out-of-pocket expenses, the current rate of Canberra allowance should be increased. It has been decided to accept this view and to increase the allowance to $22 a day as recommended by Mr Justice Kerr. Mr Justice Kerr made recommendations about the payment of Canberra allowance for Party and Committee meetings held when the Parliament is not sitting. These recommendations will be accepted. It was also recommended that the conditions of payment of travelling allowance be clarified. With this objective, a review of the conditions of payment will be undertaken. As part of his general review, Mr Justice Kerr recommended that members of Parliament residing in the Australian Capital Territory should receive half the Canberra allowance. As this matter is now being treated in isolation, it has been decided that members of Parliament residing in the Australian Capital Territory will not receive any increase in Canberra allowance but will not have the allowance reduced. These members will continue to receive $15 a day.
Mr Justice Kerr recommended increased travelling allowances for Ministers and office-holders. In general, the amounts of these allowances have not changed since 1964. The allowances are paid for travel away from Canberra on official or Parliamentary business. The recommended allowances were:
These recommended amounts of travelling allowance will be paid. The current travelling allowance of $21 a day payable to members of some Parliamentary committees for meetings away from Canberra will be increased to $25 a day. Travelling expenses will be reimbursed to Assistant Ministers to a maximum of $25 a day. The new rates will be payable from tomorrow.
Sitting suspended from 4.26 to 10.15 p.m.
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 seeks the approval of Parliament to the provision of a guarantee by the Commonwealth to a $US4.5m - $A3.8m - borrowing by the Administration of Papua New Guinea from the Asian Development Bank. The proceeds of the loan are for re-lending by the Administration to the Papua New Guinea Development Bank and will meet the foreign currency component of a number of development projects financed by that bank in Papua New Guinea over the next 3 years. The loan is the first which the Asian Development Bank has made to the Aministration since the admission of Papua New Guinea to membership of the Bank in April 1971. Accordingly, it is the first occasion on which Parliament has been asked to approve a guarantee by the Commonwealth for a loan made by the Asian Development Bank to the Administration. However, Parliament has on several previous occasions approved similar guarantees by the Commonwealth in respect of loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to the Administration.
The loan documents, which are shown as schedules to the Bill, were settled recently during negotiations in Port Moresby which were attended by representatives of the Asian Development Bank, the Administration, the Commonwealth Government and the Papua New Guinea Development Bank. The principal purpose of the Papua New Guinea Development Bank, which is a statutory authority and commenced operations in . 1967, is to provide finance for primary production and for the establishment and development of industrial or commercial undertakings, particularly small undertakings. The loan from the Asian Development Bank will make a valuable contribution towards meeting these purposes. The loan carries an interest rate of 3 per cent per annum and will be made from the special funds resources of the Asian Development Bank. Repayments will commence in 1975 and be completed in 1987.
Borrowings by the Papua New Guinea Administration automatically carry a Commonwealth guarantee by virtue of the operation of section 75a of the Papua New Guinea Act 1949-1971. Borrowings guaranteed under this provision are, however, mainly local borrowings and borrowings in Australia. However, the letter of assurances shown as the first schedule to the Bill, which is required from the Commonwealth as a pre-condition of the loan, must be authorised by specific legislation.I would mention that at the time of Papua New Guinea’s admission to the Asian Development Bank Australia gave an undertaking to the Bank in accordance with article 3.3 of the agreement establishing the Bank that, until Papua New Guinea itself assumes responsibility for its own international relations, Australia would be responsible for all obligations that may be incurred by Papua New Guinea by reason of admission to membership in the Bank and enjoyment of the benefits of such membership.
The Bill authorises the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) to notify the Asian Development Bank that the Commonwealth approves the terms and conditions of the loan for the purpose of making the loan effective. The Bill provides that the undertakings in the letter of assurances shall be valid and binding obligations of the Commonwealth. It also provides for freedom of payments from Australian or Territory taxation or restrictions imposed by Australian or Territory law. It includes an appropriation on moneys required for the Commonwealth to make any payments under the guarantee. Certain assurances are also required from the Commonwealth by the Administration in connection with the loan and I take this opportunity of tabling the text of these assurances for the information of honourable senators. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Murphy) adjourned.
Peace with Freedom’ Organisation
Motion (by Senator Drake-Brockman) proposed:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
-I raise a matter of extreme public importance. There has been published in the ‘National U’ dated 26th April 1972, the newspaper published by the Australian Union of Students, a front page article with various supporting documentary material which is entitled ‘Federal Minister Betrays Party Secret National Group’. It states:
Federal Housing Minister Kevin Cairns has compromised himself, the Federal Government and the Liberal Party. Documents which are reproduced in this edition of ‘National U’ reveal that Mr Cairns is a member of an extreme right wing national organisation known as Peace with Freedom. Other members of the organisation include Mr Bob Santamaria, Mr Peter Coleman (M.L.A.) Mr Peter Samuel (a Canberra journalist), Mr Peter Kelly (former Press Secretary to the Prime Minister), Professor James McAuley of Tasmania University, Dr Frank Knopfelmacher of Melbourne University, Professors David Armstrong and Peter Lawrence of Sydney University, and Professor Owen Harris of New South Wales University. This adult section of the organisation, which has functioned secretly for many years, is closely tied to the DLP.
The article deals in some detail with–
– I rise to order. I understand that there is a ruling, which is quite clearly understood, that in the Senate there shall be no reflection on or no reference to a member in another place. Therefore 1 suggest that what the honourable senator is doing is in conflict with that traditional understanding. Equally I suggest that it is in conflict with standing order 418.
– Order! I listened to what Senator Murphy had to say. So far there has been no reflection on the Minister for Housing. If there is a reflection, in the interests of the comity of both chambers, I shall give a ruling.
– The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) has raised an important matter. I seek to bring to the attention of the Senate the allegations which have been made, because they are allegations which concern the proper operation of our democratic process.
– With great respect. Mr President, in the first sentence after you ruled on my point of order there is a clear implication in relation to a member in another place. Senator Murphy said, without qualification,that there is an allegation in relation to a member in another place.
– Standing order 418 is the standing order to which the Leader of the Government is referring. It states:
No Senator shall use offensive words against either House of Parliament or any Member of such House.
The operative words are ‘shall use offensive words’. So far the Leader of the Opposition has not used offensive words. Until he does 1 reserve my judgment.
– On the same point of order, Mr President, I draw your attention to standing order 418. I refer not to the first words but to the latter words of that standing order. I suggest that already what Senator Murphy has said - I pass no comment upon the propriety of it - amounts to imputations of improper motives and personal reflection on a member of another House. I submit that the purpose of this standing order, as you said, Mr President, is to preserve the comity between the 2 chambers. Indeed, the express intention of this standing order is that this chamber should not be used to impute improper motives or to reflect personally on members of the other House. I think that we in the Senate would take grave exception to having accusations levelled against members of the Senate by people in the House of Representatives if we in this chamber were unable to reply to them. ( believe that Senator Murphy is fully aware of the implications of what he is doing and the fact that a person cannot be given a chance to reply in this chamber.
– Utter crap.
– Order! That is a highly disorderly expression and I will not tolerate it. I am not satisfied that Senator Murphy has yet infringed the Standing Orders. I call Senator Murphy.
– There is an organisation known as Peace with Freedom, lt has been in existence at least from 13th May 1969. because I have with me the documents which set out the agenda of its meeting of that date. Those who produced the article in the ‘National U’ have also-
– Who are they?
– Those who are responsible for the publication have supplied the records. The honourable senator, and I think the Senate, will be enlightened to have the documents, and rather than leaving the honourable senator in any doubt I am prepared to table the documents as I refer to them. A seminar was held in Melbourne on 26th and 27th May 1969. The agenda of that meeting included a reference to the history and purposes of the association by Professor McAuley, and a session on Vietnam which was addressed by Mr G. Fairbairn, Mr O. Harries and Mr P. Samuel. There was another seminar on The Universities Today’ which was addressed by Dr F. Knopfelmacher and Professor McAuley, and another on ‘The Australian Political Situation’ which was addressed by Mr B. A. Santamaria, Mr P. Kelly, Mr K. Cairns, M.H.R., and Mr P. Samuel. The Senate will be interested to know that the meetings of this body which followed from time to time included discussions on various matters such as the internal political situation in Australia, in relation to which the objectives of this body were clearly set out. I am sure that honourable senators will be interested to know that at the meeting held on 7th to 9th March 1970 the internal political situation in Australia was discussed by this body, and the main objectives of political action during the previous year - 1969 - were set forth. They were as follows:
– What is wrong with that?
– What is wrong with that?
– What is wrong with that?
– What is wrong with that?
– What is wrong with that?
In order to secure these policy objectives, there were 5 desirable objectives in the October 1969 Federal election, (a) prevention of the ALP victory which would have destroyed national service, the ‘forward defence’ policy and the pesence in Vietnam; (b) reduction of the Government’s majority to a still comfortable 6-7 seats, to ensure that the Government could not claim any popular mandate for its defence or ‘Russian’ policies
– That is not so good.
– It is not so good, is it? I do not hear Senator Hannan ask now: What is wrong with that?’
I do not hear Senator Hannan ask now: What is wrong with that?’
Four of these objectives came about. The single negative factor was the 1.1 per cent decline in the DLP vote.
Mr President, I have other documents which set out the continuance of the activities of this organisation. For example, there are the notes of the meeting of 2nd and 3rd October 1971 which deal with such matters as President Nixon’s announcement of his projected visit to China, the world power situation, the basis of new policy orientations in China and the United States and various other strategic matters of foreign policy, including policy submissions, defence policy, foreign policy and the industrial situation, which covers such things as the Australian Council of Trade Unions Congress.
In dealing with that matter the following items are listed: Firstly, the significance of an ACTU congress; secondly, the numbers at the 1971 congress; thirdly, objectives of the moderates; fourthly, communist objectives; fifthly, Hawke objectives, and sixthly, the future. It then deals in some detail with the arbitration system and its various aspects, including the practical abolition of the penal provisions and various other matters. Amalgamations is an interesting topic which was dealt with. The meeting then went on to deal with the political situation, including the position of the Liberal Party. One of the matters dealt with in that discussion was the removal of Mr Gorton as Prime Minister and as a Cabinet member. It then dealt with what it regarded as the main issues, such as State rights and the Public Service, and then went on to deal with the restructuring of Cabinet and the signs of internal disintegration of the Liberal Government. Other topics included the age and paucity of Cabinet material, arbitration, amalgamations, the South African tour, China policy and various other matters dealing with the ALP and the DLP.
It is clear from what is set forth in the newspaper ‘National U’ and in the other documents that there exists in Australia an organisation which has attempted - apparently it has been able - to manipulate the policies of the Government to achieve its own ends. That raises the most serious questions of the operation of our democratic process. If we are to have proper democratic process we believe that it should be an open political process. We know for good or for bad who are the members of the Australian Labor Party, the Australian Democratic Labor Party, the Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party. I believe that, of the meetings of these parties, the Federal Conference of the ALP is the only one which is quite open. But however it be, with all the defects which those parties might have, there has been a tradition of fairly open operation of a democratic process in which the persons who have participated have been known for their role. It seems to me that the documents which are referred to in the newspaper and the other documents by their internal consistency and the statements in relation to places, times and membership have every appearance of genuineness. If they are not genuine they can be quite easily exploded. There is an opportunity for that to be done. If they are genuine I think they raise most serious questions for this Government and for the people of Australia. Some questions are raised by the newspaper itself. I think that another question which comes promptly to everyone is: Is this the way in which policy should be manipulated in this country?
I think it is only right that the position of a minister of the Crown should be adverted to. He is a member of the other House. I think it is incumbent on the Government to inform the Senate and the people of Australia whether it is in fact true that the Minister while a member of the Liberal Party, prior to his becoming a Minister, was a member of a body which professes these aims to which I have referred and which sets out, on the face of it, to act against the interests of the Party to which he belongs and for which he was putting himself forward as a candidate to the Australian people. Is it in fact true that he was a member of a body whose objective was to pull down that Government in numbers although not to destroy it as a government and to advance the interests of another Party and to advance policies which were contrary in many respects to those of his own Party. I say no more than that. What is involved here is a serious question in relation to the operation of democracy in Australia. In the interests of the Government, the Opposition and the people of Australia a full and frank answer is required from the Government as to whether democracy should work in Australia in this clandestine fashion or whether the traditional open democracy which has been practised in Australia should continue. 1 seek leave to table the newspaper in question and the documents to which I referred and from which I quoted in part.
– ls leave granted?
Government supporters - No.
– There being objections leave is not granted.
(10.40) - I say at the outset that I have never heard anything like that dose of sheer and utter trivia in my life before. It is trivia in a national parliament and might, be described as an attempt to walk around standing order 418 and cast a reflection on a member of Parliament in another place. I must admit that 1 am appalled to think that the Leader of the Opposition in this place (Senator Murphy) should do this. I believe that this exercise was attempted to divert attention from what is happening in the Labor Party and its own problems at Newcastle in the Shortland electorate. Believing that and having stated it I do not propose to respond to what Senator Murphy said because it is utter trivia. In the national parliament, whether at question time or when legislation is being dealt with, emphasis is put on the conduct of the affairs of the nation for the good of the people of Australia.
The Leader of the Opposition has said that there was a meeting of some group at which he claims a member in another place was present and therefore it was evil and wrong and damaging to a certain Party and that it reflects on the corner Party here, the Australian Democratic Labor Party. If that is the best that the Australian Labor Party can do then I say that we have nothing to worry about in the future. Obviously Senator Murphy did not have his heart in his job. Obviously he did not have a stomach for what he was saying in view of the way in which he put his case. He knows in his heart as do the men who sit behind him that this is an attempt to use the character of a person in a political exercise. I must say that I am terribly disappointed in Senator Murphy, I conclude on this note: If there is anything to be said about another man in another place let somebody get up on his feel and say it there. Let him have the guts to do it there.
– I enter into this debate with a feeling of deep disappointment. This evening I heard the television programme This Day Tonight’. At the beginning of the programme it mentioned that we should all listen to the startling revelations in the Senate. At the end of the segment an announcer said: ‘Don’t forget. Listen to the Labor boys in action tonight.’
– When was that said?
– It was said on This Day Tonight’. There were 2 advertisements for this particular adjournment speech. My word, the Australian Labor Party must have a pull inside the Australian Broadcasting Commission. I came along and expected something worthwhile. But what have we heard? We have heard a statement from that notable newspaper of the Australian Union of Students and the alleged minutes of some meetings supplied by an anonymous pimp or informer who was not prepared to make the allegations in his own name. I feel that if there is anything worse than a pimp or an informer it is a proxy for a pimp or an informer. For that reason I regretted having to listen to what we heard tonight.
Members of the Liberal Party will speak for their own Party. But I was interested in the reference to the fact that this organisation in some way was tied to the Australian Democratic Labor Party. I am not a member of it. Senator Gair is not a member of it. Senator Byrne is nol a member of it. Senator Little is not a member of it. We have never been members of that organisation. We have never been asked to join it. I am a little bit disappointed in this respect because the list of its members is so impressive that I would have been honoured to be in their company.
All I can say is that the statement which appears in that newspaper of the Australian Union of Students is typical of the malicious lies in which that organisation indulges and of which I had a personal example within recent weeks. Some weeks ago, on the Michael Willesee show, the president of this organisation which claims to represent 148,000 students - of those students, 146,000 would not even know it exists - was permitted to launch an attack on me in which he said that I had taken part in a student campaign against the paying of fines for students at La Trobe University, that I personally organised the campaign and that I addressed a big meeting of 60 students at Yarrabundy Avenue, or somewhere or other, in Drummoyne last February.
It is a good cause, but I knew nothing about it. I had had nothing to do with the campaign. He said that I had been at Drummoyne in February. I have not been in Sydney since May 12 months.
– Thank God for that.
– I say thank God for that because some of the company there is not very good at times. I communicated by telephone with Mr Willesee. I was informed that he would ring mc back. He has not rung me since that time. I wrote to him and pointed out that this statement was an untruth. I asked him for the opportunity to repudiate the statement and asked him what he intended to do. I did not receive a reply.
I wrote to the Australian Union of Students, this reputable body which has been quoted as the authority for these statements. I wrote to Mr Newcombe and pointed out that he had told an untruth. I asked him what he intended to do about it in order to clear what he had said. I have received no reply. I wrote to the Secretary of this highly reputable body and asked him what he intended to do in view of the fact that his president had told a malicious lie. I have received no reply.
I would not believe any statement made by the Australian Union of Students on a bet. It stands convicted of having publicly told a deliberate and malicious lie about a member of this Parliament. When that body was asked to repudiate that state ment, it did not have the guts even to reply to this letter. I listened to what was said here about people being associated with undemocratic bodies and what was said about a Minister. We have somebody who is spoken of as a prospective Minister. He attends certain organisations called moratoriums and he advocates that the, should break the law. On other occasion: he has come before the Parliament in association with people that others would no touch with a barge pole. In their company he has advocated again that the law b( broken.
I have no hesitation in stigmatising whawe have heard tonight as humbug anc hypocrisy of the worst type. I anc confirmed in my opinion by the fact tha: this information obviously has been supplied to the Leader of the Labor Party ir this chamber by an organisation which has been shown within the past month to be an organisation which is prepared to propagate deliberate lies about people. I would never believe anything from the Australian Union of Students on a bet.
– Mr President.
– Order! Are you addressing yourself to the same subject, Senator O’Byrne?
– I call Senator O’Byrne.
– First, I remind Senator McManus that the ‘Willesee Show’ as he referred to it, is run by the Packer Press. I ask Senator McManus whether he has applied to the Packer family to go on its show in order to put his case?
– No. I always go to the man himself, not to his boss. I do not pimp on a man to his boss.
– That is very good reasoning. The revelations made to the Senate tonight have been startling. I was surprised at the sensitivity of the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) who is usually a most placid and reasonable man. I was surprised that he should respond so actively to what has been put forward tonight. It was virtually the flushing out of traitors of democracy. The big question involved here is this: Everyone is wondering whether the
Minister for Housing (Mr Kevin Cairns) should be in the Government or in the Australian Democratic Labor Party, lt must be of great concern to Government members to know that they have in their ranks a person who is representative of those with whom we had so much trouble over the years, that is, infiltrators representing foreign and objectionable interests in their Party. My hope is that the Government will realise what we have had to go through during the years when we had such infiltrators in our ranks. However, the Government will learn in time to deal with them. Senator Greenwood objected when Senator Murphy sought leave of the Senate to table the document that has been referred to tonight. 1 wish to make some reference to the document which is entitled National U’. A tittle cartoon appears in the corner of the front page of this document. A little character carrying a box labelled Dynamite’ is saying: ‘It won’t be long now folks!’ The headline is: ‘Federal Minister betrays Party. Secret national group.’ The document reads:
Federal Housing Minister Kevin Cairns has compromised himself, the Federal Government and the Liberal Party. Documents which are reproduced in this edition of National U reveal that Mr Cairns is a member of an extreme rightwing nal iona! organisation known as Peace with Freedom. Other members of the organisation include Mr Bob Santamaria, Mr Peter Coleman (M.L.A.), Mr Peter Samuel (a Canberra journalist), Mr Peter Kelly (former Press Secretary to the Prime Minister), Professor James McAuley of Tasmania University, Dr Frank Knopfelmacher of Melbourne University, Professors David Armstrong and Peter Lawrence of Sydney University, ami Professor Owen Harris of New South Wales University. This adult section of the organisation, which has functioned secretly for many years, is closely tied to the DLP. How does this compromise Cairns?
That is a reference to the Minister for Housing. Mr Kevin Cairns. The document continues:
The last two editions of National U have revealed the existence of an organisation known as Peace with Freedom, ft became apparent that this group was co-ordinating a systematic attack on student governing bodies throughout Australia. lt was also evident that the activities of this group were both highly secretive and deceptive.
However, information has since been received which clearly illustrates that the extent of Peace with Freedom’s activities and organisation range from the highest office in the land through a tightly knit organisation of politicians, academics, intellectuals, and journalists in all the Australian Stales.
For the past fortnight National U staff have investigated the membership, financing, and organisation of Peace with Freedom. Research resulting from documents obtained, listing agendas and activities of the group; interviews wilh known members and statements from those involved in its periphery are printed below. Peace with Freedom, by its members’ own admission, has campaigned against the Government to which Cairns belongs.
Mr Cairns is the Minister for Housing. It goes on:
The documents reveal that in the 1969 Federal elections the group worked to reduce the Government’s majority to six or seven seats, and to max»bise the DLP vote.
In addition, the group campaigned for a ‘new policy approach’ by the recently elected Government.
The election of John Gorton as Prime Minister, with the associated defence policies, was an anathema to PWF’s objectives. It is significant that at this time Kevin Cairns publicly announced his refusal to serve under Gorton as Deputy Government Whip. By the time of the PWF meeting of March 1970, the group was actively working for the removal of John Gorton from the Prime Ministership (Documents, p. 4). Are these activities consistent with the Ministerial position Cairns holds in the Liberal Party?
The organisation has run campaigns to pressure the Government into extremist positions.
– I rise in my place because 1 must again raise the question of standing order 418. There is no qualification. Reference is being made to a member in another place by inference and directly, and derogatory expressions are being used. 1 suggest that this is completely out of order under standing order 418.
– The honourable senator is entitled to read from a newspaper. I am going to ask him at some stage or another whether he will substantiate the views that, he is reading, but I cannot prevent him from reading from the newspaper.
– 1 rise to a point of order. I remind you, Sir, that the honourable senator’s Leader in this debate used the expression ‘manipulate government’. He said that that might undermine the whole process of democracy. Senator O’Byrne has referred to the group in question as traitors of democracy. Does that not involve a personal reflection upon the unit? And then there is the allegation that a Minister has betrayed the Government. 1 just wonder how clouded is our understanding or how thick are our hides that we are not to appreciate that those accusations are personal reflections upon a member of another place.
– 1 well take your point, but I was about to add for the benefit of Senator O’Byrne that he cannot go on reading from a newspaper in order to use the report as a cloak for things he dare not say in debate. I caution you, Senator O’Byrne, that you had better get to the stage of putting the newspaper down and addressing the Senate in the debate on the motion that it adjourned.
– I am amazed at the sensitivity of honourable senators opposite and DLP senators to this matter. I am amazed at the eagerness of DLP senators to leap to the defence of a Government Minister.
– It should be debated in the proper forum where the Minister can answer.
– I am glad to note a little activity by Government Ministers because previously they were silent. What sort of over-reaction is this? After all, it is a newspaper report. The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Murphy) asked for leave to table the newspaper. It is a simple document which contains references to all these people who are supposed to be so objectionable. It was only to be tabled, not incorporated in Hansard, but the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood), wilh his great sense of justice-
– Order! You cannot canvass a decision already taken under the Standing Orders by the Senate. So please proceed.
– Why is everybody so vocal, Mr President?
– I do not know.
– The Government says that it is not associated with Peace with Freedom. The DLP, of course-
– Say something tough. Go on.
– Senator McManus - that is something tough. You are a tough operator. Would you disclaim that you have anything to do with the Peace with Freedom movement?
– Nothing at all, nor has any of the whole 5 DLP senators - Senator Kane, Senator Little, Senator Byrne, myself and Senator Gair.
– But Bob Santamaria, your spiritual leader, has a lot to do with it.
– He is a lot closer to the-
– You talk about sex at the university. That is your strong point. You are a great sex man. This reaction is of great interest to us all. This document was to have been tabled but permission was not granted. I would like to continue to quote from it.
– I have ruled that you cannot use a newspaper report as a cloak for matters which I would not allow in debate; that is, a personal reflection on a Minister in another place.
– May I move that the document be tabled?
– If you like. That has nothing to do with me.
– I ask for leave to table the document.
– Is leave granted?
– I insist that I may quote from copious newspaper reports.
– I have ruled on this question of copious notes. I will repeat the ruling I gave you just now. I have written it down so that I can repeat it with coherence. The honourable senator cannot use a newspaper article as a cloak for matters that he is not allowed to use in the debate.
– With a certain amount of reluctance, Sir, I bow to your ruling.
– I am grateful, even if you are reluctant.
– 1 hope you will permit me to exercise my rights to quote from another document. It states that the main objectives of political action during 1969 by this organisation were quite reactionary. It claimed that in order to implement its policy, 5 objectives were desirable in the October federal election. They were as follows:
I shall proceed:
Of course, we know what happened to the past Prime Minister Mr Gorton.
Four of these objectives have been achieved. The single negative factor was the 1.1 per cent decline in the DLP vote. 1 might mention that the DLP was not even game enough to show its ugly, snakelike head in Tasmania, because it knew it would have been cut off.
The major effects of this were:
These arc the arrows that come down. Communist issues have to be reintroduced. The major problems of the Federal Government were shown as:
Cl) Total loss of morale and confidence in leadership, compounded by by-elections; (2) capitulation or weaknesses - (i) ‘Jeparit’; (ii) mutiny resolution; (iii) Burchett, (iv) fear of facing Parliament. 1 think 1 have indicated that a member of this quasi-political group is acting in the worst interests of democratic government by using-
– I rise to order, Mr President. Standing order 418 provides that all imputations of improper motives and all personal reflections on members shall be considered highly disorderly. Again we heard this imputation a moment ago. I think it should be retracted immediately.
– 1 have ruled earlier thai standing order 418 relates to personal reflections on a member of another place. I have been listening to Senator O’Byrne. He has been skidding around the subject. He can refer to parties to his heart’s content. The point of order is not upheld.
– Thank you for your ruling. Mr President. ! am not referring to a member in another place; I atn referring to Mr Bob Santamaria who is manipulating the puppets in this puppet show. 1 would like to give this warning to the Government and to the Parliament: This is a very serious matter, and we should apply ourselves to the significance of this figure who has been behind the scenes for such a number of years. Although the people he represents ate being discredited in the electorate, they still exercise a very powerful influence inside the Parliament. I think that they should be exposed for what they are. Their representatives in the Senate and their ersatz representative in the Liberal Party and in the Cabinet should be exposed completely.
– 1 again raise a point of order, Mr President. Reference nas been made to a member in another place, and 1 submit that under Standing order 418 this is disorderly, and should not be countenanced here.
– Order! It has to be a personal reflection, and Senator O’Byrne has not made a personal reflection. I shall ask the Clerk to take down the words the honourable senator complains of. Will he repeat them?
– My point of order is that an imputation of improper motives and a personal reflection have been made on a member in another place. In my estimation, the person to whom the honourable senator referred a moment ago was Mr Kevin Cairns, the Minister for Housing in another place. That is the inference that can be drawn from the honourable senator’s discussion, and that is the basis of my point of order.
– Order! I shall not uphold the point of order, but I remind the Senate that no-one is more jealous than I of the principle that neither chamber shall be used to make reflections upon members of another place, particularly when the person being reflected upon is unable to defend himself. Senator O’Byrne must bear this in mind.
– I feel that the situation has been developed completely. We are alerting our Parliament to affairs and situations that should be looked at in a very serious way. This Government, this Parliament and this country are under challenge by people who are trying to manipulate and dominate the democratic process, by numbers, by threats and by other undesirable means. Having raised this subject, I hope that the people who occupy seats in the Parliament will realise that the electors outside this Parliament are aware of this insidious, pernicious influence that is in our midst. It is the equivalent of the Quislings, the equivalent of the fifth column.
– I am speaking about Santamaria; he is not a member of Parliament. What honourable senator is prepared to take a point of order about Santamaria? He is not a member of Parliament. Having said that, Mr President, I shall relieve you of the pressure by resuming my seat.
– On a point of order, Mr President, I invite your attention to standing order 364, which states that a document quoted from by a senator not a Minister of the Crown may be ordered by the Senate to be laid upon the table. Such order may be made without notice immediately upon conclusion of the speech of the senator who has quoted therefrom. I move:
Question put. The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I do not know why such an attack was launched by Senator Murphy in this adjournment debate. It may be that the attention which was drawn to the Standing Orders changed the course of the allegations he was going to make. I do not know. It is curious that this matter was raised on an Australian Broadcasting Commission programme this evening and that pre-warning was given of the fact that this debate would take place. It raises the interesting question, I might say, of who manipulates whom between the ABC, or some people in the ABC, and the Australian Labor Party. I must say that I myself do not know most of the persons who were mentioned by Senator Murphy and by Senator O’Byrne this evening, but I do know of them by repute. One thing which characterises them is that they are all articulate, academic people who are dedicated to the resistance of communism in this country. On the record they have written and spoken intelligently, sensibly and acceptably against various facets of communism and how it is permeating Australian society. I would have thought that for that if for nothing else, in the sense of the tone in which they have conducted their debate, they ought to have the applause and praise of all Australians.
It is a ridiculous assertion to suggest that a body which is concerned with Australia’s defence, the maintenance of Australia’s freedom and the alerting of the people of Australia to the menace of communism should in some way be regarded as manipulating democracy. I do not know the details of the scurrilous document to which reference has been made. I do not advert at all to the smears or suggested innuendoes which have been raised. I leave those. But I am concerned - very concerned - with the general allegation which Senator Murphy has raised in premise, that is, that the nation ought to be alerted to the fact that there are groups in this community which will seek to manipulate the democratic processes for ends of which Australia would not approve. I think we have seen examples of how this is done.
I am grateful to the Labor Party for having raised this matter because, instead of referring to anonymous documents, instead of referring to those people who have said something but who are not prepared to put their name to it and instead of using this place as the means by which to defame, slander and denigrate people outside the Parliament who do not have the opportunity that members of Parliament have of saying what they would like to say in this place, we should look at the record of one organisation which has manipulated democracy in this country, which has been declared by a very well known and established Australian organisation to have so manipulated democracy and which has, when certain political advantages have been achieved, and the cloak has been removed, told us that it has not manipulated democracy in the way in which the original condemnation had it. May I refer, Mr President, to what was said in 1967 by Mr Whitlam, who is still the Leader of the Opposition. Speaking at the Victorian State Conference of the Australian Labor Party, he said:
The people of Victoria have just shown they prefer Bolte … to Labor under its present management. The Victorian Executive included an influential handful of men who had flouted ALP policy on unity tickets, organised or led political strikes in defiance of the ACTU, disregarded and repudiated Party and ACTU policy on the manning of ships to Vietnam and organised demonstrations against the Trades Hall Council Executive. It is disgraceful that these men should be on the ALP Executive which can appear to influence Federal policies and selections. 1 will exercise my right to repudiate such men as I believe disloyal to the ALP, disruptive of its electoral prospects and destructive of all the ALP stands for.
Mr President, in saying that I am not casting reflections upon members of Parliament or senators who may have been members of the ALP Executive at that time but who are now members of the Federal Houses of Parliament. Shortly after that, an incident occurred on the Federal Executive of the ALP when one man with a lot more courage than his fellows said that efforts would be made to silence him at the next meeting of the Federal Executive of the ALP. He said: Friends of the communists on the Federal Executive will try to silence me’. Of course, there are some people on the ALP Executive who were not prepared to sit with such a person. To defend that person Mr Whitlam resigned his leadership. He scraped back by only 6 votes when there was a vote of the Caucus. On that occasion, of course, he was maintaining an attitude consistent with the view that he had expressed to the 1967 conference. I suppose Mr Whitlam felt that discretion was his better course because following that he had little to say until 1970. In that year there was a meeting of the Federal Executive which decided to pull one of the greatest confidence tricks that Australian political history has seen. That was to dismiss the Executive on the basis that it was influenced by a group called the Trade Union Defence Committee, which -
– Mostly members of the Communist Party.
– I heard Senator Little’s interjection. I am not able to say whether most of its members were members of the Communist Party. But it is common knowledge that the significant unions in the Trade Union Defence Committee were controlled by the Communist Party and were exercising a very significant influence throughout the whole of the Labor movement in Victoria. One can only suppose that there must have been truth in that allegation. Otherwise, why would the Federal Executive of the Australian Labor Party in 1970 decide to disband the Victorian Branch on the basis that this Trade Union Defence Committee had exericised an undue influence. The Executive’s decision was:
The Federal Executive finds that the Trade Union Defence Committee has been permitted to dominate the Victorian Branch and the Victorian Executive. But it finds no evidence that any person who has taken part in the compilation of the TUDC ticket at the Australian Labor Party Victorian conference was not a member of the Australian Labor Party.
That was a very significant decision because it implied, firstly, that these influences about which Mr Whitlam had spoken in 1967 did have a control and an influence in the Victorian Branch of the ALP and, therefore, they ought to be removed from that control. I have said that this was a confidence trick. It was a confidence trick for 2 reasons. Firstly, after the so-called reform branch held its first meeting, who was appointed as president of the new organisations but the person who had been the president of the old organisation. I think it is fair to quote what the man himself felt about this matter. In the ‘Age’ of 17th May 1971 Mr Crawford said:
Federal intervention in the Victorian Branch 8 months ago was an attempt to bring about a change in the personalities controlling the branch.
The advantage which has come from intervention is that it has caused a lot of structural changes, but we have the same personalities. Victoria is getting the best of both worlds. 1 can only suppose that this is an indication that this organisation, which previously had manipulated the Victorian Branch, which had caused such an unfortunate image for the Australian Labor Party throughout Australia, was still in control of that organisation in Victoria. One might suppose that this was also vindicated by the decision of the Federal Conference of that Party which was held in 1971. With a relatively minimum amount of publicity it overruled the decision of the Federal Executive that this Trade Union Defence Committee had in fact exercised such control. So the whole exercise is one in which the public was sought to be fooled by the reform of the Victorian Branch of the ALP. But at the next conference meeting, rather quietly, they repudiated the decision which was made at the Federal Executive meeting. We still find in control in Victoria the people who were in fact controlling the Branch and influencing it before the intervention took place.
If the record is of no conviction, one can only look at what has happened. We have had from Mr Crawford the rather infamous call to mutiny, which we all remember, when a meeting of which he was the chairman called upon the troops in Vietnam to mutiny. We have had the latter day statement from Mr Whitlam when he advised all those national servicemen who were serving in Vietnam that they should not fight any longer if they conscientiously felt that way. We have had instances in more recent times involving Dr J. F. Cairns in which he has called upon those who support the North Vietnamese to go into the street in protest. More recently still we have had the decision of the Victorian ALP conference, nol declaring policy but merely expressing an attitude that it fell that North Vietnam ought to win and that it drew encouragement from the success of North Vietnamese. This represents the same continuing pro-communist attitude which was exhibited by elements in the ALP in the days when the Trade Union Defence Committee was acknowledge to be influencing - in fact controlling - the ALP. The general attitudes and policies are the same as they were before.
Does this not illustrate that within the Australian Labor Party is a group of communist in trade union officials and other sympathisers of communist officials who are using the Australian Labor Party for their own purposes? Why is Senator Murphy not concerned with that? After all, if the newspapers are to be believed, he was a strong defender of the Trade Union Defence Committee at one stage. If, on the basis of the premise which he put forward tonight, he is really concerned that the people of Australia ought to be alerted to those who would manipulate democratic processes for ends which are not in accordance with those which Australians favour, the people of Australia should be informed. I am prepared to inform them. But is Senator Murphy or anybody in the ALP prepared to come out and condemn the communist influence within that Party? Is any Opposition senator prepared to come out and challenge what was done by the Victorian Executive ALP conference a couple of weeks ago? When I say ‘challenge’, I do not mean challenge on the basis that they do not have a right to declare policy; I mean a challenge on the merits of what they said, because I believe that within the Australian Labor Party there is a substantial influence-
– I rise to order. It is your usual custom, Mr President, to keep honourable senators on the same subject during the debate on the adjournment motion. I suggest that Senator Greenwood is on an entirely different subject. I woUld like him either to speak to the subject that was raised or refer to it again on a separate occasion.
– Order! I will nol be instructed on the conduct of the debate. Senator Greenwood began speaking on a subject; perhaps he could return to it.
– I am grateful for the indulgence of the Senate. I started on the basis that Senator Murphy raised, that we ought to be concerned about influences which would manipulate the democratic processes. I think that I have illustrated, possibly straying a little from the direct path on occasions and not dealing exactly with the matters which Senator Murphy raised, but returning to the same point, that we ought to be concerned about these influences which manipulate democratic processes. Above all, the Australian people ought to be aware of the shadow influences behind the Australian Labor Party, those influences which called for support for the North Vietnamese, those influences which seek to develop political strikes for ends which are identical with the ends which the communists support, those general policies in which elements in the ALP and the communists find no reason to disagree. These are facts which ought to be made public. I welcome the opportunity which Senator Murphy has presented to be able to make these points. I would only say in respect of Mr Cairns, because the comment has been made, that I know and his colleagues know that he is a person who supports the Liberal Party, who supports democracy, who believes in freedom and who opposes communism. I do not believe that people who have those beliefs are unworthy of the support of the people of Australia.
– I wish to return to the matter which has been raised this evening by Senator Murphy. I do not intend to get into a discussion about the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party, although there would be occasions when I would be prepared to debate that in the same way as I would be very interested to have a discussion about the resignations within 1 month of 2 State leaders of the Liberal Party, Mr Steele Hall in South Australia and Mr Bethune in Tasmania. I would be very happy also to debate the creation of a new break-away Liberal movement in South Australia. I would be happy to debate the recent resignation of the Western Australian State President and State Secretary of the Australian Democratic Labor Party and many members of the executive of that party. I would be happy to discuss the charge made by the former State Secretary of the DLP, Mr Martyr, who was previously State Secretary of the National Civic Council, that he had been removed from his office by the
Federal Executive of the DLP because Mr Charlie Court, the State Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, had been to the Federal Executive of the DLP and had asked it to freeze funds because Mr Martyr and the State Branch of the DLP were running dead against the ALP.
All these matters would be very interesting to debate. I am sure that we could have a most fruitful discussion on them. But I do not want to debate the matter involving Mr Martyr and the DLP for one reason: I believe that it is sub judice. It would be sub judice because the officials of the State Branch of the DLP have issued a writ against Mr Martyr, their former Secretary. It would be most improper for us to canvass the merits of their dispute. Indeed, I think that it would be unsportsmanlike to canvass the unfortunate predicament in which Mr Steele Hall and Mr Bethune have found themselves over the past month.
I would like to return to the matter that has been raised this evening by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Murphy). It has arisen from some articles which appeared in the ‘National U the organ of the students of the Australian National University, and also from some documents which we endeavoured to table. I would have thought that if the Government or the DLP had any serious interest in the matter they would have been very happy to see us table the documents relating to a meeting of an organisation known as Peace with Freedom. It has been said, quite erroneously, by the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) that the documents are anonymous documents. One of the documents of which we have photostat copies is signed in the name J. McAuley of Melbourne and is addressed to the members of the organisation. It sets out ‘.he arrangements for a seminar to be held on 26th and 27th May 1969.
– Tell us more.
– I do not think Senator Little clearly understands what is being said, but if he would like to see me after the Senate adjourns I would be prepared to explain to him what it is all about.
– Tell us about Mr Martyr.
– I wish Senator McManus would not keep bringing up the matter of Mr Martyr and the DLP in Western Australia because that is not what 1 want to talk about.I want to talk about this matter. Wehave these documents before us. What is the substance of the allegation which is made resulting front these documents? I cannot claim to know of the veracity or otherwise of the documents. What is alleged? What is alleged is that there is in existence an organisation called Peace with Freedom. The goals of the organisation are to pursue–
– Is that the only piece of material you have?
– M r Acting Deputy President, could I appeal for a little order from the DLP senators? They are being very difficult.
DLP Senators - Oh, oh!
– As long as that is appreciated by all honourable senators
– We can all shout.
– All right, if we can all do it. The goals of the Peace with Freedom organisation appear to be political goals and they could be described fairly as being of an extreme right wing nature. The documents– (Honourable senators interjecting) -
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood) - Order!I ask Opposition senators not to interrupt Senator Wheeldon.
– Get someone who can run the place.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT -I want Senator Keeffe to understand that no permission was given by me for anybody to interject. 1 called the Senate to order and asked Opposition senators not to interrupt Senator Wheeldon.
– You were writing a letter or buying mining shares or something.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - I ask Senator Keeffe to withdraw that reflection upon the Chair.
– Withdraw what?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - That I was considering buying mining shares while I was in the chair. I ask
Senator Keeffe to withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw.
– The documents which have been produced make allegations that there is an organisation which has certain political goals. The membership of the organisation includes a number of people such as the Director, or whatever his title is, of the National Civic Council, various academics of, to say the least, a conservative persuasion, and the present Minister for Housing, Mr Kevin Cairns, who in 1969 was a back bench member of the House of Representatives. The allegation is that during this period these people discussed various steps that they should take relating to the Federal election in 1969, one of their goals being a substantia! reduction in the majority which the Liberal Party and the Country Party held in the House of Representatives at that time and an increase in the Democratic Labor Party vote. The purpose of the operation was the replacement of the so-called Freeth-Fairhall policies on defence with the Fraser policies on defence and a change in the Liberal Government. That is what is alleged. In itself, this is probably a political motive which anybody could have. But the serious aspect of the charge, whichI cannot confirm or deny, is that a member of the Liberal Party who is now a Minister, Mr Kevin Cairns, was a party to the discussions.
The purpose in bringing the matter before the Parliament is that it can be placed on the public record so that the people of Australia will know that in the national legislature attention has been drawn to clandestine activities which were directed towards securing a change in the composition of the Government without an appeal being made to the people of Australia. We believe that the matter is a serious one. I do not think that anybody would have any doubt that during the year 1969 members of the Government parties were seeking the removal of the then Prime Minister, Mr Gorton. Indeed, they succeeded. I do not think that there is anybody who does not know that there was a very intense and systematic campaign against the then Minister for External Affairs, Mr Freeth. I think that a number of senators would have heard only last week an interjection by Senator Gair congratulating himself on the success of his Party in removing Mr Freeth from the Federal Parliament.
– Hear, hear.
– ‘Hear hear’ says Senator Little. He is an excellent straight man. He is probably the best straight man that we have ever had in Parliament - a noisy one but a very good one. We do not believe that that is why Mr Freeth was defeated. We believe that it was because of the excellence of our policy, the bankruptcy of the Government and the superb candidate whom we had representing us in that electorate. Nonetheless, the Democratic Labor Party congratulates itself as having been responsible for the elimination of Mr Freeth. There is no doubt that in DLP and similar circles there was a concerted campaign against Mr Freeth, in the same way that members of the Liberal Party were campaigning quite openly against their then leader, Mr Gorton.
We say that the matter is a serious one for the Government. If a man who is now a Minister was involved in this conspiracy - because conspiracy I think it has to be called-
– Order! I have made rulings on this.
– I withdraw the word ‘conspiracy’ and replace it with the word ‘discussions’. If he were involved in these discussions - perhaps I should say this without any perforative implications - or common purpose of removing the then Prime Minister from his office and the then Minister for External Affairs from his office, it is a serious matter. Having ventilated the allegations, our part in the matter is complete. If members of the Liberal Party are totally satisfied, if they believe that Mr Cairns is not the kind of person who would go to a meeting with other persons to discuss the removal of Mr Gorton, that is entirely up to them. One can congratulate them on their holy simplicity, but I do not think that one can look upon them as being very perspicacious. If that is what they believe, that is entirely up to them. If they believe that there were not discussions involving members of the Liberal Party as well as other people about the removal of Mr Gorton and about a change in the Federal Government’s policy, that is entirely their business. But we do say that if there is any concern among some members of the Liberal Party that their affairs should bc conducted as openly as the affairs of the Australian Labor Party are conducted and if there is some concern among members of the Liberal Party that people holding high office in their Party should not have entered into negotiations with other persons in order to bring about the loss of scats of certain Liberal members of Parliament, I believe that they should broach this matter with Mr Cairns. If he gives a simple denial and if he says that he knows nothing about the documents or that they were forgeries or that if they are authentic Professor McAuley had no right to use his name, they are perfectly entitled to accept those assurances. But I do suggest to them that they do make some inquiries. They could find that there are much more serious problems existing in the Federal Liberal Party, albeit latently, than those that have been revealed already in South Australia and Tasmania. If this were to be established I would think that they should thank us for having drawn the matter to their attention
– I like to speak well of everybody but some people make it very hard for me to do so, and the remarks of Senator Wheeldon make it almost impossible. We have had a typical clowning performance from the honourable senator. Early in his speech he indicated that he did not like the organisation called Peace for Freedom because most of his policies and the policies of his Party are directed towards peace, or rather the absence of struggle, against communist subversion or aggression.
The only mild allegation in the whole of this scurrilous little journal to which I propose to advert is the sheer nonsense of the suggestion that Mr Kevin Cairns, the Minister for Housing, would actively connive at reducing the Liberal vote. One has only to state the proposition to see how absurd it is. The Minister holds the seat of Lilley. Lilley is a swinging seat. He is elected only some days after the vote is held. The result is never known on the Saturday night of the election. Lilley is one of the most doubtful seats in the Com- monwealth yet this nonsensical rag puts up the proposition that this man deliberately connived at risking his own seat. It is a ridiculous exercise in political brinkmanship, if I can use a word so beloved of our friends on the left. I spent a long time with Senator Justin O’Byrne at the United Nations in New York, and I had hoped that my long association with him and the tutelage he received from me would have given him more sense. I am sorry that he has fallen for the childish scribblings of National U’. One of the odd things about this whole proposition is that honourable senators opposite fail to see communist subversion where it exists; they fail to Observe a civil disorder; they encourage and incite riots, industrial disputes and disturbances, and they are completely unaffected. Contrast that with what Shakespear said:
Then i, and you. and all of us fell down, Whilst bloody treason flourish’d over us.
But they do not even look up. That is the sort of absurd nonsense which has brought the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) to the table this evening. In a slightly hyperbolic sense that is what has happened here. I admire Senator Murphy’s tender solicitude for democracy. It does him credit. He is normally a kindly man. I am sure he is good to his immediate family. He is courteous to government senators and to people generally, and a man full of the milk of human kindness. One realises from the half-hearted and dispirited way in which he put up this nonsense this evening that he was reading from a brief in which he did not believe. Perhaps his motives this evening may have been a little less than praiseworthy. I have had a quick look at this ‘National U’ nonsense. I would not hang a dog on everything that I have read in it. J notice that one portion of the article was written, I think, by a man called Zerman who was lapping around Mr Whitlam in King’s Hall like a puppy a few days ago. Of course, anyone is accused of being in the right wing if he wears a collar and a tie, or if he fails to pull the forelock to left wing subversion. Professor McAuley is a prime target for this sort of rubbish. He is the man who went on record as saying - he proved his point on a programme of the Australian Broadcasting Commission - that it is much easier to manipulate students than the Waterside Workers Federation. Of course, this made him a prime target. 1 do not think it is necessary for me to trace the sort of policies subscribed to by the students who felt it their national duty to produce this nonsense on ABC national television tonight and in their newspaper. They are largely Labor Party policies - support of draft resisters; opposition to national service; conniving at the breaking of the law; the destruction, as far as possible, of Australia’s defence arrangements, and actually collecting money and sending it to the enemy in Haiphong. They are the sort of people who have put this rag together. Notice the people whom the Leader of the Opposition and other honourable senators attack. One is Geoffrey Fairbairn. Of course, they would attack him. He has torn their policy on Vietnam to ribbons time and again. Owen Harries is another. Of course, they would attack Harries. He has torn their policy to ribbons so often that it cannot be debated. Then we move to the smear on Kevin Cairns. I think this is contemptible, especially on the evidence which has been adduced. Being of a kindly disposition I would not suggest that the Leader of the Opposition was motivated by any thought of the Shortland pre-selection. 1 feel that perhaps he might have enlightened us in regard to that matter off his own bat. That is one of the matters which a person may feel is worthy of discussion or thought in this debate.
I listened with great care as the Leader of the Opposition listed the policies of this group. I do not. know its members. I know some of the men in it personally and I am proud to know them but I do not know their organisation. I do not know what they do. The suggestion that it is a secret organisation working for the destruction of democracy is so absurd that I feel that the Leader of the Opposition must have been joking. Most of the matters mentioned in the newspaper refer to defence, foreign policy, the influence of communist subversion in Australia, the Vietnam war - all matters which are good solid points of Liberal Party policy. What is wrong with that? What is wrong with the suggestion that the group should work against an ALP victory? I think it is the bounden duty of every sane elector in this country to work in the same way, and 1 am sure that at the end of the year that is what they will do.
This worry sits very oddly, as I have said, on the shoulders of my friend, Senator Murphy. He is worried about the attack on democracy in Australia. His party is committed to electing a draft resister, a draft dodger, in the electorate of Hotham in Victoria. In another place his leader - I use the word in a whimsical sense - says that draft dodging is no crime. In my own State, George Crawford and Bill Hartley, just fresh from his unlawful occupation at the La Trobe University - are still powerful influential men in the Victorian State Council of the Australian Labor Party. Their lamentable and deplorable resolution supporting the North Vietnamese aggression against our own 150 instructors who are still in Vietnam, our American allies whose naval, air and sea forces are involved, and our South Vietnamese allies alongside whom so many of our own men fought and lied, is only echoing what was said by Dr J. F. Cairns in another place in a speech on which Mr Whitlam congratulated him. Of course, when Mr Whitlam saw the political disaster that faced this resolution he had to try in some vague way to disown it. but no amount of white washing and no amount of hindsight will get away from the fact that the Party to which the Leader of the Opposition belongs is not interested in the defence of this nation. Being a man of few words, I simply say to Senator Murphy: Physician, heal thyself.
– I call Senator Drake-Brockman.
– Mr President–
– I recognise Senator Drake-Brockman.
– But I was on my feet prior to the Minister.
– I give Senator Drake-Brockman the call. I thought that he was up first. I did not see you, Senator Cavanagh.
– He was not.
– I am sorry, you are too late. I will not reverse my decision.
– in reply - I say on behalf of myself and my colleagues on this side of the House that we dissociate ourselves from the remarks which have been made by speakers of the Opposition tonight and with the case which they have put. I suggest that the Senate do now adjourn.
The following answers to questions upon notice were given:
(Question No . 1930)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:
What role will the Department of lite Environment, Aborigines and the Arts adopt to ensure that sound conservation principles are adhered to by all the parties working on the Shoalhaven Scheme.
– The Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
As the Shoalhaven Scheme is solely a State project, my Department will not be involved.
(Question No. 1995)
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:
The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
(Question No. 1914)
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:
Is an article headed ‘Wined, Dined to What Purpose’, published in The Courier of 2nd March 1972 reporting that last weekend the Department of Health arranged for 60 journalists, doctors and health officers to fly to Canberra, correct; if so, (a) were these visitors provided with transport from the airport in Commonwealth cars, over night accommodation, meals and drinks, (b) was the estimated cost $10,000, and (c) did the Seminar, as also reported in The Courier, develop into a verbal conflict between public servants and journalists.
The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Following a recommendation by the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse that steps be taken to establish ‘a more responsible approach to the reporting on the use of drugs and particularly of any bizarre effects’, my Department arranged a national seminar on drugs and the mass media, which was held in Canberra on 26th and 27th February 1972.
As guests of the Commonwealth, the participants in this seminar were provided with transport, accommodation, meals and beverages at Commonwealth expense.
No. The estimated cost was $6,000.
No. There was a frank exchange of views. It should be noted that the seminar concluded with a resolution by senior journalists, which called for the establishment of media advisory committees in each State and. at a national level, the maintenance of liaison with drug education authorities. This resolution was unanimously endorsed, and arrangements are now being made to give effect to it.
(Question No. 1949)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
In view of the proposal for the Australian Government to conduct naval exercises with Indonesia (a) will the Minister urgently take up with the Indonesian Government the grave allegations in an article in ‘The Review’ of19th February 1972 which details some of the torture and ill-treatment meted out to political prisoners in Indonesia, and (b) will the Minister make every endeavour to ensure that our Indonesian friends do not continue to lay themselves open to charges thatthey are perpetrating totalitarian type treatment of people whose main crime appears to be that they were or are opposed to the present regime.
– The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1526)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
– The Minister has supplied the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
I noted that in 1971 China had very good harvests and did not need any soft wheat but I expressed the expectation that when they needed our wheat again they would buy it because, in practice, we had found that they did not mix politics with trade. This view was reinforced by the fact that, at the 1971 Spring Canton Fair, Australian businessmen concluded orders valued at over$ 15m, primarily for metal exports.
I recognised that because the Chinese had not needed our wheat they might take advantage of the opportunity to suggest that purchases were being refused for political reasons. I noted that Australia had sold more wheat in 1971 than normal but we wished to maintain our customers and I expressed the hope that the Chinese would continue to buy wheat from us when they required it. In the same interview I pointed out that the 2 countries who sold the most to China - Japan and West Germany - did not have diplomatic relations with it.
The Australian Wheat Board is the sole authority for the marketing of wheat in Australia and of wheat and flour for overseas. While the Board is not empowered to advise the Government on the matter mentioned in the honourable senator’s question, the Government takes a close interest in the achievements and activities of the Board.
– On 2nd March Senator Rae asked me the following question without notice:
Will the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs make inquiries to confirm or otherwise the allegation that the Leader of the Opposition in another place (Mr Whitlam) has clearly and wilfully misled the people of Australia by claiming that during his discussion with the Premier of Mainland China, Chou En-lai, last year an indication was given that China would join another Geneva Conference. Is it correct that a Chinese Foreign Ministry transcript discloses that the only discussion on the subject was with the acting Foreign Minister, Chi Peng-fei, who stated that there was no such possibility at present?
I said that I would refer the question to the Minister for Foreign Affairs for early attention, and the Minister has now provided the following answer:
It is true that the Leader of the Opposition stated after his talks with Premier Chou En-lai that the Chinese Premier had said he would attend any reconvened Geneva Conference. I have not seen any Chinese Foreign Ministry transcript of Mr Whitlam’s discussions, but subsequent Chinese statements made it clear that they did not see the question as one of convening a Geneva Conference. A Peking ‘People’s Daily’ editorial of 3rd August 1971 described a talk about a new Geneva conference as ‘a sheer fraud which is ridiculous and absurd’.
(Question No. 1933)
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The processing of applications for migration to Australia received from people resident in Messina was, until June 1968, undertaken by visiting teams of Australia-based officers from the Australian Embassy in Rome. In 1968 a regional office was established in Messina. Prior to the establishment of this office a ‘pre-medical’ examination of applicants was undertaken by an Italian doctor. His findings were checked by a reexamination by an Australian-based doctor who visited Messina from Rome on a fortnightly basis. In more recent years these visits were made weekly.
Since 1968 ‘pre-medical’ examination has been dispensed with and all medical examinations are carried out by an Australia-based doctor who is resident in Messina. Since the establishment of the regional office there have been 3 Australia-based doctors at this post. The present Medical Officer took up duty there in May 1971. The Medical Officer in Messina is responsible to the Medical Director at the Australian Embassy in Rome.
(Question No. 2035)
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
Regarding the booklet ‘Employment in Australia’, can the Minister inform the Senate (a) the date of its release for publication, (b) the period of preparation prior to publication, (c) the number of copies printed, (d) to which countries copies were dispatched, and (e) the total cost of publication and distribution.
– The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 1694)
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:
The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
The prices of 56 forms and strengths of items listed as pharmaceutical benefits were recently increased, to bring them to a cost slightly in excess of $1.00. All such increases arose out of applications by manufacturers. These applications were closely considered by officers of my Department and were the subject of negotiations with the manufacturers concerned.
It is the Government’s intention to maintain a comprehensive range of drugs and medicinal preparations on the pharmaceutical benefits list and this was one of a number of factors taken into account in deciding to agree to these price increases. It should be noted that the primary effect of the increases has been to assist patients, who have a genuine medical need for these drugs. They may otherwise have been required to purchase the items at higher prescription mark-up and dispensing fee levels as non-pharmaceutical benefits.
As far as practicable, the price increases have been offset by reductions in the prices of other pharmaceutical benefit items.
(Question No. 1897)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines andthe Arts, upon notice:
– The Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts has provided the following reply to the honourable senator’s question:
Senate adjourned at 11.55 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 26 April 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1972/19720426_senate_27_s52/>.