27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I wish to inform the Senate that the Treasurer, Mr Snedden, left Australia on Saturday, 20th May, to attend a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. He is expected to return to Australia on 29th May. During his absence the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) will act as Treasurer.
– I wish to draw the attention of honourable senators to the fact that Mr Perry Kwan, the Speaker of the House of Assembly of Papua New Guinea, is present in the President’s gallery at my invitation. On behalf of honourable senators I extend to him a most cordial welcome.
Honourable senators - Hear, heart
– I present the following petition:
To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled.
The petition of the undersigned respectfully showeth that a National Park as proposed by the planning team appointed by the Minister for the Interior in 1970 should be immediately established.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the Senate, in Parliament assembled, should call upon the Senate Social Environment Committee to investigate the issue.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– I give notice that 10 sitting days after today I shall move:
That regulation 3 of the amendments of the Naval Financial Regulations, contained in Statutory Rules 1972 No. 35, and made under the Naval Defence Act 1910-1971, be disallowed. 142(0/72- S-r72J
I ask leave to make a statement concerning the notice which I have just given.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The Regulations and Ordinances Committee is concerned with certain aspects of these regulations and has had correspondence with the Minister for the Navy on the subject. The Committee desires to pursue its inquiries further and, as the time for giving the notice has almost expired, I have given notice to allow the Committee more time to complete its investigation.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether he has investigated the report that a magistrate, an officer of the Commonwealth, suggested in court that a police constable should have fired a shotgun at a group of Aborigines. If the Attorney-General has already investigated the matter, will he tell the Senate what he can about it? If he has not, can he tell us, without coming to any conclusions about the matter, what is the tenure of magistrates in that position and what are the procedures in the case of some misconduct by a magistrate? Will he do so, as I said, without coming to any conclusion one way or the other in this particular matter unless he has investigated it and is in a position to say what the facts are?
– Though I rather regard Senator Murphy’s question as an invitation to make a speech, I am sure, Mr President, that you would not allow me to make it. All I can say is that my attention has been drawn to Press reports of what a magistrate is alleged to have said in the course of a hearing of serious charges against certain Aborigines. I understand also, according to the Press reports, that after the statement was made the magistrate indicated that he may have disqualified himself because of the nature of the remarks he had made, and I understand he is not now sitting on the case. I shall observe Senator Murphy’s injunction not to come to any conclusions about the matter because the charges which were laid are quite obviously, by their character, very serious charges. Arrangements have been made for another magistrate to be present in Alice Springs at an early date to hear the case. The Secretary of my Department has asked the magistrate for a report on the matter which has been referred to in the Press. Notwithstanding the invitation by Senator Murphy to embark into wider areas, I do not think I should say anything more until I have received the report.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation whether his attention has been drawn to Press reports that insurance companies are to eliminate progressively from their policies the right of policy holders to claim for damage caused to property by sonic booms from supersonic aircraft. Will the Minister take up this matter with the insurance companies with a view to arriving at a more satisfactory solution and protecting property owners from loss through damage caused by sonic boom?
– I read that same report yesterday with considerable astonishment. I thought insurance was a proposition to cover people against risks and that an insuring company would not try to exclude any specific risk. I have referred previously to the fact that there are 26,000 supersonic flights over the United States of America every year. I do not think insurers in the United States have withdrawn the protection that they would properly give to an ordinary policy holder. I repeat that I am astonished. I have taken action to find out what it is all about.
– Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that at Wandoan, a country town in Queensland, there is a serious plague of mice which is ravaging the community? Is the Minister aware also that the 2 storekeepers in the town are facing financial ruin as most of their stock has been eaten and what is left has been destroyed by the fouling caused by the mice? As the Government is presently considering assistance to primary producers, will the Minister see what he can do by way of Commonwealth assistance for these unfortunate country storekeepers?
– Order! I listened to the question with close attention. It seems to me that the question should properly have been directed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts. I do not know what mice have to do with the Leader of the Government in the Senate. If he wishes to answer the question he may.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI will take the question, by your leave, Mr President, and say that the normal procedure in relation to special assistance from the Commonwealth to the States is, as I have quite frequently said here, only to be on the level of a national situation. The responsibility in this case is clearly one resting within the State of Queensland. If the Queensland Government decides that it is so bereft of resources that it cannot cope with the mice at Wandoan, the_ Premier has access to the Prime Minister. This is the normal level of communication where a State claims it has not resources to cope with a situation.
– Has the Minister for Civil Aviation received any representations from the Government of Western Australia that the Concorde aircraft should or should not visit Perth on its forthcoming flight to Australia? Has the Minister received any representations from any other source that the Concorde should visit Perth? Will the Minister use his best endeavours to ensure that - the Concorde will visit Perth on this flight?
– In Melbourne yesterday I was told that a request had come from Western Australia to the Department of Civil Aviation asking for the Concorde to visit that State on its visit to Australia. I said then that I was sure that this would not be possible because the plan that we approved was one submitted by the British Government and the British Aircraft Corporation and it involved only the visits that have been mentioned before; there was no contemplation of going to Western Australia. I undertook yesterday to find out more from Western Australia and from the company concerned, but I could not be any more helpful than that at the present time.
– My question is directed to either the Minister representing the Minister for Defence or the Minister representing the Minister for Supply. What is the present position relating to proposals to merge the Government Aircraft Factories and the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation? Has the Government made a decision? If not, when is it likely that the matter will be determined? I also ask the Minister: As any such scheme would vitally affect the aircraft industry, its skilled workers and the future role of the Government Aircraft Factories in the national scheme, does he consider it necessary that a decision be made before the Federal election is held?
– The present position is that the Minister for Supply has initiated a study. When this is completed, he will no doubt make a submission to the Government. I think that the honourable senator should put the remainder of his question on notice so that the Minister for Supply may answer it.
– My question is addressed to you, Mr President. As you were a member of the committee which gave approval for the hanging in Kings Hall of a splendid portrait of Australia’s immediate past Prime Minister, John Grey Gorton, in which he so ably portrays the average Australian citizen, suitably attired in casual dress, I ask you: Will you approve also of senators taking their places in this chamber in similar typical Australian attire?
– Order! This is a piece of philosophical nonsense. You cannot draw a comparison between yourself and ex-Prime Minister Gorton.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral. As school journals can be regarded as assisting and furthering the educational opportunities of students and school children, will the Postmaster-General consider giving free postal facilities to certain journals and publications of school organisations which are distributed by schools, thus saving much needed funds that could be used for other educational facilities?
– I am sure that the honourable senator is aware of the debates which have occurred in this chamber in the not so distant past in which the whole question of what should be the appropriate postage rates for concessional material which is transmitted through the post has been extensively canvassed. I notice that the request is for free postage in a desirable area. One can only suppose that if free postage is granted for some articles, no matter how worthy the cause, there will be many other requests, so much so that the PostmasterGeneral will be inundated with applications for further exemptions. I say that by way of general comment, but I shall pass on the honourable senator’s question to the Postmaster-General for his investigation and for a reply direct to the honourable senator.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport the following question: Is it a fact that if the proposed takeover of R. W. Miller and Co. Pty Ltd by Ampol Petroleum Ltd is successful it will mean that the only independent Australian owned tanker operator will disappear and that the carriage of oil cargoes will revert to a monopoly by the oil companies? Is it also a fact that the Tanker Committee of the Department of Shipping and Transport has been able to obtain a great deal of useful information on tanker costs on the Australian coast from the Miller operations? Is the Government concerned by this latest move to create greater monopolies in Australia? If so, what does it intend to do about it?
– The Government is always concerned about developments in the transport field in Australia, whether it is air, sea, road or rail transport. I am not familiar with the details of the internal operations of R. W. Miller and Co. Pty Ltd, nor should I express here opinions on matters which concern the responsible Minister. I suggest that the honourable senator put his question on notice.
– Has the notice of the Minister for Health been drawn to the latest statement made by the Leader of the Opposition in another place in which he states that the Australian Labor Party health scheme would be administered by a single health fund and that under the ALP plan people would be charged a levy of 1.3 per cent of taxable income? Did the Minister also notice that the ALP undertakes to provide families whose taxable income is less than $1,700 with free health cover? Will the Minister also respond to the reference made by Mr Whitlam to the effect that some 10 per cent of people are not in a voluntary health fund?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONYes, I have noticed the statement which appeared in this morning’s Press attributed to the Leader of the Opposition in another place. I respond to the question by pointing out that whilst the Leader of the Opposition in another place seems to make great play of his proposal that families with a taxable income of less than $1,700 a year would receive free health care, he conveniently overlooks the fact that this Government provides free health care to people whose income is less than $2,417, not $1,700.
– I rise to a point of order. The Leader of the Government is not entitled to conduct a debate on health policy in reply to a question about what was read in a newspaper by a Government supporter. There are ample opportunities under the proceedings of the Senate to do that. It is not a proper use of question time that a Government supporter should ask the Minister whether he has seen a statement in a newspaper and that the Minister should answer that Mr Whitlam says so and so and the Government’s policy is so and so. I submit that this is misuse of the time set aside for questions without notice.
– I think we will leave the matter in vacuo for the time being. I will consider the point of order raised by the Leader of the Opposition during the remainder of question time.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONMay I answer the balance of the question?
– You may do so provided you do not trespass on the aspect to which I have referred.
– The situation is that my attention has been drawn during question time to the fact that the Labor Party has a proposal in relation to a special tax of 1.3S per cent of income.
– Order! I do not wish to intrude on you, Sir Kenneth, but can you guarantee the authenticity of the matter raised?
– Yes, given time I can produce the document. It is in a document issued by the Labor Party.
– That is all right.
I have it somewhere amongst my multitude of papers. I do not think even Senator Murphy, who rose to order, would disagree that it is a statement of the Labor Party’s policy. He is perfectly at liberty to stand up and do so. The fact of the matter is that the proposal contained a reference to 1.35 per cent of income which suggested that the scheme would operate in favour of the rich and against the poor. But if this figure of 1.35 per cent is applied to a man with an annual income of $2,500 the percentage applicable is 11.1 per cent.
– I rise to order. I respectfully suggest that the Minister in replying to the question is complely out of order because the alleged document-
– Order! What is the standing order under which you take objection to the Minister’s statement, Senator Keeffe? If you cannot give me the standing order that is applicable I cannot uphold your point of order.
I was making the point that contrary to what has been stated by the Leader of the Opposition in another place, the Labor Party’s proposal operates to the disadvantage of the low income earner. On an income of $2,500, the percentage is increased to 11.1 per cent, whereas for a man with an annual income of $8,000 the effective rate is only 4.4 per cent. This is completely contrary to what has been said about the proposal. About 90 per cent of income earners in Australia are members of hospital or medical benefits funds. To that number should be added the people who are in receipt of repatriation benefits, and members of the Services. As a further addition there is the State of Queensland to which Senator Gair referred a short time ago, where there is only 50 per cent application of the health scheme. All in all, about 93 per cent of the population are covered; they are principally people who have joined health insurance funds and their dependants. This is a magnificent achievement and a recognition by Australians of the worth of the concept of health insurance to cover hospital and medical benefits.
– Honourable senators will recollect that since I have had the responsibility of sitting in the Chair I have been attempting to bring questions without notice within the ambit of the Standing Orders. I will re-read to honourable senators the standing order that relates to questions. Standing order 99 reads:
Questions shall not contain -
statements of fact or names of persons unless they are strictly necessary to render the question intelligible and can be authenticated;
ironical expressions; or
Questions shall not ask -
for an expression of opinion;
for a statement of the Government’s policy; or
for legal opinion.
Questions shall not refer to -
debates in the current session; or
proceedings in Committee not reported to the Senate.
Questions shall not anticipate discussion upon an order of the day or other matter which appears on the notice paper.
The President may direct that the language of a question be changed if it seems to him unbecoming or notin conformity with the Standing Orders of the Senate.
I have ruled in the past that question time in the Senate is not to descend into a propaganda session. It is designed to elicit factual information from Ministers who are subject to cross-examination by honourable senators andI think that I should begin now to re-apply the rulingsI have given earlier. I shall do so.
– I direct my question to the Attorney-General who also is spokesman in this chamber for the Minister for Immigration. I ask: Can the Attorney-General supply the Senate with further information on the exposure of the activities of Mr Rover, and can he confirm whether Josip Senic was refused a passport? Finally, what action is the Attorney-General taking to galvanise his officers into curbing this lawlessness from the far Right?
– I reject the latter part of what the honourable senator said insofar as there is an imputation that the Government in some way is prepared to condone lawless activities by persons he describes as being of the far Right. That is an accusation which has been made constantly without a shred of evidence to back it. I have said, and I say again, that where there is evidence of wrongdoing which will enable a prosecution to be brought, then so far as the Commonwealth is concerned - in this area I think I can speak for all the State police forces also - those prosecutions will be brought. We have in this country a system under which people will not be brought before the courts unless there is evidence to sustain the charges which take them before the courts. Whilst there have been within the general Yugoslav community instances of lawlessness and violence in times past, the police have not been able to identify the individuals responsible. Until such information is available all I can say is that one cannot, in a general sweeping condemnation, accuse a community or a group of being responsible. In those circumstances what was said about Mr Rover is a matter essentially within the ambit of the Department of Immigration. It is in the area where the Minister who administers the Passports Act has recently taken action. I shall refer the honourable senator’s questions in that respect to the Minister for Immigration.
– I direct my question to the Attorney-General. In view of the conflicting reports about the number of draft resisters, about which there seems to be some confusion, would the AttorneyGeneral settle this matter once and for all by informing us as to the correct number of draft resisters and the number for whom warrants have been issued? At the same time, could he inform us of the number of youths who have failed to attend medical examinations and the number for whom warrants have been issued for such failure?
– The honourable senator has made answering his question very difficult because he has not defined his terms. He asks about draft resisters and wants to know how many there are. But, Mr President, who is a draft resister? A draft resister may be a person for whom a warrant of arrest has been issued and who is dodging the law. A draft resister may be a person who has not obeyed a call-up notice or a notice to attend for medical examination. He may be a person who has not fulfilled the requirement to register. Such persons may call themselves draft resisters. Again, as my experience indicates, a draft resister may be any one of a number of hangers-on, political activists and members of the Australian Labor Party who for the time being want to call themselves draft resisters. In those circumstances it is impossible to answer the honourable senator’s question in the way he phrased it because he has not defined his terms.
If he wants to know how many people have not registered, whilst this matter strictly comes within the jurisdiction of the Minister for Labour and National Service, I have obtained figures from him. Some 695,000 people have registered since the scheme was introduced in 1964 and 2 per cent, or 2 in every 100, of the total number of those required to register, have failed to register at the due time. That figure can be deduced. The important obligations are to obey the call-up notice and to attend for medical examination. Approximately 147,000 people have been required to attend for medical examination and 0.3 per cent - that is 3 in every 1,000 - have failed to attend. Some 55,000 men have been called up and enlisted. The percentage of men who have not responded to their call-up notices is ! 0.2 per cent or 2 in every 1,000. Those figures do not bear out what so many people through the public media would like to have people believe, namely that there is a great amount of resistance to the National Service Act. In fact, at the end of April there were 20 warrants outstanding for persons who had failed to appear in court to answer a summons either for failing to attend a medical examination or for failing to obey a call-up notice. Those figures indicate that observance of the National Service Act in this community is at a tremendously high rate. The publicity and all the gimmicks and political stunting which people engage in to suggest otherwise cannot belie the true facts.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Is the McMahon Government still maintaining an international stance that there is only one lawful government of all China, including mainland China? Does it still recognise the Chiang Kai-shek regime as the only government of all China? Does it still refuse to recognise in any way the People’s Republic of China as being the lawful government of any part of China?
– It is important in discussing these matters to recognise the distinction between the sovereignty of government and territory. I shall take time to see that the response to the question is put in precise terms so that it is not capable of confusion.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Health. I refer to the Mason report which was tabled in the Senate on 17th May 1972. Has he seen an article in the Melbourne ‘Herald’ of 20th May which criticises the omission from his statement of adverse comments by the judge on the Australian Medical Association? Has he any further information to give on this report?
– Yes, I saw the article about the Mason report. Obviously, the author of the article had not done his homework. Honourable senators can bear testimony to that because it will be recalled that in tabling the report last Wednesday I made a statement in relation to it. Not only did I table the document in the Senate, but also - as anybody who did his homework would know - a copy was made available to every honourable senator within an hour. A copy of the document was placed in the Press gallery on the same afternoon and also some hundreds of copies were sent to the other end of the building. So a very glamorous story about trying to withhold information just does not stand up. I received the document on the preceding Friday afternoon. As a result of my labours in the intervening period, the Government gave consideration to it. When I tabled the document - I had sent copies to Senator Murphy and Senator Gair a little earlier - I announced the Government’s decisions in relation to it. The document is still before the Senate. Perhaps we should send another copy to the Press gallery to the fellow who wrote the story, which had no validity.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation, is related to his answer to Senator Lawrie. In view of the Minister’s statement that there are 26,000 supersonic flights over the United States of America every year, can he say how many claims are made on United States insurance companies every year arising out of damage as a result of supersonic flights over that country? Should this information be obtained before permission is given for supersonic nights over Australia?
– Yes, I certainly will see to it that that information is obtained, but the honourable senator may care to know thai on many occasions I have said that before we gave permission to the British Government to bring the Concorde here on a demonstration flight we checked all the relevant facts concerning it. We would have done a thorough job on that. The honourable senator does not need to allude to a situation which, I am sure, has been covered adequately.
– My question to the Minister for Health is supplementary to the question asked of him by Senator Jessop. I ask whether the 1.35 per cent compulsory levy referred to in the published document of the Australian Labor Party on its future health policy will be tax deductible. Is the present voluntary contribution to health funds tax deductible? If the latter proposition is the case, will not the 1.35 per cent compulsory levy be substantially more costly to the great majority of families than is the present voluntary scheme?
– I take a point of order under standing order 99. I do so not only because the question contravenes that standing order but because, as a matter of fairness, if there is to be a debate on the Australian Labor Party’s health policy surely the debate should be one in which the Labor Party takes part. This device of a Government member asking the Minister for Health to comment upon and to argue a matter is not a fair way of dealing with things. Perhaps that it why the standing order is so worded. If there is to be a debate on the opposing health policies of the Government and the Opposition let us have that debate, but I submit that the asking of this kind of question of the Minister is not a proper use of question time. The Minister can comment on Labor Party policy and we get no chance to enter the debate. Honourable senators opposite should seek an urgency debate if they want a discussion on the subject. Mr President, I ask you to rule that the question contravenes the standing order.
– I am not Solomon, and I am prepared to admit that I am not. I read standing order 99 so that all honourable senators would be perfectly clear on what it meant. The document referred to by Senator Carrick is a public document and Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson may answer the question, provided he does not transgress standing order 99.
– May I speak to the point of order, Mr President?
– I feel bound to point out that the preceding question which was asked by Senator Murphy related to the McMahon Government’s attitude towards China. I find myself in some difficulty. The courtesies between leaders in the Senate being what they are, I did not take a point of order when he asked his question. If the rules of the road are to be adhered to strictly I will have to take a point of order each time a question, which I think contravenes standing order 99, is asked. Question time will be very restricted.
– If you have finished speaking to the point of order, you may answer the question.
It is such a long time since Senator Carrick asked the question that perhaps he should ask it again.
– The whole situation is becoming ludicrous. Senator Carrick, you are entitled to ask a question that relates to a published document which has been admitted to exist. He may answer the question, provided he does not transgress standing order 99. You may ask the question again.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Health. I ask whether the 1.35 per cent compulsory levy referred to in the published document of the Australian Labor Party on its future health policy will be tax deductible. Is the present voluntary contribution to health funds tax deductible? If the latter proposition is the case, will not the 1.35 per cent compulsory levy be substantially more costly to the great majority of families than the present voluntary scheme?
- Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, does this question relate to a matter which comes within your ministerial responsibility?
– I would have thought that any matters relating to health would be within my ministerial responsibility. I get 9,000 letters a year asking me questions about health matters.
– Very well, you may answer the question.
My understanding is that there is a published document of the Australian Labor Party which refers to a 1.35 per cent levy. It is my understanding that the levy will not be an allowable taxation deduction. It is also my certain knowledge that people who contribute to hospital and medical benefit funds can claim their contributions as a taxation deduction. The mathematics I have done prove that the 1.35 per cent levy would have no advantages at all. Indeed, it would have distinct disadvantages to the taxpayers in the lower income group, who would pay a much higher percentage of taxation that those in the higher income group.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for Air, relates to the current evaluation of a suitable aircraft as a replacement for the Winjeel trainer. In reply to a question I asked of him last week the Minister for Air stated that parts of the T6. aircraft were being manufactured in Australia. 1 ask: Will that factor weigh heavily in favour of the purchase of- the T6 aircraft, which is a product of the Victa aircraft company, which was formerly based in Australia? Is there any possibility that the selection of the T6 aircraft will provide sufficient inducement for that company to return to Australia and once again establish a base for an Australian light aircraft manufacturing industry?
– It is the usual policy of the Government in a situation like this to ask for offset orders or part manufacture opportunities. Because of the economics of the project - it is only a small undertaking - the Government might decide in its wisdom in this case not to insist on offset orders being placed or on parts being manufactured in Australia. But that is something which has to be thrashed out. Until the representatives of the Department of Air have made their survey of both the New Zealand project and the Scottish project, I will not really be in a situation to answer the honourable senator’s question.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science. I ask: Does he recall the statements by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Education and Science regarding proposed financial assistance to independent schools? Is it correct that financial assistance for new building programmes will be paid as from July 1973? Will the Minister give due consideration to the granting by the Commonwealth of financial assistance as from July 1973 for work contracted for and programmed to be done in the year 1973, or is that accepted as the situation?
– I am not sure whether I fully understand the honourable senator’s question. I would like to see it in Hansard first. I will then give the question consideration.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Health. Why has the Government decided to change and shorten the health warning that is to be a part of radio and television advertisements for cigarettes by reducing the length of the warning from 5 to 3 seconds and weakening the force of the warning statement? Has the impact of this important step to warn against cigarette smoking been greatly reduced merely because members of the Australian Country Party have complained that rural television and radio stations would lose revenue if the original warning were to be enforced? Will the Minister state which is the most important - the need to warn about the health hazard of cigarettes, which kill 10,000 Australians a year, or the partial economic welfare of rural broadcasting stations?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONMr President, there is on today’s notice paper reference to a Bill being introduced in this place by the Minister representing the Postmaster-General relating to this issue. ] do not know whether the honourable senator’s question is strictly out of order, Sir, but it would certainly, be out of order in the sense of the law of anticipation.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Does the Minister agree that statistics produced by the Reserve Bank of Australia clearly demonstrate that the wool deficiency payments scheme has been and will be of more benefit to the banks and the pastoral finance houses than it has been and will be to the wool growers? Can this be seen from statistics for April which show that the indebtedness of the rural sector of the population to banks and pastoral companies has fallen by $62.3m since July last when the subsidy scheme came into force? Does this not strongly suggest that the major beneficiaries of the scheme have been the large financial institutions?
– J have not seen the figures to which the honourable senator refers. Until I have seen those figures and have had a study made of them I am not in a position to answer the honourable senator’s question.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry aware that figures published in the ‘Sunday Australian’ on 21st May show that overseas firms have cornered the Australian market in cosmetics and toiletries, indicating opportunities for high price arrangements and restrictive trade practices? Does the Department of Trade and Industry have details of this overseas control of an industry which has such a marked effect on the cost of living of most Australian women and many Australian men? Will the Minister direct the Department to make investigations into this industry and submit details of its findings to the Senate Select Committee on Foreign Ownership and Control for a thorough evaluation to be made of this trend?
– I am sure that, flowing out of the ‘Sunday Australian’ observation, if the Senate Select Committee looking into foreign ownership felt that it ought to investigate the problems of cosmetics and toiletries it would be most happy to do so. If it wishes to do so the Department of Trade and Industry will help it.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior whether he can advise the Parliament when the report of the Committee known as the Gibbs Committee, which deals with the situation of Aboriginal communities on pastoral properties in the Northern Territory, will be made available? I also ask the Minister whether the report will be tabled in the Parliament?
– I do not have the information with me at the moment which would enable me to help the honourable senator. Once question time finishes I shall make inquiries and see what information I can obtain before we rise for this session.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Health. As a sequel to the Woofa case has the Minister yet decided on a new, changed format for the documents associated with the dispatch of dogs overseas?
– I do not know that there is a necessity to change the format of the documentation. What is essential is to change the unhappy circumstance whereby somebody sent off the wrong dog. We all felt distress about that situation. I shall have a look at the documentation but I really do not think that that is the problem.
– The Minister said in an earlier answer that that was the problem.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONYes, but to my conscious knowledge we have not had a look at the documentation because we have been more concerned about what is happening to the dog concerned. I understand that it will come back by ship and that the time spent on the ship will help towards the quarantine period. When the dog comes back there will be a period which it will have to spend in quarantine. I shall get my officers to have another look at the forms but I do not think that is where the system went bad. It went bad because somebody sent the wrong dog in error.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry read the article in today’s Canberra Times’ in which Mr Don Maisey, the Country Party member for Moore, Western Australia, is reported to have written to wool grower organisations, Country Party branches and constituents throughout his electorate claiming that the appointment of the Randall Committee by the Prime Minister, on his own initiative, was a straight out subterfuge to further delay progress towards worthwhile market reform in the wool industry? Will the Minister inform the Senate whether the claims attributed to Mr Maisey are correct? Will the Minister inform the Senate also whether the inquiry by Professor Grant into the effect of the wine excise on the wine industry-
– Order! The honourable senator has asked about the wool industry and now is asking about the wine industry.
– The 2 questions are connected.
– They are separate questions.
– I am not responsible for what my colleague, Mr Maisey, may say but I will fight for the right of the honourable member to say what he believes. That does not often happen in other parties.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry inform the Senate whether the inquiry by Professor Grant into the effect of the wine excise on the wine industry was also a subterfuge by the Prime Minister to halt the growing resentment of wine grape growers towards the Government for imposing this crippling tax on this industry?
Grant inquiry was an inquiry of fact into the industry. Professor Grant has made his report to the Minister for Primary Industry, who is studying it and who will no doubt put a submission on it to Cabinet at a later date.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry a question supplementary to that asked by Senator McLaren. The honourable senator said that it was claimed by Mr Maisey that the appointment of the Randall Committee was a straight out subterfuge to delay progress.
– Order! We have heard all this and you do not have to repeat it.
– I now ask the Minister whether he can say unequivocally that the Government will publish a statement of intent relating to amalgamation of the Wool Board and the Wool Commission before this Senate goes into winter recess, or is the dispute between the coalition partners too serious to be solved in such a short time?
– Order! I will ask the Minister to answer the first part of the question. I rule the second part out of order.
– On 2nd May the Prime Minister issued a statement in regard to the Randall report and I have nothing to add at this stage to that statement.
Does the Minister for Health recall his predecessor in the Senate stating on 7th May last year that the rates of contribution to hospital and medical benefit funds had been set at that time to enable a reduction of excessive reserves? Did the Nimmo Committee and also the Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs recommend that these organisations be required to restrict their free reserves to specified limits, and in the case of the larger funds to an amount equal to 3 months’ contributions? Will the Minister agree that the latest figures published by his Department indicate that hospital fund reserves are running at a rate equivalent to 8.4 months’ contribution income? Will the Government consider reducing contributions, at least to hospital benefits funds, in order to take up the excessive reserves held by the hospital benefit funds?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONSome of the questions posed by Senator Douglas McClelland by way of preface would be quite accurate in the generality of the matter. In fact the Government made a deliberate decision, which as I recall accorded with a recommendation in the Nimmo report, that there should be a reduction in reserves held by the funds, notably the hospital funds, and it set about to implement that decision. As a result, added benefits have been provided in a variety of ways by the hospital funds and reductions have been made in cetain instances in payments by subscribers. Senator Douglas McClelland has confused the situation a little by referring to a document which I tabled last week relating to the operations of registered hospital and medical benefit organisations for the year 1970-71.
The decision in relation to medical funds is operative and is reflected in the document that I presented - particularly in relation to the medical funds whose reserves significantly are not high. But I remind the honourable senator that the decision of the Government was pitched or geared to a situation in which the States did adjust their hospital charges. The concept of reserves to meet 3 months’ requirements is distinct from the situation in the old days when 9 months’ reserves were held.
The figures in relation to reserves in respect of hospital funds are not to be found in the document that I presented, which related to the period ended 30th June 1971. The decision to lower reserves held in respect of hospital funds did not come into effect until after that period. The decision was taken, because of the reasons that I have given to the honourable senator, that this policy would be introduced at a time when the States increased or varied their funds. The policy in respect of medical funds was implemented in July 1970, at which time a major reconstruction of the medical benefits scheme was undertaken. The result was that action was not taken in relation to hospital fund reserves until after 1st July 1971. So, the results of that action are not reflected in that figure.
I am most grateful to the honourable senator for giving me the opportunity to bring the point out. The policy of the Government is quite clear. The reserves held in respect of hospital funds must be reduced. Subscribers to those funds get the benefit of the reduction iri the form of additional treatment, a wider range of treatment, or, in certain circumstances, some reduction of their payments in respect of fund tables.
– On 19th April last, Senator Mulvihill asked me as Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service:
Is it a fact that the impending closure of the Broken Hill South mine has disclosed that the retraining scheme of the Department of Labour and National Service is ill-equipped to meet situations of this kind?
In reply, 1 said:
I shall refer the honourable senator’s question to the Minister.
The Minister for Labour and National Service has now replied in these terms:
The answer is no. Each of the employment training schemes administered by my Department was developed to achieve a specific purpose. None of them was designed or intended to meet redundancy situations such as those caused by impending mine closures.
I agree with Senator Mulvihill that an examination should be made and will be made into the circumstances surrounding the labelling-
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONLabelling’. As I understand the context, somebody had put a wrong label on a dog. However, now that the honourable senator has widened the canvass of his question, I promise to have a look at the procedures in relation to labelling.
(Questions upon notice and the answers thereto are published at the end of the day’s proceedings.)
Report on Items
– Pursuant to statute I present the reports of the Special Advisory Authority on:
Continuous filament raw yarns of polyamide or polyester; and Resins of the propylene type.
– by leave - For the information of honourable senators 1 present the Sixth Interim Report of the Company Law Advisory Committee. This report deals with the selling of shares by what is known as sharehawking
The Company Law Advisory Committee was appointed by the Standing Committee of Commonwealth and State AttorneysGeneral in August 1967 to inquire into and report on the extent of the protection afforded to the investing public by the existing provisions of the uniform Companies Acts and to recommend what additional provisions, if any, are reasonably necessary to increase that protection. The Committee consists of Mr Justice Eggleston, as Chairman, Mr J. M. Rodd, a Melbourne solicitor, and Mr P. C. E. Cox, a Sydney accountant. The terms of reference of the Company Law Advisory Committee cover a number of topics and the Advisory Committee has furnished interim reports on particular topics as it has completed its consideration of those topics. The first five reports have also been tabled. The first report dealt with accounts and audit; the second with substantial shareholdings and takeovers; the third with investigations; the fourth with insider trading, and the fifth with the control of fund raising, share capital and debentures.
An Ordinance to give effect to the recommendations contained in the second report, dealing with substantial shareholdings and takeovers, has already been made for the Australian Capital Territory. It is expected that a Bill for a similar Ordinance for the Northern Territory will be introduced in the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory shortly. The fifth report, dealing with the control of fund raising, share capital, and debentures, is still under consideration by the Standing Committee.
The Standing Committee has accepted the recommendations contained in the first, third, fourth, and sixth reports, subject to certain matters which I shall shortly mention. The Commonwealth Government has considered these reports and has decided to take action to have the Companies Ordinances of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory amended to give effect to those of the recommendations that have been accepted by the Standing Committee. I shall now briefly indicate the general nature of the recommendations made in these reports, and refer to those recommendations which the Government, in accordance with recommendations of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, has decided not to accept.
The first report made a number of recommendations to tighten the existing provisions relating to accounts and audit. Without canvassing the report in detail, I mention that it recommended that a subsidiary company should be required to disclose in the accounts, or in a note to them, the name of the corporation regarded by the directors as being the company’s ultimate holding company, and, if it is known to them, the country in which it is incorporated. It also recommended that the position of auditors should be strengthened for the protection of investors, and that there should be provision for the disclosure of the aggregate of all emoluments of directors apart from, in the case of directors in the full-time employment of the company, the amount paid to them by way of fixed salary as an employee of the company. There were 2 recommendations in the first report that were not accepted by the Standing Committee. These recommendations related to the establishment of a companies commission and to the disclosure of turnover.
The companies commission proposed by the Committee was to be a body to grant dispensations from the requirements of the legislation where compliance with those requirements would operate harshly. I point out that the companies commission was in no way intended to operate as a securities and exchange commission. The Committee’s recommendation gave rise to considerable constitutional and practical difficulties in the light of which the Standing Committee decided not to establish a commission of the kind proposed. Instead, the Standing Committee decided that necessary dispensing powers should be vested in the Registrars of Companies - or Commissioners for Corporate Affairs, where established - with statutory directions that those officers should consult with each other.
The first report also contained a recommendation that there should be a requirement to disclose turnover. In making that recommendation, the Company Law Advisory Committee stated that it did not regard such disclosure as a major weapon for the protection of investors and indicated that it considered that any such requirement should be accompanied by a power of dispensation which would be exercised by the companies commission it proposed and to which I have already made reference. Having regard to its decision not to establish such a companies commission and to the Company Law Advisory Committee’s conclusion that the requirement would not, in any event, be a major weapon for the protection of investors, the Standing Committee decided against including the requirement.
The third report recommended that the existing provisions of the uniform companies legislation relating to inspections and special investigations should be integrated and that all company investigations should have to be authorised by the GovernorinCouncil, in the case of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, the Governor-General. The various recommendations contained in this report were accepted by the Standing Committee except for two relating to the publication of reports and the payment of costs. One of these was that before publishing the report of an investigation, the responsible Minister should certify that he had considered the probable effect of the publication on the interests of the various persons who might be affected by the report and was satisfied that the public interest required that the report or that part of it should be published. The Standing Committee felt that under the ordinary doctrine of ministerial responsibility the Minister would have regard to these matters and to many others and that it was undesirable to attempt to prescribe the extent of his responsibility.
The other recommendation in the third report that was not accepted by the Standing Committee was that the costs of any investigation should be paid for out of public funds. The Standing Committee took into account that in some cases it is appropriate for the costs of the investigation, which may be substantial, to be paid for out of the company’s own assets. The fourth report was a short one, and recommended that the uniform companies legislation should be amended to deal more effectively with the misuse of confidential information and what is known as ‘insider trading’. As I mentioned earlier, the Government proposes to take action to implement the first, third, fourth and sixth reports except in relation to those recommendations that have not been accepted by the Standing Committee and to which I have already drawn the Senate’s attention.
– I present the Sixteenth Report of the Publications Committee.
Report - by leave - adopted.
– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969 I present a report relating to the following proposed works:
Ward and paramedical building at Repatriation General Hospital, Hobart, Tasmania.
– I move:
That intervening Government Business be postponed until after consideration of Government Business Order of the Day No. 9.
This is a short matter relating to the hours of sitting, which we believe should be dealt with first.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– by leave - On 12th April 1972 I said in a statement to the Senate that the Government had decided to institute a full-scale public inquiry into the overall operation of the taxation system. A high level committee of inquiry will be appointed to conduct the inquiry. In my statement of 12th April I said that the inquiry would have broad terms of reference and it would be expected to hear evidence on and conduct studies and investigations into the overall operation of the taxation system. The inquiry would, I said, permit a thorough public examination of the taxation system and put the Government in a position to have an overall look at tax policy.
In conformity with those aims the Government has drawn up the following terms of reference for the inquiry:
The functions of the committee of inquiry are:
The committee of inquiry, shall, in carrying out its functions, do so in the light of the need to ensure a flow of revenue sufficient to meet the revenue requirements of the Commonwealth and have regard to:
For the purposes of these terms of reference, the present Commonwealth taxation system shall be taken to be the system under which the Commonwealth raises revenue by means of the follow, ing forms of taxation: Income tax, sales tax, estate duty, gift duty, duties of excise imposed for the purpose of raising general revenue, and duties of customs that correspond with duties of excise so imposed.
Consideration is being given to the membership of the committee of inquiry. A further announcement will be made when the members have been appointed.
Debate resumed from 16th May (vide page 1661), on motion by Senator Drake-Brockman:
That, unless otherwise ordered, the days and times of meeting of the Senate for the remainder of the present period of sittings be as follows:
(4.13) - In my absence last week, this motion was stood over by consent because there was a feeling in the Senate at that time that there was not enough on the business paper to justify varying the sitting times. As I said in the Senate last week and again today I, as Leader of the Government in the Senate, am responsible for suggesting these things and I have to live with the fact that sometimes the Senate, in its wisdom, does not agree with what I propose. Honourable senators expect me to put a view so that it can be discussed. I put forward in good faith the view expressed in this motion. It calls for the Senate to sit at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday unless otherwise ordered. The suggestion is that on Tuesday we sit at 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. instead of 5.45, and then from 8 p.m. to 10.30 p.m., and on Wednesday from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m., instead of 5.45, and then from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. There is not much difference on those 2 days. On Thursday it is proposed that we start at 10 a.m. instead of 11 a.m., sit until 1 p.m. instead of 12.45 p.m.; that we resume at 2.15 p.m. and sit until 6 p.m., and that we then sit from 8 p.m. until 10.30 p.m.
I do not propose to speak at length to this motion, lt will be seen immediately by all honourable senators that the variation proposed in sitting times does not refer to sitting late at night. We deal with that situation on an ad hoc basis when the occasion arises. We will gain some hours by starting virtually an hour earlier each day and saving a little time with meal breaks. Instead of suspending the sittings at 5.45 p.m. we will sit until 6 p.m., and we will rise for lunch a little later on Thursday.
The business paper contains 8 Bills and, from memory, there are two or three messages still to come from the other place. The Senate will shortly have before it the second reading debate on the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1972 which possibly, in the nature of things and if the time taken for debate in the other place is any criterion, will take a couple of days to debate. I think that in the circumstances and in the interests of all honourable senators we could do what I have proposed without taxing our physical resources too much because I am not proposing that we sit later at night. I think that by agreeing to the motion we could dispose of the business before us most expeditiously. I think we should reach a decision on whether the Senate should meet earlier each day for the remainder of the sittings.
– Last week the Opposition asked that this matter be delayed to see how we managed. We seem to have entered the last week or two of the sittings. What is proposed by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) seems to me to be a reasonable attempt to meet the difficulties that we face in this context. I suggest, however, that the Senate must begin to consider whether the hours of sitting generally ought to be changed. I do not think they are reasonable. Last Friday I attended a meeting of one of the Senate select committees. It was apparent from the reactions of all the members of that committee that they were completely exhausted. I think it is the feeling of all honourable senators that the sitting hours do not reflect the amount of work that is being done. The reality is that most of us are coming to the Parliament at 9 o’clock each morning and we are here until midnight. This happens on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. On Fridays honourable senators return to their respective States to handle electoral work and the business which has arisen in their offices or sometimes sit on various committees. We cannot continue to work hours stretching from 9 o’clock in the morning until midnight.
I would think that we ought to learn from the experiences of other countries. It would be much more satisfactory if we adopted different sitting times. This has nothing to do with the party political approach. One suggestion was made that the Senate should meet from 1.30 p.m. until 7.30 p.m. There may be other suggestions which would be satisfactory. Time would be available in the mornings to conduct committee meetings and the evening could be relatively free. I have no doubt that some matter will interfere with them, but we would not be sitting here until midnight. On occasions there would be committee meetings and other matters would arise. I foreshadow this as a proposal but not by way of an amendment to the motion we are discussing. I think this may be done in the next period of sittings. I think we are overdue for a more sensible spread of sitting hours. Surely we can get together and start to work out some system which will enable us to do our work and to do it reasonably without the physical exhaustion that is necessarily involved in the existing spread of hours. Having said that, I say that I think what the Leader of the Government has proposed is reasonable. I suggest that we accept it.
– I merely say that the Australian Democratic Labor Party decided last week to support Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson’s proposal.
– I would like to express a personal opinion. I support the proposal, but I hope we do not reach the point we reached at the end of the last session that in order to finish the work that was before the Senate in the time available we were intimidated - intimidated is the only word that I could use - to cut short our criticisms of Government legislation. Might 1 indicate at this stage that I would strongly oppose any hastening of debates in this place in order to finish in the time schedule set down.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Wright) read a first time.
– I move:
I am pleased to introduce into the Senate a Bill for the next stage of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. The Bill itself will provide additional evidence that this Government not only intends to continue its support for scientific endeavour in this country but that it will support the growth of science into new fields - in particular, into those fields which are of importance to the nation as a whole.
One such field is marine science, which has been rather neglected in the past in the sense that the efforts of isolated groups, though praiseworthy in themselves, have scarcely been commensurate with the magnitude of the problems which await investigation. There are already several independent groups working in the general field of marine science. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has a Division of Fisheries and Oceanography, which is involved with studies in several areas around the Australian coast; the Royal Australian Navy is also doing oceanographic work. Several State governments are, through their relevant departments, involved in studies of the marine environment and in addition, several of the universities have small research groups, which are interested in biological and physical studies in the marine area. The work of these groups has added much to our knowledge of the sea around us; but with the immensity of our coastline - over 12,000 miles - ranging as it does from temperate through sub-tropical to tropical zones it is clear that, if we are to make the best use of our natural resources, our efforts in the field of marine science need to be strengthened.
It is appropriate here that I should enlarge somewhat on what I mean by the term marine science. It covers a vast field ranging from biological studies in the littoral zone through to the deep waters beyond the continental shelf; from physical studies of the bays and estuarine waters to the deep ocean and of the sea floor. The term marine science thus embraces so diverse and immense an area of scientific activity that it cannot be defined in a few words. It will not of course be possible for the Australian Institute of Marine Science at Townsville to cover all aspects of marine science.
In 1970 the Government introduced a Bill for the establishment of an Australian Institute of Marine Science as the first step towards correcting deficiencies in our work in marine science. That Act provided that there should be an institute known as The Australian Institute of Marine Science, and that it should be located in the vicinity of Townsville in the State of Queensland. That Act also provided for the appointment of an Interim Council, which was to examine the matter of the establishment of the Institute and to make recommendations with respect to the functions and powers of the Institute, the constitution of its governing Council, the site of the seat of the Institute and the nature of the co-operation with the James Cook University of North Queensland.
The Interim Council was appointed by the Government in September 1970, and consisted of Dr M. F. C. Day as Chairman and as members Professor C. Burdon-Jones, Dr N. H. Fisher, Professor Dorothy Hill, Mr W. Ives, Dr D. F. McMichael and Professor R. J. Walsh. The Interim Council completed its work and reported to the Government in July 1971. The report of the Interim Council has been circulated to honourable senators, and I would refer them to that report for the full details and recommendations.
At this point I join with the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) in expressing my thanks to the Interim Council for its work and for its recommendations on which this Bill is substantially based. I believe that its work will result in the significant enhancement of Australian competence in the field of marine science and will provide the framework for the establishment of an Institute which will make its mark in the world of marine science.
Honourable senators will note that the Bill embraces all of those recommendations which are immediately relevant to the establishment in Townsville of the Australian Institute of Marine Science as a real and progressive entity - as an entity which will make a substantial contribution to the study of marine science in Australia and especially to the study of the marine areas of north Queensland. The Bill does not, of course, deal with the equipment which will be essential to the work of the Institute. The nature of that equipment is a matter for discussion and decision by the Council and the Director of the Institute but I am able to say that the Government has accepted, in principle, the need for a research vessel of approximately 80 feet. The question of acquiring a vessel of about 120 feet is one which is being examined by the Government in the context of a rather similar requirement by the Division of Fisheries and Oceanography of the CSIRO. The Government’s aim is thus clear, that is, to establish the Australian Institute of Marine Science along the lines recommended by the Interim Council and, in presenting this Bill, the Government has token steps in accord with that aim.
Honourable senators will have noted that the report of the Interim Council deals with matters beyond the immediate establishment and concern of the Institute. Those matters concern the more general question of the national research effort in marine science. Thus the Interim Council recommended that an Australian Marine Science Council should be established to be the governing body of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and that it should have broad functions and responsibilities for the co-ordination and development of marine science in Australia. It was also recommended that a Marine Research Fund should be established, under the control of the Australian Marine Science Council, to promote the development of marine science in universities and other institutions.
The Interim Council also suggested that the national research effort should be strengthened in other ways and has particularly mentioned physical oceanography and marine and coastal engineering as 2 areas which should be given closer attention. I mention these particular recommendations as examples. They are far reaching and important and are being examined in depth by the Government from within its own resources. This examination, of course, will in no way affect the development of the Australian Institute of Marine Science which the Government is anxious to establish without delay. It is for that reason that the present Bill deals with the establishment of that Institute along lines, as I have said, recommended by the Interim Council.
I shall now deal with the way in which the Bill itself has taken these recommendations into account. The choice of the site for the Institute is an important matter and, as some questions have been raised about it, I propose to outline the major considerations which have led to the selection of Townsville, or more particularly, Cape Pallarenda which is within the boundaries of the City of Townsville. Let me say at the outset that the Interim Council was unanimous in its choice of Cape Pallarenda, and the Government has accepted this recommendation.
The Interim Council considered that it was essential for the Institute to be located on the mainland, for ease of access, though it was also considered important to locate the Institute close to an existing academic and scientific community. It also appeared desirable to locate the Institute centrally with respect to the Great Barrier Reef, since it would be concerned with studies over the length and breadth of the Reef. A further important consideration was the availability of supporting services such as facilites for the repair of ships, a reliable power supply and other services which an Institute of this kind would require.
It will be seen that Townsville fulfils these criteria. The Cape Pallarenda site is within the city boundaries, and only a few miles from the James Cook University of north Queensland. Townsville is a large town centrally located with respect to the Reef as a whole and with most, if not all, of the facilities which are required by the Institute. Subsequent to the selection of the Cape Pallarenda site, concern was expressed that the effluent from a nickel smelter which it is proposed to build a few miles north of the Institute might pollute the water to the extent that it might interfere with the work of the Institute. It is, of course, important to ensure that the work of the Institute at its base at Cape Pallarenda will not be adversely affected by pollution of the marine environment, and the Government is in close touch with the Queensland Government on this matter. I should add too that several Queensland
Government departments are currently discussing possible approaches to effluent standards to be observed by the proposed nickel refinery. I understand too that not only is it intended that the waste disposal situation be reviewed annually but also, equally importantly, that it be done in conjunction with continuous monitoring.
It can be seen, therefore, that the question of pollution is under careful scrutiny. However I should remind honourable senators that the major concern of the Institute will not be with the waters in the immediate vicinity of Townsville but with the waters of the Reef as a whole. The Institute will, of course, require sea water for its aquaria, and it would be convenient to draw this from the sea immediately adjacent to the Institute, but if this water is not entirely satisfactory, no doubt some alternative solution can be found. The Government has accepted the recommendation that approximately $8m should be spent over the next 5 years to establish the Institute on an adequate basis. Over that time, it is expected that the research staff will build up to number about 25 and that there will be appropriate numbers of support staff. It is envisaged that the Institute will work in close liaison with the James Cook University of north Queensland where work is already under way in marine science. It will also provide a facility which, with the concurrence of the Institute, can be used by marine scientists from elsewhere. It is not intended, nor indeed necessary, that these arrangements should be formally covered in the legislation, but rather that they be developed by the Council of the Institute as and when the opportunity offers.
Before passing on to consideration of the Bill, may I refer briefly to some of the matters raised by the debate on the 1970 Bill. Honourable senators on both sides of the Senate supported that Bill, and many interesting comments and suggestions were made. The extent to which the Council of the Institute and the Director and the scientific staff will be able to cope with these suggestions is a matter for those individuals. The Government does not propose to dictate the scientific programmes to be followed, but it does look for the same high level of scientific achievement as characterises the work of the many excel- lent laboratories in this country. May I say too that it is not intended to divert scientists from existing research establishments to the Institute. On the contrary, it is the intention of this Bill to increase significantly the total scientific manpower and thus the total research effort in marine science. The Institute will provide an additional training ground for young marine scientists and will doubtless attract marine scientists from other countries. 1 now draw the attention of honourable senators to the Bill itself and to the fact that the existing Act is repealed - that is, the Australian Institute of Marine Science Act 1970. That Act made a number of provisions which I have summarised earlier, including the establishment of an Interim Council. That Council has completed its work and those sections of the 1970 Act which will continue to have force are included in the present Bill. Honourable senators will no doubt wish to study the Bill in detail, but here I draw their attention to its main provisions. The functions of the Institute are delineated in the Bill and permit the Institute to carry out research in whatever branch of marine science merits its attention and to publish the results of that research. In accordance with the recommendations of the Interim Council it is intended, in the first instance, that the Institute should concentrate initially on problems relating to the Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Sea and the coast and adjacent waters of North Queensland. Such studies would be designed to provide a better understanding of the processes affecting the origin, development, and evolution of the Reef and of the associated biological systems.
It is expected that the Institute will also undertake a supporting programme of oceanographic research in the Coral Sea and northern Australian waters, with particular reference to the factors affecting the Great Barrier Reef; this may include a programme of coastal and estuarine research with particular reference to the factors influencing the productivity of tropical coastal waters. It should be noted, too, that the Bill permits the Institute to carry out work beyond Australian territorial waters should that be necessary or desirable. The Institute is given the necessary powers to fulfil its functions. I draw honourable senators’ attention particularly to 2 aspects. Firstly, it is intended that the Institute should be able to accept gifts and bequests. It is envisaged that the Institute need not necessarily be wholly dependent on Government finance but, as with similar institutions, should be free to undertake such work in specific areas as benefactors may desire. Secondly, as was suggested during the debate on the previous Bill, the Institute is free to display material and to arrange for lectures, public or otherwise, in matters relating to marine science. It will be important that the Institute, where appropriate, will collaborate with other laboratories and will not duplicate work which is being undertaken elsewhere in Australia.
Honourable senators will note the Government’s intention that the Institute be governed by a small council comprising a chairman and 4 other members, all of whom will serve on a part time basis. Should the work of the Council increase to a level at which it becomes necessary for one or more of the members to serve on a full time basis, suitable amendments to this legislation will be introduced. I also wish to draw attention to the requirement that the majority of the members of the council be persons holding scientific qualifications. It is intended to select, as members of the council, scientists who are eminent in their field, of whom at least some will be well versed in the field of marine science.
I turn now to the duties and responsibilities of the Director of the Institute. In order to develop the Institute into a first class research institution, the first important task of the council will be to seek, on a world wide basis, applications for the position of Director and to select an individual of high scientific stature. Whilst the Director will be subject to the general direction of the council, he will be responsible for managing on a full time basis the day-to-day affairs of the Institute. The Director will be appointed for a period not exceeding 7 years, but will be eligible for reappointment. This is in accordance with the general provisions for statutory office holders and does not imply any lack of continuity in employment. The Bill also provides that the Minister may appoint an Acting Director in the event of the temporary absence of the Director. It is considered that from the point of view of the staff this is the most satisfactory way of arranging the continuity of the Institute’s affairs.
As for the staff of the Institute, it is proposed that they be appointed by the council, and in general the terms and conditions of employment of the staff will be aligned with those applying to the staff of the CSIRO. The rights of stall who may be members of the Commonwealth Public Service are protected and preserved. The Bill establishes the basis for the funding of the Institute, the control of its monies and the auditing of its accounts. These broadly follow the pattern established for the control of the funds of CSIRO. Money will be appropriated by the Parliament, and the Government has in mind a sum of about $8m over the next 5 years both to provide for the establishment of buildings and facilities and also for the running costs of the Institute. At the end of that period the staff is expected to have been built up to its projected complement and the Institute to have an annual running cost of approximately $ 1.35m.
The council is required to report to the Minister as soon as practicable after the end of each financial year. The report will cover both the operations and the finances of the Institute, and is to be laid before the Parliament within 15 sitting days of its receipt by the Minister. The annual report will, of course, include not only financial statements but also descriptions of the work carried out during the year, details of published work and such additional information as the council deems relevant. Specific problems may arise where the expertise available from within the council or the Institute to examine and report on matters of interest to the council needs to be supplemented from outside. In the Government’s view the council should be able to have the help of committees for specific tasks. Accordingly, the Bill makes the necessary provision to that end.
In conclusion, I know that the announcement of the Government’s intention to establish an Australian Institute of Marine Science at Townsville created a great deal of interest in scientific circles both in Australia and abroad. Australia is an island continent bounded by some of the world’s great oceans. In the Great Barrier Reef we have a vast region of unique interest. Our fisheries are growing In importance and are attracting international interest. On the sea, as on the land, basic scientific knowledge is equally essential to sound conservation and sound development. I am sure that the present Bill will be seen by honourable senators and the scientific and lay public at large as providing for a very desirable expansion of Australia’s scientific activities. It can be confidently expected that once established as a viable and operating institution, its work will be of great benefit to Australia in particular and to the scientific world at large. May I remind honourable senators, too, that the work of the Institute can be expected to yield information of the greatest practical value to those who are involved in one way or another with marine problems. The Bill provides the framework on which can be built a research institute which will take its place among the great marine research institutes of the world. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
– I suggest to the Minister for Works that the next time he has a -prepared second reading speech on a Bill he should seek leave to incorporate it in Hansard and so save time.
Debate (on motion by Senator Georges) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Greenwood) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to require licensees of commercial radio and television stations to arrange that every advertisement on radio or television for cigarettes or cigarette tobacco is followed immediately by an announcement warning of the dangers to health of cigarette smoking. The relationship of cigarette smoking with pulmonary and cardiovascular disease, including lung cancer, heart disease, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is accepted beyond doubt by major international and Australian medical organisations, including the World Health Organisation and the National Health and Medical Research Council.
With cigarette smoking so widely indulged in throughout Australia the health hazard presents a public health problem of such a dimension as to impose a significant social cost on the community both in resources and money. However, this Government’s philosophy rates very highly the freedom of individuals to decide for themselves, within the broad framework of our democratic society, matters concerning their own well-being. Accordingly it is not recognised as a role of this Government to impose prohibitions on people’s freedom of choice except for the most compelling national reasons.
In deciding on a programme of action which will contribute effectively to alleviation of the problem without, at the same time, unduly trespassing on people’s personal liberty of choice the Government has decided that its proper role is that of taking steps available to it to ensure that all people are fully and properly informed of the dangers to their health of cigarette smoking. It is this Government’s view that the most effective contribution to the problem is a concerted programme by both the Commonwealth and the States to educate and inform the population, particularly young people of the danger of the health hazards of cigarette smoking.
The Government therefore has decided on 3 immediate measures: Firstly, to conduct through the Commonwealth Department of Health, in association with the States, an education programme aimed at informing the public of the dangers to health of cigarette smoking. The Commonwealth will provide $500,000 a year for 3 years commencing on 1st July 1972 for this purpose; secondly, to legislate within the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory to require health warning labels on cigarette packets; and thirdly, to legislate to require warning announcements on radio and television immediately after cigarette advertisements.
The Bill now before the Senate has been introduced to implement the third part of the Commonwealth decision. Whilst there has been general agreement between the Commonwealth, the tobacco industry and the radio and television media concerning certain aspects of cigarette advertising as formulated in the voluntary code for cigarette advertising it is the Government’s view that this does not go far enough, and that a more positive presentation of the dangers of cigarette smoking is necessary. The Bill therefore requires the following announcement to be given after each advertisement:
Medical authorities warn that smoking is a health hazard.
The announcement is to be clearly enunciated, without any extraneous sound, over a minimum period of 3 seconds. It is to be delivered at the level of sound normally used by the station for spoken announcements and is to avoid any element of ridicule, irony or humour. If the advertisement is in a foreign language then the announcement must also be in that language. With television, visual announcements will be shown on the screen during the period of the spoken announcement. The message is to be in simple bold print clearly legible, without any other image. The measure will therefore provide for a direct message informing people of the dangers of smoking immediately following each cigarette advertisement. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Douglas McClelland) adjourned.
Consideration resumed from 18th May (vide page 1831).
Clauses 1 to 7.
– Last Thursday Senator Cavanagh asked me the meaning of certain aspects of clause 6 of the Dairying Research Levy Collection Bill. The honourable senator’s questions related to who, in the ultimate, bears the levy, the collection of which is the subject matter of the Bill now before us. The answer is clear and simple. The producers requested this research scheme in the first instance. More recently they requested that the scope of the scheme be broadened to include whole milk. The producers accepted that it was their responsibility to pay the levy. The Government, for its part, is happy to match the expenditure of the funds so raised. What happens in the normal course of events is that the producers’ milk is delivered to his factory or depot. The factory sends the producer an account sales and a cheque in payment after deducting the appropriate small amount of levy.
Subsequently the factory sends a cheque to the Department of Primary Industry in payment of the aggregate amount of levy which the factory has deducted from ils suppliers in the previous months. This payment to the Department is to be made not later than 28 days after the end of the month concerned. As 1 said, this is a normal procedure. It has worked very smoothly in the past. I have no doubt that it will continue to work smoothly in the future. In order to ensure payment or, as the draftsman puts it very well, for the better securing of the payment of the levy, the Bill in clause 6(1.) lays the liability on the factory or other purchaser to make payment to the Commonwealth of levy on the milk purchased. I stress that this subclause does not in any way shift the ultimate responsibility from the producer. However, having placed a liability on the factory or other purchaser the Bill goes on in clause 6 (3.) to provide protection to the factory against the possibility that, for any reason, a producer fails or refuses to pay the levy. I cannot readily conceive a producer failing to pay especially since, as I have already explained, the normal practice is simply to deduct the levy from the account sales. On the other hand no-one is in a position to say that such a refusal could never occur. It could happen, even though very rarely. To guard against such a failure the Bill permits the factory to refuse to accept further milk from that supplier unless the producer first provides the funds necessary for the due payment of the levy concerned.
Senator Cavanagh also asked about certain other sub-clauses in clause 6. The text of clause 6 (5.) simply means that where the producer pays the levy to the purchaser the producer is free of any further commitments towards the Commonwealth. Once the levy has been paid to or deducted by the purchasing factory it is naturally the factory’s liability to pass that levy on to the Commonwealth so that the research trust account can be credited accordingly. As soon as the factory or other purchaser has made payment to the Commonwealth there can be no further claim by the Commonwealth against the producer. That this is the case is made clear by clause 6 (7.). I repeat that, as in all other research schemes, it is the producer who bears the levy.
– The reply by the Minister for Air (Senator Drake-Brockman) suggests that my interpretation of the clause is correct. To me this is frightening. The Minister has explained what happens in the normal course of events. This seems to be a satisfactory set up. Why do we not put this in the Bill? The Bill departs from the normal course of events and puts up some other proposition. Why cannot the Bill state that there shall be a deduction from the milk sold and it shall be paid by the purchaser? Clause 6 (5.) makes payment of the levy the responsibility of the purchaser. The Minister agrees that at all times it is the responsibility of the producer. Then responsibility is placed on the purchaser to pay to the Commonwealth the amount that becomes due, or for the Commonwealth to recover from the producer. Of course, no amount becomes due.
Sub-clause (6.) says that the responsibility is on the purchaser to pay to the Commonwealth the amount that becomes payable by the producer. But it does not become payable by the producer until 28 days after he has sold his milk. If the producer has not paid the levy, the purchaser has the responsibility to pay it. I make this point on sub-clause (3). If a producer is struggling on a dairy farm and cannot afford to pay the levy, he will not be able to make arrangements with the purchaser to deduct the amount of the levy from moneys due to him. The effect of sub-cluse (3) is that he will have to provide in cash the amount that he owes to the Government before he can sell a pint of milk. Surely that will not permit such a producer to rehabilitate himself. He will be deprived of an income under subclause (3) because the purchaser will not purchase his milk. That is not the normal course of events. As the Minister said, the normal course is that an arrangement is made from the start. That arrangement may continue after this Bill becomes law, but if it does not, the Bill provides a liability at all times, firstly on the producer and then on the purchaser. Then there is a provision denying the purchase if the liability has not been met. I cannot envisage a purchaser paying for something that he has not received. Sub-clause (5.) provides: (3.) Where, at any time, the producer of whole milk or butter fat who has sold the whole milk or butter fat to another person pays to the other person an amount in respect of levy in respect of the whole milk or butter fat, as the case may be, the producer is discharged from liability to pay that levy to the same extent as if the payment had been made by him at that time to the Commonwealth, but the discharge does not affect any liability of the other person under sub-section (1.) of this section.
Therefore the producer gets out of his liability. Sub-clause (7.) provides: (7.) Where, under this section, levy is paid on behalf of the producer of whole milk or butter fat by, or an amount in respect of levy payable by the producer of whole milk or butter fat is recovered by the Commonwealth from, another person, the producer is, to the extent of the amount so paid or recovered, discharged from so much of his liability to the Commonweal* to pay that levy as has not previously been discharged by virtue of sub-section (5.) of this section.
While there is a responsibility on the purchaser and a discharge of liability by the producer under sub-clause (5.), sub-clause (6.) seems somewhat in contradiction. It seems that the discharge of the liability of the producer is only a discharge of liability in respect of the money that has been paid to the Commonwealth. If the producer has paid the whole of the levy to the purchaser, and the purchaser has paid half of the amount to the Commonwealth, under sub-clause (7.) is the producer still liable for the other half which he has also paid to the purchaser? If not, what is the meaning of sub-clause (7.)? The Minister has not replied to my query on why, under subclause (8.), it is within the discretion of the Minister, if any time the Minister is satisfied that there is hardship, to permit reduction of the levy payable. Perhaps the Minister will explain why a release cannot be given if in fact there is hardship.
– I do not know that I can take this matter any further. I do not know that Senator
Cavanagh and 1 are really at cross purposes in what we are saying. All I am saying is that the producer must pay the levy, but because he does not get the proceeds until some time after he delivers the milk, he comes to an arrangement with the factory or depot. I think it is usually once a fortnight that the depot pays to him a cheque for every gallon of milk that he has delivered.
– Once a month in some instances.
– Yes. I said that in my reply originally to the honourable senator, but it can be once a fortnight. From that amount there is deducted the levy of .033c a gallon for every gallon of milk delivered by the producer to the factory. The factory, having deducted that levy from payment to the producer for his milk, is then liable to pay it to the Commonwealth Government, and it must do so within 28 days after the month concerned. I do not think the honourable senator and I differ on that point of view.
– No. That is the procedure that operates, but it is not the law.
– That is the procedure that operates. If for some unknown reason there should be any breakdown in the arrangement between the producer and the factory or depot - and I cannot conceive a reason why there should be - and the producer refuses to pay the levy, then the factory can refuse to take his milk. I take it that the producer would then look around to find some other factory to take his milk. I am attempting to explain what these clauses are trying to spell out. In their complex way and step by step they are trying to translate into legal form the requirements for protecting the purchaser. I do not think I can add much more to that.
Senator Cavanagh raised the question that sub clause (8.) of clause 6 gives the Minister authority to remit the whole or part of the liability that rests on the purchaser to make payment of the levy. I draw the honourable senator’s attention to the point that clause 6 in its entirety deals with the liability of the purchaser. In other words, it relates to factories and milk marketing authorities, cheese manufacturing companies and the like. It does not deal with the responsibility of the producer to pay. Such being the case, Senator Cavanagh’s point about hardship is scarcely relevant. 1 make the further obsevation that no penalty is involved. The sub-clause relates only to remission of the liability to pay the levy. There appears to be no good reason to invoke the whole hierarchy of the judicial appeals system. In the case of failure to pay a bus fare, which was the example given by Senator Cavanagh, a penalty would apply, but such is not the case in clause 6 of this Bill.
– I agree with the Minister for Air (Senator Drake-Brockman). I think that we are in perfect agreement as to what does happen and what should happen. The point I make is that the draftsman has not put into the Bill language to ensure that what the Minister intends should happen will happen. First, the amount becomes payable 28 days after the last day of the month in which the product is sold by the producer. If no arrangement is made for the levy to be deducted from the cheque, the liability to meet that levy, as the Minister states is on the producer.
I take the matter no further. I accept the interpretation contained in the Minister’s reply on sub-clause (8.) of clause 6, and perhaps it makes me incorrect in seeking certain relief as no relief is necessary. But, to my mind, this interpretation makes the position of the producer more serious. Sub-clause (7.) provides:
Where, under this section, levy is paid on behalf of the producer of whole milk or butter fat by, or an amount in respect of levy payable by the producer of whole milk or butter fat is recovered by the Commonwealth from, another person, the producer is, to the extent of the amount so paid or recovered, discharged from so much of his liability to the Commonwealth to pay that levy as has not previously been discharged by virtue of sub-section (5.) of this section.
If the producer has paid the levy to the purchaser, then the producer has no further liability for that part of the payment that the purchaser has paid to the Government. The Government has an action against the purchaser. But sub-clause (8.) states:
Where the Minister is satisfied that it would, by reason of special circumstances, be unreasonable to require a person to pay, or to pay in full, an amount payable by him under sub-section (1.) of this section, the Minister may release that person in whole or in part from his liability, but such a release does not affect the liability of any other person.
As the Minister points out, this provision relates always to the purchaser. The producer has paid the purchaser. He may have deducted from the purchaser’s cheque such amount as is necessary to pay the levy.
In the case where the purchaser defaults on payment of the levy, sub-clause (8.) provides that where the purchaser has no money and it would be unreasonable to take action against the purchaser for recovery of the levy which has been paid by the producer, the Minister will take no further action against the purchaser but will take action then against the producer and demand from him payment of twice the payment necessary to meet the levy imposed under this legislation. Therefore, the penalty upon the producer is a double one. The situation is that the purchaser who has received his payment has not transmitted the amount of the levy to the Government. Because of his financial position or some other hardship the Government says that prosecution of him would be unreasonable. The Government says further: ‘We will not prosecute him; we will prosecute the producer.’ The producer has no hope of recovering from the purchaser the amount that he has paid. Surely the treatment of producers proposed by this sub-clause is not the way in which members of the Country Party would wish to see them treated.
– Once the levy has been deducted from the proceeds due to the producer, the producer then is considered by the Government to have met his liability. If that levy has not been passed on to the Government, the Government must approach the factory or the purchaser. It becomes the responsibility of the purchaser to pay the Commonwealth Government. If that levy has been deducted from the payment made by the purchaser to the producer, the producer is considered to have met his liability.
– Then tell me what the last part of sub-clause (8.) means?
– Subclause (8.) provides, (8.) Where the Minister is satisfied that it would, by reason of special circumstances, be unreasonable to require a person to pay, or to pay, in full, an amount payable by him under subsection (1.) of this section, the Minister may release that person in whole or in part from his liability-
– What does the rest mean?
– The sub-clause continues: . . but such a release docs not affect the liability of any other person.
– Who is ‘any other person’?
– That means ‘the factory’. I am told by my advisers that ‘him’ in that sub-clause means the factory’. I say to the honourable senator that we will not get anywhere on this question. I have given him as much information as I have. May I look at what the honourable senator has said, after this Bill is passed, and get the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) to write to him on it?
– No, not after this Bill has become law. I say that there is a defect in what is proposed. The Minister said: ‘We will make the Bill law and the Minister will write and tell you that this clause does not mean what you have interpreted it to mean’. For God’s sake, tell me if I am wrong on this question. The Minister does not do that. He has his advisers to assist him. The Minister pointed out in his previous reply that all of clause 6 relates to the purchaser. Clause 6 details how a purchaser can deduct the levy and how a purchaser becomes responsible to the Government. The Minister states that if a purchaser defaults the liability at all times is on the producer. But sub-clause (8.) of clause 6 provides that where it would be unreasonable to expect payment from a purchaser, who has the liability to pay, the purchaser is not proceeded against to obtain payment.
This does not discharge the liability of some other person because this sub-clause provides: . . but such a release doss noi affect the liability of any other person.
I asked who ‘any other person’ was. I was told thai the words ‘any other person’ mean the firm’. What firm? Is it the firm which received the money that has the liability to pay the Government? It is found that it would be unreasonable to prosecute that firm for the recovery of money from that purchaser. Some other mystery firm is introduced. Because firm A did not pay the levy, is the Government to seek the payment from purchaser B who did not purchase the producer’s milk? Surely no other interpretation is available but that the responsibility again falls back on the producer.
I am trying to protect the producer from the liability to pay double the levy. If he has paid the levy, he should not be required to pay that same amount again. If the Minister can show me any value in the concluding words in sub-clause (8.), . . but such a release does not affect the liability of any other person*, well and good. But if I believe that there is hardship imposed by this legislation, I would be neglecting my duty if I were to let it pass through its remaining stages and await an explanation afterwards from the Minister. If a hardship exists, it should be explained and cleared up before we are asked to pass the legislation. I ask the Minister to consider the adjournment of the consideration of these clauses. I do not know whether the legislation is so important that it must be passed immediately. We have plenty Df legislation with which to proceed. I ask the Minister to adjourn its consideration until he obtains a thorough explanation and justification from the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) in respect of the words used in these sub-clauses.
Clauses agreed to.
Clause 8 - (Recovery of levy).
– Clause 8 provides: (1).) The following amounts may be recovered by the Commonwealth as debts due to the Commonwealth:
The Opposition opposes sub-clause (2.). I move:
Delete Sub-clause (2.). The Opposition has always opposed the conviction of a defendant on a statement which appears in a publication, and also the taking of the onus of proof from the prosecution. We agree that if levies are not paid some action should be taken by the Commonwealth. In such proceedings the Minister or the prosecution should prove that the defendant sold milk and that he refused to pay or had not paid the levy. Because we have the right of inspection, this can be easily proved by calling for the books of the factory to which the milk was sold. Evidence can be called to the effect that the milk was sold to the factory. It is not difficult to prove that the milk was sold, and it would be very simple to prove that the levy was not paid or that the Commonwealth did not receive the levy. Having proved that, it is then the responsibility of the defendant to prove his innocence on the case that had been presented.
When someone is taken to court, prima facie he is guilty of having sold X gallons of milk and of not paying the levy because the summons states this. He has to prove either that he did not sell the milk or that he did pay the levy. This is a complete reversal of the principle of onus of proof resting on the Crown. It is completely contrary to the British system of justice. It is contrary to the system under which we operate in Australia in relation to prosecutions. Placing the onus on the defendant is permitted at times when a matter would be extremely difficult to prove otherwise, but there is no difficulty in relation to proof in this case. The Government should accept its responsibility of proving its case when it prosecutes a person in the courts. Consequently, the Opposition will oppose clause 8 (2.).
– The Government opposes the amendment moved by Senator Cavanagh. This type of clause has appeared in levy collection legislation and has been the subject of criticism in earlier legislation which has established research schemes. These laws and justice provisions have been discussed previously with the Attorney-General’s Department during the debate on the pig and dried fruits research legislation. The Bill before us conforms with other levy collection research legislation, and experience from the existing butter fat levy has shown that the averment provision is used most infrequently. When proceedings are initiated in the court the Commonwealth may find that it has to make an averment of certain evidence. In most instances the facts on which there is liability to pay the levy are facts peculiarly within the knowledge of the purchaser or the dairy company, and it is difficult for the Commonwealth to ascertain these facts. Clearly it is impractical to have the oversight of all transactions either by posting inspectors at all dairies and purchasing authorities or by taking some other such action. The averment clause thus assists the Department to carry out its responsibility to collect levy payments without causing harassment of the purchasers or dairy factories.
It should be recognised clearly that the averment relates only to the facts of the case, that is, to the evidence. It is open to the person charged to bring before the court his own opposing evidence should he wish to argue that the matters averred are incorrectly stated. The Commonwealth cannot aver that a person is guilty. The Commonwealth in fact collects levy payments at the request of the industry for the benefit of the industry. It is not collecting a tax for Commonwealth revenue purposes. The Government would seriously have to reconsider its role in the scheme if the collection of levy moneys incurred high costs and administrative difficulties. This could have only adverse effects on the industry. In these circumstances it does not seem improper or unfair for the Commonwealth to avail itself of an averment provision when bringing proceedings against anyone believed to have attempted to evade the obligation of paying the levy. Therefore the Government cannot accept the amendment and will oppose it.
– We accept the fact that the Government cannot accept the amendment, and because we disagree we will have to vote on it. But I do not want the Minister to accept that he has explained the position. It was the most ridiculous explanation I have heard. He said in effect: ‘We have always had this provision in other legislation imposing levies. Because we went wrong in relation to imposing one levy previously we will continue to go wrong’. The Minister has never tried to show that there is some justification for this averment clause. The only justification he has given is that the Government has the big responsibility of having the oversight of all milk sales transactions, and of knowing when a person is not paying the levy on those sales. I only hope that the Minister has knowledge of the selling activities of a producer before proceedings are instituted. The Minister is saying: ‘Because we know nothing about it, because we have no proof, we act on suspicion. Bill Brown, a dairy farmer, has never done an honest thing in his life and it would be out of character for him to pay the levy, so lel us charge him with not paying the levy and let him prove that he has paid it’.
The only reason that the Minister has given for this averment clause is that he does not have oversight of these transactions. He says in effect: ‘We are not looking into these transactions so, without knowledge of whether the law is being broken’ - this is on the Minister’s own admission - ‘we will accuse the person and let him prove his innocence of the charge’. The Minister then went on to point out - I thought everyone would have known this - that the clause relates to an averment of evidence, not an averment of guilt. I understood him to take up the position that because these things were stated in the summons the person charged was guilty and that the judge’s duty then was only to inflict the penalty without considering whether the person charged could prove his innocence. Of course, the averment can relate only to evidence but the averment constitutes evidence. That is the whole point of the clause. Sub-clause (2.) reads in part: an averment or statement in the complaint, claim or declaration of the plaintiff is evidence of the matter so averred or stated.
If the prosecutor avers that someone sold 1,000 gallons of milk last month and did not pay the levy, that evidence is proof until the defendant exonerates himself only by proving otherwise. If he owns a cow or produces any milk this is evidence on which a conviction can be recorded against him and a penalty imposed. This is wrong. I am informed that the Opposition has opposed similar provisions in all other levy collection Bills. The Government will not budge on the question. I cannot accept that additional work is involved for the Government, insofar as suspicion of guilt must exist before a prosecution is instituted. Therefore all I can say is that we will oppose this provision.
– I have a question, before you resume your seat. While the Opposition has opposed this type of provision over a period, can you cite any instance of a farmer complaining of it or of unjust treatment, during all these years?
– Senator Webster is in close consultation with the farmers. I have never spoken to a farmer who has been prosecuted on this score. It would surprise me if there had been any successful prosecutions in which the defendant had not protested. I think one would find that they did exist. Apparently, Senator Webster does not recognise the possibility that the provision could be used capriciously against someone. Why include it in the legislation when, as he says, it is not needed because no farmer has ever complained? If one has been prosecuted, it is suggested, he has accepted his guilt. It was guilt that the prosecutor could have proved and which is being proved in every other type of prosecution. It appears that this provision is used more frequently in the collection of levies. As the honourable senator has said, it would appear that it is never abused, but why include it in the legislation if there is no need for it? There is always a danger and I think that anybody who is protecting civil liberties must be prepared to see that we do not write into legislation any provision that could cause injustice or harm to an individual. Irrespective of whether there have been complaints, the provision should be omitted. The responsibility should be on the Crown to prove its case.
– I rise particularly because of the interjection of Senator Webster. He should have heard the Minister state that the averment provision is used most infrequently. If it is used infrequently, I suggest that it is for the Minister to tell us when it is used and not for us to have to tell the Government. I think that is a fair proposition. I do not know that we should be taxed with the task of informing the Government of when the provision is used against farmers. In reverse, as the Minister has said that it is used most infrequently, I suggest that it is his responsibility to allay Senator Webster’s fears and to answer his question.
– In the dairy industry the factories which are the purchasers of milk have been most cooperative over the years. My advisers do not know of a case in which we have had to use the provision under discussion but with other levy collection legislation we have had to use similar provisions. Therefore the Government believes that the provision should be included in this measure and it opposes the amendment.
– In what circumstances has it been necessary in other legislation?
– In the poultry levy collection legislation.
– The hen tax.
– Yes. It is very difficult to find out how many hens a particular producer has. In this instance the producer delivers his milk to a factory and the factory has all the records. Over the years the factories have been only too co-operative when departmental inspectors have wanted to look at their books. They have said: There they are. Have a look at them.’ There has not been a case on record where the provision has been used.
– I accept what the Minister has frankly said, but is there not every reason to delete the clause from the Bill? The only excuse for an averment provision is that it is absolutely necessary to meet some special circumstances, because the averment provisions run counter to the whole trend of our law - that before a person can be made to pay some such amount it must be proved that he owes it. The averment provision is designed to remove that necessity for proof and, in effect, to require a person to disprove that he owes a certain amount. I am conscious of the fair approach of the Min’ster but we have raised these questions before when dealing with rural Bills. I would hope that honourable senators oppo site who are supposed to support a Liberal-Country Party philosophy would understand that these kinds of provisions are quite contrary to that philosophy. In essence they are contrary to the rule of law which is part of the philosophy of all parties in this chamber, and honourable senators opposite ought to understand that when raising these issues. This is not simply a party political exercise.
The amendment is designed to eradicate from the legislation the provisions which we think are dangerous in the precedents that they set. I hope that more attention will be paid not only by the Minister - and he is now paying attention - but ako by others in the chamber to the provision about which we are complaining. If there is no necessity for the provision, we ought to see to it that it is not included. If it could be justified for a particular industry as the matter could not be handled otherwise, we could then see the argument for an averment provision. However, if it is not necessary for an industry in the ordinary course of its affairs such an averment provision should not be included. I hope that the message will sink in that there ought to be opposition to the creeping in of this provision.
There ought to be opposition to its extension from one piece of legislation to another. Although they were justified in other legislation by saying that there was a necessity for them, this is a clear case, fairly conceded by the Minister, in which it really is unnecesary. Why has it been included? In some rare cases difficulties might arise but that is not an excuse for the provision. I think it is wrong to say that as a matter of course an averment provision will be included in the measure simply because it was included in other measures although it is not necessary in this instance. It ought not to be included and we will continue to oppose averment provisions. We think that they should not be in other legislation and it is quite clear that there is no justification for their inclusion in this measure.
I know that the Minister has paid attention to these matters, as has the Department of Primary Industry. We welcome that attention, but we remain convinced that such provisions should go out. Unless there is an overwhelming case for the inclusion of this kind of provision we think that it ought to go out and that honourable senators opposite should join us in that viewpoint. The Government would have a stronger case if in the circumstances of a particular industry it said; ‘we really need this provision here, because we are dealing with this particular industry’. Justification breaks down if this course is followed in the case of every industry whether or not the provision is needed. These things should not be regarded as technicalities. Averment provisions have been regarded as extremely important parts of the law. This principle should not be broken down just because these are rural Bills. We find that there is a tendency to include such provisions for the sake of convenience when really they are not warranted. We suggest this legislation would be considerably improved if the Government agreed to delete this provision.
– I have followed very closely what the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) said. This is not the first time that he has made this plea to the Government. The Government does not include this provision without reason; it has very good reason for doing so. I have been asked previously in the Senate about the history of this matter and I have given that history. I point out that in this Bill we are extending the area to include whole milk producers. The Government does not know whether what has happened in the past can be relied on to happen in the future. The levy is the responsibility of all producers, not just 90 per cent of them. Every producer must bear his share of responsibility to pay this levy if he delivers milk to a factory or to a depot. Because this Bill will operate in a wider field and the Government does not know what producers will do in the future, and because of its experience with other levy collection Bills, the Government believes that this sub-clause should be included.
I well know the views of Senator Murphy and his colleagues sitting behind him and I understand them. However the Government, in its wisdom, believes that this sub-clause should be included in this Bill. This provision has not been included simply as a matter of course; the fact is that the Government has very good reason for including it. All I can say to Senator Murphy is that I have taken on board what he has said. I know that this matter will be a subject of discussion at a later date, and where possible in regard to future levy Bills the Government will bear in mind what Senator Murphy said.
That the words proposed to be omitted (Senator Cavanagh’s amendment) be omitted.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Prowse)
Question so resolved in the negative. Clause agreed to.
Remainder of Bill - by leave - taken as a whole.
– I refer to clause 9, which reads:
– (1.) A person shall not -
Penalty: Two hundred dollars. (2.) A prosecution for an offence against this section may be commenced at any time within three years after the commission of the offence.
In sub-clause (2.), leave out ‘three years’, insert one year’.
The Opposition is of the belief that 3 years is too long a period in which to discover that a breach of the Act has occurred. If a breach has occurred, there should be prompt prosecution. We seek to insert the words ‘one year’ instead of the words ‘3 years’ for a time limitation on prosecution.
– The Government will oppose the amendment moved by Senator Cavanagh to clause 9. I think the honourable senator is aware of the debate that has occurred before and will recall that in some other research levy collection Acts prosecution for an offence could be commenced at any time. In the Pig Slaughter Levy Collection Bill 1971 and the Dried Vine Fruits Levy Collection Bill 1971 the Government introduced this provision which stated that prosecution could be commencced at any time within 5 years. The Government did this because of the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) and his colleagues during debates on previous research Bills. The Government tried to satisfy the Senate by introducing the term of 5 years.
It will be recalled that at that time the Opposition moved a similar amendment to the amendment moved today by Senator Cavanagh. I obtained an adjournment of the debate to discuss this matter with the Minister and his departmental officers. 1 returned and said that the Department did not believe that it could operate with the limitation of 12 months because quite often it was not aware of the offence until some time after it was committed. If there were a limitation of one year the only alternative for the Departmental officers would be to institute prosecution immediately for that offence. At the present time the Department likes to write to the offender and remind him of what has happened and perhaps settle the matter without any prosecution. The Department believes that it cannot do this in less than the 3-year period. In the case of the Pig Slaughter Levy Collection Bill and the
Dried Vine Fruits Levy Collection Bill the Australian Democratic Labor Party accepted that this 3 year limitation must apply. It supported the Government in that situation. The position is not so much that the Government does not want to accept the amendment but that the Department believes it is impractical to operate within the period of 12 months. Because of that experience, the Government cannot accept the Opposition’s amendment.
– It is curious that the rights of the people should be raised in these primary industry Bills. We have had raised the experience in regard to the powers of arrest, the averment provisions and now the limitation upon prosecution. Originally, the power of entry without warrant was an alarming provision that would not be permitted in other areas. We were successful in having those provisions amended so that now a warrant is required. We think that the provisions in regard to averment represent an encroachment upon the rights of citizens who are affected by them. We have not been successful in having them changed. In regard to prosecutions, the Bills originally - some of the Acts still contain this - provided that a prosecution could commence at any time. These are mere summary prosecutions.
The general law of the Commonwealth as laid down in the Crimes Act is more severe in itself than the general provisions contained in the Justices Acts of the States, which provide a general limitation of 6 months for prosecution on any summary matter. The Commonwealth has a general limitation set out in the Crimes Act that where no other provision is made the time limit will be 12 months. This applies to a multitude of offences under Commonwealth law. The whole generality of offences is covered by this 12-month limitation. All the reasons for rejection of the amendment which the Minister advanced applied to these various other matters. Why should the producers and the people affected be singled out in this way? Originally, there was no time limit; finally, we have brought it down to 3 years. That does not satisfy the Opposition because it is concerned about the principle. If there ought to be a general limitation of 12 months, that ought to apply to everybody.
The Government would not satisfy us if it made the period 15 months. What the Opposition wants is the rule of law running through these matters. There should be the same limitation. That is why we are taking this attitude. I want the Minister for Air (Senator Drake-Brockman) to understand it.
Further, if the general limitation for summary Federal offences were 6 months we would not be satisfied if the time limit in this case were 12 months. We would say that there should be the same general limitation. The considerations which the Minister has advanced could be advanced in regard to these various other matters. This is why we are not prepared to accept the position. We will pursue our view until we obtain satisfaction.
That the words proposed to be left out (Senator Cavanagh’s amendment) be left out.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator E. W. Prowse)
Question so resolved in the negative.
Remainder of Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator DrakeBrockman) read a third time.
Sitting suspended from 5.59 to 8 p.m.
Debate resumed from 17 May (vide page 1733), on motion by Senator Greenwood:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– This Bill is the second legislative step within a few weeks towards imposing reactionary laws on trade unions and their members. The Government has used a fine tooth comb technique to make trade union activity more difficult and complex. That may account for the presence in the chamber tonight of the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood). It is unusual for him to be in charge of a Bill of this nature. The Minister who represents the Minister for Labour and National Service is the person who usually handles Bills of this nature in the Senate. It may be because of the Attorney-General’s particular interest in this legislation and the fact that I understand, he drafted some of the clauses of this Bill that he has responsibility for the passage of this legislation through the Senate. I wanted to make that point early because my colleagues and I thought it was rather significant that the Minister for Works (Senator Wright), who usually looks after legislation in this chamber concerning the portfolio of Labour and National Service, is not in charge of this Bill tonight.
This Bill follows closely upon the recent restrictions imposed upon the. Government’s own servants. I refer to the recent enactments within the framework of the Public Service Arbitration Act. Honourable senators will remember that under that legislation, which the Labor. Opposition strongly opposed, extraordinary powers were given to the Government and its Ministers to stand down all classes of public servants. In that legislation the Government put into effect its policy of creating tighter laws not only to break strikes but also to ensure that maximum limitations possible were placed on the efforts of the
Australian Council of Trade Unions and the white collar organisations to maintain the wage standards of their members. That is on record. The Bill is also an indication of the Government’s double standards in its philosophy because it will enforce harsher laws designed more and more to reduce conciliation. The Government’s double standards apply to wage increases on the one hand and cost increases on the other. That is very significant. lt is rather strange that a government which reacts to wage increases should run to the arbitration machinery in order to make tighter laws and yet do nothing about increased costs. By its own actions the Government is increasing prices. It has no prices policy and its Ministers give only lip service to the stabilising of prices. It sanctifies its free enterprise policy, which it often refers to, by the so-called philosophy of law enforcement of industrial relations. The Government influences employers to resist agreements with their counterparts in industry. As the ACTU has stated, the Government has produced an Alice in Wonderland situation of fighting inflation by raising prices. Costs are increased by the Government’s economic policies. The Government sets the economic climate. It is the arbiter of what should be done within the community and what should be done within the economy. Invariably there are increased costs in every commercial, industrial and governmental activity, both State and federal. These have resulted from policies which from year to year the Government says are designed to correct the inflationary spiral. Every budget we have had in recent years has added increased charges to every activity in the economy. The State governments, which suffer from insufficient federal funds, add their quota to the spiral. Before the arbitration tribunals, the Government always warns against excessive wage increases; yet it imposes heavier burdens on citizens, industry, producers and the State governments. That is what these laws are all about.
This Bill is designed to stop the resistance by workers - the members of the socalled militant unions, as they are referred to in the other place by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) - who are attempting to maintain standards in a period when costs are rising. I suggest that the present actions by the tottering coalition Government are designed to throw on the shoulders of not only the blue collar workers but also the white collar workers in business and Commonwealth employment all the burdens which have resulted from its mismanagement of the economy. I shall repeat what has happened in the past few months: We had the position where the Government was going to run a law and order campaign. It was going to declare that all the problems in the economy resulted from the pressures of the wage earning section of the community. Belatedly, it came down with 2 Bills. The Public Service Arbitration Bill was the first one. In it the Government had what could be called a dummy run on the arbitration question. More and more people in the Commonwealth Public Service are only just realising the great impact of the Public Service Bill. They are only just appreciating that any Minister, including the Prime Minister can, under that legislation, order a stand down if it is considered that there is in existence a dispute which affects the Commonwealth Public Service. When the Commonwealth public servants realise the impact of that Bill and this Bill they will certainly react more strongly against the Government than they have in the past.
I think the Government intends to tie down the unions completely, to subvert the traditional role of the conciliation and arbitration tribunals and generally to make it more difficult for organised labour to maintain wage and industry standards. There is no other group in our community which is subject to so many restrictive laws. One could go through the names of all of the groups which are confronting the Government about increased costs without finding one which is subjected to the same sort of restrictive laws to which the trade union movement is now being subjected. The trade union movement is being subjected to many attacks from the Government and its spokesmen. Statements have been and are frequently being made by not only the present Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and the present Minister for Labour and National Service but also by the former Prime Minister and former Ministers for Labour and National Service in which attacks are launched on unions that are out to maintain the wage rates of their members or to get something for them in a period of inflation or because of increased productivity. The Government sees the real inflationary pressure as coming from the wage-earning section of the community. Act after Act is promulgated to impede the functions of the trade unions. After all the functions of the trade unions are primarily to protect the standards of their members and to maintain wage levels. The Government says that it encourages the trade unions. What the Government wants is tame cat unions; it does not want active unions. The role of a trade union in Australia is no different to the role of a trade union in any other country, lt is to maintain the standards of and protect its members. As we know, in many countries the unions are doing that in a more militant manner than it is being done in Australia.
The Prime Minister has staled that in recent times the Commonwealth has intervened in arbitration hearings in recognition of the increasing gravity of the problem of wage induced inflation and that the intervention has been more frequent and more vigorous than for many years past. We know that. But for years there has been no vigour by the Government or its Ministers in respect to time lost through industrial accidents, which by far exceeds the time lost in industrial disputes. In 1970. 2.4 million man days were lost as a result of industrial disputes. At least 3.4 million man days were lost ‘that year and are lost every year as a result of industrial accidents. The Government has not even achieved a uniform statistical scheme to record and report on industrial accidents Jet alone a strong policy to reduce the number of accidents on the job. I know that most honourable senators seek the services of the Legislative Research Section of the Parliamentary Library for statistics on certain matters. Anyone who has tried to obtain from it figures in respect to industrial accidents will confirm what I. am about to say. 1 have just sought from it some up-to-date figures on this subject. The following preamble was given to the figures with which I was supplied:
The statistics shown below for industrial accidents are those supplied by, State authorities. Workers compensation legislation differs in the several States. Therefore there is a lack of uniformity in coverage from State to State. This seriously impairs the comparability of these statistics and it is not reasonable to draw conclusions regarding the incidence of industrial accidents among the States.
The Government has known of this situation for years. Specialists in its own Department have advised it in writing, lt has been made public that these figures are not available and that there should be at least a base of figures on which to make the calculation. The Minister makes a calculation with which we do not disagree. But 1 am pointing to the fact that the Government, with the employees and the employers and everybody in the community could make great savings because every Party and everybody in the community declares their objective to be to reduce accidents on the job. But nothing is done. The Government singles out unions for harsher laws. I shall repeat what the Minister for Labour and National Service. Mr Lynch, said recently about accidents:
Approximately 270:000 workers each year suffer injuries which cause them to be away from their jobs for one or more days and the total time lost from these injuries amounts to about 680,000 man weeks per year. When related to the employed work force these accidents occur at a rate approaching 40 cases for every, million man hours worked and claims in connection with these injuries totalled over $!06m in 1968-69.
So the figures are there for the Government to see. It announced them and did nothing about them. 1 suggest that this is an area where there ought to be common activity and where some correctives could be made. The production of wealth which would result from the application of the extra man power would be quite immense. Instead, the Government takes the oldfashioned remedies. The Government goes back on its former declaration of modifying the arbitration laws. It introduces new, repressive laws. In addition we have the economic loss due to unemployment. We know that the Government’s policy has created a new pool of unemployed. In fact - these figures are acknowledged by everybody - there is a loss of 13.8 million man days for every 60,000 unemployed workers. I ask honourable senators to consider this pool of lost production because of industrial accidents and unemployment hundreds of millions of dollars a year are lost. This could be corrected by a government. Why has not the Government taken the stand that it should take? This is an area where with co-operation from other sections of the community, from the great trade union movement and from the employers a satisfactory result would be produced. The Government should turn its attention to this matter. It could take corrective action against increasing costs. But it does nothing. It points to the fact that the cost of industrial accidents in Australia for 1968-69 was $106m.
– It would be interesting to know what the Australian Labor Party would do.
– The Australian Labor Party makes no bones about its attitude to industrial accidents.
– We are talking about inflation. What would it do?
– I ask the honourable senator not to talk about inflation to me. I am talking about what the Government proposes to ask the workers to do in a period of inflation. We want to know what the Government is going to do about the economy without imposing burdens on the workers. Of course, then we receive information about strikes and stoppages. The Minister has said that the actions of militant unions become a threat of wage induced inflation. That is the great crime in the community. The great crime of the workers is to try to achieve something like a decent wage standard in an expansive economy which has been hamstrung by this Government. The Minister, in his statement of December, referred to the great losses of time in other countries. He puts this down to a collective bargaining system. But let me refer to what he said in paragraph 25 of his December document which reads:
In many countries where the alternative of collective bargaining operates the industry situation is far worse than in Australia. Statistics compiled from ILO sources indicate that for the 5 years 1965 to 1969 the average annual number of man.days lost per 1,000 employees in the mining, manufacturing, construction and transport industries in Australia was 4S6, compared with 1,556 for Canada, 1,232 for the United States and 1,574 for Italy. Furthermore, most countries are showing a rising trend in time lost through industrial disputes. For example, the number of man-days lost in 1970 was at least 30 per cent higher in the United States, about 60 per cent higher in the United Kingdom and 100 per cent higher in New Zealand than in the previous year.
We know that there is on record statements not only by the President of our Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Commission but also by former Ministers of the Government. For example, in 1969 when Mr Bury was the Minister for Labour and National Service he is reported to have said:
Time lost because of industrial disputes in Australia compared favourably with most industrialised communities, . . . Mr Bury said yesterday.
That was 14th March 1969. The report continues:
We can justly claim that Australia has evolved an orderly system of dealing with industrial problems,’ he said. . . . ‘The smooth functioning of the system and the encouraging record of agreement and co-operation within it have provided an industrial relations climate favourable to economic growth and industrial development.’
But we know that since that time the views of the Government have changed, it no longer supports employee-employer agreements except on a restricted basis. That sort of system in industrial relations has lost its weight with the Government. No longer will it agree to agreements and consent awards being made to provide favourable conditions in industry despite the fact that some of these agreements and consent awards will provide a very stable situation. In 1969 and 1970 the Government accepted the overtures of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and white collar organisations to relax penal powers. Of course this has gone into recess. I shall quote a statement made by the President of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission for the year ended 13th August 1971. At page 10 he said:
I am well aware that most Australians accept as a fact that strikes and threats of strikes have been increasing over recent years but I doubt if this acceptance is well based if increased population and work force are taken into account. Nevertheless although there is cause for some concern in this regard it should be remembered that the important thing for Australia as a trading nation is how the rest of the world with which she is competing is behaving in similar fields. Most of our competitors have been plagued by; strikes just as much if not more than we have and there can be no proper suggestion that over recent years our position is becoming worse than that of our competitors in this regard. This does not mean that we should not do everything in our power to prevent strikes but it should not be forgotten that Australia has not, generally speaking, had the long drawn out strikes which other countries have had in the last few years. This is largely because the Commission has managed to bring parties together and has had strikes settled at a much earlier time than they would have been settled if the parties had been left to ‘slog it out’ for themselves. This is, from the community and industrial point of view, a service by the Commission generally taken for granted although it is of immense value to the community, needs patient and efficient organisation and dedication, and takes up a great portion of our time. . . .
Reading that statement, can anybody believe that the Arbitration Commission or the specialists in the community have supported what, the Government proposes in these laws? That sort of relationship, as far as the Government is concerned, is dead. The proposition advanced by the President of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in 1965 in relation to prosecuting agreements being a good thing - 1 have referred to what Mr Bury said when he was Minister for Labour and National Service - is also dead. But let me read what the President said in 1965 and repeated in the following year. He said:
So far as stoppages are concerned and particularly those in the over-award payment area I still have the opinion I reported last year that sufficient use is not being made of the provisions of Part X of the Act allowing for industrial agreements containing grievance procedures being entered into and certified pursuant to the Act. This year there were no Agreements of this type filed in the Commission. In view of the importance I attach to the subject I repeat in part what I said last year:
The only industrial agreement contemplated by Part X ia one for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes by conciliation and arbitration. For some reason there have been in the life-time of the Commission comparatively few agreements filed pursuant to Part X. This seems a pity because the provisions of this Part give employers and employees even in an “off” period when they are not in disputation an opportunity of arranging amongst themselves a code to be followed for the prevention and settlement of disputes in an orderly and peaceful manner without loss of work and pay. As an example of such a code agreed upon in a particular case 1 paraphrase summarily an agreement filed under Part X this year in which a number of unions were parties. This agreement provided that the principle of conciliation by direct negotiation should be adopted for the purpose of the prevention and settlement of any industrial dispute that might arise between the parties; that the Federal and State officials of the unions would do all in their power to prevent precipitate action by employees and would lake early and active part in discussions and negotiations aimed at preventing or settling disputes in accordance with the agreed procedure set out in the next paragraphs; that any dispute or claim should be dealt with in the following manners -
The matter should be submitted by the shop steward or accredited representative of the union concerned to the Industrial Officer or other appropriate representative of the employer.
If not then settled the matter should be formally submitted by the State Secretary or other appropriate official of the union to the General Manager or his representative.
If agreement had not been reached the matter should then be discussed between the General Manager or his representative and State officials of the union.
In the event of discussion failing, the Senior Commissioner to be advised and requested to arrange for a Conciliator or Commissioner to consider the matter and the parties agree hereby to abide by any resultant decision.
During the above procedure work would continue at the instruction of the employer and no party would be prejudiced as to final settlement by such continuance of work.’
It would appear that bargaining about overaward payments Ls going to continue in certain industries. Irrespective of whether this is a good thing or not it is in my opinion highly desirable that when it does occur it be conducted in as orderly a manner as possible and without industrial disruption. The practice of having agreements with codes similar to the one I have paraphrased should help in these respects. The community should gain but surely it would be helpful also to organized employers and employees. The interests of other unionists and employers than those directly concerned are often Involved and Industrial strength should not be the deciding factor.
This has been reported by the President of the Commission on many occasions but the Government has never taken notice, lt is now acting to prevent such agreements in certain areas. The Labor Opposition supports the ACTU and other organisations - the Commonwealth Council of Public Service Organisations and the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations - in pressing for a greater degree of conciliation. The system should in law and in practice be based on conciliation. Employers and unions should be encouraged to settle their differences by these processes. In recent years and under a different Minister for Labour and National Service some recognition was given to the failure of sanctions, and in fact some amendments were made because of this, but now the clock is being turned back.
I am sure honourable senators are fully aware of what our shadow Minister for Labour, Mr Clyde Cameron, has stated to be the policy of the Labor Party. We believe in that basic principle. He will be the Minister for Labour after the next election, and in that case he will revert the whole thinking on legislation back to conciliation, where it should be based. Senator Gair, who is seeking to interject, has had difficulties in his own Party. He will continue to have them. He will have electoral difficulties, too, I suggest, in respect of his policies. I suggest that anybody with a long experience of union affairs should be the first to do as your counterpart, Mr Deputy President, did in ACSPA, lt is on record that Mr Maynes objected to the legislation, and we would like to know whether you intend to accept his viewpoint. Let me refer to what the Government is saying, lt always says that inflation is wage induced. It talks of nothing else, with the possible exception of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) on 6th September 1971, who, when talking of the problems of full employment, said:
Full employment can contribute to inflation by generating sectional labour shortages, by strengthening the bargaining power of organised labour and by creating market conditions which facilitate price increases.
There are not many statements by Government spokesmen on these matters, but when they do speak, they always talk of costs being pushed up by workers and unionists. They say nothing about costs being increased by the Government’s action or mismanagement. However, that does not apply to all its members. We know that some members in the other place and others in this place have hit the jackpot in respect of this issue and got to the real kernel of the argument. I refer to a statement by the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) on 29th February 1972. At page 365 of Hansard, Mr Cameron is reported as saying:
Wage increases are the reflection of inflation that already has been brought about. They do not come before inflation; they come after inflation, and unless the workers receive an increase in wages once inflation is rampant, their living standards must go down. The Minister for Education and Science talked about public interest and said that the Government would invervene and oppose the 9 per cent flow on to the Third Division of the Commonwealth Public Service. I remind the Minister that some of the people in the Third Division of the Commonwealth Public Serive now receive only $68 a week and they cannot live on this wage. This Government has no right to tell people living on $68 a week that they have no entitlement to a flow-on, because how can people live on this wage? If the Government cannot show how people can live on it it has no right to tell Third Division officers receiving a miserable $68 a week that they should not receive a flow on. This Government does not mind pushing up the salaries of the tall poppies. It does not mind pushing up the salaries of those who have incomes of the order of $400 a week. They get their increases. There was no question of wage restraint in that instance. But as soon as the bottom rung of the Third Division asks for a 9 per cent increase on a miserable $68 a week the Government calls out for wage restraint, ls it any wonder that people - particularly the 64 per cent of the work force or 3 million employees in Australia - have ‘had’ this Government and are determined that they will throw it out?
There is no doubt that that is the real truth of the situation. I compliment Senator Townley on his maiden speech in this place only a few days ago. It was a great speech. He referred to some of the matters that cause inflation. At page 1762 of Hansard he is recorded as saying:
High rates of profit by Australian companies are due in part to high tariffs combined with a lack of effective or proven legislation concerning restrictive trade prcatices. The link between absence of competition and rate of price increase has been demonstrated. For industries that are dominated by a few firms, increases in price have more to do wilh excess tariffs than with excessive wage rises. We cannot stop inflation by just bashing the unions. Measures to reduce tariffs and increase competition and efficiency are infinitely more important.
These are some of the things that the Government always avoids in these areas. Recently, the Chairman of the Tariff Board, Mr Rattigan, in a speech to members of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Sydney, said:
Unused’ tariff protection was responsible for about 40 per cent of price increases in highly concentrated industries during periods of peak activity, according to the results of a study by the Tariff Board which were published yesterday.
The article continues:
An empirical study of the importance of unused tariffs as a factor in generating price increases in Australia was recently undertaken with the Board’, Mr Rattigan said. The results indicate that for highly concentrated industries the existence and extent of unused tariff protection has a marked influence on price changes, especially during periods of buoyant activity.’
One of the few statements which a Minister has made about this matter was delivered on 17th December 1970. Mr Snedden was then Minister for Labour and National Service. In a Press release, we read, amongst other things:
Mr Snedden referred to 2 speeches he made in October this year in which he said that responsibility for controlling cost-push inflation was not one simply for the unions. In a speech to the Institution of Credit Managers he said: ‘Employers must demonstrate that they are willing to play the rules of the game themselves. A policy of “charging-what-the-market-can-bear” is no more justifiable when practised by businesses than by unions’.
In March of this year, the Secretary Gen eral of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Mr Emile van Lennep visited Australia. On the question of inflationary policies an article reported a Press conference that he held states:
Mr van Lennep said at a Press conference that the organisation’s secretariat and member countries had come to the conclusion that it remained essential to avoid excessive demand in national economics in order to maintain a proper cost-price performance.
The report continues:
This would include not only price-incomes policy but also manpower policies, effective policies against restrictive business practices or more generally effective policies to promote competition both within the economy and from outside.
Tariff policies and more generally Government policies in agriculture, including subsidies, could also play a role in this.
The ‘Manufacturers News’ reported part of his speech on 15th April 1972. It referred to it in these terms:
In a comprehensive report entitled: ‘InflationThe Present Problem’ the OECD said: ‘A characteristic feature of the last 18 months has been the way inflation has been transmitted from country to country via foreign trade, capital movements and the spread of inflationary expectations. There is no single or simple panacea for inflation. What is needed is a global approach in each country encompassing not only firm demand management, prices-income policy, active manpower policy and competition policy but also intensified efforts to identify and eliminate inefficiency. . . .
Its wages policy is a farce and more likely to increase industrial tension and wage demands than reduce them. What union is going to accept restraint on wages in a situation where the Government will do nothing about prices and incomes other than wages? At best such a policy might shove some of the burden of fighting inflation on to the shoulders of some public servants and weaker, low-paid workers.
I referred earlier to some of the recognition over the years of the defects in the present arbitration system by former Ministers. They have accepted with the Australian Council of Trade Unions and other people the need to reform that system. The Labor Party has moved in this place for improvements to that system based on measures proposed in our policy. I consider that what the Government is doing is exploiting the ACTU and the national white collar organisations. On the one hand, the Minister is making use of the constructive abilities and experience of the trade union movement, including the ACTU and other unions. We find, after the Government seeks the intervention of the ACTU in national disputes - which it does often, as we know and which always succeeds in settling those disputes - that the organisations representing national employers have more success in getting the ears of the ministry than the Labor group has. The Minister and his supporters in the Government always seem to be able to effect what the employers want or what a particular employer wants in respect of laws. Then the ACTU and the white collar workers’ organisations are told that the talks are concluded.
I refer to some of the things which the ACTU has done. Everybody knows that one of the arguments that the Minister for Labour and National Service used in his statement on the need for harsher laws was the State Electricity Commission strike which was initiated in Victoria. The person who solved the SEC strike was Bob Hawke. The person who has solved most of the other national strikes in recent months is Bob Hawke. It is not precise to say Bob Hawke alone; the qualification, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, should be added to his name. In addition, every day of the week the trades and labour councils in the various States work to avoid and to minimise stoppages. This is a mechanism of the ACTU. They are carrying out this work constructively. On most occasions, their work is felt also in getting agreement with employers because, extreme right wing employers apart a great number of employers in the community are willing to do a deal with the trade union movement. They would prefer to do this than to have a Government such as this one intervene because all that this Government is doing in respect of these matters is playing a political game.
The Minister talks about demarcation. It was only within the last few weeks that the ACTU, after efforts over a long period, advised on the methods to be adopted within the trade union movement with respect to demarcation. Its discussions with the shipowners to establish recommendations which will cut out demarcation disputes in the shipbuilding industry have continued for more than 2 years. No courts can do this; if a reduction is to be achieved in the number of demarcation disputes, the unions and the employers will do it, and they will do it much better with a government which believes in industrial relations and peace in industry and conciliation.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions took part with the Government in the meetings of the National Labour Advisory Council. The ACTU is always ready to lend its experience and its skills towards solving the important problems of the day. It took part in discussions in respect of training apprentices. techncological changes and industrial safety. What sort of consideration did it get when these matters were discussed? As a matter of fact, the consultations to which I have referred in respect of this Act commenced during 1970 and continued in 1971 but were never conclusively discussed and considered by the trade union movement but were terminated. The Minister terminated the discussions and said: ‘Here is the new law’. On 18th November, close to the date when the Minister announced what he was going to do - he had all the prescriptions written out, of course - the ACTU executive made this statement:
The Executive considered a report from the officers on the tripartite conferences concerning the operation of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. It is clear from the evidence of those conferences, confirmed by a further statement made on 17th November by the Minister for Labour and National Service, Mr P. Lynch, of the Government’s intention to retain penal provisions within the Act that the Government never had any intention to conduct impartial openminded discussions on these issues.
I have said that the Government is moving backwards. That is the fact. In 1970, the Government with the ACTU agreed on guidelines for the settlement of industrial disputes on a procedures clause. Our movement went along with them, supported them and thought that the agreement was a good thing. So, in that respect, we support what the ACTU has done. In a report of the statement issued in July 1971 by the Minister, referring to a review of the conciliation and arbitration system, we read:
Mr Lynch said that all parties recognised the fundamental importance of maintaining conciliation and arbitration in Australia. Equally, the Minister said, there is an acceptance of the need for an intensive review of the system, particularly as there has nol been a review in depth for the past 15 years.
I have told the Senate of the type of review which the Minister has given us. Mr Souter has reported publicly that the conferences proceeded until the stage when the ACTU, the Australian Council of Sala ried and Professional Associations and the Council of the Commonwealth Public Service Organisations were urging agreement with the spokesmen for the employers organisations. When the Government saw that there was a very good chance that some sort of collective agreement would be made by these 2 bodies, it initiated a lot of activity to persuade other employers to come in and to upset these conferences. The Minister decided what he would do and gave 12 hours notice. He has claimed in his statements that at all times, our people knew that this would be a matter for the Government. In paragraph 38 on page 10 of his December statement the Minister said: 1 must make it clear that this conference was in no sense a negotiating body from which some agreed to comprise proposals for amendment of the Act would emerge. The parties understood that its purpose was to give them the opportunity to put their views to Government as to amendments to the Act they believed desirable to improve the system and that the question of what amendments would be made was solely a matter for the Government to determine.
I suggest that that is not a correct report of the proceedings. The ACTU has always entered these discussions considering that its good offices, intelligence and experience would have the effect of producing a common understanding. That is why the ACTU is on the National Labour Advisory Council. We wonder why it stays on the National Labour Advisory Council while the Government is taking such actions. Mr Souter does not agree with the Minister. Following the statement made by the Minister for Labour and National Service, a report in the Adelaide ‘Advertiser’ stated:
The ACTU secretary (Mr H. J. Souter) said last night that the unions had been ‘double crossed’ by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch).
He said Mr Lynch had told the unions his review of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act in Parliament on Tuesday night would be only a statement of intent, with further talks to follow.
Instead, he presented us with a 14-day ultimatum on the fines,’ Mr Souter said.
The ACTU, the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations, and the Council of Commonwealth Public Service Organisations yesterday condemned Mr Lynch’s proposals.
At that time even that conservative newspaper in South Australia, the Adelaide Advertiser’ had this to say-
– Is that right?
– Let me read what it said before the honourable senator comments on it. The issue from which I am quoting is dated Thursday, 9th December 1971. The leader was headed ‘Updating Arbitration’. It read:
Mr Lynch would have been on firmer ground had he confined his statement on Tuesday night to the actual changes which the Federal Government proposes to make to the Arbitration Act. He made it more difficult for the public to assess the merits of those proposals by referring to curbs on political strikes, which will be dealt with in quite separate legislation, and to the collection of $4,200 in unpaid fines on unions, which is an administrative matter and will have no place in the proposed Bill. Both subjects must create controversy. It would be regrettable if this were to lead to industrial disorder or prejudice prospects of improving the arbitration system.
No one will deny that a review of that system ls overdue, lt is well over a decade since major changes were made to the Act. Meanwhile, strike losses have risen and there has been a growing tendency to bypass arbitration in favour of direct bargaining.
One of the aims of Mr Lynch, as Minister tor Labor and National Service, is to ensure that the Arbitration Commission’s influence in industrial affairs is maintained and possibly increased. This aim is to be pursued by placing greater emphasis on the role of conciliation commissioners. . . .
Employers and unions may well be more inclined to adopt an ‘all-cards-on-the-table’ attitude and to go to the limit in seeking an understanding, if they know that, should negotiations fail, the arbitrator will not be aware of what happened in the conciliation stage.
As far back as December of last year the Adelaide ‘Advertiser’ hit on the real fault of this system, namely, that unions will not accept the situation. As has been declared at their recent meeting, they will continue to make collective agreements with employers. Despite the laws that this Government is enacting, it will be found that that type of action within the economy will increase and the effect of the laws which have now been promoted by this Government will be, in fact, to increase the amount of militancy in the union movement, because the whole concept of conciliation is not used to the extent to which it should be used. The ACTU also made this statement on the Minister’s action:
To reject completely any attempt to limit the trade unions’ right to organise and seek the enrolment of all wage and salary earners into the trade union movement, and in accordance with the 1971 Congress decision to resist any legislative action designed to prevent unions using their industrial right to ensure that those who enjoy the benefit of award and agreements obtained by unions join with their fellow worker to help bear the costs.
That is ACTU policy. In December 1971 the ACTU Executive decided:
Noting the overall policy of the Government of trying to weaken unionism we direct attention to ACTU policy of strengthening unionism by amalgamations and membership recruiting and urge affiliates to take all necessary steps to build membership and conclude amalgamations by taking appropriate steps consistent with ACTU policy to overcome existing barriers to amalgamations.
In answer to an interjection earlier I referred to a request which we had had from the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations. A copy of the letter dated 21st March 1972 was sent to every honourable senator. One was addressed to me and it asked me, as well as other members of the Opposition, to oppose this Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. The letter gave good reasons for doing this. As I mentioned earlier, one of the persons who took part in shaping this policy within the confines of ACSPA was Mr Maynes. A report which appeared in the ‘Canberra Times’ on the following day reads:
The Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations has called on ALP and DLP senators to vote against new industrial legislation proposed by Mr Lynch.
The ACSPA, which represents 350,000 white collar workers, sent a letter to the Senators yesterday,
I will not read the entire article but will get down to the point I made in answer to the interjection, lt is this:
Mr J. P. Maynes, an influential member of the DLP and president of the 60,000-member Federated Clerks Union, said the Government’s proposals were vicious and designed to interfere with the right of unionists to organise at a time when white collar unionism was developing in Australia.
– That was in March 1972.
– That was in relation to the Minister’s first statement because we did not have the Bill then.
– That is the point. We did not have the Bill, but we had the declaration.
– It makes a difference.
– Yes, of course it does, and the honourable senator can tell us more about that than we know already. We now get to the kernel of what Senator McManus is talking about, namely, the amalgamation procedures. Up to this time the Minister for Labour and National Service said: ‘Well, the procedures for amalgamation being engaged in by those unions are bona fide’. He defended them. He supported what they were doing. He said that amalgamations were beneficial to the community. As is known, employers supported them. Let me read some of the things the Minister said in a speech delivered on 2nd March 1972 at the Central Industrial Secretariat Dinner of ACEF and ACMA in Melbourne:
The legislation provides certain criteria to be fulfilied by the organisations which seek to deregister. This criteria includes the holding of ballots of members, in accordance with the rules of the organisations and that the de-registration should be approved by a majority of those voting.
Ballots were held by the Sheet Metal Workers and the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths and, indeed, although not required to do so by the legislation the AEU also held a ballot because its rules provided for this.
The results of the ballots showed that almost 86 per cent of those voting in the AEU ballot favoured amalgamation, 73 per cent in the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Society and almost 70 per cent in the Sheet Metal Workers Union. The percentage of total membership of the union of those voting were 9 per cent AEU 40 per cent Boilermakers and Blacksmiths and 36 per cent Sheet Metal Workers Union.
It is, I believe, pertinent to note that there are safeguards in the legislation to prevent unions from having oppressive, unreasonable or unjust rules and to ensure that rules are properly observed by officials. If any members of these three unions considered that the rules relating to the amalgamation ballots were not satisfactory, they could have taken action before the Commonwealth Industrial Court.
As to the suggestion which has been made that there is a history of ballot rigging in these 3 unions, the Minister went on to say:
The record does not hear this out and it is supported, 1 believe, by the fact that there has not been a request from the membership of any of the 3 unions for a court controlled ballot for a considerable number of years.
That is the tenor of the statement which Mr Lynch made at a time when he was satisfied with the existing legislation. We of the Labor Party can see no need for this measure and we oppose it. it is wrong, lt places a great burden on the union movement. The situation of the Minister has since changed. He went into reverse gear and nobody knows exactly why he did so. Guesses in newspaper reports attributed the change to threats by the Democratic Labor Party about the merger of the unions. In the 2nd March edition of the Canberra Times’ an article staled:
DLP renews threat on union merger. The Federal Secretary of the Democratic Labor Party, Senator Kane, said yesterday that the DLP would not support Arbitration Act amendments in the Senate if the Government failed to act against the merger.
That is probably the reason why the DLP tonight will support this reactionary legislation. I cannot understand why people with considerable experience in the trade union movement should let themselves be hoodwinked by this sort of rubbish - and it is rubbish. Anything can be so regarded which imposes strictures on the unions at a time when they are battling to achieve proper standards and when there is a great need for increased conciliation to follow the pattern in other countries. Had the Government wanted to review in a proper fashion the Australian arbitration system it could have consulted the Australian Council of Trade Unions and employer bodies. In conducting a proper review it could have looked outside of this country and not thrown the burden on the workers by saying that the real threat to the economy is wage induced inflation. We have become used to consistent attacks on the trade union movement not only by the present Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) but also by Ministers who have made similar attacks on the Arbitration Commission. When Mr Gorton was Prime Minister he attacked the President of the Arbitration Commission.
Most senators are aware of the way his statement was rebutted by the logic of the President of the Commission.
The Labor Opposition is satisfied that none of the prescriptions of the Bill reflect the thinking of people with experience of arbitration tribunals. About the only people who would be impressed by this legislation would be the conciliation commissioners who are to receive salary increases of about 33 per cent at a time when workers appearing before the Commission cannot get a weekly increase of more than $2.50.
– How much does a commissioner get?
– He will receive an increase of 33 per cent on what he is now paid. It will be in the legislation and nothing can be done about it.
– You could easily stop that.
– Will you vote against it?
– We are voting against all the provisions of the Bill and I hope that the DLP will also vote against it. As I said earlier, 1 want to direct attention to the present Conciliation and Arbitration Act. There can no longer be any pretence by the Government, the Minister for Labour and National Service and the partners in the shaky coalition. Section 2 of the present Act provides:
The chief objects of this Act are -
to promote goodwill in industry;
to encourage conciliation with a view to amicable agreement, thereby preventing and settling industrial disputes;
to provide means for preventing and settling industrial disputes not resolved by amicable agreement, including threatened, impending and probably industrial disputes wilh the maximum of expedition and the minimum of legal form and technicality;
to provide for the observance a-nd enforcement of agreements and awards made in settlement of industrial disputes; and
I suggest that the concept expressed in that provision is attacked by the new legislation, the essential object of which is to separate conciliation and arbitration. No longer will the experienced conciliator and commissioner who knows all the matters affecting disputes be able to determine disputes. For example, he will not Le able to make agreements unless they meet the criteria laid down in the new measure. The new legislation will disable the person who sets out to settle disputes. I suggest that it is a negation of the experience of people who have worked in industrial relations. Everybody knows one of the main obstacles to settling disputes has always been the difficulty in dealing wilh the person who can solve the dispute. Trade union secretaries and employer representatives find they must talk to 10 people before settling a dispute. In our opinion the separation of the conciliation and arbitration functions is a bad step. The Minister defends it by saying that it makes more attractive to the parties the prospect of settling their differences within the system. It seems to me that some of these matters will have to be drawn out and dealt with at greater length. This will be done more particularly at the Committee stage. The proposed new section 31 makes it possible for only a Full Bench to deal with these matters, lt provides: (1.) The power of the Commission to make an award, or to certify, under section 28 of this Act, an agreement -
That provision throws a responsibility onto the Full Bench to decide matters in respect of the national economy. Why should they not be tested in the usual way before the Commission? Agreements which might be reached between consenting bodies will be held up if they do not meet the criteria set down by this Government. The proposed new section goes on:
Many other provisions of the Bill impose onerous conditions on the workers. They will be dealt with in detail at the Committee stage. I would like now to refer briefly to the question of amalgamations. The Labor Party is strongly opposed to the amalgamation procedures. Our shadow Minister for Labour today made a statement setting out the view of the Labor
Opposition. He said that the Labor Party will revoke the present laws in relation to amalgamation and will ensure that agreement between the parties can be made more easily in future. That is the sort of system which will be operated by the Labor Party. During the course of this debate the intentions of our leader will be made clear.
In conclusion, i say that many experts have condemned the use of penal powers within the arbitration machinery. Criticism came from the much respected former Commonwealth conciliation commissioner, Mr Terry Winter. When he retired on 19th May 1971, a Press report stated:
A former Commonwealth conciliation and arbitration commissioner, Mr T. C. Winter, said yesterday he did not know of one case in which the operation of penal provisions had assisted industrial relations. He described the present compulsory arbitration systems as ‘something like David confronted by not one but many Goliaths of present economic and industrial pressures.” … He said: The penal provisions, considered as a unit, have been found to be a small, ineffective pebble. Reviewing the years I spent as commissioner assigned to the metal trades industry, 1 cannot think of one case in which the operation of penal provisions assisted industrial relations.’
– 1 listened with a lot of interest to what was said by Senator Bishop, having in mind his long trade union experience. I am sure all honourable senators were interested in what he had to say about this Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. Much of his speech was devoted to wage increases. He set out to show, at least to his own satisfaction, that wage increases were not the cause of inflation, lt may well be that they are noi the only cause of inflation but this Bill is nor directed at wage increases as such. Even if we had the necessary consitutional power we in Australia have not attempted to bring in legislation such as that introduced in New Zealand under which wages must not increase by more than 7 per cent in any one year. Similar legislation was brought in in the United Kingdom. It set a line beyond which wage increases must not pass. Those 2 countries must have accepted the thesis that wage increases out of hand must have a very definite and distinct bearing on inflation.
For many years now we have had the situation of wages chasing prices. Which stops first? How do we stop one or the other? The Australian Labor Party says that price control is the answer. 1 have heard it maintained, with a lot of justification, that price control is ineffective unless control is maintained over all the ingredients that go into producing a given article; that if you control prices only then you merely bring about a means of indexing price increases. However that may be, Mr President, it is good to look at the reasons which prompted the Government to bring this legislation forward and to consider the background against which it was devised. I am one of those people who say that wage increases are not the whole problem. I go along with an article that appeared in the ‘IPA Review’. I believe that honourable senators on the Opposition side do not at all approve of this publication. This article stated:
I repeat: ‘Not the only immediate cause*. The article continues:
Higher costs for imports are clearly another. Lower export returns for primary products associated with home price support schemes may result in higher domestic prices. Higher prices for other exports, for example beef and zinc, mean higher prices on the domestic market for these commodities. Increases in sales tax and excise duties on such things as cars, beer and cigarettes, result immediately in higher prices to the consumer. Increases in company tax and payroll tax are reflected in higher prices. Increases in charges by governments and their business undertakings for TV and radio licences, postal and telephone services, water, fares and many other things have directly increased the cost of living. They also add to business costs . . .
This article then went on to say:
Prolonged strikes in key industries and the under-utilisation of plant capacity mean that overheads have to be spread over a smaller volume of output, thus increasing unit costs and selling prices. Wage and salary increases are thus not the only immediate cause of rising prices, though they constitute the main element.
I was interested to hear Senator Bishop speak of excessive tariff control. One of the statements he read was made by the Chairman of the Tariff Board, and it seems strange to me that that gentleman, who probably adjudicated on the assessment of these same tariff duties should have made the admission that tariff protection was excessive in some cases. He did so, however. Others too have said this. I believe even Mr Whitlam has said that there is excessive tariff protection for some goods at least. This may well be a factor prompting some employers not to resist excessive wage demands. Very great difficulty has been experienced in the United Kingdom, which has gone through a period of industrial unrest and wage inflation. During that time, I read on one occasion, wages went up by 14 per cent while production rose only by 3 per cent. The United Kingdom went through such a long period of industrial unrest that at long last that country had to take drastic action about it. One of the problems in that country was to induce employers to stand up to these excessive wage demands.
This is one of the problems facing Australia. It may well be that although tariff protection is excessive in some cases, employers know that they can pass on these increases without very much trouble. In fact I believe that on one occasion an employer said to a farmer’s representative: Well, after all, why should we resist this sort of thing? These people are our customers and we merely pass it on.” Of course, that is all right, but what happens when we need to export goods and our production costs keep on rising? Surely this may play a part in effecting the ability of this country to compete on export markets.
I call to my mind that after the wage increase of 6 per cent, I think it was, in September and December 18 months ago, I asked a question in this Senate about the number of applications to the Tariff Board - this was some months afterwards - and to the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) for increased tariff protection. The answer was that no applications had been received - yet costs had gone up excessively. It seemed to me that there must have been some leeway in regard to the tariff protection then operating. However, Mr President, I want to cite another quotation. Senator Bishop quoted the remarks of Mr Hawke. I quote from the ‘IPA Review’ which attributes the following remarks to Mr Hawke:
Rising prices didn’t matter; all that was required was for the authorities to protect those who were powerless to protect themselves against the consequences of rising prices. The main thing was to ensure that pensions and other social service benefits kept pace with the increases taking place in average community earnings. Then, presumably, nobody would suffer and inflation wouldn’t matter. ‘What you’ve got to concentrate on’, said Mr Hawke, ‘is growth . . . you’ve got to have growth to increase real rewards . . . Inflation doesn’t matter so long as you have growth’.
Yet Australia’s growth rate is at an appalling 1.4 per cent. The Minister for Labour and National Service has said this:
The official figures show that working days lost in 1971 increased by 28 per cent over the loss foi 1970 and wages lost increased by 46.5 per cent. Already, this year has seen several serious disputes such as that inflicted on the Stale Electricity Commission of Victoria. That dispute undoubtedly contributed heavily to a very substantial loss in man-days for the month of February.
The effects of industrial disputes on the community are not simply measurable by the loss of man days. This only represents the tip of the iceberg. Strikes and other forms of industrial action cause hardships to workers . . .
The Minister went on to point to the fact that while only 11,000 SEC workers in Victoria went on strike, 200,000 other workers in Victoria and some thousands in other States were stood down as a result of that strike. If that is conducive to increased productivity-
– What was the cause of the strike?
– .Some honourable senators make speeches and are heard in comparative silence. When they sit down and someone else makes a speech they babble from the beginning to end of it. They are the ones who rise in this place so often and express the greatest tenderness about the rights and privileges of others.
– They do that in regard to strikes because a football team comes here.
– Yes, that is what they do. These things are not conducive to increasing the 1.4 per cent growth in national productivity. Yet Mr Hawke would be the last person to deprive unionists of the right to create that kind of retardation in the growth in productivity. We cannot have it both ways. I am one of those people who believe - I think rightly - that that same productivity and the ability to market the results of it are the very important bases of this country’s standard of living. They are the very bases of the ability of this country to pay for increased social services and to function in all those things which are desirable, such as expenditure on education and other matters. Unless we obtain that increase in productivity our standard of living will go down and down. Not long ago in Hobart someone who was attending a productivity council said that Australia’s growth rate of productivity was more than half that of all other countries. 1 believe that is right. We must do something to increase and improve productivity. We must get away from this idea that if anything is done to improve it all that is being done is helping the boss and fattening him. In improving productivity we are improving the whole of the standard of living in this country.
The socialist countries - it does not matter what ‘ism’ is attached - have come up against the same problem. They have found that they have to produce-
– Sweden determines its wages on productivity figures.
– Yes. They have found that they have to make their living and pay their way in the world. Whether it be a free enterprise system, a socialist system, a capitalistic system or whatever system it may be, it is up against the same economic causes in regard to the need to increase productivity at a rate which will enable it to compete on the markets of the world. There is no getting away from that.
– lt is a basic requirement.
– Of course it is. lt was the same Mr Hawke who, some months ago - 1 am speaking in the general context in which this Bill was introduced - said that the cry of the primary producers about rising prices and costs affecting their productivity was only a whinge from a pampered section of the community.
– Why do you not quote him exactly and then we will be certain of what he said.
– The remarks were so offensive to the honourable senator’s shadow Minister for Primary Industry that he publicly replied to them. Since 1964 primary producers have suffered a drop of 33 per cent in farm incomes. The honourable senators who are now trying to interject can view things only on a unionemployer basis. The trouble with a lot of honourable senators opposite is that they cannot see past that. They are like men who are looking down a barrel. They cannot see outside the barrel; they must focus on the object at the end of it. During the same period to which I have referred wages and salaries increased by 86 per cent. Over a period of a few years farmers indebtedness increased more than ten-fold. They are the conditions that are bringing about the present state of affairs. I read from a leading article published in a Sydney newspaper some time ago. lt states:
Sydney and its mushrooming suburbs added 11.03 per cent in 5 years, reaching a population of 2,717.069. Melbourne, devouring its hinterland even faster, grew by 13.3. per cent to 2.388,941.
That is the position at which Australia is arriving because of continually increasing costs and because of the importation of primary products at a time when most primary producing markets are glutted. Sooner or later, if we are to preserve the rural communities in Australia and if this tendency is to be halted, a plan has to be devised by which the rural communities in Australia will be compensated for the gross imbalance under which they have laboured for many years. I believe that the Bill contains some good provisions. The terms of clause 8 have been advocated many times in this chamber by Senator Wright and by others. Under that clause a person shall not be appointed as a Deputy President unless he is a person who ‘has had experience at a high level in industry, commerce, industrial relations or the service of a government or an authority of a government’. That provision seems to me to be at least a step in the taking of arbitration and conciliation from the legal preserve under which it has operated since its inception. I think there is great justification for the placing in such positions men who have had industrial and commercial experience. Despite what Senator Bishop has said, it may well be that the separation of arbitration from conciliation is a move in the right direction.
I agree with the provisions in the Bill which relate to the amalgamation of unions. When I say that 1 call to mind a statement made by the Minister for Labour and National Service who introduced the Bill in another place. He said that West Germany had I think, only 16 trade unions whereas Australia had 300, and that there was no need for us to have so many trade unions. When I heard him say that I recalled a conversation I had with a fairly high ranking German industrialist who was in Australia at the time. He had come to this country to do a job for the Tasmanian Hydro- Electric Commission.
– What was his name? We can check on it then.
– I know his name, but it has slipped my memory for the moment. That is immaterial. I was talking to him at the time in Sydney, I think it was at the airport, and he told me that he knew of a worker who was clocking off for two or three others.
– The honourable senator does not know where he met the man. He thinks it was at the aerodrome.
– Senator Cavanagh is another blatherer who speaks here so often and is heard in comparative silence, but let anyone else try to make a speech and the honourable senator and his ilk blather from beginning to end, yet they profess to be so sensitive about the rights of others in other spheres. This German industrialist - it does not matter to the honourable senator who he was - said: ‘I cannot understand you people in this country’. I said: ‘Why is that?’ He said: ‘You have a strike among your transport workers at the Sydney aerodrome. If that happened in West Germany the union would discipline the unionist responsible for it. He would probably be expelled from the union. The management would not have anything to do with it. But here, when your management attempts to interfere in a dispute, there is a strike by all the unionists concerned’. That is so. When honourable senators opposite talk about the amalgamation of Australian unions they justify their statements by saying that West Germany has only 16 or 18 unions. But they should take into consideration the apparent difference in outlook of those unions which operate in West Germany. There are provisions in the Bill which regulate proposed amalgamations, and there are people in this country who look upon these amalgamations with a lot of disquiet.
– That would be the DLP.
– I do, too, as do others on this side. They look upon it with disquiet because most of the unions which want to amalgamate are under communist control. In short, they want to create a small community empire. The Minister has sai’d that the success or otherwise of the operation of this Bill when it becomes an Act depends upon the co-operation that is forthcoming from all parties - the unionists, the employers and the Government. But how can one expect co-operation when the top Australian communist has said that the prime objective of the Communist Party is to maintain confrontation between unionists, employers and the state?
– Give us his name. The honourable senator must know his name.
– His name is Aarons. Carmichael said that the metal trades amalgamation would provide the party with thousands of activists. That does not bode well for any co-operation when this measure becomes an Act. Honourable senators know perfectly well that the parties to the amalgamation are men who have a vested interest in the breaking down of the economy of this country and that the reason they want to amalgamate is to create a bigger, stronger, more amenable organisation to put their aims into practice. They have stated openly that that is their objective and that that is the reason why they want to amalgamate. I am convinced that the ordinary rank and file trade uni’onist - I meet them every day, as does every other honourable senator - does not want this sort of thing. Surely it is reasonable for there to be a provision in this measure for adequate safeguards to be taken to ensure that any amalgamation is done by and with the consent of the ordinary, decent trade unionist.
If the outlook of all trade unions in this country was the same as the apparent outlook of trade unions in Western Germany and if the trade unions in this country were not controlled by men with a vested interest in a breakdown of the Australian economy no-one would have any worries about amalgamations or the number of trade unions we had. But the experience in this country of Red dominated unions has been bitter. This will be confirmed by anybody in Tasmania who had to put up with unnecessary isolation of his State because Bull, or whatever his name is, the Secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation in Melbourne, did not like the Springboks rugby tour of Victoria. Anyone who has had to go through that sort of thing must Jook askance at any proposals to make these sorts of unions bigger, easier to manipulate and therefore more threatening. If they acted with reason it would be all well and good. But I come from a State which was nearly brought to a standstill because of the actions of some men who influenced certain trade unions on matters which had nothing whatever to do with terms and conditions of employment Action was taken because, through some mental quirk or other, these men did not like something that was going on in their own State. God help us. Do honourable senators not think that penalties should be enforced upon such men?
– I think you should hang them; don’t you?
– That is just futile, stupid, senseless talk.
– How about imposing penalties on the shipowners who increase the freight rates to the disadvantage of Tasmania?
– I would. I have in front of me a sheaf of demands from the Waterside Workers Federation to the effect: ‘Pay up or we will go out”. The shipowners have agreed to some, if not most, of the Federation’s demands without reference to any arbitration process whatsoever. They have agreed outside of the arbitration process altogether and outside of any jurisdiction that was competent to make a proper assessment of the claims. The shipowners have simply put up the freights to the State of Tasmania to meet the increased costs. Surely it is reasonable to assume that this sort of thing should be decided by a proper tribunal, especially when it concerns an industry that has been continually raising its freights to make both ends meet. Chifley imposed heavy penalties under the conciliation and arbitration legislation. He did so when he was in office and had certain responsibilities. It was also Chifley who put men in gaol. An honourable senator spoke earlier of hanging them. Chifley put them in gaol. The present Government would never do that.
– lt would not?
– I do not think so.
– What about O’Shea?
– I shall go on in spite of the clatter. The successful operation nt this measure depends upon the willingness and co-operation of all parties to it. But when men make statements such as those made by Aarons and Carmichael, I cannot conceive of that co-operation being forthcoming. I cannot imagine such a thing. But I do say that it behoves the Government, on behalf of the people of Australia, to see that this legislation is enforced. I notice that the Heath Government in the United Kingdom - Wilson threatened to do it but did not do it - has imposed a penalty of $170,850 on a trade union under threat of taking over its assets if it did not pay. The trade union paid. I was in New Zealand about 12 months ago. At that time the Secretary of the Seamens Union came on television and, as one man put it, preached bloody revolution. He said it had to come and that ships had to be tied up to break the New Zealand economy. I heard him say that. This situation went on until the people and the Government of New Zealand were fed right up to the teeth with it. Marshall, who is now Prime Minister, stepped in. He de-registered the union. He froze its funds. He broke it altogether with the co-operation of the Secretary of the Federation of Labour, Mr Skinner, whose attitude is so different from that of some leading men in the trade union movement in this country. The Prime Minister with the co-operation of Mr Skinner worked out rules for the formation of another union, free altogether from communist control. This actually happened. It can be traced through the New Zealand newspapers. Since that time there has been no trouble whatever with the New Zealand seamen as far as my information is concerned.
If we do not accept this Bill what are we going to do? Are we to have a law with no penalties whatsoever? Is it to be that people can come out and subject the whole community to sabotage? That is what it amounts to. Can the Government reasonably be expected to stand by? It is supposed to defend the rights of people. Is it to stand by and say: ‘We are not going to do anything about this’? I have heard very caustic criticism of the present Government because it has not met this position long ago. I hope that when this measure becomes operative the Government will see that the law is carried out in its entirety. I am one of those people who do not believe in strikes except under extraordinary circumstances.
– What circumstances?
– I thought I would get a comment on that one. 1 am not going to be caught in that way. I say that if it is fair for one section of the community by means of strikes to blackmail and hold the rest of the public to ransom to better its own conditions then surely it is just as reasonable for professional men, people in every other walk of life and for primary producers if they could be so organised to come out on strike and say: No, you are not going to get any more food to eat until you give us this, that and the other’. What is the difference? Yet we have people so often saying in this country: ‘We will not take any notice of the legally constituted court unless its decisions favour us. If its decisions do not favour us we will pull our labour out and go on strike’. I was talking to a man in the town near where I live not long ago. 1 said to him: ‘You are not at work today?’
– Why was he not at work?
– I will tell the honourable senator why he was not at work. He said: ‘We are on strike.’ 1 said: ‘What for?’ He said: ‘The CIB investigated one of the unionist’s premises.’ Because it investigated his premises looking for something which had been stolen the rest of them had an 8 hour protest strike. That is a beautiful situation, is it not?
– The honourable senator does not believe that?
– I do. I saw it happen. There was another occasion when one of the men went into a certain place too often. He stayed there a long time. He was warned 2 or 3 times and then he was sacked. The rest of the men went on strike. Not only that but they demanded the dismissal of the foreman who had sacked the man. Surely there must be some law and some penalty for that kind of irresponsibility. That is not all about which I could tell honourable senators. I believe that the ordinary rank and file trade unionist does not want this sort of thing. I believe that the great majority of them do not want this. But as so often happens the leadership has fallen into the hands of people who are absolutely irresponsible and who have a vested interest in the destruction of the Australian economy. Because of these facts I say that it behoves this Government to enforce the penalties provided in this Bill. If it does not enforce the penalties and do something about this position then it is going to lose a lot of standing with the people of Australia.
– One must rise and enter this debate with a great deal of sympathy for Senator Lillico who has just resumed his seat.
– I am not going to blather at you all the time as you did at me. You can speak without interruption as far as I am concerned.
– I thought I started by being very kind to the honourable senator. I could have said a lot of cruel things about his contribution to the debate tonight. But it is with deep sympathy that I follow the honourable senator. I accept that he is honest in his advocacy for the primary producers, in his desire to improve their lot and in his concern because of the decline in income since 1964. I think that possibly he has some vested interest in that section of the community. But he has a real and sincere grievance in relation to the position which the primary producer is in. Whether or not that is contributed to by the trade unions, the honourable senator must know that incomes have been reduced since 1964 as a result of policies of the Government which he supports. He must know if he has looked into the matter that the time of prosperity in primary industry was the time of prosperity in the industrial movement which had been brought about by the agitation of the trade union movement. At no time was there greater prosperity than the periods following the 2 world wars when wages and primary industries boomed. I can understand the mistaken belief, caused by a lack of knowledge of the economy, that the primary producers’ inability to compete in overseas trade and the high cost of production is all due to the workers. But any study of the situation will show that this is not correct. Therefore my sympathy goes out because of the honourable senator’s lack of knowledge of how to assist the very section of the community which I think he is earnestly trying to assist.
By his very action in supporting the Government, which has reduced the primary producing sector to its present state of pauperism, Senator Lillico is acting to the detriment of the very section of the community for which he is responsible and which he should desire to assist. He does not prevent an examination of his own conscience at some time or other when the facts are brought before him by making wild accusations because he was told something by some German - I think it was at an airport. He cannot supply the name of the individual or say even where the conversation took place so that we may check on it. On the other question, he was told by some fellow in some town that someone had contraband or illegal goods in his possession. No one believes the statement of a politician, and he cannot claim support for it unless it is backed up by facts. Let the honourable senator give us the facts, and we will find whether there is any basis for a strike in Tasmania in some industry because a man in some town told him that the boss had illegal goods in his possession in his room. Let us see what confidence wc can put in the honourable senator. Give us the facts for examination.
Now I shall return to the Bill. I give all my sympathy to the previous speaker. I hope that in the future we can get him to take an active interest in real methods that will support the primary industries, rather than his present procedure which condemns them to future poverty and misery, to which the policy of this Government can only condemn them. Speaking on the Public Service Arbitration Bill which was recently before the Senate, I went into some detail on the origin of conflict in Australia between the trade union movement and employers. I came up with the conclusion that at the present stage of industrial activities in Australia it is undesirable for the employers, the employees and the community generally to have strikes in industry and that we should do everything possible to prevent them. We should forget for a while the question of punitive action and ask what we can do to prevent strikes. I think there may have been a real desire in previous governments, and especially the government which in 1904 introduced legislation designed to prevent head-on collisions between employers and employees, to have some method of sitting around the table in conciliation and arbitration to ensure that disputes be settled before they reach the extent of stoppage of work.
It has been stated in the other House that the Conciliation and Arbitration Act of the Commonwealth has been the most amended Act of all the legislation of the Commonwealth Parliament. It has been stated that since 1904 there have been more than 50 amendments to the Act. Possibly a greater number of amendments have been made to it than to any other Act except those dealing with social services and repatriation, to which amendments are made from time to time for the purpose of increasing benefits. As to the fundamental basis of the legislation, no other Act has been amended more than the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. As soon as a Bill amending the Act is put into effect, we see that it does not achieve the improvement that we had hoped for, and therefore another amending Act is needed. In 1956 the Government decided that there was no alternative but to introduce penalties into the Act. Senator Lillico tonight advocated drastic penalties. The penalties in the Act have not achieved anything. There have been more strikes than ever since the penalties were introduced. Last year a record number of days were lost through strikes. Before that, the record numbers of days lost were in 19.17, 1919 and 1920. Therefore, the penalties inserted in the Act were useless. Indeed, all the amendments to the Act that have been brought forward year after year have achieved no purpose.
– Plus the operation of the Crimes Act.
– Yes. It may be that if we are keenly desirous of preventing industrial disputes we should consider whether the system of conciliation and arbitration operating in Australia is the solution to the problem. Should we look at some alternative as a preventative of industrial disputes? Surely the persons from whom advice should be sought are those who are actively engaged in industrial relationships, representing both the employers and the employees. At this Parliament House last week, Bob Hawke and Harold Souler representing the ACTU, attended a meeting of the industrial relations committee of the Labor Party of which I am the president. They told the committee that this very thing happened in 1970 when the employers and the employees met in a series of conferences for the purpose of considering whether the Act should be amended and, if so, how it should be amended to achieve more amicable industrial relationships. Mr Souter reported that, surprisingly to the ACTU, there was a great measure of agreement by both parties at that conference on how the Act should be amended to improve relations between employers and employees. In, 1 think, February 1971 they reported to the Minister, who would not permit the parties to agree to amendments to the Act without Government consultation. There was to be none of this consultation between employers and employees; the Government had to have a hand in the question.
That conference was adjourned as the Government had to be invited into consultation. In the meantime, many of the delegates went to the International Labour Organisation conference. On their return, there was a change in attitude on the part of the employers. The Federal Government had put pressure on them, saying that they had to change their attitude to one of agreement with the employees. A conference was then called between employers and employees and Government representatives. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) who attended the conference, said he would sit there and listen. As he listened in November last year, while negotiations were proceeding at that conference, he brought down his statement of intent on this Bill. The statement of intent was possibly more drastic than the present legislation. It indicated that everything agreed upon between the parties would not be a basis for alteration of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, and that more severe penalties would be put into the Act than there were agreed upon between the parties. In fairness to the Minister for Labour and National Service, I must say that we cannot accept that he deliberately set out to wreck that conference of employers and employees. I think we must accept that the Minister was the member of a political party which, popular opinion polls showed, was out of favour with the people and would never see the light of day in a subsequent election. As a servant of the Party, the Minister had a responsibility to rescue the Party if possible. His Party intended to fight the forthcoming election on lawlessness in industry. He put the issue involving his Party before the question of agreements between employers and employees. In fact, he put the needs of his Party before the objective of peace in industry. To save the skin of an unpopular government he wanted to see an increase of lawlessness in industry. From that situation arose the legislation now before the Senate.
I will admit that the Minister possibly would claim that he was under pressure to save the Government from the attack of the Australian Democratic Labor Party which threatened to direct its preferences away from the Government unless some firm action was taken against the trade union movement. We have heard in this place that 3 large and important metal trades organisations were considering amalgamation under communist control and that this would result in a communist bloc which could stand up industry at any time.
– You do not think that that has happened in trade unionism in this country?
– The DLP was so convinced that it would happen in Australia that it made the Government ensure that it would take remedial action to see that it did not happen. Until tonight the Democratic Labor Party has been satisfied that the purpose of the proposed amendments to the Act is to prevent the calamity which it thought would occur in Australia.
– I will refresh your mind. I will tell you when it has happened.
– This has not been the belief of all members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party. As Senator Bishop has pointed out, at a meeting of the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations a long resolution was carried in respect of the Bill now before the Senate. That resolution concluded:
The intention of the Government to further impose on the Arbitration Commission, in major cases, the responsibility to take into account tha likely national economic consequences in any of its decisions over and above its present consideration of the public interest - the Arbitration Commission exists first and foremost to settle industrial disputes. It has no power over the process and the Government is and should be responsible for the proper workings of the economy.
After setting out the details - that was one part of the resolution that I read - it was decided by the ACSPA:
To conduct a widespread publicity campaign against the Lynch proposals and to seek support of affiliates in this; and to request the ALP Federal Parliamentary Party and the Democratic Labor Party to reject any Bill based upon the Lynch proposals.
– Read it all, senator, not just part.
– If the honourable senator desires, I am prepared to table the document.
– Read it.
– If the honourable senator so wishes, I am prepared to seek leave to incorporate it in Hansard.
– Read it all.
– No. Too much of my time would be taken up. What follows, for the information of the honourable senator, are the details of the composition of the Federal Council of the ACSPA beginning with the Federal President. The surprising thing about this resolution is that it was moved by Mr John Maynes, the Federal President of the Federated Clerks Union who is recognised as one of the leading members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party.
– A leading member of the trade union movement.
– A leading member of the trade union movement. While the purpose of this legislation was the appeasement of the Australian Democratic Labor Party - I think I can show that the right wing trade unions are attacked more than the left wing trade unions - and while the political Democratic Labor Party was satisfied with its achievements, those with a bond or connection with the trade union movement could see the dangers of this action. The conflict between the political DLP and its trade union representative in Mr Maynes is demonstrated by the fact that he moved this resolution-
– Be honest; read to us all of the document.
– All right. I will read a bit more. In moving this resolution:
The Federal President of the Federated Clerks Union, said that the intentions of the Government constituted a serious attack upon trade unionism.
That is not a statement by Car michael or, for Senator Lilli co’s benefit, a statement by Laurie Aarons. This document continues:
He said the proposals were designed at this time when white collar unionism was developing in Australia to interfere with the right of trade unionists to organise effectively. It was reminiscent of attempts to prevent the growth of trade unions which was unsuccessfully made in the last century.
All of the provisions to which the Federal President of the Federated Clerks Union objected still remain in the Bill in its present form. The main concern of the Democratic Labor Party was to stop the metal trades amalgamation. But the Bill provides that its amendments to the Act do not apply to applications for amalgamation before the coming into operation of the legislation. The amalgamation of the metal trades unions cannot be prevented at this stage by the Bill. Other requests were made for certain assistance which had to be given for the purpose of delaying the amalgamation of the unions by the Government to help what I take the liberty of saying were 2 stooges so that they might make application under section 141 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act on complaint that the rules of the organisations were not complied with. This move before the Industrial Court was a delaying tactic. Application was made for the Commonwealth to pay the costs of this action before the Court. The Industrial Registrar decided under regulation 138 that he had no power, as he interpreted that regulation, to pay for the cost of this challenge which alleged that the rules of the unions had not been carried out.
The Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood), to ensure that the support of the DLP could be retained, issued another regulation taking the matter out of the hands of the Industrial Registrar. The provisions of that regulation were to be retrospective to cover any action before the coming into operation of the regulation. It covered those who had failed in an application before the Registrar. Regulation 138 gives the Registrar power to pay for the services of one lawyer only before the court. The DLP stooges desired 2 lawyers, probably because their argument would be so poor that more than one lawyer would be needed. A new regulation was introduced to provide that, if the other side to such an application had 2 lawyers, the Commonwealth would pay for 2 lawyers for those making an application. I believe - 1 am trying to find this out from a question 1 have asked the Minister - that the Commonwealth paid a lawyer, Mr Gaynor, who I believe is practising law in Victoria.
– He is not a member of Parliament, too, is he?
– No, but I do believe that he is a member of the DLP.
– That is right.
– Senator Little says that that is right, so it is confirmed. He has an assistant who likewise is a member of the DLP. So as an appeasement of 2 stooges in order to hold up the regulations, the Government has paid 2 DLP solicitors for the purpose of getting the Democratic Labor Party support of this amendment to the legislation. In relation to the amalgamation which certain people attempted to prevent but which they failed to prevent, our faith was upheld in the judiciary more than in political Attorneys-General because the court was honest and said that there was no basis for the challenge, and disallowed the challenge. The amalgamation of those unions now must flow through unless those people can think up some other legislation which can be made retrospective to the extent necessary.
The honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) in the other place published a list of ballots which were court controlled and the percentage returns in those ballots. Under the new legislation it is essential that there be a 50 per cent return of the ballot papers issued. Having achieved a 50 per cent return, a simple majority of those papers returned in favour of the amalgamation is sufficient to permit the amalgamation. It works in this way: If an organisation achieves a 49 per cent return of ballot papers and those 49 per cent support amalgamation, amalgamation cannot take place even though 49 per cent of the members of the organisation desire amalgamation because there was not a 50 per cent return of ballot papers.
– That is right. The majority has not voted in favour of it.
– As Senator Little has said, the majority has not voted in favour of it. If just over 50 per cent of the ballot papers are returned and 26 per cent - approximately one half - vote in favour of amalgamation, amalgamation can take place. To Senator Little’s mind it is justifiable that amalgamation cannot take place when 49 per cent of the union membership vote for it because a minority vote does not count, yet 26 per cent of the members of an organisation can make an amalgamation legal under the proposed amendment to the Act.
– To have 49 per cent of the membership voting unanimously sounds like a crook ballot to me.
- Senator Little now claims that because 49 per cent of the membership of the union vote the same way it is not a dinkum ballot. I think there is some validity in that claim. I raised this as an illustration of the 2 extremes. But this legislation does not permit a majority decision at any time. An amalgamation can be legal with a smaller number but not with a larger number. The honourable member for Hindmarsh in the other place produced the figures which were given in answer to a question on the percentage of returns of ballot papers since there have been court controlled ballots under the arbitration system. Those figures are incorporated in the House of Representatives Hansard of 10th May. It is surprising - this has been argued - that court controlled ballots achieve returns in excess of 50 per cent of the membership of the organisation concerned. One ballot achieved a 92 per cent return. However, there are notable exceptions to this. The first notable exception is the Amalgamated Engineering Union which had less than a 50 per cent return on a number of ballots, but that aspect is no longer in dispute because it has achieved its amalgamation. The other notable exceptions are the Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia, the Australian Workers Union, the Federated Clerks Union and the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners of Australia.
Here we come to the point which can be seen by looking at the results of other ballots. With the change of operations in industry a lot of unions must become very small. I cite as an illustration the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Society of Australia. Its only hope of some union protection is to amalgamate with another body. The smaller unions eventually must be swallowed up by the bigger unions if the members of the smaller unions are to be protected. Under this proposed new Act, the militant unions - we have heard them referred to as the communist dominated unions - can achieve amalgamation, according to the figures that are published in Hansard. The AWU, the Federated Ironworkers Association and the Clerks Union can never amalgamate with another organisation if this legislation is passed by this chamber. I think this is the concern of Mr Maynes.
– It is a fact too.
– It is a factual situation. I think this is the concern of Mr Maynes. He has seen the danger and is opposed to this legislation. If this legislation is to serve as political propaganda for the DLP, if the Government thinks that it has assisted or appeased the DLP by introducing this legislation, let it go ahead with its proposals. While the clerks and ironworkers unions may be right wing and some of the other unions may be left wing, I think all unions are concerned with the benefit of their members. If an amalgamation is beneficial to their members and those who actively participate in the affairs of the organisation, whether it be right wing or left wing, and who know the problems of the industry and the problem it would be wrong, to my mind, to place an impediment in their way.
When I was talking on the Commonwealth Public Service Arbitration Bill I stated - I repeat it now - that there always will be strikes of some type. Workers in industry have a great many grievances in relation to which they feel they are justified in taking action. I mentioned at the time that one of their greatest grievances was in relation to the principle of comparative wage justice. If men are of the belief that someone is doing comparable work or less arduous or less skilled work but receiving a higher salary, it could well be justification for their taking industrial action if they have no other method of approaching the question. One must remember that a trade union movement has the right to exist on only one principle, namely, to maintain and improve the conditions of its members. That is the basis of the movement’s existence. If that principle is not carried out there is no justification for men paying into a trade union.
Immediate past history has demonstrated that by some form of duress, some form of industrial activity, workers are able to obtain from industry today a greater return of the wealth produced than the arbitration system has been prepared to give in the past. If, in the public interest, we want to prevent strikes, we must see what is wrong with the arbitration system that it will not give to employees in industry what industry itself is prepared to give. Although Public Service clerks in Victoria have been awarded a 9 per cent increase an industrial tribunal under some influence of a government may listen to that government’s representations and refuse the increase to Public Service clerks in the Commonwealth. But there will be no industrial peace and the question lo be asked is whether it is in the public interest that Commonwealth employees should not receive a 9 per cent increase which Victorian Public Service employees receive, or whether it is in the public interest to see that there is no industrial unrest among Commonwealth employees.
Possibly the trade union movement highlights the inequalities within society. As Senator Bishop stated earlier, the Bill provides for an increase of about $4,500 a year for conciliation commissioners to be paid retrospectively until December of last year. At present the senior commissioner receives $12,850 a year and the other commissioners receive $11,850 a year. The proposed new section 16 (I.) provides:
A Commissioner shall be paid salary at the rate of sixteen thousand two hundred and fifty dollars a year, and the Consolidated Revenue Fund is appropriated accordingly.
The commissioners are members of the same body that decided on a $2 a week increase for workers covered by awards of the Arbitration Commission. I do not think any of my colleagues would object to raising the salaries of commissioners by $2 a week, the increase granted to employees in industry, but an increase of $80 a week seems to be out of proportion. I turn now to the taxation statistics presented by the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) with the Budget for 1971-72. These are the most up to date statistics that have been published. On pages 6 and 7 of the statistics are tables which set out the income of taxpayers in groups and the proportion of each group to the total number of taxpayers, the tax they pay and the proportion of that tax to the total taxation, and the income they earn and the proportion of that income to the total income earned.
This cannot be a completely accurate guide because the table commences with people with a taxable income of $417. People with an income of less than $417 a year are not included in the table. The group with an annual income of between $4,000 and $4,999 a year is comprised mainly of tradesmen and other workers generally in industry. The total numbers receiving income within that range or below it represent 87.34 per cent of the total number of taxpayers. They earned 69.84 per cent of the total income. The people in the group with an income of between $3,000 and $5,000 represent three-quarters of the total number of taxpayers and they earned 53 per cent of the total income. The remaining 25 per cent of people received the balance of 50 per cent of income. To summarise, three-quarters of the income earners received about half of the total income and the remaining 25 per cent received the other half of the total income.
Surely this is an unequal distribution of wealth. The tables show that 3,601 people receive an annual income in excess of $30,000. That must lend support to the claim that there is not a just distribution of wealth. I turn now to study the contribution made by manual workers to the creation of our national wealth as compared with the contribution of those people with an annual income in excess of $30,000. The justification for the agitation of manual workers for increased wages becomes apparent.
– But does that not equally apply to the $10,000 a year that you get as compared with your fellow worker’s $5,000 or even less?
– Of course it does.
– Do you think that you ought to be getting $5,000 a year?
– 1 say that the disparity is too great and a redistribution is required. The system justifies the agitation of the under privileged worker who has just as many commitments as others have. Senator Webster would rather compare him with me than with a man who receives $30,000 a year. A man receiving $40 a week has just as many commitments in home life and possible expenditure as I have and he is receiving a lot less. Until we can justify the disparity we will not get peace in industry. Strikes have been recurring because trade union organisations exist only to provide benefits for their members. Recent events have shown that duress - strike action to stop the profits of employers - is the only action that the employer seems to understand when workers are under government domination. Therefore strikes do take place and .ve provide legislation for the purpose of preventing them. Sometimes the position is exaggerated, as it was by Senator Lillico tonight. About 44 million workers constitute our employment force. The loss through strike action last year was half a day per person. Through sick leave it was 2 days per employee. Industrial accidents caused a loss of about 3 million man hours.
Prior to the introduction of the last Budget, 60,000 persons were unemployed in Australia. The Budget deliberately created an unemployment pool which increased the number of unemployed to 120,000. The unemployment caused by the Budget dwarfs into insignificance the loss of time through strikes by the trade union movement. If non-employment is dangerous to our economy, there are more enemies in Australia’s economy sitting in this Parliament than are sitting in the Melbourne offices of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. I want to refer to the strikes that have occurred. The State Electricity Commission dispute in Victoria was prolonged and caused disruption to the whole of the State.
– Order! In accordance with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I want to raise a matter which disturbs me greatly.I refer to an apparent totalitarian trend which seems to be appearing in Australia and which may well be a backlash to the problems of demonstrations. Although it may be said that the example I am about to give is no business of mine or of this Parliament, nevertheless I believe this matter is of vital importance. It is almost unbelievable that it could have occurred and that such a trend is developing in Australia. I refer to the refusal of a police board to allow a former polceman, Mr Arantz, to rejoin the New South Wales Police Force. It is significant to me, and I hope to every decent Australian - I believe every decent Australian will support me in my view - that the individual apparently is not allowed to confront the establishment. We have seen this in politics, of course, in the case of an ex-Prime Minister. Apparently this occurs on every occasion on which anyone wishes to confront the establishment.
No-one will deny that Mr Arantz was torn between the necessity to abide by the regulations of the Public Service, which forbade him to make the truth public, and his conscience, which demanded that the truth will be disclosed. When, then, should a public servant speak out? That is a particular problem and one that I think this Parliament should resolve at another time. Mr Arantz should have first taken up with the New South Wales Commissioner of Police the matter of the deceitful crime figures, and only if the Commissioner maintained his untruthfulness should Mr Arantz have made the information public in the public interest. It is obvious that the Police Commissioner, on the figures available, was deveiving the public. For political purposes he was aided, whether unwittingly or otherwise, by the Premier of New South Wales.
I think that most people agree that public servants should have the right to speak out when those in authority knowingly decieve the public. Who now would not believe that the publication of the Pentagon Papers was not in the public interest? Anyone who has been in the United States of America will know that the consensus of opinion there is that they should have been made known. We in Australia had an incident in which a Prime Minister and a Minister both lied to this Parliament and the public. This so infuriated a public servant as to compel him to make the truth known to me. I refer to what has become known as the VIP affair. Everyone knows what happened in that case.
There can be no question that Mr Arantz should have been subject to some disciplinary action but he certainly should not have been dismissed from the Police Force. That was a callous and inhuman decision. Obviously he had no chance of succeeding in his appeal to a board which consisted of a judge appointed by the Premier and 2 police officers subordinate to the Commissioner of Police. If the Board had upheld Mr Arantz’s appeal it would have indicted the Premier and the Commissioner of Police. What horrifies me is this: Firstly, this man’s career was ruined because he told the truth. It is unbelievable that this could happen in Australia. Secondly, no justice has been meted out to those who tried to deceive us. In fact the Commissioner of Police was given the golden handshake. Admittedly, many people believe that he was dismissed but he was dismissed in such a way that he retained all his credits.
This is indeed a sad commentary on our political scene. More horrifying still, in my opinion, is that an Australian can be forced to undergo not just a psychiatric examination as such, but a psychiatric examination by a doctor appointed by his accuser. What was the reason for making him undergo a psychiatric examination? Obviously the Commissioner of Police realised that he was in the wrong and so he tried to destroy the credibility of his antagonist. All honourable senators know that once a person is referred to a psychiatrist there is a stigma, whether we like it or not, and an implication that there is something peculiar about that person. If all of us went to a psychiatrist, including myself, there is not one of us who could not be labelled with having one or other psychiatric illness. In my opinion the New South Wales Medical Board should deregister the police doctor concerned in this case who so willingly tried to please his superiors by declaring that Mr Arantz was a psychiatric case. Fortunately for Mr Arantz. he was taken to other doctors who decided that he was not a psychiatric case.
Have we not protested about similar cases that occur in Russia? Do we not hold demonstrations about these sort of things? Are we not appalled by similar things in other countries? Well, why do we allow them to occur in Australia? That is why I raised this matter this evening. I want to alert Australians to the fact that it. can happen here and is happening here; to alert them to the fact that we are heading for a totalitarian state. One only has to recall the fact that police are assisting a Nazi group in their future brutalities. Not one of the members of this Senate, or the other place, who usually become hysterical about matters concerning law and order, has spoken against this assistance being given by police. I may well ask the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood) what he has done about it because it could be that the Commonwealth Police are involved. I do not know which police force was involved. If it was not the Commonwealth police then the Attorney-General is left out of the matter. It was not clear to me from the discussion the other night whether it was the Commonwealth police or State police who were involved.
Finally, in all sincerity, I ask the AttorneyGeneral to try to do something for this conscientious and very intelligent police officer who has been robbed of his livelihood. I suggest that he employ him in the Commonwealth Police Force. The AttorneyGeneral could do this. It would show that Australia has some sense of decency when dealing with its own people.
– Senator Turnbull has raised issues which far tramcend the particular circumstances of recent days in which those issues have been highlighted. The question of public duty as opposed to private conscience is one of the great problems for any society. It may be that the case which Senator Turnbull espoused is the case of a man who put private conscience above all other obligations. It may be an unfortunate but neverthe less true fact of life that if you hold a position of public responsibility there must be occasions on which your private conscience must yield to your public duty. However, this gets into the broad area of which I am sure Senate Turnbull is well aware and which, I think, was implicit in the general approach he took.
I do not think that I can advance any responsive comments to what he said. This matter involves a former officer of the New South Wales Police Force. He was dealt with in accordance with processes set up under New South Wales law and he availed himself of the appeal provisions under New South Wales law. This matter does not directly affect the Commonwealth and I do not wish to make any comment on Senator Turnbull’s final suggestion lest it be interpreted in a way which is not intended.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.40 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were given:
(Question No. 1788)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
Has the Australian Government negotiated a loan of 45 million yen from Japan; if so, what is the reason for requiringthe loan and what are the terms and conditions?
– The Acting Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The Treasurer announced on 10th April 1972 that the Government intended to proceed with a public issue of yen-denominated bonds on the Tokyo market, subject to negotiation of acceptable terms and conditions and other arrangements for the issue. The borrowing is expected to be for an amount of 10 billion yen (about $A27m). The Treasurer’s Press Statement, a copy of which has been forwarded to the honourable senator, explained that the proposed borrowing would serve Australia’s national interests in such important ways as establishing for Australia a position in a new capital market which will constitute an alternative to existing markets and which seems destined to grow substantially in the years ahead, and making a major contribution to the development of closer financial links generally with Japan.
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Repatriation:
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minister for
Health, upon notice:
With reference to the proposal by the General Practitioners’ Society recommending a substantial increase in doctors’ charges, will the Minister (a) conduct a survey of 1,000 doctors concerned to obtain a quantitative expression of opinion on this matter, (b) take action to prevent doctors, who depart radically from the common fee schedule, from receiving the substantial Commonwealth Government contribution towards their income, and (c) give consideration to a regulation whereby those doctors, who charge in excess of 5 per cent above the common fee, can be prevented from participating in the National Health Scheme.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON
The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Mason’s findings, there is a failure by the medical profession to achieve a high level of observance of the most common fees, other measures will be considered.
(Question No. 1905)
(Question No. 1921)
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:
Is the Minister aware that there is a growing opinion amongst doctors that the number of elderly people in the community is growing and that, with the exception of the new-born, illness occurs more frequently in the elderly than in any other group; if so, has the Commonwealth Government initiated any project designed to ascertain the need for future geriatric services.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONThe answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
The number of elderly people in the Commonwealth is increasing; at present there are approximately 1 million persons in Australia aged 65 years and over, and it is estimated that this figure will have reached 1.7 million by the end of the century.
It is agreed that with the exception of the newborn, illness occurs more frequently in the elderly than in any other group.
The Commonwealth has not initiated any project specifically designed to ascertain the need for future geriatric services. However, it should be noted that the planning and provision of such services is primarily a State responsibility.
The Commonwealth has however introduced a number of programmes designed to assist and encourage the provision of services for the aged. These operate under the Aged Persons Homes Act, the State Grants (Home Care) Act, the States Grants (Paramedical Services) Act and the Delivered Meals Subsidy Act.
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Education and Science:
Senator WRIGHT- The Minister for Education and Science has provided the following reply to the honourable senator’s question: (I), (2) and (3). The Minister of Education in South Australia, Mr Hudson, wrote to me on 17th December 1971 to suggest that financial support of universities and colleges of advanced education in the States be shared equally by the Commonwealth and States on condition that tuition fees in these institutions be abolished. Having received advice from my Department on this proposal, J replied to Mr Hudson on 2nd March 1972 as follows:
Dear Mr Hudson, 1 have read with interest your letter of 17th December 1971 in which you suggest the abolition of fees at universities and colleges of advanced education in association with a change in financial arrangements so that the Commonwealth and the States would share equally in support of recurrent expenditure in these institutions in the States.
The various elements of indirect cost to which you refer are taken into account whenever we are called upon to estimate the cost of abolishing fees in universities and colleges of advanced education. If these fees were abolished the question of a concurrent change in the respective contributions of the States and the Commonwealth to direct costs would inevitably be a matter for policy consideration. The sum of money involved in the abolition of fees would be in excess of $15m in the first year and this cannot be regarded as an insignificant amount. Governments need to have careful regard to priorities to be accorded to various proposals for additional expenditure on education, whether in tertiary education or elsewhere.
I might also mention that under the revised formula you propose for the sharing of costs, the major part of the cost of fee abolition would be born by the Commonwealth - a preliminary assessment based on 1970 information for universities indicates that at least 80 per cent of the additional cost would fall to the Commonwealth.
However, the financial considerations are not the only, or necessarily the most important, matters to be taken into account in considering a proposal to abolish fees in these institutions. You yourself have referred to the problem facing students from low income families who wish to attend a university or college of advanced education. Under present arrangements a student who is up to the standard required for a Commonwealth scholarship will have his fees paid and, subject to a means test, will receive a living allowance. The abolition of fees would benefit all students now attending university (irrespective of whether they are otherwise assisted) whereas if the same resources were devoted to an increase in Commonwealth scholarship living allowances and/or a relaxation of the means test, the benefit would go to those on lower incomes. There is also the possibility of increasing the number of such awards.
A significant proportion of full-time students in universities is represented by those who hold teacher training scholarships from State Education departments. For those who could not meet the means test requirements of the Commonwealth awards, these scholarships are much more attractive. Perhaps the problem of students accepting these awards and entering the teaching profession reluctantly or discharging their bonds to avoid service as teachers might be tackled by some change in the arrangements under which State governments offer these awards in association with some revision of conditions of service as teachers.
I have mentioned these factors to indicate some of the issues which I believe are raised by your proposition and which were not developed in your own letter. In its development of policies for support of tertiary institutions and for assistance to students who can be expected to have a reasonable prospect of success in tertiary studies, the Commonwealth Government has preferred to direct its efforts to an increase in the number of awards and an improvement in the benefits for those from lower income families.
Yours sincerely, MALCOLM FRASER
The Hon. H. R. Hudson, M.H.A., Minister of Education, G.P.O. Box 778F, Adelaide, South Australia5001
asked the Minister representing the Minis ter for Education and Science:
How many students of aboriginal descent were admitted to each of the Australian Universities and Colleges of Advanced Education in each of the last 3 years and to which faculties were such students admitted.
Senator WRIGHT- The Minister for Education and Science has provided the following reply to the honourable senator’s question:
With the exception of some statistics maintained by my Department on the number of aboriginal students receiving Commonwealth Government financial assistance, comprehensive information on this subject is not available since aboriginal students are not normally enumerated separately in statistical collections. The numbers of persons who took up Aboriginal Study Grants for the first time in 1969, 1970 and 1971 in courses which are wholly or principally at tertiary level are set out below. Because the Grants are available to students who have already enrolled in courses as well as to those about to commence studies, a small number of the students noted here may have started courses prior to their receiving a grant.
Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The Acting Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The Commonwealth Statistician has advised that information on capital expenditure is not available for individual States.
(Question No. 1960)
(Question No. 1990)
(Question No. 2005) Senator DOUGLAS MCCLELLAND asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation:
(Question No. 2023) Senator WRIEDT asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
What has been the amount of private investment in each State for each year from 1966 to 1971 in (a) secondary industry, and (b) other investments.
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:
The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 20IM) Senator DOUGLAS MCCLELLAND asked the Minister representing the Minister lor Repatriation:
What is the general or basic rate war pension, and how long is it since the rate was altered.
What was the rale payable prior to the alteration taking place.
asked the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice: ls the Minister aware that a census-laker is alleged to have revealed that up to 27 Aborigines live in one small home at Hall Road, near Edmonton. If this statement is correct, will the Minister bring pressure on the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Island Affairs to provide additional suitable accommodation for these families.
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts has provided the following reply to the honourable senator’s question:
Information has been supplied by the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Island Affairs.
An investigation by an officer of the Queensland Department shows that a family of nine persons live permanently in the house. Itinerant visitors would not exceed five persons at any one time, all living away from home and being members of the family.
The dwelling ls four miles from the Edmonton Post Office, and is considered inadequate for the family. Although no approach had been made to the Department, their needs have been noted and they will receive consideration for relief in relation to the many others already listed and awaiting suitable housing becoming available.
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Committee, the setting up of which was covered in a detailed statement in the Senate on15th September 1971.
A technical working group has very carefully considered a number of practical alternatives for the further development of Sydney (KingsfordSmith) both long term and pending the availability of Sydney’s second airline airport. The results of this study are available to the Commonwealth/State Committee.
Meanwhile there is a need to expand the two domestic terminals serving TAA/EWA and AAA/A-NSW to cover the needs of the next say ten years. This can be done by expanding the present facilities and plans are in hand accordingly.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise: (1)How much opium is officially produced in Australia.
Senator COTTON- The Minister for
Customs and Excise has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 2080) Senator FITZGERALD asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
(Question No. 2151)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
What is the estimated loss to Commonwealth revenue, in a full year, resulting from the variation of the operation of section 26 (a) of the Income Tax Assessment Act announced by the Treasurer in his statement of 11th April 1972.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONThe Acting Treasurer has provided the following answers to the honourable senator’s question:
It is not practicable to make a reliable estimate of the full year effect on Commonwealth revenue of the proposed variation in the operation of section 26 (a) of the Income Tax Assessment Act announced on11th April 1972.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONThe Prime Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
– On 23rd February Senator Cavanagh asked me the following question without notice:
I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service a question which perhaps could be directed also to the AttorneyGeneral. In the 1970 report of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission did Sir Richard Kirby refer to the need for 2 additional commissioners to be appointed? Was one appointment only made in the ensuing 12 months? In his 1971 report did Sir Richard Kirby express the urgent necessity for a new appointment of a commissioner and a further judge to replace Mr Justice Gallagher? Has any appointment been made, as requested? If not, when will the 2 appointments be made?
In the course of my reply I said that I would ascertain from the Minister what proposals for filling vacancies in the membership of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission he was prepared to disclose. The Minister for Labour and National Service has provided me with the following information:
In his Report for the year ended 13th August 1970 the President of the Commission said that there was a need for the appointment of 2 new Commissioners, one early in the New Year to replace Mr Commissioner Winter. Mr Commissioner Stanton was appointed on Sth April 1971. In his Report for the year ended 13th August 1971 the President said that the need for another Commissioner still urgently existed as well as a Judge to replace Mr Justice Gallagher. On 23rd May 1972 Mr Justice Franki, a Deputy President of the Commission, became a Judge of the Com monwealth Industrial Court and as from the same date Mr J. T. Ludeke, Q.C. was appointed a Deputy President of the Commission.
There is a need for further appointments to the Commission, but the nature and number of these appointments will be affected by the outcome of the consideration by Parliament of the Bill to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 23 May 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1972/19720523_senate_27_s52/>.