27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack) took the chair at 2 p.m., and read prayers.
– No doubt honourable senators will be aware of the circumstances which cause me to make this announcement. Yesterday afternoon there died a man who had served this Parliament for a long time and most honourably. I, refer to the late John Murphy. He joined the Joint House Department and therefore became a servant of the Parliament in 1944. He died yesterday afternoon, and so ended a long life. I have taken the necessary action to convey to his widow and his daughters the regrets of the Senate and the understanding and appreciation which exist among all honourable senators of the long service that he rendered to this Parliament.
Honourable Senators - Hear, hear!
– I wish to inform the Senate that the Minister for Health and Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, is leaving Australia tomorrow to have discussions with health authorities in Europe, the United Kingdom and North Africa. He is expected to return to Australia on 29th June. During his absence the Minister for Immigration, Dr Forbes, will be Acting Minister for Health. In this chamber I shall represent the Prime Minister; the Minister for Works, Senator Wright, will represent the Minister for Defence; the Minister for Civil Aviation, Senator Cotton, will represent the Acting Treasurer, and the Attorney-General, Senator Greenwood, will represent the Acting Minister for Health.
– I seek leave to present a petition from 259 citizens of the Commonwealth.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I present the following petition:
To the Honourable the President and Honourable Senators. The humble petition of the undersigned electors of the Commonwealth respectfully showeth:
That ultrasonic waves, translated to audible frequencies for interpretation can be used to make blind persons almost as self-reliant as bats which also use ultrasonic waves in the dark.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray:
That the Commonwealth produce and provide ultrasonic aids for the blind on the same terms as hearing aids for children, pensioners and others.
That alternatively, the organisations struggling to manufacture and provide these aids be approved for subsidy under the Slates Grants (Paramedical Services) Act 1969.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– 1 ask leave to move that this petition be referred to the Standing Committee on Health and Welfare.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
Motion (by Senator McManus) agreed to:
That the petition be referred to the Standing Committee on Health and Welfare.
– I give notice that tomorrow I intend to move:
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: Extensions to film studios at Lindfield, New South Wales.
– I give notice that on the next day of sitting I intend to move:
That the Government has failed to give leadership on the marketing of wool.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration. Can the Minister advise me of the number of Croatians in addition to Mr Rover and Mr Senic who have had their passports revoked due to activities that could embarrass Australia in the diplomatic world?
– I have certain information from the Minister for Immigration which, as I understand it, gives total figures. It is also assumed in the information I give that Senator Mulvihills question refers to naturalised Australians of Yugoslav origin. I understand that the passports of 5 such persons have been cancelled after their departure from Australia and that passports were refused two other persons seeking to leave Australia.
– Can the Minister for Civil Aviation tell the Senate how long it will be before passengers at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport will have the same kind of amenities as those at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, especially in regard to entering and leaving aircraft? If it will be a long time, what steps does he intend to take to provide some kind of facility while we are awaiting a more permanent one?
– I know that the honourable senator’s interest in this matter is like my own. He is referring to the domestic situation at Sydney (KingsfordSmith) Airport. Of course, the international terminal adequately caters for passengers. At the present time I am studying in some detail the problem of domestic terminals and what might be done to expand them and to provide improved faclities and better protection from the weather, as the honourable senator has mentioned. I will be able to make an announcement before very long, and if Parliament is in recess when I do, I will ensure that my statement is sent to him.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. I refer to my question yesterday about statistics produced by the Reserve Bank, showing that the wool deficiency payment scheme is benefiting banks and the big pastoral finance companies more than the wool growers. In view of the urgency of this question, has the Minister yet had an opportunity to study the figures, and can he give me an answer today?
– I am having a study made of the figures. I am not sure at this stage whether I can give an answer today, but after question time I will make inquiries and advise the honourable senator thereof.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Civil Aviation. I refer to Senator Lawrie’s question yesterday regarding the refusal of insurance companies to cover property damage caused by sonic booms. The Minister replied that he was astonished at the report. Does the Minister remember his answer to an almost identical question from Senator Laucke on 12th April, which apparently did not astonish him? Can he tell the Senate the results of the inquiries which 6 weeks ago he promised Senator Laucke had already been instituted?
– Not having the benefit of the question before me, I think the word ‘promise’ is probably not an accurate statement of what I would have said at the time. At the time of his question, what Senator Laucke referred to were rumours. 1 was unable to establish that there was any accuracy in this rumoured position. The only firm announcement took place on Monday. Following that, I gave an answer yesterday. Inquiries are still proceeding. The only illumination I have at the moment is that an insurance company rang the office yesterday in Canberra and said that it knew nothing about the matter.
– I ask the Attorney-General a question. Mr President, I am afraid that I must ask you to bear with me in this because it is quite a lengthy question. Yesterday I asked a question seeking the correct number of draft resisters, the number for whom warrants had been issued, the number who had failed to attend medical examinations as well as the number for whom warrants had been issued for such failure. I am not interested in the polemics of the situation between the Opposition and the Government I am interested in the facts. In his most verbose reply, the Attorney-General stated that there were 695,000 registered and that 14,000 of those required to register had not registered; of those required to register, 2 per cent or 14,000 had failed to register but there were probably more. In regard to medical examinations, he stated that the number required to attend for this purpose was 147.000 and that 441 had failed to attend for this purpose. The Attorney-General concluded, after giving a lot of detail that I did not ask for, by saying:
In fuel, 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.
In that group, according to the AttorneyGeneral’s figures, there are 14,441-
– Order! The honourable senator is beginning to try me.
– Well, you would not understand it. I have nearly finished. The question is-
– I have not heard a question yet
– The question is: As only 20 warrants are outstanding is it a fact that 14,421 warrants have been issued - otherwise the Minister did not give us the correct information?
– I do not know whether the long statement made by Senator Turnbull was a statement made through lack of appreciation of the answer which was given yesterday of part of what will be in result a calculated confusion. All I can say is this: I did not mention the figures of 14,441 and so on, which Senator Turnbull mentioned today, in the course of my answer yesterday. What I gave him yesterday was the number of persons who had registered over the period that the National Service Act had been in operation since 1.964 and the percentage of those required to register who had not registered. That is 2 per cent of the total. I also gave to him the total number of persons who had been required to attend for medical examination and I indicated that, of that number, 0.3 per cent had failed to attend for medical examination. Of those required to report for service - some 55,000 people - there had been 0.2 per cent who had not complied with their call up. These figures re clear. The consequences flowing from what I said were that there was a very high level of observance of obligations under the National Service Act -
– You have still failed to answer my question.
– I am answering this question to the best of my ability against a barrage of interruption from Senator Turnbull. If he wants the details in a way that is understandable and clear they are able to be provided. But I would suggest that he put his question on the notice paper so that he can be given an answer which he can understand. All I desire to say in conclusion is that there are not, as has been suggested in many places, thousands of persons who are alleged draft resisters in default of their obligations. The figures have been given repeatedly in this Senate by the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service and by myself. I shall take advantage of this opportunity to collate all those answers for the particular benefit of the garrulous senator who asked the question.
– I direct my question to you, Mr President, and it is not designed either to try you or to prove you. It relates to your remarks in King’s Hall at the opening of the photographic exhibition of the Canadian Parliament House. I would take the liberty of observing that this exhibition had a very successful prsCanberra trial at Parliament House in Adelaide. As you are Chairman of the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House, can you advise the Senate of the latest position regarding the progress of the Committee’s report and of the activities related thereto especially as they relate to the site of the new parliament house and any other information concerning this matter which you are in a position to give to the Senate now?
– My attention has been drawn by way of interjection to the fact that this matter is already on the notice paper under the heading ‘New and Permanent Parliament House - Joint Select Committee - Report’. I would like to say to honourable senators and I do so with total propriety, that in addressing myself to the Canadian High Commissioner in the most jocular way I could and to the citizens gathered in King’s Hall in the most respectful way I could I made the observation that the cornerstone for the erection of the Parliament House on the Ottawa River in Canada was laid in 1860 while our Parliament House was built as a temporary one in 1927. 1 said that I thought it was appropriate and proper that the Executive Government of Australia should turn its attention to building a parliament house of which Australian citizens could be equally as proud as members of Parliament.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. I was told by the Treasurer yesterday in reply to a question on notice that a reliable estimate of the loss of revenue arising from amendment to section 26 (a) of the Act could not be made. I ask: Is it the practice of the Government to introduce financial measures without any idea of their effect on the Budget? If not, why has the Government acted in the dark in this case?
– I have not the benefit of the knowledge of what the Treasurer might have said yesterday but I doubt very much whether more was intended by anything he said than that it is not easy to draw precise arithmetical lines as to amounts of money involved in any calculation like this because what normally happens is that when the Government makes these changes there is a certain amount of adjustment at the edges. I could not go any further than that for it would be improper for me to do so. I am very hesitant about making comment on Treasury matters of this character particularly just before a budget session. But I shall do what I can to seek greater information on the subject for the honourable senator.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service: Is it a fact that worker and employer representatives attending this year’s meeting of the International Labour
Organisation to be held in Geneva are to receive an allowance of $20 a day whilst attending the conference? Will the Minister investigate this matter with a view to providing a daily allowance considerably in excess of $20 a day so that delegates will be able to live in a manner which we would expect of representatives of the Australian Government?
– I have listened to the honourable senator’s question with interest and I shall have pleasure in referring it to the Minister for early consideration.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs and concerns recognition of the People’s Republic of China. Is it not a fact that the Australian Government in its recent ministerial statement on foreign affairs indicated its willingness to approach the matter of recognition of the People’s Republic of China on the same criteria as have been invariably applied to recognition by and between nations?
– It will be recalled that in the statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, which I read to the Senate on the 9th of this month, it was said that Australia’s position was that we were willing to recognise the People’s Republic of China and exchange diplomatic representatives in accordance with normal international practice. The statement then went on to say that certain conditions were stipulated by the People’s Republic of China, one of which was that we should acknowledge it as the sole legal government of China and as having sovereignty over Taiwan. Reference was made then to that fact. Further in his statement the Minister said:
Those excerpts bring into focus, j; think, the parts of the speech which the honourable senator is probing.
- Mr President, I refer you to the motion which was passed by the Senate, I think on 7th May 1971, in courteous terms proposing a joint sitting of the two Houses of the Parliament in order to determine once and for all the site of the new and permanent parliament house. I ask whether it is not in accordance with the comity which should exist between the two Houses that an answer be given to that courteous proposal by this House and whether you, Mr President, have any information on whether an answer is to be received.
– A second consideration is involved in this matter and I should be grateful to the Leader of the Opposition if he would give me time to consider it. I shall reply to his question at the end of question time.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer, and possibly it could be directed also to the Minister representing the Minister Tor Primary Industry. Is the Minister aware thai a magistrate’s court held at Brisbane on 13th and 14th March 1972 for the purpose of taking evidence into the alleged disappearance of drought aid funds was transferred from a public court to a conference room in the Brisbane Treasury Building with an allegedly inadequate period of notice to the public and has now been adjourned until a date after the State election? Is the Minister aware also that two names well known in political circles - Bjelke-Petersen and Adermann - were raised frequently during the hearing? What action is the Government taking to protect Commonwealth drought aid funds made available to Queensland?
– I certainly am not aware of any of these Press reports that are referred to, nor am I aware of any speculation in relation to the names of people connected therewith. I will not comment beyond that. I shall seek from the Treasurer an answer to the honourable senator’s question.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Housing read an advertisement in today’s edition of the Canberra Times’, inserted by an investment club in Sydney, which offers investors a 20 per cent per annum capital gain on an investment in fully serviced building blocks in Brisbane? Will the Minister undertake to confer with the Minister for Housing with a view to investigating these so-called investment clubs so as to determine whether their activities are forcing young couples in Brisbane to pay for building blocks higher prices than they would normally pay?
– I have not seen the advertisement referred to, although in recent days I have seen several advertisments to a like effect. They were not to the same effect or related to the same locality. I think the honourable senator’s suggestion is a very meritorious one and I shall have pleasure in submitting it to the Minister for Housing to see whether the bona fides of these publicly advertised proposals can be supervised and probed in any way.
– My question, addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry, follows from a question asked yesterday by Senator Poke. The matter was referred to again today. Is it not a fact that any reduction in the overdrafts of wool growers, and thus a reduction in the interest payable, is of benefit to them? Is it also a fact that one of the purposes of the deficiency payments scheme was to ensure that wool growers would receive adequate remuneration for their product so that they would not have to go to banks and wool brokers for extra loans to cover their costs?
– Order! I am considering your question. Upon consideration, I will allow it.
– I would think this would be made apparent in the answer that I will get from the Minister for Primary Industry in reply to Senator Poke’s question. As Senator Maunsell said, the reason for the introduction of the deficiency payments scheme was to assist people who were hard pressed with commitments at that time. If the people concerned lowered their debt to storekeepers, banks or broking houses then I do not think it could be justly said that by this action those firms have been the only ones to reap something from the deficiency payments scheme. I expect the Minister for Primary Industry will respond to this question along those lines.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to an article in today’s issue of the ‘Canberra Times’ which makes serious allegations to the effect that some business enterprises are forcing up prices by withholding leases from the market and that others who normally would be content to deal in houses are virtually forced to make large extra profits out of leases because of sharply rising prices? Is the Minister aware that unrestricted and group auctions of land have increased by 79 per cent and 81 per cent respectively in the past 16 months? In view of these price increases and the allegations I refer to, will the Minister request the Minister for the Interior to refer this matter to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Australian Capital Territory for a full investigation into all matters referred to in this Press article?
– That is a long question and it contains a lot of detail emanating from a newspaper article which I have not read. I should prefer to refer it to the responsible Minister.
– I shall give it to you.
– I would be glad if you would do so. I would be glad to have it. The honourable senator referred to the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory which has done very worthwhile work. It will be for the Minister to decide what to do. As an ex-member of that Committee, I speak with great admiration for its work.
– Has the attention of the Attorney-General been drawn to an article in the Press about Aborigines in the Northern Territory who were demonstrating against a police officer? The magis trate hearing the case was reported to have said that the police officer should have fired into the group.
– That question was asked yesterday.
– Order! Senator Bonner, would you resume your seat for a moment? A question in those specific terms was asked yesterday and the AttorneyGeneral answered it so this matter is well within the corporate knowledge of the Senate. You will ask your question without elaboration.
– Will the AttorneyGeneral assure the Senate that this magistrate will not be allowed to sit on court cases concerning Aborigines as he seems to be prejudiced in his opinions regarding Aborigines?
– As I said yesterday, the Secretary of my Department - not I, as some newspapers reported - has sought a report from the magistrate concerned on the events which took place at this court hearing. I said yesterday - 1 repeat it today - that this is a serious matter because the events in which these Aborigines were alleged to have participated were of a very serious nature. As I understand the newspaper reports, after the matter had been reported to him the magistrate stood down. That, as I have said, is what the newspapers say. I repeat to Senator Bonner what I said to Senator Murphy: Until 1 have received advice, which 1 will receive in due course from the Secretary of my Department, I do not propose to say anything further on the nature of the events or what might be the future action that is involved.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation, refers to developments following the adoption by Qantas Airways Ltd of low charter fares between Australia and London. l£ it likely that these low fare flights will be available in future only on special non-scheduled flights by Qantair, the Qantas charter subsidiary? Will these arrangements or any other adjustments arising from acceptance by the United
Kingdom and other countries of the new low fare in any way result in travel delays for the increasing number of passengers booked on those flights?
– I doubt very much whether there will be any travel delays. There should be no problems associated with the Qantas company operating in the way in which lt began, that is, by taking the initiative. It will be recalled that the proposal had strong Government support. It has taken time for the company to get full approval. It has succeeded in doing so and I think our congratulations should go to it. Qantas is still working on expanding the general ambit of its concessional fare operations to the benefit of the travelling public. I would not want to say any more than that. I see no problem in Qantas being able to carry out a programme of flying passengers at increasingly lower rates, but occasionally it takes time to be able to do so.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Health. With the proposed intrusion of supermarkets into the field of certain pharmaceutical lines previously regarded as specialised chemists’ lines, can he say what steps can be taken to protect pharmacies, particularly the small ones, against the unwarranted intrusion of big chain stores which could have a serious effect upon the livelihood of chemists who render such a valuable service to the community?
– It must be appreciated that the nature of pharmacies has changed over the years and that in addition to the traditional work of the apothecary there has now been added the work of the retailer who dispenses stock proprietary lines. I think that in regard to stock proprietary lines the events which are currently occurring in the range of pharmaceuticals may well be found to have their origin in the resale price maintenance legislation which this Government introduced and the Parliament passed last year. One might also recall that the pharmaceutical industry did not proceed before, I think, the Trade Practices Tribunal seeking an exemption from the provisions of resale price maintenance. Following that event - I cannot say as a result of it - there has certainly been a lot of movement in this area. If the result of competition is to ensure that the prices at which stock proprietary lines are made available to the community are reduced, I am sure that that is something which the Government welcomes. I would hope that people conscious of the need to keep prices down would also welcome it. I have read articles which indicate that chemists themselves have a very competitive spirit and that a great number of them have formed a co-operative under which they will be able to combat what they might regard as the competition of the supermarkets. All I say is that if competition is the result of what is happening, and that results in lower prices, it is to be commended.
– I ask the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Health whether he is aware that on the radio programme ‘AM’ this morning Mr Russell, President of the Pharmaceutical Guild of Australia, registered some concern about the projected intention of supermarkets to sell pharmaceutical products, particularly so far as it concerns the sale of analgesics. Is the Minister aware that Mr Russell said that Guild members had agreed some time ago that, in the interests of the public, analgesics should be sold under supervision? Will the Minister take whatever action is necessary to protect the public against the indiscriminate advertising and sale of analgesics by supermakets?
– I feel that I am not in a position to commit the Acting Minister for Health, whom I represent in this place. Doubtless he would wish to consult the Minister for Health. Analgesics have been on the market for a very long time. No State legislation restrains or controls their sale. It must be respected that the matter is one for State legislation, if there is to be legislation. The issue has been before the National Health and Medical Research Council on a number of occasions, and various suggestions have been aired as to what steps might be taken. No decisions or specific recommendations have been made by the Council. I think the general pattern of Commonwealth and State Health Ministers* conferences in the general area in which the honourable senator asked his question has been to rely upon the decisions of the National Health and Medical Research Council, it being an expert body representative of the Commonwealth and the States and it being well equipped to make the necessary decisions. Insofar as competition in involved, where there is no problem of injury to health I think we can allow the ordinary processes to take their course. If there is a need to maintain public health, I think the National Health and Medical Research Council would be well acquainted with what has to be done. I will refer the honourable senator’s question to the Acting Minister.
– I direct a question to the Attorney-General. Prescinding entirely from the disgrace of allowing the vessel into our ports at all, is it a fact that the Russian freighter named ‘Ho Chi Minh’ recently had a black ban placed on it by the Australian Council of Trade Unions or other organisation? Was such black ban placed upon the vessel because the Russians insisted upon doing work usually done by Australian workers? Is it a fact that such black ban has now been lifted? If so, can the Minister advise whether any legal steps were taken, and by whom, to have such black ban on the Russian vessel lifted, or were any extra-legal steps taken? Is the control of vessels entering our ports a Federal or State responsibility?
– Senator Greenwood, you are not compelled to give a legal opinion on the last part of the question. You may give an answer to the factual parts of the question.
– Quite apart from my interest in the word ‘prescinding’ with which the honourable senator commenced his question, it appears to me that the question could have been addressed equally to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service or to myself. I am not aware of a black ban having been imposed or, if it was imposed, whether it was because of an objection to the non-employment of Australian workmen. If the circumstances hypothecated by the honourable senator are correct they certainly raise an interesting question as to the means by which the black ban was lifted. I am not aware of any legal steps being taken. (Opposition senators interjecting)-
– Since I have attempted to answer the question there has been a lot of interjection and comments from a few Opposition senators who probably know a lot more about the circumstances than I do. Having regard to the militancy of the political protestations which they utter so frequently, it may be that they can shed on this matter light which the Australian people should have given to them as to how such an event could have occurred, accepting what Senator Hannan said as a basis. I will have inquiries made as to whether Commonwealth police took any action, but I am not aware of any such action having been taken. Usually in matters of this kind, if black bans are imposed, they are imposed by unions who want to use extra-legal means. If the black ban in this case was lifted by extra-legal means, I think the political implications are quite significant.
– My question is addressed to the Attorney-General and is supplementary to that asked earlier by Senator Keeffe. As Queensland is now a claimant State and Commonwealth finance is involved, will the Attorney-General inquire into the bona fides of the Queensland Government and the serious complaints before the courts that drought and relief funds have been improperly distributed in that State?
– I have had occasion to say before that it is an unobservant person who would not realise that there is a State election about to take place in Queensland. We have heard questions such as this one asked over a period of some weeks in which this chamber has been used by some honourable senators from the Australian Labor Party in the hope of getting some publicity to impugn the current Government in Queensland. I certainly use those words advisedly because I gave an answer on notice to this question within the last week which . indicated that there were proceedings, as I was aware, taking place in the courts and that such were (he places where allegations of this sort ought to be aired and decided by a tribunal which is equipped to handle them. I can only deplore the departure from traditional standards by members of the Labor Party in seeking to use the publicity of this forum for the purpose for which they have.
– I am unable to confirm or challenge what the honourable senator has said. As I understand the position, I had earlier said in answer to Senator Young that the pharmaceutical industry had not pursued its application for exemption from resale price maintenance provisions. I feel in the whole area to which Senator Buttfield refers that if an industry felt it has a genuine case for exemption from the provisions it would be well equipped to put and sustain that case before a tribunal. If it does not proceed with it I would have thought that it was because it had some lack of confidence in its case.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise. In view Of the assurance given to me by him last week that I would receive an answer to question No. 2144 relating to the payment pf bounty on the printing of The Little Red Schoolbook’ before the session ends and the fact that I see no mention of the Answer on the notice paper today, can the
Minister inform me whether I can expect an answer tomorrow, the last day of the sitting? If not, will I be given the reasons as to why this question was too difficult to answer?
– I am assured by the Minister for Customs and Excise that an answer will be given to me later this afternoon for the honourable senator.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise whether he is aware that the Department of Trade and Industry has, in recent months, discovered that considerable volumes of imported goods, particularly wearing apparel, outer wear and softgoods, have been coming into Australia under different tariff classifications which allow importers to avoid certain import duties and, further, to create harm to certain Australian manufacturing industries. Will it be possible for the Minister to give a statement in relation to this matter to the Senate prior to its rising?
– I cannot be precise about this matter. I understand that some of the matters to which the honourable senator refers are under very close examination. I would be grateful to him if he would let me have any particular knowledge he has in his possession. I cannot guarantee whether the Ministers concerned - the Minister for Trade and Industry and the Minister for Customs and Excise - can let us have a statement prior to the Parliament rising. We are watching this matter closely. An investigation is taking place. As I said earlier, I would be glad to have anything which the honourable senator has which he thinks might aid the process.
– My question, which is asked of the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration is: Where the passport of an Australian citizen travelling abroad has been cancelled, has that Australian citizen the right to see the allegations which have been made about him? Has he the right to submit material in rebuttal of those allegations? If so, to whom should he apply?
– In fairness to the honourable senator I think that I should ask him to put his question on the notice paper so that a full and correct reply can be given. He will appreciate that there are aspects in the question which turn upon legal considerations which I would prefer not to give - quite apart from any consideration of the Standing Orders - without some reference to the exact position. Generally the position is that the Minister has a discretion which is vested in him under, I think, section 8 of the Passports Act. 1 think that is the only section which deals with this general power that he exercises.
– I think the Minister will agree that apart from the particular case the question of civil liberty applies here?
– I think that the whole matter should be put on notice so that I can arrange for the Minister to supply a considered answer.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. In view of urgent telegrams having been sent to all Country Party members and senators by the Katanning Zone Council of the Farmers Union in Western Australia, which has a membership of 900, can the Minister give a guarantee that a decision on a wool acquisition scheme will be made public before the August Budget, or will the Government continue to stall on this important question for fear of electoral disadvantages flowing therefrom?
– The honourable senator knows as well as I do that in the other place today there will be an urgency debate on wool. No doubt the Minister for Primary Industry will contribute to that debate. In regard to the latter part of the honourable senator’s question, the Government, through the Prime Minister, made an announcement on 2nd May that Cabinet would deal with this matter when it had received the Randall Committee report. Since that time the Government has received another Randall Committee report. But it is my understanding that a further report is to be presented. As soon as the Government has that information Cabinet will be making a decision and an announcement will be made later.
– Earlier this afternoon Senator Murphy asked mc a question which has 2 parts. The first relates to a new and permanent parliament house. I inform the honourable senator that the Senate’s message to the House of Representatives proposing a joint sitting to resolve the site of a new and permanent parliament house is listed for consideration on the House of Representatives notice paper as Government Business, Order of the Day No. 75. The message was sent to the House of Representatives on 7lh May 1971.
The second part of Senator Murphy’s question was a personal one. He asked whether, in accordance with the comity which should exist between the 2 Houses, an answer should be forthcoming from the other House. To that I reply that it is not within my province to say when that other place will consider a message from the Senate and send the Senate a reply.
– Pursuant to section 11 of the Life Insurance Act 1945- 65 I present the Twenty-sixth Annual Report of the Insurance Commissioner for the year ended 31st December 1971.
– by leave - The Government’s review of restrictive trade practices and monopolisation has proceeded to the stage where I am able to inform the Senate of a number of important conclusions that the Government has reached. In this statement I shall indicate, in some detail and in advance of the Bill that the Government proposes to introduce, the conclusions that have been reached. The review of this legislation has been thorough and comprehensive. In the light of it the Government proposes to make some changes of great
Importance and a number of modifications to provisions of the existing legislation, which will increase the effectiveness of that legislation. The net effect of all the changes will be both to strengthen the legislation and to widen its scope.
The Government recognises the impact that the changes it is proposing will have on the future development of this country. It has accordingly concluded that before a Bill is prepared this statement of its proposals should be made to Parliament so that there will be an appropriate opportunity for the proposals to be studied and fully debated. The proposals that I will be outlining in this statement provide for firstly, a widening of the scope of the existing provisions to deal with monopolisation so as to enable monopoly conditions to be fully investigated when there is reason to believe that those conditions are not operating in the public interest; secondly, mergers - including takeovers - that are likely to reduce competition to be subject to inquiry and restraint when this is desirable in the public interest; thirdly, the establishment of a Monopolies Commission which will be separate from and will supplement the work of the Trade Practices Tribunal; fourthly, stronger provisions for the examination of examinable agreements which are registrable and the examinable practice of inducing refusal to deal; and finally, a general tightening up of the legislation in a number of other respects.
Before proceeding to indicate the Government’s proposal in detail, I propose to advert to the Government’s philosophy in regard to restrictive trade practices and monopolisation. The Government believes today - as it has always done - in a system of free enterprise under which citizens have as much freedom as possible to participate in the production and distribution of the nation’s wealth. In 1962 when announcing proposals that became the foundation of our present legislation, Sir Garfield Barwick pointed to the need to ensure the existence of competitive conditions, which, as he said, tend to initiative, resourcefulness, productive efficiency, high output and fair and reasonable prices to the consumer. Sir Garfield went on to point out, however, that the lessening of competition may, in some aspects of the economy, be unavoidable and indeed be, not only consistent with, but also a proper ingredient of, a truly free enterprise system. The Act that was passed in 1965 accordingly provided for practices which are restrictive of competition to be examinable to ascertain whether they are contrary to the public interest, and where found to be contrary to that interest to be prohibited.
In its basic approach to the subject of restrictive trade practices and monopolisation, the Government still adheres to the philosophy I have just described. Indeed, while the 1965 legislation has not unnaturally been the subject of considerable comment in the light of experience, it has been clear that its philosophical foundation has had general acceptance. Let me put that philosophy now into its 1972 economic context. The greatest menace confronting the Australian economy today is inflation. Excessively rising wages have been highlighted, correctly, as contributing greatly to the inflationary trend and the Government has acted, within its powers, to try to alert community consciousness to the problem and to persuade wage-fixing tribunals and employers to act responsibly when confronted by excessive wage demands. The balanced decision of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in the national wage case gives ground for hope that some headway can be made in resisting the inflationary tide.
The proposals outlined in this statement are an earnest of the Government’s intentions to attack the basic causes of inflation wherever they may be found. Restrictive practices and monopolisation contribute importantly to inflation. There is no question about that. A competitive environment keeps businessmen on their toes; encourages innovation and trying to do better than the other fellow, and, it should be emphasised, through making the automatic passing on of increased costs more difficult, discourages soft attitudes towards excessive wage demands. Conversely, where practices severely limiting competition prevail, the resulting market power is, in effect, a power to pass on to consumers, through increased prices, costs which would not in a more competitive situation have been incurred at all. In addition, restrictive practices and monopolisation can of course lead to high price levels through their effect on the efficiency of the industries concerned or through profit levels that are higher than they otherwise would be.
Among other things, therefore, these proposals give the lie to those who say that the Government’s anti-inflationary policies are directed only at the wage earner. Of course it would be idle to pretend that effecting these proposals, in themselves, will have marked effects on the price level in the short run. Rather, these proposals are aimed at creating conditions conducive to a more efficient allocation of resources and to higher levels of productivity over the long haul, with consequential beneficial effects on trends in prices and living standards. Increasing productivity is the most painless way for the economy, taken as a w’-““>’” to slow inflation and this is a basic objective of these proposals.
Ihese proposals would, of course, complement the other measures which the Government has taken to improve the competitiveness and efficiency of operation of the economy. Honourable senators will recall that last year the trade practices legislation was amended to make the practice of resale price maintenance unlawful. Also, last year the Government set in hand a progressive review of the tariff, designed to ensure that the tariff rates on imports do not go beyond what is necessary to provide adequate protection for economic and efficient Australian production. Recently my colleague, the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony), announced the steps the Government is taking to speed up this review. All of these measures and proposals have as their objective the more efficient operation and more effective development of our economy.
I referred earlier to the philosophy of the 1965 legislation. The questions that have arisen since the enactment of that legislation have related not to its philosophical foundation, but rather to the nature and effect of the particular provisions in the legislation. The main task of any legislation dealing with restrictive trade practices and monopolisation is to separate those practices that are against the public interest, so that they can be controlled, from those that are not. The for mulation of provisions to accomplish this task involves formidable problems particularly if, as is desirable, the task is to be carried out with due regard to the circumstances in which a particular practice operates but also with appropriate expedition.
The approach of the 1965 Act has been to provide for a system of case-by-case examination of agreements and practices within certain defined classes. These public interest examinations are conducted, in the first place, by the Commissioner of Trade Practices, who has the benefit, in the case of agreements, of the information in the Register of Trade Agreements. Where the Commissioner is of the opinion that an agreement or practice is contrary to the public interest, he is required to have consultations about the matter with the parties concerned. If those consultations do not result in satisfactory changes to suit the needs of the public interest the Commissioner is authorised to institute proceedings in the Trade Practices Tribunal, which then becomes responsible for determining, after a full investigation of the matter, whether the agreement or practice is in fact contrary to the public interest, and if so, for making appropriate orders to prevent its continuation. Under this casebycase approach the cardinal principle is that unless and until an agreement or practice has been considered and determined to be contrary to the public interest, it is not unlawful and may be continued without restraint.
The 1965 Act represented a big step forward in the control of restrictive practices and monopolisation in Australia. Its predecessor, the Australian Industries Preservation Act had proved ineffective partly because of difficulties of constitutional law, but also because the generality of the terms in which it was expressed had led to great uncertainty as to its application. The 1965 Act set out to cover only clearly defined classes of conduct and thus to reduce uncertainty to the minimum. But the Act had to be formulated without the benefit of reliable information on many aspects of the extent, the character and the effects of the practices being engaged in in Australia. By comparison, we are fortunate in 1972 in having a great deal of knowledge concerning these matters. We have the benefit of all the information in the Register of Trade Agreements, we have the benefit of the Commissioner’s experience, covering consideration of many agreements and consultations with parties, and summarised in 4 annual reports that he has submitted. We have the benefit of knowing what in practice is involved in proceedings before the Trade Practices Tribunal, which, in a carefully reasoned decision, has determined that an agreement of considerable significance was contrary to the public interest. We now have, both in and out of government, expertise in this field that was almost non-existent before 1965. With this further knowledge and experience we are in a position to assess the appropriateness of the provisions in the 1965 legislation. We can see where changes can be made to improve the effectiveness of the existing provisions.
The 2 main conclusions that can be drawn at this stage are, firstly, that the Act does not go far enough in relation to the acquisition and use of dominant economic power, and, secondly, that the procedure for determining the public interest aspects of examinable agreements and practices needs to be reviewed to ensure that it is appropriate for all classes of such agreements and practices. I shall be elaborating on both these conclusions later in this statement. The first stage of the Government’s review, which was instituted early in 1971, related to the practice known as resale price maintenance and, as honourable senators know, legislation prohibiting this practice was introduced and passed last year. The enactment of that legislation constituted a significant strengthening of the 1965 provisions, but the full impact of the abolition of this practice will not be felt until the Act is strengthened in other respects. The Senate will also recall that following the enactment of the resale price maintenance provisions, the High Court gave its decision in the case which has come to be known as the concrete pipes case. By that decision the High Court held substantial portions of the 1965 legislation to be invalid, but in so doing the High Court made it clear that the Commonwealth Parliament had adequate power under the so called corporations power of the Constitution to legislate with respect to restrictive trade practices and monopolies, in so far as corporations are involved.
And, it was in pursuance of the guidance thus given by the High Court with respect to the corporations power that the legislation presently operating, that is, the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1971, was drafted. But, as was made clear when the Bill for that Act was introduced, it was intended as holding legislation only. It was intended as legislation to overcome the constitutional defects disclosed in the concrete pipes case, and to hold the position until the strengthening legislation now proposed could be passed. The Government’s consideration of the provisions to be included in this strengthening legislation has, of course, taken account of the Commonwealth’s constitutional powers as disclosed in the concrete pipes decision. For example, provisions relating to mergers, which in 1965 would have been regarded as being of doubtful constitutional validity, are now possible and have been included.
Mr Deputy President, when the Restrictive Trade Practices Bill 1971 was before the Senate certain amendments were moved to the provisions in its dealing with monopolisation. Those amendments were unsatisfactory and the Government refused to accept them. They would have provided offences for ill-defined forms of conduct and would have given rise to many questions of interpretation, and of their relationship to other provisions that relate to examinable practices. In refusing to accept the amendments, however, the Government indicated that it was giving full consideration to monoplisation in the course of the review of the legislation then in progress. The Government has now given this matter careful consideration. At the outset a basic question arises. Is it appropriate in Australia, having regard to the limited size of our economy, that we should prohibit, as is done in the United States of America, any deliberate acquisition or assertion of monopoly power? Or should we adhere to the alternative approach provided in our existing examinable practice of monopolisation, which is concerned only with certain kinds of abuses of monopoly power? For reasons that I shall mention shortly the Government has concluded that in present circumstances neither of these approaches is entirely satisfactory for the Australian economy and that the appropriate course is to adopt the desirable features of both approaches, as has been done in the United Kingdom.
Where economic power is concentrated in the hands of a few businesses in an industry, those businesses may not be subject to normal competitive pressures and in the absence of those pressures there is a possibility that the conduct of the businesses will be inimical to the public interest. Businesses in a dominant position in an industry may also be able to use that position to inhibit the growth of competition. On the other hand, concentration of power may be desirable in certain industries in order that economies of scale and other benefits may be realised. In a number of industries the size of our economy may not be sufficient to support more than one, or a very small number, of businesses that are efficient by overseas standards. For this reason, the Government believes that a drastic prohibition of monopolisation on a general basis as has been provided for in the United States of America would be inappropriate for this country.
The Government believes that the primary need is for the legislation to make provision for the control of abuses of monopoly power. But the Government also believes that the legislation should provide for particular acquisitions of monopoly power to be prevented if it appears after due inquiry they are likely, by reason of their anti-competitive effects, to be against the public interest. The Government has concluded moreover that monopolisation inquiries should not be confined, as they are by our existing legislation, to certain defined classes of conduct. It believes that the provisions should be in terms that are wide enough to cover all forms of abuse of monopoly power.
The responsibility for instituting monopolisation inquiries of the kind that the Government is proposing and for taking remedial action in the light of such inquiries will be a very important one. The Government has concluded that it is a responsibility that should rest with the Government. That is to say, monopolisation will cease to be dealt with as an examinable practice for which proceedings in the Trade Practices Tribunal may be instituted by the Commissioner of Trade Practices, and provision will be made instead for the Government to be able to refer monopolisation matters to an investigating body for inquiry and report back to the Government. The investigating body for this purpose will be a new monopolies commission. The monopolies commission will be constituted by members with a wide variety of experience and qualifications so as to ensure that the Government receives the best possible advice on these important matters. The commission will have a fulltime chairman, assisted by other members appointed on a part time basis.
The Monopolies Commission will be essentially an administrative body to advise the Government. While the Commission will to a large extent control its own procedures, those procedures will inevitably differ in certain basic respects from the procedures of the Trade Practices Tribunal. In the Trade Practices Tribunal the Commissioner of Trade Practices initiates proceedings and he is thereafter a party to the proceedings, which are adversary in character. That is to say, the Commissioner and the parties to the agreement or practice in question are opposed to one another and it is for the Tribunal to make the necessary determination. This procedure will not be appropriate for the proposed Monopolies Commission because its role will be to inquire and report rather than to determine. The Monopolies Commission will be left free to determine its own working procedures. It will be able to gather its own information, call for written submissions or hold public hearings as it may think appropriate. The Commission will be provided with appropriate staff to enable it to conduct its inquiries effectively. The Government believes that the type of inquiry that the Monopolies Commission will conduct will be more appropriate for the wide-ranging matters that will fall for its consideration, and also more expeditious than the adversary type of procedure. Expedition in such big inquiries is of course a most important consideration. The matters that will be able to be referred to the Monopolies Commission will not be closely defined. The Government will be able to refer to the Commission any question whether monopoly conditions are operating in a manner that is contrary to the public interest. Amongst other things, it will be possible in appropriate circumstances to have the Commission consider practices such as exclusive dealing, full-line forcing and refusal to supply that may be operating in an industry in which monopoly conditions prevail. For the purpose of the legislation monopoly conditions will exist if one third of the relevant market is concentrated in the hands of a single business or a number of businesses which are acting in such a way as to restrict competition.
In considering questions of the public interest in relation to monopolisation the Monopolies Commission will bc required to have regard to relevant considerations generally along the lines of those that the Trade Practices Tribunal is at present required by section 50 to take into account in the course of its inquiries, although the provisions of that section will need to be adapted to render them appropriate for the type of inquiry that the Commission will undertake. The Commission will be required to report whether the monopoly conditions do in fact exist and whether they are operating, or may be expected to operate, contrary to the public interest. Where the Commission reports that monopoly conditions are operating or may be expected to operate contrary to the public interest, it will be required to report its conclusions and also to recommend action to remedy the situation disclosed in its report. It is proposed that the report will, upon receipt by the Minister, be tabled in Parliament, subject to the omission of information which, by reason of its confidential character, would be likely substantially to damage legitimate business interests.
The Government notes that in the relevant United Kingdom legislation there are wide powers under which action can be taken following upon consideration of a report of the Commission. It is proposed that the Government will be empowered to take certain action along the lines available in the United Kingdom by way of orders subject to parliamentary supervision. Where, for example, the Commission has identified a particular type of practice or arrangement which is operating against the public interest, the Government will be able by such an order to render that practice or arrangement unlawful. In form an order will be similar to a restraining order which the Trade Practices Tribunal in monopolisation cases is already empowered to make. In some circumstances, however, satisfactory remedial action may necessitate more than the mere restraint of particular practices and arrangements. Positive action to effect changes may be called for. The nature of such action will be apparent only in the light of a particular report, and specific powers cannot therefore be conferred in advance. In those matters it will be appropriate for the Government to decide on any formal remedial action that should be taken.
I think I should add that experience under similar provisions in the United Kingdom has shown that resort to formal orders to remedy unsatisfactory situations disclosed by reports of the Monopolies Commission is seldom necessary. In most cases appropriate remedial action is taken as a result of consultations with the Government. But against the possibility that such consultations may not always prove effective the legislation will need to provide for the making of formal orders. A breach of a formal order will be restrainable by an injunction and will give rise to a liability for damages.
A great many of the mergers of business enterprises which take place in this country do not operate against the public interest. Some may result in positive advantages in the form of economies of scale and more efficient utilisation of resources. Others may have no effect one way or another on the public interest. But mergers do tend to result in greater concentration of economic power and they can therefore in particular instances lead to an undesirable lessening of competition. It is with these mergers, and these alone, that the Government is concerned in the context of the proposals I am outlining in this statement. The Government has concluded that if there is reason to believe that the lessening of competition likely to result from a merger will be detrimental to the public interest, it will be appropriate for the likely effects of the merger on the public interest to be examined in depth and if necessary for the merger to be stopped. In such circumstances it will be better to prevent the reduction of competition that would result from the merger than to have to deal later with possible abuses of monopoly power that may result from it. The Government’s present proposals accordingly provide for the inclusion in the legislation of provisions which will enable mergers to be examined on this selective basis.
The proposals are not concerned with overseas investment as such. The issues that are raised by such investment are canvassed in the Treasury paper on overseas investment in Australia which has been tabled by my colleague, the Treasurer (Mr Snedden), and the matter is under consideration by the Government. However, the proposed provisions will apply equally to Australian-owned companies and overseas-owned companies. Under these provisions the Monopolies Commission will be empowered to consider the public interest aspect of merger proposals referred to it by the Government. The Government will be empowered to refer a merger that would result in or accentuate monopoly conditions defined in the manner I have already indicated. The Government will also be empowered to refer a merger in which the net value of the assets being taken over exceeds $5m. The Government will thus be able to refer to the Monopolies Commission not only a merger between competing enterprises but also a significant merger between enterprises at different levels of production or distribution or in different lines of business. Such a merger can sometimes result in undesirable reduction of competition even though it does not create or accentuate monopoly conditions, and it is desirable therefore that it should be possible to subject it to scrutiny by the Monopolies Commission.
The Government proposes that a merger will be liable to be referred at any time within 3 months of notification of it having been given to the Government or of the making of a public announcement concerning it. The Government does not propose that there should be a system under which all proposed mergers would need to be formally notified or registered. Such a system would not accord with the Government’s view that only selected mergers of particular concern will need to be referred to the Commission. Where the Government is considering whether it should refer a particular merger for inquiry it will consult the parties to the merger with a view to obtaining all relevant information as quickly as possible.
Inquiries by the Monopolies Commission into mergers will be similar to inquiries into monopolisation. In considering whether a merger is likely to operate to the detriment of the public interest the Commission will be required to have regard to the likely consequence of the reduction of competition that will be involved but it will also have regard to benefits expected to flow from the merger. If the Monopolies Commission reports that in its opinion a merger is likely to operate against the public interest and the merger has not already been consummated the Government will be able by order to prohibit the merger from taking place. Such an order will be subject to parliamentary approval. If the merger has already been consummated the Government will be able to require the enterprise concerned to take appropriate divestiture action. An order requiring such divestiture action will have to be approved by both Houses of Parliament before it takes effect. It is proposed to include in the legislation a power which will enable the Government to prohibit a merger from proceeding while it is under consideration by the Monopolies Commission. I would not expect that a need to exercise this power would often arise. But the power should be available so that it can be used when necessary to prevent action which may prejudice an inquiry or impede the taking of remedial action after the inquiry. Quite apart from this power I would expect that parties to merger proposals will often wish to know the outcome of the Commission’s inquiry before going ahead with their proposals.
The Government is conscious of the need in the interests of all persons concerned in mergers to keep uncertainty to the minimum. Merger inquiries by the Monopolies Commission will accordingly be required to be completed within as short a period as is practicable. In the United Kingdom such an inquiry must generally be completed within 6 months and in practice inquiries have often been completed in much shorter periods. It is proposed that our legislation will contain requirements in this regard similar to those in the United Kingdom legislation. The Government also proposes to establish administrative arrangements under which the parties to a proposed merger that has been publicly announced may seek and where practicable obtain a speedy intimation as to whether the merger will be referred to the Monopolies Commission. Such intimations will not be possible in respect of mergers that have not been publicly announced because it will not in such cases be possible to have regard to the views of all persons concerned. Nor will it be possible to provide for intimations to be given that would prevent a reference being made if the Government were subsequently to receive relevant information not supplied to it before the intimation was given. In practice, however, the system I have described for the giving of these intimations, which will be similar to one that has operated for some years in the United Kingdom, should do much to keep uncertainty to the minimum.
The main functions of the Monopolies Commission will be those that I have mentioned, that is, to conduct enquiries into particular monopoly conditions and proposed mergers. However, the experience that the Commission obtains in these inquiries will be very considerable, and there could be occasions when it would be most advantageous for the Government to take advantage of this experience by arranging for the Commission to undertake broader enquiries. In the United Kingdom the Government has obtained the advice of its Monopolies Commission in this way in regard to several matters. I mention in particular the Commission’s report in 1955 on collective discrimination, which was the basis of legislation the following year providing for the registration and examination of collective agreements. The Government proposes that the Monopolies Commission in Australia will be empowered, on request from the Government, to undertake similar inquiries into commonly-adopted practices. The purpose of these inquiries will be to assist in determining the need for and nature of specific legislation with respect to practices that are common in industry.
The 1965 Act adopted the approach that certain agreements and practices should be examinable to ascertain whether or not they are contrary to the public interest. This approach was based on the recognition that not all agreements or practices restricting competition are against the public interest and that the determination of the question of whether or not a particular agreement or practice was against the public interest could only be made after an inquiry into its operation in the relevant industry.
To this approach the Government proposes to adhere. It proposes however to make important changes which will reflect the conclusions which are to be drawn from our experience of the legislation.
To appreciate the nature of the changes the Government proposes with respect to the agreements and practices which are at present subject to the scrutiny of the Commissioner, it is desirable for me to outline the existing procedures. I have already mentioned that the Act at present adopts a case-by-case approach to the examination of agreements and practices to determine whether they are contrary to the public interest. Unless and until an agreement or practice has been considered and determined by the Trade Practices Tribunal to be contrary to the public interest it is not unlawful and may be continued without restraint. The agreements and practices which are subject to such examination are referred to by the Act as examinable agreements and examinable practices. I shall indicate the nature of these agreements and practices shortly.
All proceedings in the Trade Practices Tribunal to obtain a public interest determination are initiated by the Commissioner of Trade Practices. Before he initiates such proceedings in respect of an agreement or practice he is required to examine the agreement or practice with a view to forming an opinion whether it is contrary to the public interest. If his opinion is that it is contrary to the public interest, he is first required to have consultations about the matter with the parties concerned. If those consultations do not result in changes which render proceedings before the Tribunal unnecessary, the Commissioner is then authorised to institute proceedings to obtain a public interest determination by the Tribunal. If the Tribunal determines that an agreement or practice is contrary to the public interest, it may make appropriate orders to prevent its continuance.
In considering whether an examinable agreement or examinable practice is contrary to the public interest the Trade Practices Tribunal is required to make a balancing judgment in accordance with section SO. On the one hand that section requires the Tribunal to take as the basis of its consideration the principle that the preservation and encouragement of competition are desirable in the public interest. On the other hand the Tribunal must take into account beneficial effects that might be based on any of the matters set out in sub-section (2) of the section. Sub-section (2) sets out a large range of matters, with the consequence that provision is made for inquiries of a particularly wide-ranging character, which tend to be lengthy. Examinable agreements are defined in section 35. Shortly expressed these are agreements between businesses which are or should be competing with each other. They are anticompetitive agreements by which the parties agree amongst themselves that in conducting their businesses they will accept restrictions of one or more of the kinds specified in the section. The most common type of restriction relates to price and related matters such as discounts and concessions. Other common restrictions provide for market-sharing arrangements. Distribution arrangements are also covered if they are agreed between businesses at the same level of the distribution process. The observance of such restrictions is commonly reinforced by agreements to refuse to deal, that is, boycotts.
The examinable practices are defined in sections 36 and 37. Section 36 covers the practices of obtaining discriminatory terms, inducing refusal to deal and forcing another person’s product. Section 37 relates exclusively to the examinable practice of monopolisation to which I have already referred. It will be appreciated that under the procedures I have outlined not all examinable agreements and examinable practices have to be brought forward for examination by the Trade Practices Tribunal. The only agreements and practices that are to be brought forward for the Tribunal’s examination are those that the Commissioner has concluded are contrary to the public interest and in respect of which the compulsory consultation procedure has not resulted in abandonment or in a variation which has made the agreement or practice acceptable in the public interest. The Act provides for the keeping of a Register of Trade Agreements. The purpose of this Register is to provide the Commissioner with most of the information he needs to perform his functions. All examinable agreements have to be registered except those exclusively concerned with what are commonly referred to as pure’ services. The agreements that are exempted from registration on this ground are set out in sub-section (2) of section 41. No practices as opposed to agreements have to be registered.
We are now in a position in which we can assess in the light of experience the appropriateness of the procedures I have outlined for examinable agreements and examinable practices. We now have the benefit of the information from the Register of Trade Agreements. We know how many registrable agreements there are and the nature of the restrictions in them. We have the benefit of 4 Annual Reports by the Commissioner of Trade Practices and a decision by the Trade Practices Tribunal with respect to one agreement. We also have the benefit of further experience under comparable legislation of other countries with respect to such agreements. The tables on page 15 of the Commissioner’s Fourth Annual Report disclose that the total number of registered agreements as at 30th June 1971 was 13,276. The agreements which tend to have the greatest impact on the competitive climate of the economy are those which are mainly horizontal in their operation, that is, agreements between groups of manufacturers, groups of wholesalers or between groups of retailers. As at 30th June 1971, there were some 3,311 of these horizontal agreements.
The Government has concluded that many of the agreements on the Register of Trade Agreements are likely to be found on examination to be contrary to the public interest. The Government has reached this conclusion on the information that is now available to it concerning these agreements in Australia and on the experience of other countries with respect to such agreements. 1 mention in particular the experience in the United Kingdom with respect to such agreements. In that country some 2,700 agreements were registered. In only 10 cases in which their public interest implications were examined by the Restrictive Practices Court were agreements found to be compatible with the public interest. The agreements involved in 22 contested cases were determined to be contrary to the public interest, and in the light of those decisions attempts to justify many other agreements on the Register were abandoned. In Australia our experience with respect to such agreements is of course more limited. However, the Government now has information available to it as to the number of the agreements that are involved and the nature of the restrictions in them. The only such agreement that has been considered by the Trade Practices Tribunal was found to be contrary to the public interest.
The Government has also concluded that, on the basis of experience, the present examinable practice of inducing a person to refuse to deal - which is at present covered by paragraphs (e), (f) and (g) of sub-section (1) of section 36 - is likely in most instances to be contrary to the public interest, lt is a practice which tends to be engaged in in order to force persons to become parties to or to comply with examinable agreements. The Government has accordingly concluded that there should be a stronger procedure for dealing with the examinable agreements that are registrable and the examinable practice of inducing refusal to deal. For the other examinable agreements, that is those relating exclusively to ‘pure* services, and the examinable practices of obtaining discriminatory terms and forcing another person’s product, the same need for a stronger approach does not exist, but there is a need for certain changes to be made to speed up the action that has to be taken before the institution of proceedings in the Tribunal. In particular, changes are needed to the provisions requiring the Commissioner to form bis own public interest opinion and to engage in consultations. As I have mentioned earlier, the Government proposes to make special provision for monopolisation inquiries before a new Monopolies Commission and in consequence to omit the existing provisions which provide for monopolisation to be dealt with as an examinable practice.
Proposals for registrable agreements and practice of inducing refusal to deal.
At the outset I should point out that some of the agreements that are at present on the register are thought to be probably not subject to registration. Particulars of these agreements have been furnished to the Commissioner for registration in order to avoid any possible liability, without resolving the legal question of whether they are in fact subject to registration. The fact that the agreements have been placed on the register will not operate to their prejudice under the present proposals. Their liability to be referred to the Tribunal under the stronger provisions will depend on whether the Commissioner, after due consideration, has reason to believe that they are in fact subject to registration. The new procedure will provide for all agreements and practices to which it applies to be brought forward for examination by the Trade Practices Tribunal. There will be no need for the Commissioner to form a prior opinion of his own that such an agreement or practice is contrary to the public interest; nor will the Commissioner be required to engage in any consultations with the parties to the agreements. As it will be the Commissioner’s function to institute proceedings in respect of all of these agreements and practices, his discretion in regard to the institution of such proceedings will be confined to the order in which he brings particular agreements and practices forward for consideration. Some agreements and practices are, of course, of much greater significance than others, and considerations such as this will be proper matters for the Commissioner to take into account when he is deciding which ones should be brought forward first.
The first step in proceedings before the Tribunal will be for the Commissioner to establish the existence of the agreement or practice in question and that it is an agreement or practice to which the new procedure applies. When the Commissioner has done this the Tribunal will have power to restrain the continuance of the agreement or practice unless the parties to it establish that it is not contrary to the public interest. In order to do this the parties will have to establish the existence of one or other of several grounds specified in the legislation. These grounds will need to be drafted with precision, but it is proposed that they be to the following effect:
If one or more of these grounds is established the Tribunal will need, in addition, to be satisfied that the agreement or practice would not result in a preponderant detriment to the public interest. These grounds will make proper provision for those agreements or practices that either have beneficial effects or have a negligible impact one way or the other on the public interest. But they will ensure that other agreements covered by the new procedure are identified as speedily as possible and thereafter discontinued. The matters which sub-section (5.) of section 35 at present requires to be disregarded in determining whether an agreement is an examinable agreement will, of course, continue to be disregarded for this purpose. Additionally, it will be provided that agreements which are exclusively concerned with the export trade will be disregarded.
Under the new procedure the ambit of an inquiry by the Tribunal will be restricted to appropriate matters and this will assist materially in preventing inquiries from being unnecessarily lengthy. Moreover, by requiring all of the agreements to which the new procedure applies to be examined by the Trade Practices Tribunal we will ensure that there will be within a relatively short period of time a number of decisions of the Tribunal which will afford guidance to the parties to other agreements and practices. It necessary, the number of members of the Tribunal and the staff of the Commissioner will be increased. Parties will have this guidance when considering whether they should attempt to establish in proceedings before the Tribunal that their agreements or practices are compatible with the public interest and whether they should enter into new agreements. On the basis of the United Kingdom experience it can reasonably be expected that the parties to a number of such agreements and practices will conclude that such proceedings would not be worthwhile and they will choose instead to terminate the agreements or practices.
There are 2 respects in which it is proposed to widen the class of agreements which are subject to examination. In each respect this widening will ensure that the class of examinable agreements includes agreements which really have the same objectives as those already covered. If these new examinable agreements are also registrable they will be subject to the new procedure I have outlined. In the first place the class of examinable agreements will be extended to cover what are commonly called price information agreements. Experience both here and in other countries has shown that the purpose of provisions directed at agreements by which the parties accept price restrictions can be defeated by replacing those agreements with agreements by which the parties undertake to notify each other of the prices they intend to charge. The effect of such an agreement is in practice virtually the same as if the parties agreed to conform to the prices notified. Price information agreements were covered by the United Kingdom’s restrictive trade practices legislation in 1968 and the Government has concluded that they should be treated under our proposed legislation as if they were agreements for price restrictions. The other widening of the class of examinable agreements will cover agreements by which the parties undertake to make recommendations to each other in regard to matters of the kind mentioned in sub-section (2) of section 35. An agreement to make recommendations to each other in regard to such matters will normally achieve the same result as an agreement by which the parties agree to accept restrictions in regard to those matters. In some cases, an agreement to make such recommendations might in fact have implicit in it an understanding that the parties will conform to the recommendations, and in that event it would be covered already by reason of the definition of ‘agreement’ in section 138. But experience has shown that the position in regard to recommendation agreements is not as satisfactory as it might be and the Government accordingly now proposes to make it clear that they are covered.
Proposals for other examinable agreements and examinable practices
Those examinable agreements and examinable practices which are not to be subject to the now approach I have described will continue to be subject to the public interest test provided in section 50- However, 2 changes are proposed in regard to the steps that have to be taken before proceedings in respect of such an agreement or practice are instituted in the Tribunal. One of these changes will be to dispense with the need for the Commissioner of Trade Practices to form his own opinion that the agreement or practice is contrary to the public interest. The formation of such an opinion necessarily involves a good deal of time, and in the long run it is still necessary for the Tribunal to double up on the function and reach its own conclusions on the matter. The Government accordingly proposes to empower the Commissioner to institute proceedings in respect of such an agreement or practice if it appears to him to be desirable that the question whether the agreement or practice is contrary to the public interest be determined by the Tribunal.
The other change with respect to such agreements is that, as in the case of the agreements and practices that are to be subject to the stronger approach, the provisions in section 48 for statutory consultations with the parties before institution of proceedings will be omitted. The provisions for these statutory consultations have given rise to difficulties, particularly when arrangements reached in the consultations have not subsequently been observed. The Government has concluded that the more appropriate course is to remove the statutory obligations for the Commissioner to carry on these consultations and to leave it to the Commissioner to decide in the circumstances of particular cases whether and to what extent communication with the parties is desirable before proceedings are instituted.
It will be recalled that the present Act was passed as a holding measure following the decision of the High Court in the case known as the Concrete Pipes Case. By that decision the High Court held that, due to the way in which the 1965 Act had sought to use all the constitutional powers believed to be available to sustain the legislation, it was open to legal objection. When introducing the Bill for the present Act I pointed out that the provisions in it, other than those relating to overseas cargo shipping, were based entirely on the corporations power. I mentioned that this exclusive reliance on the corporations power was to facilitate the drafting and thereby to avoid undesirable delay in the introduction of the Bill. However, I went on to say that provisions drawing upon other powers had been deferred for consideration in connection with the proposed strengthening legislation. In this connection I mentioned particularly the reference of power from Tasmania. Consistently with what I indicated on that occasion the Government proposes that the new legislation will not be based entirely on the corporations power, but will draw on such other powers as are available. This will be done in a way that will not give rise to the defects the High Court found to exist in the 1965 Act.
Overseas cargo shipping is the subject of separate provisions in Part XII of the Act, which is administered by my colleague, the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr
Anthony). My colleague has already indicated that certain changes will be made to these provisions. The statement I have made has no bearing on the overseas cargo shipping provisions.
Mr Acting Deputy President, the changes 1 have outlined in this statement are being proposed after a most thorough and painstaking review of the existing legislation, in the light of experience since that legislation was enacted. The proposals also take account of the guidance the High Court has recently given as to the Commonwealth’s powers to legislate in this field in pursuance of the corporations power. Many proposals of importance are involved. The Government believes that the changes will greatly improve the effectiveness of the legislation - that they will do much to preserve and encourage competition and thereby benefit our free enterprise system and our way of life generally. Tt is not desirable, however, that changes of this nature should be made without first affording the Parliament and interested persons generally opportunity to study the proposals and to make their views known. This statement will serve the purpose of making the Government’s proposals known. The Bill to implement, the proposals will be introduced as soon as practicable after there has been reasonable opportunity for them to be studied and assessed.
– I raise a matter which I consider relates to the well-being of the Parliament. There is a degree of urgency about it. At question time today Senator Keeffe asked a question relating to drought aid funds in Queensland, and in the course of that question reference was made to the name ‘Adermann’. I ask Senator Keeffe to assure the Senate that no reflection on or imputation of improper motives to the right honourable member for Fisher in another place, Sir Charles Adermann, was intended.
– I want to make it clear that the Adermann to whom I referred is not Sir Charles Adermann.
– Thank you very much.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, the statement made by the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) is a disappointing one. This is not unexpected. I predicted that the socalled strengthened legislation would be as useless as the old Act back in November 1971 when the Senate was dealing with the Restrictive Trade Practices Bill 197 1 . We all know that restrictive practices are one of the most powerful causes of inflation. That is agreed upon on all hands. We know that the prevalence of restrictive practices in Australia is one of the reasons for the poor growth rate in Australia. We know that restrictive practices are productive of inefficiency, softness and waste. They are a blot on our community and affect the living standards of lis all. This is well known. It is accepted by the Government because it has no chance of not accepting what is known to bc the case all over the world. This was the subject of a specific inquiry in Tasmania some 10 years ago, and also by Sir Garfield Barwick when he was Attorney-General, also about a decade ago.
The duty of the Government is lo introduce legislation which will provide for the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth. In this sphere, the Government has deliberately neglected and delayed to perform its clear duly. We have had a history of delays, of disappointments and of pressures being exerted by powerful interests so that today, 10 years after it was clear that we should have had effective trade practices legislation, we still have no effective laws. The proposals by the AttorneyGeneral mean that even if the foreshadowed legislation were passed by this Parliament, we still would not have effective laws. The monopolies commission which he proposes is an advisory body. The other proposals about mergers will not be satisfactory. The attempts to speed up the processes of dealing with examinable practices and agreements may achieve a little, but it is clear that they, too, are of a nature which will allow the existing bad position to continue. The improvements are minimal. No attempt is made to tackle the problem as it ought to be tackled.
The Attorney-General undertook that strengthened legislation would be introduced, that the Government was committed to strengthening the legislation and that it would do so after a full study and consideration had been accorded to the work of a committee. He assured the Senate that this objective would be actively pursued. We are now at the end of this period of the sitting. AH we have is this lengthy statement which is really no indication at all of what could be described as strengthened legislation. We cannot drag the laws out of him. He will not even bring in the legislation now so that it can be dealt with by the Parliament. There is no excuse for further delay.
The Attorney-General laughs. We know from experience that his laughter is always an attempt to cover up a difficult situation in which he has been put. On this occasion, in fairness to him I would venture to suggest that this is not his handiwork. I think that perhaps he meant what he said about strengthened legislation. It is clear that this proposal indeed is a decision of the Government and that the Government’s decision is consistent with what it has done in the past. It is determined not to have effective trade practices laws. We might as well face the fact, as I said before, that we will not get effective trade practice laws until there is a change of government. The people of this country are entitled to protection. The public is entitled to protection against these restrictive practices. The business community is entitled to protection against them. The Government is determined that they will not get it. I think that it is clear that what this Senate wants before it is the legislation on this subject so that it can deal with it. There is not much point in continuing this debate. There will not be much opportunity to discuss this matter in this period. I hope that this document will not be used as an excuse for delays of a kind similar to those that occurred in the early 1960s when, in the House of Representatives, the device of bringing in a proposal of this kind and letting it lie on the table for months and months was used as an excuse for not introducing legislation.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I will be seeking leave to make a statement to the Senate on behalf of the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts (Mr Howson) entitled: ‘Australian Environment. Commonwealth Policy and Achievements’. However, I am conscious that already I have taken up one hour of the Senate’s time in reading another statement and I would take approximately another half an hour in reading this statement which relates to the Government’s reaction to the reports of the Senate Select Committee on Air and the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution. I seek leave to make the statement at another hour this day.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill seeks the approval of Parliament to the provision of a guarantee by the Commonwealth to a $US10m ($A8.4m) borrowing by the Administration of Papua New Guinea from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The proceeds of the loan will assist in financing a telecommunications development project in Papua New Guinea planned for execution during the period 1972-75. At the same time, the International Development Association, an affiliate of the International Bank, has approved a credit of $US9.2m ($A7.7m) to help finance improvements to shipping facilities at Port Moresby, Lae and Kieta and the construction of a new small port at Alotau. The credit will be made to the Administration and will be for
SO years, including a 10 year grace period. lt will carry a i of 1 per cent per annum service charge only. The Administration will on-lend the funds to the Papua New Guinea Harbours Board for a term of 25 years, including a 4 year grace period, at an interest rate of 7.25 per cent per annum. The credit will also be guaranteed by the Commonwealth.
The International Bank loan will be the second loan to the Administration from the Bank for development of telecommunications services. The first loan, for $US7m ($A6.2m), was arranged in 1968 and Covered the foreign exchange costs of a project which has provided a backbone of long distance radio links between the main centres and approximately 10,000 additional lines on local automatic exchanges. The first project is expected to be completed on schedule about the middle of this year.
The second telecommunications development project was examined by an appraisal mission from the International Bank last year. As a result of that appraisal the Bank offered to assist by providing a loan and the loan documents were settled recently during negotiations in Washington which were attended by representatives of the International Bank, the Commonwealth and the Administration of Papua New Guinea. Work on the new project will commence shortly and will take 3 years to complete. The project is designed to utilise and expand the facilities provided in the first project by the extension of telephone facilities and the installation of modern Telex facilities. It includes the provision of about 13,500 lines of local automatic exchange equipment, including the replacement of 3,300 lines of existing equipment; the associated distribution plant and subscribers’ equipment; about 650 additional long distance circuits on existing routes; the installation of Telex exchanges with a total capacity of about 600 lines and the provision of about 500 teleprinters. The total cost of the project will be about $ A 14.4m and the loan from the International Bank will cover most of the foreign exchange component of this total cost.
Borrowings by the Papua New Guinea Administration automatically carry a Commonwealth guarantee by virtue of the operation of section 75a of the Papua New Guinea Act 1949-1971. However, with loans from the International Bank, a formal guarantee agreement is required from the Commonwealth and this must be authorised by specific legislation. The guarantee agreement for this loan, which is shown as the first schedule to the Bill follows the form of the 3 guarantee agreements previously approved by Parliament in connection with International Bank loans to the Administration. The present loan, which was sought by the Government of Papua New Guinea, will carry an interest rate of 7.25 per cent per annum and will be for a period of 20 years, with repayments commencing after 4 years. A commitment fee of i of 1 per cent per annum is payable on undrawn balances until the loan is fully drawn.
The Bill provides for parliamentary approval of the guarantee agreement. It makes consequential provision to ensure the effectiveness of undertakings in the loan and guarantee agreements regarding freedom of payments from Australian taxation or restrictions imposed by Australian law and includes an appropriation of moneys required for the Commonwealth to make any payments under the guarantee. It also provides for the amendment of the Papua and New Guinea Loan (International Bank) Act 1968 to effect certain minor amendments to the loan agreement and loan regulations for the first telecommunications loan as required by the present loan agreement. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Wilkinson) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill arises from the Government’s wish to speed up the progressive review of the Tariff which was initiated by the
Government last year. It was foreshadowed in a statement made in the House of Representatives on 12th April 1972 when the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) announced that the Government had decided that the Tariff Board Act should be amended to enable the Tariff Board to comprise 11 members instead of the present 9 members. In January of last year, after considering the views expressed by the Tariff Board, the Government decided that there should be a progressive review of the tariff and one of the major tasks for the Minister since becoming Minister for Trade and Industry has been the setting in train of this review.
The review commenced in May 1971 when the Minister for Trade and Industry referred to the Board 10 references covering those items of the ‘Machinery’ Chapter of the Tariff which were not already under reference. These references were as suggested by the Tariff Board and are to be followed by references in the area of manufactures of metal. It became apparent that with the additional workload, and given the time it takes for the Board to conduct its usual inquiries, it would be many years before the review could be completed by the Board as at present constituted.
The Minister therefore asked the Department of Trade and Industry to address itself to the question whether fair and equitable procedures could be evolved which would enable the review to be completed in quicker time, without the quality of the reports to the Government being lessened in any material sense and with industry retaining its right to a full opportunity to be heard by the Board. The Minister for Trade and Industry also sought the views of the Chairman of the Tariff Board on this matter and at the same time made it clear that he would value the views any sector of industry might have on it.
It was appreciated that, as well as its importance in connection with forthcoming international trade negotiations, a proposal from the Department of Trade and Industry for an ‘excess margin’ items reference would, in addition, be of value as an interim measure in relation to the review. As honourable senators are aware, the reference, which was foreshadowed in my statement to the Senate on 18th April 1972 and which has now been forwarded to the Tariff Board, seeks a report by the end of the year on whether the General Tariff rates of duty on over 1,000 items can be reduced. However, on the basis of the examinations by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Tariff Board it became clear that the only way to complete in a reasonably short period such a massive task as the progressive review - one which had never been undertaken in Australia before - would be to make additional resources available.
Accordingly, the Chairman of the Tariff Board submitted to the Minister detailed proposals which if adopted would, he believed, complete the review by December 1978. In particular, he proposed that two additional members be appointed to the Board and that the restriction on the number of public-servant members be eased. The present Bill proposes amendments in the Tariff Board Act to give effect to these changes.
Provision is made for the Board to comprise 11 rather than 9 members as at present. However, to provide for future flexibility, it is proposed that the Act be amended in a way which permits the actual number of Board members to ranga between 7 and 11 members at any particular time. Thus when the progressive review is completed it would be possible for the Board to be reduced in size without the legislation needing further amendment.
With the enlarged Board the Chairman of the Tariff Board has informed the Minister that he has in mind that the Board’s work be handled in the following way: Three 2-member divisions of the Board to be employed full-time on review references; two 2-member divisions to handle the normal tariff-revision inquiries; and one member divisions to handle the normal non-tariff revision inquiries.
As the Act stands at present, the number of members who were public servants at the time of their appointment cannot be less than 2 or more than 3. The proposed amendment increases the permissible number of such members to 5. With an enlarged Board the existing arrangement would be too restrictive and an easing of the provision will widen the range of choice open to the Government in making the additional appointments. Provision is also made in the Bill for a presiding member of a division of the Board to carry out the functions of the Chairman, as set out by the Chairman in writing on each occasion and confined to the purposes of a particular inquiry and report. In addition, in line with the general policy applying to statutory bodies, the present salary and allowances of the statutory officers concerned have now been set out in the legislation.
The Minister was assured by the Chairman of the Tariff Board that the appointment of the additional members, as provided for in this Bill, should assist materially in the speeding-up of the progressive review. At the same time I take this opportunity of assuring honourable senators that it is the Government’s intention that the review inquiries be full and thorough and that every opportunity be given to manufacturers to put their case. I should also repeat what has been said by the Minister for Trade and Industry and other Ministers on numerous occasions: The Government itself is responsible for all decisions relating to tariffs. As the review reports come forward one by one the Government will apply itself to the Board’s recommendations in the same way as it does in the case of all Tariff Board reports. They will be examined thoroughly, and action taken to implement or amend the Board’s recommendations only after the most thorough examination and after full account has been taken of the considerations set out in the Minister’s tariff policy statement to the House on 29th April last year. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Wright) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to increase the standing appropriation in the Public Works Committee Act 1969 from $20,000 to $30,000. The appropriation, which is fixed by section 36 of the Act, is designed to limit the upper level of the amount of the expenses of the Committee. The major part of these is the cost of travel for members when on Committee business and the balance represents the sitting fees and travelling allowances payable to the members under the Regulations.
The Committee has advised that the funds remaining available to it for the rest of 1971-72 will be insufficient to cover the cost of anticipated inspections and hearings, and has accordingly sought an increase in the standing appropriation. The Committee’s 33rd annual general report for 1970 shows that the number of reports presented to Parliament has increased over recent years, as follows: 1966, 13; 1967, 11; 1968, 20; 1969, 18; and 1970, 22.
The 34th annual report records that the number of references during 1971 has maintained the abovementioned trend of a gradual increase in the volume of Commonwealth works projects. The scope of the Committee’s investigations ranges over Commonwealth activities in all States, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory and it is unlikely that there will be any diminution of the Committee’s activities in the future. A significant feature in 1971 was the preponderance of Northern Territory projects.
The work which this Committee does in extending the scrutiny of Parliament in the field of Commonwealth public works is of considerable importance. The regular and comprehensive reports which it presents to the Parliament are in themselves evidence of the immense amount of work that the Committee does, and I am sure that there will be no objection to increasing the standing appropriation so as to allow the Committee effectively to continue its activities.
The Parliament approved the existing appropriation of $20,000 in 1965. It was indicated at the time that that amount would suffice for a number of years. The increase to $30,000 now proposed should make it unnecessary to approach the Parliament for minor increases. The amount will assure the Committee adequate finance to meet the relatively small expenses incurred in the performance of its duties. I commend the Bill.
Debate (on motion by Senator Poyser) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Wright) read a first time.
– I move:
The Government continues to endorse the triennial principle for grants to universities and colleges of advanced education, but accepts that during the current 1970-72 triennium there have been exceptional increases in non-academic salaries and wages. Accordingly the Commonwealth decided to join with the States in supplementing the resources available to universities and colleges for recurrent expenditure to assist them to meet these unforeseen increases in cost. Following upon this decision a Bill was introduced and passed by the Parliament during the Budget sittings last year which appropriated additional recurrent grants for the universities. The main purpose of the Bill now before the Senate is to make the corresponding supplementary grants for colleges of advanced education in the States in respect of costs arising from exceptional increases in nonacademic salaries and wages.
The revised schedule of recurrent grants also provides for some other items. The additional grant to Victoria includes a small component in respect of the increased costs flowing from a salary determination affecting academic staff in agricultural colleges in the Slate.
A new institution - the South Australian Board of Advanced Education - has been established in 1972. Honourable senators will be aware that the current Act already provides specifically for support of boards of advanced education in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, and similar provision is now being made for South Australia.
The new amounts shown for some Victorian colleges and Queensland colleges take into account transfers of recurrent funds within these States. These transfers of funds have been requested by the States and do not affect the total grant payable to the State. A a result of the revised schedule of recurrent grants, supplementary Commonwealth grants totalling approximately $787,000 and representing a combined additional Commonwealth/ State allocation of $2,242,000 will be made available for colleges of advanced education in the States.
In accordance with established precedent the Bill provides separately also for Commonwealth support of McGregor College, a residential college affiliated with the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education. Provision has already been made for support of the other affiliated college operating in the college sector, Agricola College, which is affiliated with the Kalgoorlie Branch of the Western Australian Institute of Technology.
Finally, the Bill incorporates a revised schedule of grants for capital expenditure to accommodate variations initiated by the States. The total grant payable to each State is unaltered, the variations affecting only projects listed for support and the distribution of grants between projects. A new institution listed for preliminary support is the Torrens College of Advanced Education in South Australia which will come into operation in the forthcoming 1973-75 triennium. I commend to honourable senators this Bill which provides for additional Commonwealth grants to the States for advanced education.
Debate (on motion by Senator 0’Byrne’ adjourned.
Debate resumed from 23 May (vide page 1937), on motion by Senator Greenwood:
That the Bill be now read a second time
– Today I feel that I am the victim of the accuracy of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff because on looking at yesterday’s Hansard report I see that I have 17 minutes left in which to speak to the motion for the second reading of this Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. There are many things that should be said about this Bill which time will not permit me to say, although yesterday I spoke about it for 43 minutes. Possibly they will be said by another honourable senator. Yesterday I endeavoured to show, as I did when speaking on the Public Service Arbitration Bill, the development of the trade union movement, its aspirations and ambitions, and the actions of various governments over the years in the industrial field. Throughout my speech I tried to stress that in my opinion the motive of everyone dealing with Industrial questions was the prevention of strikes because they did not benefit workers, employers or the general public. I give credit, in a generous way, to governments since the Conciliation and Arbitration Act was first introduced in the Commonwealth Parliament in 1904 in an effort to prevent strike action. Numerous amendments have been made to the legislation with the intention of trying to save the community from the problems created by strikes. I accept that the many amendments were made in accordance with the earnest wish of the governments of the time which were worried about this strike problem. Even the 1956 amendment, which introduced penal clauses for strike action for the first time in Commonwealth Acts of Parliament, could have been prompted or promoted by the desire of the then government to impose penalties on trade unions in an effort to prevent strike action. That that measure failed, as did other measures, is indicated by the necessity for further amendment of the Act.
On this occasion, for the first time, amendments are being made to the Act by the present Government not with the aim of trying to settle industrial disputes. One can see that by the very nature of this Bill. For the first time, to my knowledge, amendments are being made to the Act in order to save the political life of the Government in a period of disrepute and Jack of public esteem. It is faced with the danger of losing the preferences of another party. It has introduced this legislation in an attempt to appease another political group, as I endeavoured to explain last evening. My contention is that its action has achieved quite the opposite result. The Government desires to make political gain rather than any contribution to harmonious industrial relationships.
In the few minutes left to me in which to speak I wish to refer to certain provisions of this Bill. I refer firstly to proposed new section 25. In the event of a dispute occurring, or in the event of a possibility of a dispute, the matter is to be referred to a presidential member who is to decide whether the matter will be considered by a conference of the parties or whether it will go straight to arbitration. The parties involved may never reach the stage of conciliation because this depends on the whim of the presidential member. Proposed new section 25 will give the right for the matter to be submitted straight to arbitration. If the parties to a dispute confer and cannot agree, there will be power, under proposed new section 30, for the unresolved claims to be referred to arbitration but the section provides that anything said during the course of the conference cannot be mentioned before the arbitrator. While one can see some reason perhaps why it should not be used against a party on a privileged occasion when it goes to arbitration, it is contrary to the section 34 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act for everything which went on at the conference to be revealed to the arbitrator so that he would know the action of the parties to the conference. For example, a union may have been striving strenuously to obtain a settlement to the dispute, and its action in seeking a settlement should be something to be considered by the arbitrator but he is deprived of that knowledge at the time of the meeting of the parties to consider it.
Of course, when agreement is reached and the agreement is signed by the Commissioner an appeal can be lodged against the agreement under the new clauses by persons either bound or not bound by the settlement. Someone with whom the settlement has nothing to do can appeal. Proposed new section 35 provides the right of appeal against a settlement that was reached in the dispute. Surely this must represent a desire to continue a dispute. The authority hearing the appeal has the right, under the terms of proposed section 35 to suspend the operation of the settlement terms until such time as the appeal is heard. An interfering person, not bound by the settlement terms, can prolong a dispute for no other reason than that he does not want a settlement of that dispute. That is contrary to the provisions of the previous legislation which did everything possible in the public interest to settle a dispute. So many of the clauses of this proposed new legislation are designed for the purpose of prolonging disputes.
I turn now to what is possibly the most important requirement. Previously, disputes were settled between the parties, if possible, with the commissioner taking into consideration the public interest. We now have a new clause which states that in considering the public interest the question of the national economy must be considered by the commissioner who is presiding over a dispute before agreement rs reached. It is proposed to amend section 39 of the parent Act by adding a new sub-section. Section 39 provides:
In relation to an industrial dispute, wilh which the Commission is dealing, the Commission shall, in such manner as it thinks tit, carefully and expeditiously, hear and inquire into and investigate the dispute and all matters affecting the merits of the dispute and the right settlement of the dispute.
Those were the instructions to the Commission as contained in section 39. The Commissioner had to obtain the right settlement of the dispute. His concentration at all times had to be on that. As I have said, in the public interest disputes had to be settled. It is now proposed to add the following new sub-section (2.):
In proceedings before the Commission under section thirty-one, section thirty-four or section thirty-five of this Act, the Commission, shall, in considering the public interest, have regard, in particular, to the state of the national economy and the likely effects on that economy of any award that might be made in the proceedings.
Therefore, there could well be a conflict between the public interest and the national economy because the public interest may demand an early settlement of the dispute - say, a bus dispute or a rail dispute - but under the amended Act, it cannot be settled except after a thorough investigation into the state of the national economy. Would the settlement of such a dispute have repercussions on another section of the community? Would there be any dangers of inflation? Those are the questions which would have to be asked. Whereas previously a commissioner under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, had the responsibility to settle and prevent industrial disputes, he is now cloaked with the responsibility of government to control the national economy.
Who can say whether any decision will affect the national economy? If it does, that is the Government’s responsibility. If, because of some agreement, increased wages are granted and this causes increased prices of commodities, the Government can overcome the effects of any such increase granted by arbitration by means of its taxation powers. For instance, the Government can decide that those in the $4,000 to $5,000 wage bracket- those who would be covered by the particular award which the settlement granted - should be taxed an additional amount, thereby nullifying what was done by the commissioner. But the responsibility for an undesirable action would be thrown on the Government and the Government is not prepared to accept its responsibility; and this is its responsibility. The Government throws the responsibility, and the consequent antagonism of the work force, upon the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission or the employer who is not permitted to pay what his industry is prepared to pay because the Commission has to take over the responsibility of government and look after the national economy.
No-one can say that higher wages affect the national economy. I remember the concern expressed by Senator Lillico last night about our competing on export markets with the burden of the wages paid in Australia. The greatest exporter of manufactured goods in the world is the United States of America which has the highest wage rates in the world. Japan, which was not a big exporter of manufactured goods prior to World War II, when it had low wage rates has leaped to the forefront of countries which export manufactured commodities even though its wage rates have risen by over 300 per cent. It is not the low wage countries with which we are competing. Our competition is against countries paying wages as high as or higher than those being paid in Australia. The Western world, which is paying wages equivalent to those being paid in Australia, is the exporter on the world’s markets. Australia’s difficulties in regard to exporting are caused by the high transport costs inherent in a big country like Australia situated, as it is, away from the rest of the world. Instead of the Government rectifying this matter by subsidising transport, it is taxing transport at the present time. That is where the economy needs help. The Government takes the attitude that to overcome its bad management in taxing transport and so making exports impossible, it must lower the conditions of the Australian work force so that we oan compete. Its attitude is that the worker must pay at all times. Mr Rattigan, Chairman of the Tariff Board, said in a public statement in Canberra that the chief cause of rising prices in Australia last year was the unused tariff protection given by the Tariff Board. In a Sydney newspaper yesterday Mr Sharp of Blue Metal and Gravel Pty Ltd was reported as saying that continued immigration would add to the inflationary trends in Australia. Can the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission take these things into consideration? Should it have to take them into consideration? Because of the Government’s inability or refusal to do something about the economy of Australia, the Government has placed on someone else the responsibility of making the workers pay. Under this new legislation, whre there is a conflict of public interest and the economy of the country, the public has to suffer. As I explained last night, supported by the statistics of the Commonwealth Taxation Office, the public will continue to suffer because strikes will continue while there is inequality in the distribution of wealth.
There is also the question of balance on bans and limitations. If there is a dispute, how long will it take to conduct a court controlled ballot? If the ballot favours strike action, does that make the strike legal? In the Bill is there any attempt by the Government to give the workers the right to say, by ballot, that they are prepared to support strike action? Does a court controlled ballot in favour of strike action make such action legal? We know that under the clauses of the Bill such action is not made legal. The Government hopes that there will be an expression by the workers that they do not favour the strike, knowing that the result of the ballot will have no effect on the settlement of the dispute. As an act of bravado, workers would at all times vote for a continuation of the dispute, if the vote is by secret ballot. That may not be the case if the results of the ballot or the terms of settlement are made known. But if the ballot is conducted for no purpose other than to test the feelings of the workers concerned, on all occasions workers will vote for strike action. This has no result on the eventual settlement.
I deal now with clause SO. That makes it necessary for organisations to inform the Registrar where their moneys are deposited, for the purpose of preventing another occurrence similar to the one in the O’Shea case.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– This Bill is one of the important pieces of legislation that Parliament is called upon to discuss. In the matter of conciliation and arbitration, Australia has passed through various stages in a rather short period of history. At one time we probably were far in advance of the rest of the world in relation to the concept of conciliation and arbitration. I think that to some extent we are rather lagging in that regard today. To understand the Bill one has to go back over the history, since the Industrial Revolution, of the need for legislation to control industrial affairs. In the social history of mankind it is not so very long ago that there were no legal rights in terms of employment and no legal rights to organise as a trade union. All these things were subject to chance. One has only to read of the conditions that existed in Great Britain 80 to 100 years a£0 to realise the dreadful conditions that were a manifestation of all that was low in conditions that developed out of the Industrial Revolution. In the coal mines of England there were employed pregnant women, children of 6 years of age and younger. Children who were just out of the babes-in-arms stage were given small tasks in the spinning mills of England of that day.
It is very interesting to go back 100 or 120 years only and read in the Hansards of Great Britain the speeches that were made by members of the legislature of that country when propositions were before the Parliament to relieve the dreadful industrial conditions that had developed out of the first attempts at modern-type industrial produtcion, with no recourse to the legality of controlling wages and conditions in the industrial enterprises. The early legislation was sponsored by reformers. Some had a religious background. Many who had a religious background opposed the reforms because of the poverty that would result in the families in which children of 6 and 7 years of age were holding down jobs for 10 hours a day 6 days a week. These reformers were sufficiently religious to demand that the children be allowed off on Sundays so that they could devote that day to religious devotions. They saw the awful tragedy of poverty that would be aggravated in the families if these mites, these little children, were taken out of industry. I think that quite sincere men in their day and time, with only the knowledge that they had of that period to guide them, made very sincere speeches along those lines. Today we would laugh at the possibility of similar events occurring again and we would cry over the cruelty to these children who were just out of the babesinarms stage whose lives were twisted and sacrified in the interests of manufacturing goods that were leading to the greater prosperity of the people.
So we progressed from that stage, and Australia was part of the progression because in the early days of settlement of this country some of the people who were sent here from England as criminals were people who had been audacious enough to try to form industrial organisations to protect themselves and their families from the circumstances that can so obviously emanate from a completely undisciplined and uncontrolled community with no laws to guide it in relation to manufacturing and other industries, whether they be coal mines, boot factories, spinning mills or the more modern versions that we have today. Australia’s industrial history probably began with the people who were refugees from the type of oppression that developed against those who dared to organise for as industrial voice and to formulate unions. People like those who were referred to as the Tolpuddle martyrs were sent to this country as criminals because of their audacious activities in trying to form a kind of industrial protection. As trade unions exist today, we would not think that the type of organisation that they were trying to construct was of a particularly militant character. It would probably be criticised today for being an extreme right wing organisation.
In this country we moved very quickly through the stages of recognition of trade unions to the stage at which the unions were the main campaigners and the main architects of an industrial conciliation and arbitration system. I recognise, as earlier unionists did, their absolute right to organise as a trade union - that right was challenged in this country, too - and to have a legal award, a wage that was theirs by right of legality in the community. They were joined by many in the employer class. Because of the open slather - if I could use the vernacular - in industrial relations, it was easy to illustrate to many employers that ultimately the intense competition to obtain more production while paying less wages to employees reduced their industrial enterprises to a stale of profitability in which the margin very often was not sufficient for them to survive in a highly competitive type community. Certain persons were forced, perhaps by the circumstances of the industry, to pay a higher wage than other persons who could get cheap labour because they had access to female labour in large quantities and so could pay less. This situation applied particularly in the early clothing trade industries in this country. Employers began to realise that this type of competition ultimately reduced their possibilities of success. While there was resistance from employer classes to the setting up of a legal background for the payment of wages and the provision of conditions of labour that was beyond question, the resistance was not total.
From this situation there was established a system of conciliation and arbitration which, at the point of time of its introduction and for many years after, was probably superior to that which existed in any part of the world. Australia can be said to have led the world in numerical strength of trade unionists per capita and in the arbitration and conciliation structure that it had created. As industry changed as it inevitably will, and as politics throughout the world began to develop along different lines, these things that had been established by labour, by sensible employers and by good governments came under challenge. They came under challenge not necessarily from the employer class because the employer class settled down with arbitration and found that it was not a bad thing for everyone else in their competitive industry to be paying what they paid. If they had conceded specific hours and conditions to the workers in their plants they knew that those hours and conditions also were being conceded in other plants that were competing for existing markets. Therefore, to be profitable they had to resort to increasing efficiency, to regularising production and to embarking upon a programme of development. Employers found that this was much better than endeavouring to find profitability in the exploitation of labour because in the final analysis those who were their labour were also their market. The impoverishment of their labour force to improve their profits was one thing but the impoverishment of their labour force and ultimately their market could very readily create a situation in which the impoverishment was so great that there would be no market for their goods.
Employers in general settled down with a system of conciliation and arbitration which they considered to be a wise way in which to regulate the tremendous improvement in the standards which were available to everybody and which could emanate from the industrial circumstances of the day, whose beginning has been described as the industrial revolution. It was found in the beginning that challenges to the arbitration system came more from employers than from employees. If we cast our minds back - and I have always been interested in politics - we note that one challenge which was levelled at the arbitration set-up of this country, which was so valued by the workers of the day resulted in the defeat of a Prime Minister of this country. Sir Robert Bruce was defeated by the then Secretary of the Melbourne Trades Hall Council, Mr Holloway. This defeat took place in a blue ribbon electorate, portion of which is represented by the present Minister for Labour and National Service, Mr Phillip Lynch.
– I think he was the Prime Minister of another country many years ago.
– I think you mean Stanley Bruce.
– I am sorry, it was Stanley Bruce. I mixed him up with a Scot of another day. I presume that honourable senators will forgive me for that slip of the tongue. To continue the history of the trade union movement, we began to find that challenges to arbitration and conciliation started to come from another organised force in the community. This was a political force; it was the growing political force of communism throughout the community. That force saw in the stability of conciliation and arbitration which provided legally regularised wages and conditions a reasonable set-up that could not be exploited. In contrast, in some other countries which did not enjoy the system that had been developed in Australia it was an easy matter for communist organisations to batten on the poverty and the disorganised life of the communities that were living without these advantages. The conciliation and arbitration system constituted one of the principal barriers to the success of communism in Australia.
– There were big strikes called before the advent of the Communist Party.
– There were many strikes before the advent of the Communist Party. There were many big strikes to establish the arbitration system. There were strikes during the currency of the arbitration system itself before strikes were organised by the communists. There will always be strikes. We can have a strike for an industrial reason or because of an industrial injustice which can even apply under the best regulated systems of arbitration. But it is a different matter when there is a politically inspired and organised strike which is called for no other purpose than to destroy the system which has been created to regularise industry, wages and conditions. Senator Cavanagh suggested that big strikes took place before communist activity and therefore the communists could not be blamed.
– 1 say that this destroys your argument that they are the cause.
– I do not suggest that it does destroy my argument because I propose to produce some evidence to substantiate my argument. I do not want to quote my own experiences although as a former trade union official I could do so. I was an extreme right winger, whatever that may mean, but I remember when employers considered me to be an extreme left winger although I do not think anyone has had the temerity to suggest that I was at any time pro-communist in any way. I want to turn back to a particular period in our industrial history when the first revelations were being made which produced the evidence that the Communist Party, as an organised political force not only in this country but throughout the world, was dedicated to a programme which had as one of its ambitions in this country the destruction of the conciliation and arbitration system that had been developed here.
I want to refresh the minds of honourable senators on the legislation that was brought down in this country, not by a boss’s government or a conservative government, but by a Labour government. I refer to the time when the last Labor Government under the leadership of the late Ben Chifley was in office. I wish to refer to a quotation from a speech made in this place by Senator Mckenna, who was at that time the leader of the Australian Labor Party in this chamber. The speech to which I refer was made during the debate on the National Emergency (Coal Strike) Bill that was brought down on 29th June 1949. Even that date is significant because this legislation was in answer to a strike which was called in the coal mining industry of this country by a resolution carried, I think, on 16th June to be put into effect on 27th June. After the strike had been current for only 2 days a Labor Government found it necessary to introduce legislation into this place to protect not only the people of the nation but the arbitration system of this country. After 2 days of a strike the Labor Government had sufficient evidence to justify producing before this Parliament legislation to slop the destruction of the arbitration system of this country by the Communist Party, as Labor men of the day labelled it. and to save the people from the repercussions that could develop from that strike. Senator Mckenna in presenting the measure before this chamber said:
The measure which is now before the Senate has been introduced because of the attitude and actions of the unions concerned, which I can only describe as wholly unjustified, entirely unprecedented, and calculated to strike a most serious blow at the entire economy of this country. The circumstances in which the strike was occurred must be viewed against the background of a statement made by the leader of the Miners’ Federation a month ago. I have with me a newspaper report of that statement, which, incidentally, has never been contradicted, so far as I am aware, by the individual who made it. That statement was as follows:-
Senator McKenna then quoted the newspaper report of a statement made by the leader of the Miners Federation who was a member of the Communist Party. Senator McKenna then went on to state:
Only a few months ago the Central Council of Miners’ Federation declared: ‘This council places on record again that the federation never has and never will accept arbitration as the desirable method of settling industrial disputes. We point out that the whole history of the Arbitration Courts in Australia reveals their role is to keep down living standards as low as possible and that their decisions are always influenced directly or indirectly by industrial strength and political pressures . . . Slavish adherence to Arbitration Courts would lead to a serious weakening of unions, since they would depend upon the decisions of judges instead of their own organ.sations.’
– I think his description of the Court applies today.
– That is a matter of opinion. In the course of this debate I heard Senator Bishop, a colleague of Senator Cavanagh’s, telling us of the desirability of preserving the arbitration system as such.
– From which year is the honourable senator quoting?
– I am quoting from 1949. I propose to quote further from the speech made when legislation was brought down in that instance because I think it has a very deep relationship to the Bill now before the Senate. Many of the things contained in this piece of legislation were also found necessary under the circumstances of emergency applying at that time. I refer specifically to a matter which I understand received some prominence in the debate in the other place and that is that a registered organisation is required to reveal the circumstances of its banking. This is said to be an unwarranted intrusion into the privacy of the organisation. I do not know that that is a very valid argument. Any organised business has the name of its bank on any cheque which it issues. In most cases a trade union shows the bank with which it banks on any cheque it issues.
Lel us remember that any union can avoid disclosing these facts. If it has no desire to use the advantages which flow from arbitration and conciliation, it need not register with the Court at all. It can become an organisation outside the ambit of the system of conciliation and arbitration. There is no real compulsion, is there? The Bill only states that if an organisation wants the advantages, it must make certain disclosures to show that it accepts the responsibilities that go with the advantages. I shall quote what was said by an expert who will be acceptable to honourable senators opposite, particularly Senator Cavanagh, because the expert, on this occasion, is none other than the late Rt Hon. H. V. Evatt who introduced the legislation at that time in the other place. He stresses the importance of clause 10. I quote from page 1676 of the 1949 Hansard as follows: . . the importance of clause 10 which vests in the Registrar of the Arbitration Court, or a person authorised by him, power to inspect any books, documents or other papers of an organisation or branch of an organisation for the purpose of ascertaining whether there has been a breach of any of the provisions of the legislation. For the purpose of such inspection, the Registrar is authorised to enter premises of the organisation if he believes such books, documents or papers to be there. He is also given authority to require a person - that means any person - to produce or deliver to him, in accordance with his requirement, any such books, documents or papers in the possession or under the control of that person. That is all for the purpose of determining and ascertaining whether, in his opinion, there has been a breach of the provisions of the measure.
The Registrar’s opinion that there has been a breach will not decide the legal responsibility, but these provisions can place the authorities in possession of the necessary evidence. Penalties are provided for a refusal to comply with the requirements of the Registrar.
– Is the honourable senator suggesting that the Labor Party says one thing and does another?
– I am leaving it to the ALP to say for itself. I believe that in the course of this legislation it can clearly be shown that many of the attitudes adopted today by the Labor Party are the attitudes that have been adopted by the Communist Party for 20-odd years of our industrial history in its attempts to destroy conciliation and arbitration. This is one of the barriers which exists to the complete takeover of industrial organisations which the Communist Party feels it can accomplish in our industrial movement. The Democratic Labor Party does not suggest that the legislation which is before the Senate is the type of legislation that it would produce. We are not the Government. We believe that there is ample evidence to show that the Conciliation and Arbitration Act at this time requires overhaul and that it should be more or less restructured to suit modern circumstances and to meet the attacks of those seeking to destroy the system. The Government has produced what it believes is a measure that will be effective. Time itself will prove whether it will be. Indeed, we have some reservations as to whether this Bill will be sufficient. We believe that a system of conciliation and arbitration will work only if those within the ambit of the system attempt to make it work. Regulations which are written into enactments will not make conciliation and arbitration effective if those involved set out deliberately to see that it does not work. This legislation by its very nature will attract success only if both sides set out to make it work and enter into the spirit of the Act. We are not sure whether the amendment before us at the present time will do that. In some respects we have reservations.
However, we recognise that there have been enormous changes in the industrial structure. There have been changes in the work force. The modern computer age is switching labour from what was once broadly described as the blue collar workers to the white collar workers. In industry today white collar workers exceed blue collar workers for the first time in the history of man. This must of necessity make a great deal of difference to the structure of our arbitration system. Today 40 per cent of our total work force are women. That too is a new factor that has to be given consideration. There are those who say that direct bargaining is preferable to arbitration from the unions’ point of view. The communists in particular are seeking to destroy the system of conciliation and arbitration. They make very much of the success which can be attained by a method of direct bargaining by unions. They never mention that in the 1930s the unions’ power of direct bargaining was practically non-existent because of the economic circumstances of the day.
Presuming that we always have conditions as we have at the moment perhaps, from a union point of view, direct bargaining could or could not be successful. But while criticising the idea that direct bargaining in its entirety must of necessity play a part in conciliation and arbitration, can it take over from a circumstance of conciliation and arbitration? 1 am reminded of the attitude expressed on 2 occasions by the Leader of the Australian Labor Party in the Senate, Senator Murphy. He was almost enraged. Certainly here one night he raised, with great indignation, the question of the demands which were being made by the Australian Air Pilots Association. Under modern circumstances, in an industry structured as the airline industry is, with enormous capital outlay, there is tremendous power in the hands of a few to obtain a lot by direct bargaining. Senator Murphy was tremendously incensed that the Association should have the audacity even to place the claims before the employers. He drew attention to the fact that the success of those claims materially defeated the ambitions of those in the less glamorous jobs in the airways industry of receiving industrial justice. I hope that Senator Murphy in his contribution to this debate will not tell us that direct bargaining is the answer to all the questions of trade unionism as the Communist Party does and as 1 have heard members of the Labor Party in this chamber repeat almost as a slogan.
The other occasion was only the other night when Senator Murphy again expressed tremendous indignation that the medical profession of this country had had the effrontery to use its direct bargaining power to suggest that it was entitled to an increase in fees. He failed to produce a logical argument. He did not explain to the Senate how other professions, whose members have a similar educational background to that of medical practitioners, would have acted. Perhaps I could instance Senator Murphy’s own profession. What would lawyers get by way of direct bargaining if they were called upon to visit a client for an hour in the middle of the night to give legal advice? With some knowledge of legal fees, though 1 have been involved only seldom in legal matters, and as a former trade union official, 1 do not think that a Queen’s Counsel-
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Withers) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– We are all indebted to Senator Little for his interesting and valuable survey of industrial history, particularly for having pointed out the activities of the Communist Party in endeavouring to infiltrate and use the arbitration system for its own ends with the object of destroying it. I was pleased that Senator Little supported this measure. I think all honourable senators will agree that it is a most important Bill, both because of the question with which it deals and because of its substance. Every honourable senator Who has spoken in this debate has emphasised this factor, as well as the benefits and values of the arbitration system. In particular, honourable senators have stressed the importance of conciliation and mediation as a fundamental aspect of the system; indeed, the real cornerstone of it. I am surprised, in the light of the emphasis that has been given to the conciliation aspects of our arbitration system, that members of the Labor Party, both in the other House and in this chamber, have opposed the Bill. They are opposing not merely certain clauses of it. 1 can understand that they might, have objections to some clauses and might be expected to debate them fully in committee, but that is not the attitude they have taken. Both in another place and in this chamber, they have opposed the Bill lock, stock and barrel. This is a strange approach, for many of the provisions of the Bill are designed to improve the conciliation aspect of the arbitration system.
In the short time available to me today 1 would like to examine some of the aspects of the Bill which seem to have been overlooked in the debate in another place, the report of which I have read, and so far in the debate here. One of the main objects of the Bill is, as I have said, to improve the conciliation provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The Bill will do that by separating the conciliation and arbitration functions of the old Commission. Instead of the present structure whereby a dispute that is reported is dealt with immediately by a conciliation commissioner in an attempt to reach a conciliated agreement, and if this is not possible the matter proceeds to arbitration before the same commissioner, one of the first objects of the Bill is to restructure the Commission so that the conciliation process is divorced from the arbitration process.
– That will make it more difficult.
– Senator Bishop has not given any reasons for that statement, though he had plenty of time to do so. It seems to me to make good sense that when a dispute is reported to the Commission, attempts to conciliate, to reach agreement, will be divorced from the arbitration process which is more akin to litigation. The whole process of litigation is very different from what occurs in the conciliation process. It is also important for the success of conciliation that evidence and arguments adduced before the persons concerned in attempts to achieve agreement, and doing so as mediators, should not be used before an arbitrator. One of the first objects of the Bill is to improve the conciliation process in this way and to endeavour to facilitate the reaching of agreement between the parties. The Government hopes and I sincerely hope that the effect will be not only to emphasise the importance of conciliation but also to achieve a greater degree of agreement between the parties, which will then be registered in the form of awards within the system itself. We will then have the best of both worlds - agreement between the parties and the benefits of the Act.
In addition to the provisions for separation of the conciliation side of the Commission’s work from the arbitral side, the Bill will make considerable changes in the composition of the Commission. Here again, these changes are designed partly to improve the quality of the work of conciliation. The presidential members of the Commission will head what are to be known as task forces within industry, which will consist of arbitration commissioners and conciliation commissioners in separate panels assigned to different industries. It is hoped - I believe with justification - that this process will bring the presidential members of the Commission closer to the day-to-day work of the Commission in its conciliation and mediation process.
As I have pointed out, the measure undoubtedly encourages the conciliation process and the formation of settlements by agreement between the parties and the registration of those agreements with the Commission as awards. One clause in this measure which has attracted a good deal of attention is the one which provides that a conciliation commissioner shall not register such an agreement if he believes that it is against the public interest. The determination of that question is left to the discretion of the commissioner. If he refused to register an agreement, the parties to it could appeal against his decision. But if in the exercise of that discretion he registers an agreement - I would think that it would be a very rare case indeed in which he would not register an agreement - that is the end of the matter. This was a proposal by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) when he introduced his statement in December last year that the Commonwealth Government could intervene and could appeal against the registration of an agreement. Because of its policy of encouraging the parties to reach agreements by the conciliation process the Government, very wisely I think, has abandoned any such proposal. It would be quite inimical to the whole concept of encouraging agreement between the parties if a third party such as a government could upset by appeal such a conciliated agreement.
One of the first and foremost objects of this Bill is to improve the whole process of conciliation. This has always been the policy of this Government. 1 think that it was a couple of years ago that very detailed procedures were agreed on by the Government, the employers and the Australian Council of Trade Unions to deal with industrial disputes. I think Senator Bishop said that he fully supported those procedures and, indeed, that the Labor Party has done so. They are procedures which, if they are observed, will prove to be most valuable. As Senator Little has said, this Act and indeed the whole concept of industrial relations cannot work unless a will exists amongst the parties to make them work. These new procedures do endeavour to strike at the problem right at the factory floor level when a problem first raises its head.
The Bill itself does endeavour to encourage the use of these procedures or similar procedures. It encourages the incorporation of those procedures in agreed awards or arbitrated awards for the purpose of dealing with disputes as they may arise from time to time in the application of such awards. There again is further clear evidence of the object of this Bill to promote the conciliation process in this sensitive and important sphere of industrial relations.
The Government quite rightly has pointed out the fact - this is an area where, I think, the Labor Party is most opposed to the provisions of this Bill - that the question of industrial relations does not concern only 2 parties, namely the employer and the employee as represented by his or her trade union. The public interest is involved. That public interest in recent years certainly has been recognised by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The specific provision that I have already mentioned that an agreement which is presented for registration can be refused registration if it is against the public interest has been embodied in the Act for some time; it is not a new provision introduced by this Bill. I am thankful for and fully support the action taken by the Government in intervening in many of the more important cases before the Commission in order to present evi dence and argument to that body concerning the public interest. One of the provisions of this Bill will enshrine in the Act in legal terms the necessity for the Commission - not in every case but only in the major cases which come before it from time to time, such as those dealing with standard hours of work, the national wage and so on - to have regard for the effects on the national economy of decisions which the Commission takes.
– Do you say that that is not done in respect of conciliation?
– The Commission will do this only in certain cases which come before full benches of that body. These are the more important cases. I think that this is the sort of argument which might be carried on during the consideration of the Bill in Committee. I have no doubt that we will have plenty of time to debate further the effects of that provision. But in substance and in principle we must support the fact that it is only right and proper that in the more important cases before the Commission the public interest should be borne in mind by full benches of the Commission, and there should be a legal requirement to this effect.
One other important aspect of public interest in this whole process is the enforcement of the decisions which are ultimately arrived at by the whole process of conciliation and arbitration. We have heard from Senator Little an interesting survey of industrial history. 1 think it is clear not only from what he said but also from any study of the history of industrial relations that we have in the Australian arbitration system an enormously valuable institution of which this country can be most proud as a pioneer in this field, and one which is being followed in some other countries which in the past have relied on collective bargaining. 1 instance in particular the United Kingdom which, in the last 12 months, has introduced not a similar system but a system by which an endeavour has been made to embody some definite arbitration process and some sanctions for the enforcement of arbitrated decisions or decisions which may be reached by agreement between parties. Indeed, in the United States of America which is often held up as a great example of collective bargaining and the values of that system, agreements which are reached between the parties are enforceable by claims for damages in the ordinary courts of the land. Under that system those who breach agreements are visited with far greater penalties, by way of damages, than they would be under the sanctions provisions of this legislation. The Government has said and, I feel, with absolute propriety, that in the last resort any system of arbitration, as we have here, in which any attempt is made to regularise industrial relations for the good of the parties and for the benefit of the community must have some sanctions ultimately.
We have heard a great deal of criticism of the sanctions provided in the Bill and we know now that after some considerable doubt and dispute within the Australian Labor Party that the Opposition would repeal all sanctions provisions if it were in office. The reasons advanced for such action seem very odd to me. In fact they seem to be nothing more than pious hopes which are invalidated almost every day by our experiences in the industrial sphere. In another place the shadow Minister for Labour and National Service, Mr Clyde Cameron, said:
Given lnc kind of atmosphere which the repeal of strike penalties would create, there would be no doubt in my mind that unions and their members would honour their agreements to the letter.
What more pious hope could one hear? What naivete there is in the mind and heart of this shadow Minister for Labour and National Service.
– I thought Mr Cameron said it would be necessary to continue sanctions.
– He said that there had to be sanctions but he was over-ruled in that more realistic policy by the Labor Caucus. The Opposition believes that the unions would honour agreements to the letter if the sanctions were removed. Yet in recent weeks we have seen the printing strike which has been affecting almost every daily newspaper in Australia. The printers are under an agreement which does not expire until 1st January next year and they are taking their industrial action at the moment in defiance of such an agreement. That is a very good example of the pious hones of having a system of arbi tration with all its great benefits for the employees as well as for the community and employers operating without some system of ultimate sanctions on those who want to breach awards which are arrived at by the processes of conciliation in the first place. If every effort to reach an agreement fails, then a determination is made by arbitration when everybody has the fullest opportunity of stating his case for and against and then, if the parties are still dissatisfied, the decision can be appealed against. Surely to goodness after that process has been gone through and attempts have been made to be fair to all sides, if anyone or any side is not prepared to abide by decisions or agreements which are arrived at in that way, I am sure that any fair-minded person could only conclude that some penalty must be visited for breaches of agreements or awards arrived at under that eminently fair method.
There is one other matter which the Opposition has raised in this debate and it was emphasised by Senator Bishop when he spoke in this chamber last night. It is said that this legislation is part and parcel of the Government’s attempt to attack inflation by loading all the responsibility and blame for it on to the wage earner. Here again nothing could be further from the truth. This legislation is rightly concerned to ensure that wages will increase reasonably and not against the community interest. There is always this community interest which must be observed in the fixation of wages. But this legislation is only part of a very broad plan of attack which this Government has been making against inflation. Apart from the Bill which we are debating today we have had 2 other measures introduced in the Senate today which are part and parcel of that broad attack upon inflation which is made in the interests of the community generally and everybody in it. The Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) has put down this afternoon a statement in which he indicated the big changes which are to be made in the trade practices legislation. The changes will be enshrined in the legislation and passed in this chamber in the near future.
Perhaps it is a pity that this session will not last long enough for Parliament to put on the statute book those changes at the same time as the changes to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The prevention of restrictive practices by industry is an important attack on inflation by the Government. This attempt to improve competition is one of the most important ways of containing inflation. We had a Bill introduced in this chamber this afternoon seeking to improve the operations of the Tariff Board in its efforts to accelerate the tariff review. Of course, this whole review of tariffs, particularly the elimination of unused tariffs, will be another important aspect of the Government’s attack on inflation. This Bill is an important part of the Government’s policy. But it is quite wrong to present it in the way that the Opposition has attempted to present it as the only move which the Government proposes to make to attack inflation.
Before I conclude I want to make one reference to an omission from this legislation about which I am disappointed. When the Minister for Labour and National Service made his statement in the House of Representatives last December in which he foreshadowed this legislation he said that the Government was very concerned with the efforts of some trade unions to bring about compulsory trade unionism in this country. He said:
The Government and, i believe, the community are opposed to compulsory unionism. 1 wholeheartedly agree and the Liberal Party agrees with the concern expressed then an efforts by some trade unions to introduce compulsory trade unionism. The Minister foreshadowed thatth is legislation would contain some ways and means of preventing the spread of compulsory unionism by certain activities of some trade unions. As 1 have said, it is a matter of some regret to me that some of the proposals that the Minister foreshadowed have not been incorporated in this legislation. 1 have noted that the Attorney-General has said that there are some practical difficulties involved and that disadvantages could result. I accept that. But before concluding my remarks I express my disappointment that these difficulties have not been overcome. There may well be some constitutional difficulties involved in incorporating in legislation some of the proposals that the Minister foreshadowed. 1 agree that there would be practical difficulties involved. However, I think that the AttorneyGeneral, perhaps in replying to the second reading debate, might amplify - at least for my benefit and, I am sure, for that of many other senators on this side of the chamber - what were the practical problems and disadvantages which the Government found in endeavouring : to incorporate these suggestions in legislation.
Sitting suspended from 5.57 to 8 p.m.
– Mr President, at an earlier stage today I sought leave to make a statement at a later hour this day on behalf of the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts (Mr Howson). The statement is entitled ‘Australian Environment, Commonwealth Policy and Achievements’. In this report the Government responds to a number of recommendations made by the Senate Select Committees on Air Pollution and Water Pollution and for that reason it may be thought that the statement should be read to the Senate. I appreciate that it has been read in the other place and the fact that the time available in the remainder of this session is such that we want as much as possible for the passage of Bills. It may be that the Senate will agree to the statement being incorporated in Hansard. If any honourable senator objects and desires it to be read, the point may be taken. Objection by one honourable senator would mean that it would be read. 1 ask for leave for the statement to be incorporated in Hansard.
– Is any objection taken to that course?
– Yes, I am inclined to object. This is a very important statement and it should get wide coverage. Perhaps this is the best time for the statement to be read.
– We are anxious to listen to Senator Mulvihill, one of your colleagues.
– Yes, I accept that that is so and we ought not to deprive Senator Mulvihill of the opportunity to state his case.
-I do not want a debate on this subject. I put this proposal forward: Perhaps the Senate would agree to the Attorney-General’s summarising the report and then tabling it.
– No. I suggest that he read it at a later stage tonight.
– I will not allow the motion for the adjournment of the Senate, which provides honourable senators with an opportunity to raise private matters, to be used as a vehicle for the discussion of Government Business or General Business. Make up your mind one way or the other as to whether you wish the report tabled.
– I do not think I should prejudice Senator Mulvihill’s opportunity to speak at this time. Nevertheless, I think the Attorney-General ought to read the statement later tonight.
-I will consider that suggestion during the evening.
– I do seek leave to incorporate the statement in Hansard. I understand that an arrangement was made between the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Drake-Brockman) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) for this course to be acceptable under the circumstances.
– That may well be so but this is Senate business. Is leave granted for the statement to be incorporated? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The statement read as follows):
In recent years there has been an increasing public awareness of the threat to our environment in Australia and the need to do something about it. My purpose, therefore, is to emphasise the Commonwealth Government’s deep interest in the problems of the environment and our determination to do what we can, within our powers, to help solve those problems.
In Australia today we live in an affluent, liberal society where we are seeking standards of excellence in all things. Basic to this is a healthy environment in which we can develop a quality of life to satisfy our needs in all fields of human endeavour. It is essential, therefore, that we preserve the great gifts nature has given us and that we keep our environment as free from man-made contamination as human skills can devise. It is a fact of recent history that while the technological revolution of the sixties and the seventies has brought great benefits in material good living, in national progress and in economic well-being - it has also had by-products which are despoiling our land and polluting the air and the water around us.
As Galbraith has said: ‘The greater the wealth the greater will be the dirt’.
The challenge before us alt, as a people, is very real and I am gratified, that, in additionto the concern of Governments, there has developed a lively public conscience on this imporant subject. Fortunately action is already being taken on several fronts to deal with pollution, waste disposal and the preservation of our natural environment with its unique flora and fauna. In short the challenge to protect the environment has been accepted. But much remains to be done. What I wish to do now is to identify the responsibilities of Government as we see them and to give some details of what is being done by the Commonwealth at the national and international level to protect our environment. The problem cannot be dealt with in isolation from other matters nor can Governments alone achieve success.
So far as the Commonwealth is concerned the question is one of devising a pattern of national development in which environmental objectives go hand in hand with economic, social and cultural goals. Our philosophy is directed to this end - to devising and developing such a pattern in cooperation with the States, with Local Government, with business and industry and the community as a whole. And therefore we have to consider the environment as a major factor in the planning and management of practically all forms of development from human settlements to engineering and industrial works.
At the outset 1 should point out, however, that the main responsibility for the environment over the greater part of the continent of Australia lies with the Slates. That is the constitutional position. Nevertheless, when there is a great problem of national pollution, the Commonwealth must coordinate and co-operate with the States.
I would identify the Commonwealth as having a national responsibility -
To give leadership in researching the problem.
To co-operate with others.
To act within its powers as necessary.
And to keep before the Australian people the dangers to their environment.
In various ways concern for the environment is national in character. There are, perhaps, three main reasons why this is so. The first is that pollution of the air, the rivers and the seas is not confined by State boundaries. The second is that various authorities, Government and otherwise, must act in harmony to avoid unhealthy interstate competition arising from different environmental standards. And the third is that national action may be needed to meet specific international situations. With these matters in mind, I turn now to what the Commonwealth is doing to discharge its responsibilities.
Our first consideration - having regard to the major role of the States - was to establish a system for close and continuing co-operation with them and make arrangements for the coordination of our various activities where this could be mutually beneficial.
I believe that we have made considerable progress. Both the Commonwealth and States have set up, or are setting up, administrative machinery to deal with environmental matters. All have a Minister with a specific responsibility for the environment. These Ministers are meeting together regularly for consultation as the Australian Environment Council. The Council has been constituted by agreement between the Commonwealth and the States and after this was ratified it held its first formal meeting in Sydney last month. The council is to draw up standards and guide-lines for its own use and it is hoped that these will have general recognition throughout the Commonwealth. The Council has already begun to study such important environmental problems as waste disposal and non-destructible, non-returnable, containers and packaging generally. The council has also noted the importance of decentralisation.
Here the Commonwealth itself has been actively participating over several years in the CommonwealthState Officials Committee on Decentralisation. This is all a beginning. And I feel sure Australians will recognise and accept the Australian Enrivonment Council as an important mechanism between the Commonwealth and the States on many matters affecting the environment. I should add that the council will also co-operate with other joint Commonwealth-State Ministerial Councils whose activities and responsibilities bear, in one way or another, on the environment.
I refer, in particular, to those councils responsible for health, water resources, shipping and transport, forestry, minerals, agriculture and fisheries. They have, for a long time, been active in specific areas of pollution and environmental control.
In this context 1 wish to announce that the Government has decided to introduce a system of impact statements’ designed to protect the environment. That is to say that when a Commonwealth Minister prepares a submission to the Cabinet on any proposal that has some relevance to the environment that submission must be accompanied by a statement setting out the impact the proposal is likely to make on the environment. This ‘impact statement’ will, I am sine, become an important element in decisionmaking. I might add that State projects for which Commonwealth financial assistance is sought will also need to be supported by assurances that all environmental factors have been considered and evaluated.
The second announcement I wish to make concerns the membership of the special advisory committee which is to be set up to advise the Commonwealth Government in its consideration of environmental problems.
This committee will consist of:
Professor R. J. Walsh, Professor of Human Genetics, University of New South Wales, who will be Chairman.
Mr L. W. Weickhardt, Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.
Mr K. W. Shugg, immediate past president of The Royal Australian Institute of Architects.
This committee will be free to suggest to me as the Minister for the Environment matters that it feels it could usefully examine.
There are, of course, several research programmes already in progress in Commonwealth Departments and scientific agencies of the Government. They range over a wide spectrum and include such activities as water treatment, the abatement of smoke pollution, the problem of pesticides, the rehabilitation of areas damaged by man’s activities and guide-lines for the preservation of our flora and fauna.
Increasing importance is being attached to research in the medical and social sciences because of the emotional and medical factors that are inseparable from man’s response to his environment.
Hand in hand with conservation, of course, goes land use. The Government has decided to set up a Land Use Advisory Council to advise it in circumstances where environmental considerations arise in the Commonwealth’s jurisdiction which could arouse general concern. For example, when proposed industrial undertakings of national importance might appear to conflict with the preservation of such environmental assets as national parks in Commonwealth Territories the Government will be able to seek independent advice from this Council. Consequently, the Government will be able to refer to this council matters relating to any land under the Commonwealth’s control within Australia. The members of the council and its charter will be announced in due course.
In considering the general question of pollution, contamination and despoliation of the land the question inevitably arises’ - Who pays’? It is not easy to make an exclusive identification of liability because environmental damage is the result of many things - of technological successes, of industrial activity and of social habit. A community responsibility has to be recognised. But I think it appropriate at this stage to say that the Government has aready decided that Australia should agree to the guiding principles so far developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, of which we recently became a member. This is only an agreement in principle at this stage because many matters still need to be settled between members of this international body. The guiding principles adopted by the OECD relate to the national and international aspects of environmental policies and their effect on economies and trade.
In brief they embrace the principle that the polluter pays’ - that the costs of pollution control measures should be recognised as part of the total cost of production. They also provide for the principle of harmony - or similarity - of standards to avoid favouring one country - or State - against the other in terms of industrial and trade competition. I believe that the ‘polluter pays’ principle is likely to be adopted by nearly all the developed countries which are our main competitors. This will lead to some increased costs and may lead to some increase in prices. But I venture to say. at this stage, that so far as the Australian public is concerned increased product costs should be outweighed by the reduced social costs which the community is already bearing. New enterprises will be able, more readily than existing ones, to adopt non-pollutiong techniques - for example at the plant design stage. It is encouraging to know that already several of our big industrial enterprises are already taking their own initiatives to reduce pollution and protect the environment.
May 1 now refer briefly to a number of other Commonwealth activities in environmental control with special reference to the pollution of the air, our water and our coastal seas.
I summarise them in this way:
First, the Department of Civil Aviation sought advice from a special committee of the Academy of Science in the effect on the upper atmosphere of supersonic aircraft, lt has relevance in view of the forthcoming visit of the supersonic Concord to Australia and the advent of the supersonic era. This report has now been circulated.
Second, a national plan for combating oil spillage at sca is being prepared. The Government has offered to set up for the states stockpiles of materials and equipment around the coast to deal with oil spillage from tankers and other ships. It will contribute $1 million towards the cost and will legislate to apply a single levy to the merchant shipping industry to recoup those costs not recovered from shipowners responsible for identifiable spillages.
Third, the National Health and Medical Research Council has been doing valuable work on detergents since 1968 and last year negotiated a voluntary agreement with the detergent industry which effectively controlled most domestic washing and cleaning compounds so that damage to the environment has been considerably reduced. It is continuing its investigations in other fields where detergents are used.
Fourth, the Australian Transport Advisory Council - comprising Commonwealth and State Ministers - has taken action to control carbon mono-oxide emissions from motor vehicles. The measures it has adopted are similar to those established by the Economic Commission for Europe. This council has also endorsed draft regulations to prohibit the emission of crank case gases and to limit smoke from diesel engines.
I am quoting these details because they are a reminder to everyone who drives on our roads today that action is being taken to cut down on exhaust fumes and keep the air cleaner.
I want now to refer to the reports of the Select Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives on various environmental topics.
These Parliamentary inquiries have been most useful in drawing public attention to some of our pollution problems in Australia. The Government has carefully examined the recommendations of the Senate Select Committees on Air and Water Pollution and I ask leave to incorporate in Hansard statements of the Government’s observations on the recommendations made by those committees.
Now, in conclusion, may I mention our involvement in the international aspects of environmental control. The threat to man’s environment is world-wide. It makes no distinctions. There is much to be gained therefore by Australia sharing its problems and the search for solutions with others. Wc do this primarily through the United Nations and more recently through the O.E.C.D. We take an active part in the work of the specialised agencies of the United Nations whose work has environmental overtones. The Commonwealth was an early adherent to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sca by Oil as far back as 19S4 and last year through the U.N. Agency in Maritime Affairs it secured provisions which will provide especially for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef, lt has also contributed to recent Conventions directed towards securing adequate compensation for damage by oil pollution. This participation in international discussion and consultation is a continuing process.
We are prepared to use all the international machinery at our disposal to achieve the sort of co-operation required for global action and to protect our own interests in problems with environmental implications. Next month we will be represented at an important United Nations conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm.
The Australian delegation has already been announced and I need not repeat the details. Sufficient to say it will be a significant conference. We were among the first to support the Swedish initiative for the conference and we have been closely involved in the preparations since 1968. And while Australia will have much to learn I am sure we will also have something worthwhile to contribute. The protection of the environment is a task that has no end. As the inventive genius of man produces new benefits for us all. so, too, will the problems of protecting the environment multiply.
We cannot leave it all to Governments, lt is as much a challenge to the walker on a forest trail who drops litter as he goes as it is to the industrialist whose factories crowd the landscape. It is as much a challenge to the parent, the educator and the scientist as it is to the manager and the politician. It is a challenge the people of Australia have to take up as their own.
AIR POLLUTION IN AUSTRALIA
GOVERNMENT’S OBSERVATIONS ON THE RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE SENATE
Legislation within Commonwealth Territories (Recommendation1 )
That the Commonwealth should immediately enact legislation for the control of air pollution within its Territories’.
The Select Committee made this recommendation not ‘because there is an urgent need for such legislation but because the Committee feels that the Commonwealth should take an immediate and active interest in air pollution matters’. The Committee also staled that the promulgation of Commonwealth legislation in this field could provide a model for future State action.
The Commonwealth does take an active interest in air pollution matters. Research into various topics of reievance to air pollution problems is carried out or sponsored by Commonwealth Departments and authorities, viz. -
Department of Air
Australian Atomic Energy Commission
Bureau of Meteorology (Department of the Interior)
Department of Civil Aviation
Commonwealth Meteorology Research Centre
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Department of Health
Department of National Development
Department of Shipping and Transport
Department of Supply
The Commonwealth is also actively involved in air pollution problems through the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Transport Advisory Council and now through the Australian Environment Council.
The global nature of man-made atmospheric pollution, first brought to light by the problems of airborne radioactive debris, led the Commonwealth to establish the National Radiation Advisory Committee in 1957. The Committee examines the effects of ionising radiation on the Australian community, including possible effects of fallout from nuclear weapons tests. The Committee’s reports on the biological aspects of the fallout have been published. The NRAC assesses these effects after a study of the data supplied by the Commonwealth X-ray and Radium Laboratory and the Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee. More recently there is an increasing concern with the wide dispersion of some chemical pollutants in the atmosphere arising from industrial and aircraft operations, and the possible climatic and other changes these might engender. Some of the Commonwealth agencies referred to above are active in investigating these problems. Monitoring is a key part of this activity and forms one of the important topics to be discussed at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.
So far as the Territories are concerned, the position remains much as the Committee found it in 1969, viz. no pressing air pollution problems have been revealed and the preparation of additional or comprehensive legislation is not of itself an urgent matter. However, in both Territories amendments have been made (as in the States) to the Motor Traffic Ordinance to provide additional controls over motor vehicle emissions.
The Commonwealth and the States are jointly examining problems relating to air pollution in such Commonwealth/State councils as the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Transport Advisory Council and the Australian Environment Council. It would appear more appropriate for such Councils to work towards uniform Commonwealth/State legislation if this proves practicable than for the Commonwealth to attempt to provide a theoretical model in the Territories where there are few, if any, specific problems at present requiring legislation.
Commonwealth/State Bureau of Air Pollution (Recommendations 2, 3 and 4)
That the Commonwealth Government initiate a conference between Commonwealth and Slate Governments to discuss the establishment of a Commonwealth/State Bureau of Air Pollution’.
Commonwealth/State consultation and coordination on air pollution matters is already effected through -
More recently, the Australian Environment Council has been formed to provide for consultation and co-ordination between the Commonwealth and States on appropriate environmental matters and, at its meeting on 7 April 1972, decided to establish a Committee to investigate and. where appropriate, make recommendations for notional emission standards and guides to environmental quality criteria.
The Government believes that these arrangements provide an appropriate framework for Commonwealth/State co-operation.
Air Pollution Research by CSIRO (Recommendation 5)
That a Division of Air Pollution be established within the CSIRO to undertake basic research into air pollution problems of particular relevance to Australia: to examine overseas studies and practices for application to the Australian situation; and to undertake studies recommended by the Bureau of Air Pollution’.
This matter has been examined by the Executive of CSIRO which is convinced that more would be gained by investigating different aspects of air pollution within the Organisation’s general framework than by establishing an overall Air Pollution Division.
With the object of unifying CSIRO research in the important area of environmental physics the Organisation has recently formed the Environmental Physics Research Laboratories comprising the Division of Atomospheric Physics and the Division of Environmental Mechanics. An example of a specific air pollution problem more appropriately tackled elsewhere in the Organisation is the removal of fly ash from power station emissions which is dealt with in the Division of Mineral Chemistry. In the course of these studies, appropriate consideration is given by CSIRO to the results of overseas research where these are relevant to the Australian situation.
Aspects of air pollution research are also handled by a variety of other bodies, including the Commonwealth Departments and instrumentalities listed under the observations on Recommendation 1.
That the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology be charged with the responsibility of establishing a national network of monitoring stationsfor the collection of meteorological data specifically for air pollution needs, the continuous measurement of air pollutants, and eventually of setting up a predictive service for the warning of potential air pollution hazards’.
The Bureau of Meteorology maintains a comprehensive data collection network which gathers information capable of some application to air pollution control. There is a continuing process of development of the network both as to the form of data collected and the extent of the general network. The monitoring of pollution is under examination by the Australian Environment Council and. in the world context, by the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. The future role of the Bureau of Meteorology will emerge in the light of further developments in these areas. The Bureau is already providing a predictive service for the warning of potential air pollution hazards in Perth and Adelaide and the provision of a service in Sydney is under consideration.
That, in view of the special importance of emissions from motor vehicles in the overall air pollution problem, urgent consideration be given by the appropriate Commonwealth and State authorities to ways and means of bringing about the abatement and eventual control of those motor vehicle emissions which contribute to pollution of the air’.
The Australian Transport Advisory Council has a committee on Motor Vehicle Emissions continuously looking into this problem. The Council in February 1971 endorsed its recommendations on Design Rules to limit exhaust emissions. One of these rules has already been put into effect by the respective governments. It covers all passenger cars (including station wagons) manufactured after 1 January 1972. It specifies that the carbon monoxide content by volume of the exhaust gases emitted by motor vehicles with the engine idling must not exceed 4.5 per cent.
The second Design Rule is to apply to passenger cars (including station wagons) manufactured after 1 January 1974 and provides for tests under both idling and traffic conditions, and it lays down maximum levels for both hydro-carbons and carbon monoxide.
The Rules are regarded only as a first stage for petrol engined vehicles and work is continuing on the matter. Regarding diesel engined vehicles a draft regulation to control smoke emissions of diesel-powered vehicles has been endorsed by the Australian Transport Advisory Council (in February this year). This regulation provides for all ‘on road diesel-powered vehicles not to emit exhaust smokes exceeding 70 Hartridge Units in opacity.
The problem of determining what further action is necessary to limit motor vehicle emissions is made difficult by the inadequacy of data on effects. Not only is there a need for continuous monitoringin key areas of ambient air but it is apparent there is also a need to monitor actual emissions from motor vehicles in order to determine as closely as possible the pollution attributable to the motor vehicle.
That the Commonwealth Government give consideration to the granting of financial relief to industry and others involved in expenditure on air pollution control equipment and its maintenance by means of tax and duty concessions, with particular reference to the extension of the taxation allowance and to accelerated depreciation allowances’.
While the income tax law makes no reference to expenditure on air pollution control equipment, the full cost to business enterprises in installing, operating and maintaining such equipment would, as a general rule, he allowable as deductions either by way of depreciation allowances or as business outgoings. The proposition that extraordinary financial relief should he provided at the taxpayers’ expense to those incurring these expenditures is difficult to reconcile with what has come to be known as the ‘polluter pays principle’. Briefly stated, this principle holds that the real cost of pollution should be borne by those producers and users of goods and services whose production or consumption brought about that pollution.
That the taxation laws in respect to allowances for buildings and plant be reviewed, particularly in relation to the definition of chimneys.’
The general question of allowing income tax deductions in respect of the cost of buildings and other structures, including chimneys, used by manufacturers and other taxpayers, has been examined by the Government on a number of occasions. It has not so far been found practicble to introduce such allowances.
The functions of the Commission should include -
It should also be the administering authority for water resources within the Commonwealth’s jurisdiction.’
The Government agrees with the view of the Australian Water Resources Council that the major objectives involved in a national approach to water quality can be achieved through the type of machinery and programme which is already in use.
The Australian Water Resources Council has as its major objective -
The provision of a comprehensive assessment on a continuing basis of Australia’s water resources and the extension of measurement and research so that future planning can be carried out on a sound and scientific basis’. Its principal activities have been -
In July 1970, the Australian Water Resources Council established a Technical Committee on Water quality with the following functions -
The preparation of information and advice on -
The membership of the Committee comprises representatives of Commonwealth and State Government Departments involved in development and control of water resources, both rural and urban, and also specialists in the disciplines of chemistry, agriculture, human health and fisheries and wildlife.
The main activities of the Technical Committee so far have been -
Within recent months, the Branch of the Department of National Development which provides the Secretariat for the Australian Water Resources Council, has been enlarged by the creation of five new positions. This will provide additional assistance to the Council in its work on water quality and water resources generally.
The National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Fisheries Council and the Australian Agricultural Council are also concerned with aspects of water quality, whilstthe recently formed Australian Environment Council, in its wider role, has decided to set up a specialist committee to investigate and, where appropriate, to make recommendations for national emission standards and guides to environmental quality criteria. Liaison with the other Councils will, of course, be essential.
The Government acknowledges the attitude of the States, as expressed in the Australian Water Resources Council, that while they would welcome increased Commonwealth activity in liaison, information, research and other services, they could not accept the concept of a Commonwealth agency having the responsibilities described for a National Water Commission in Recommendation 2.
A Comprehensive Approach (Recommendation 3)
The control of pollution should be undertaken by authorities representative of all interests.
The prevention and abatement of pollution requires a comprehensive approach involving land-use planning, sociological and ecological assessments and the application of specialist water pollution technology. This comprehensive approach should bethe objective at all levels of government. To achieve a co-ordinated, comprehensive approach, it is necessary, in the view of this Committee, that each State move towards the creation of its own central authority to coordinate State activities and to permit the most effective co-ordination between the Commonwealth and the States.’
Action on this Recommendation is a matter for the States. However, it can be said that in general co-ordinat ing machinery has been or is being set up to deal not only with water quality managementbut also with environmental quality generally.
Systematic Assessment (Recommendation 4)
Regional and State authorities should be encouraged to undertake, with the National Water Commission, a systematic quantitative assessment of water quality and to monitor regularly their waterways and any pollution that occurs in them. Pending the formation ofthe Commission, the Commonwealth should encourage the interchange of data and the discussion of acceptable criteria.’
The Technical Committee on Water Quality of the A.W.R.C. has taken as one of its first tasks a survey of existing networks of stations to monitor water quality, with a view to planning the national network considered necessary,. This network would provide the basis for a systematic assessment of water quality, on a continuing basis.
Financial and Technical Resources (Recommendation 5)
The financial and technical resources required to undertake an adequate programme of pollution abatement should be assessed. A financial aid programme in accord with the national policy should be considered. This should have particular regard to the major areas of sewerage, industry, and salinity. The Commonwealth should consider the practicability of making special loans or emergency grants to industry and to local government for works and research.
Prior to the formation of the National Water Commission, consideration should be given to the need for a coastal protection fund to meet the cost of damage arising from tanker mishaps and oil spillages from refineries. Funds for this purpose could come from appropriate oil industry levies.”
The Government accepts the view of the A.W.R.C. that pollution abatement involves a major and continuing programme, the primary responsibility for which rests with the Stales.
Until the 1969 Civil Liability Convention and the 1971International Oil Pollution Fund Convention come into force, there is no legal basis on which the costs of oil pollution damage are recoverablebeyond what can be recovered under common law action. The 1971 Convention is yet to be considered by the Government. In the meantime, the position is adequately covered by theT anker Owners Voluntary Agreement Concerning Liability for Oil Pollution (TOVALOP) and the Contract Regarding an Interim Supplement to Tanker Liability for Oil Pollution (CRISTAL). Under these arrangements, tanker owners have contracted to make available compensation for pollution damage beyond the limits of liability presently available under existing legal regimes.
The Commonwealth formally approached the States in February 1972 with a national plan to combat oil spillages at sea under which -
Legislation and Control (Recommendation 6)
Urgent consideration should be given to the preparation of adequate legislation for the control of water pollution in Commonwealth Territories. Though the National Water Commission, the Commonwealth should encourage the standardisation of legislation and codes of practice in water pollution matters and should assist in the collating of existing legislation.’ There is no suggestion in the Select Committee’s report that legislation inthe Australian Capital Territory was inadequate. The Select Committee reported that -
The Department of the Interior believes the existing legislation and administration procedures are adequate for the control of water pollution in the A.C.T.
In the Northern Territory the Mining Ordinance was amended in 1970 to make it a prior condition that before the Administrator granted a mining lease or exploration licence that he would consider the likely effect of these mining operations on the environment and impose suitable conditions. Similarly, special mineral leases which it is proposed to grant in the uranium provinces will contain a wide and detailed range of controls over environmental matters. The Government will also introduce amendments to the prevention of pollution of waters by oil ordinance so as to increase maximum penalties imposed on polluters from $2,000 to $50,000. Action to identify and, if necessary, strengthen other areas to meet existing and foreseeable situations, will continue.
The view of the Australian Water Resources Council is that maximum uniformity of principles and criteria in legislation seems desirable but some variations are considered inevitable having regard to the wide variation in conditions as between States. The general question of uniformity of legislation and standards is under examination by the Australian Environment Council.
The Commonwealth Government should, as a matter of urgency, examine the facilities available for the education of professional and technical persons in water pollution matters so that the provision of adequate facilities will not be unduly delayed. Pending the establishment of the National Water Commission, the Commonwealth should use such instrumentalities as are available for the collection and dissemination of technical data.’
The Commonwealth is providing substantial financial support for the education of professional and technical persons generally and is assisting the States to expand their technical training facilities. In general, this support is not given in a way that permits the Commonwealth to identify readily the training facilities and programmes that are now available in the various institutions and which are relevant to specific fields of interest, such as water pollution control.
It is a matter for consideration as to whether educational institutions should seek to provide courses specifically in ‘water pollution matters’, or whether they should rely on general education in particular fields. The relevance of various training programmes and facilities now available in the various institutions will depend on how broadly the phrase ‘water pollution matters’, as used in Recommendation 7, is interpreted. This needs to be clarified to determine if any survey should be undertaken of facilities available for the education of professional and technical persons in water pollution matters. The Australian Universities Commission and the Australian Commission on Advanced Education and also the State authorities could then be invited to comment.
Research (Recommendation 8)
The Commonwealth should provide research and travel grants for qualified workers in those fields already identified as significant in water pollution abatement. Studies directed towards the controlled re-use of water should be encouraged.’
The Commonwealth is already supporting research by qualified workers in fields bearing directly upon water pollution abatement and the controlled re-use of water through the activities of a number of Commonwealth Departments and instrumentalities, including the Department of the Interior, CSIRO, the Australian Atomic Energy Commission Research Establishment and the Department of National Development, through the provision of funds for the water research programme administered by the Australian Water Resources Council.
Problems of water pollution must be viewed in the context of overall water use and management. It is therefore the Commonwealth commitment to water research overall that should be considered rather than its commitment to research in the narrower field of water pollution abatement. From this viewpoint, the Commonwealth contribution is clearly substantial, and, in addition, there is a considerable expenditure by the States on water research.
CSIRO - whose expenditure on water research is far greater than that of any other organisation in Australia - is carrying out, inter alia, research into some problems that relate to the detection and movement of pollutants in water and to the treatment of industrial waste effluents and urban sewage with the object of controlled re-use of water.
Provision is made for overseas travel in cases where this is appropriate.
A distinction should be made between research activities and the routine monitoring of pollutants and pollution levels. The Recommendation by the Select Committee is regarded as referring to fundamental and applied research activities while routine monitoring forms part of the continuing systematic assessment of water quality and is covered by the comments under Recommendation 4.
Public Education and Encouragement (Recommendation 9)
The Commonwealth should, through existing organisations, subsidise public education programmes on pollution and encourage a responsible attitude by all sectors of the community. Urgent attention should be given to measures relating to detergents, nutrients and industrial wastes. Financial inducements by way of subsidies should be considered.’
The Australian Environment Council at its meeting on 7 April recognised the need for a greater public awareness of matters concerning the environment and agreed that each Minister will take immediately appropriate steps to promote this awareness in his own sphere. It also instructed its Standing Committee to propose for its consideration at its next meeting ways and means of improving public knowledge of the needs of the environment.
– by leave - I move:
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Debate resumed (vide page 1 985).
– I join with other Opposition senators in opposing this Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. I might say, in passing, that with my Queensland colleague, Senator Georges, 1 look forward to the debate on the motion moved by Senator Davidson on the statement on the Australian environment. My predecessors from the Opposition side in this debate on this Bill have argued, quite rightly, that there has been a note of panic in relation to this legislation. The Government is ignoring the cause and seeking to deal with the effect. I think I can do no better than to fortify my argument, and that of the Opposition as a whole, by quoting the text of a statement made by the President of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, Sir Richard Kirby, in his report of 13th August 1971. Sir Richard Kirby said: 1 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. . . .
That virtually endorses the remarks that were made by Senator Cavanagh earlier today. I want to continue in a broader fashion. The second reading speech made by the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) makes comparisons with the amendments made to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act in 1947 and refers to the industrial climate in 1972. One of the problems is epitomised in the speeches made by Senator Lillico and Senator Durack. They seized on the trade union movement as a whipping boy and built their entire cases on that. 1 referred earlier to cause and effect. The point I am making is that such advances as containerisation, automation and computerisation are episodes in the industrial life of this country that are having series effects on the work force, whether it be the blue collar section or the white collar section. Honourable senators are entitled to argue about the effect that certain ideological ground swells have on disrupting the continuity of employment. The point is that when people feel that their future is a little uncertain it does not take great oratory from a trade union secretary to get them to agitate for a change. Some disputes are certainly more prolonged than others. No industrial dispute in Australia has lasted as long as the various longshoremen’s stoppages in the United States of America. 1 refer to one such stoppage recently which involved Harry Bridges, who is well known to honourable senators on both sides of the chamber. This stoppage happened on the Pacific Coast of the United States. I do not condone the length of that dispute but it has become the usual practice for the Press to draw out of the air statements saying that mythical millions of dollars are involved, whatever the length of the stoppage. I remember what happened about 4 years ago at the time of the Mount lsa dispute. It was a lesson to everybody of what should not happen. Former Senator Branson asked whether the many millions mentioned were the true cost of that strike. Probably he was seeking a different answer from that which I was seeking. It is remarkable that the mining industry at Mount Isa was very buoyant again within 12 months. I deliberately inject that remark in order to get honourable senators back to a more temperate level.
Senator Lillico referred to the role of the trade union movement in West Germany and compared it with that in Australia. We have to consider secondary effects. The present West German Finance Minister, Herr Schiller, has been taking action about price justification. It is true that he has not had his way entirely but at least he has endeavoured to stabilise prices. The top echelon of the West German trade union movement negotiated to reach a national wage agreement but values did not erode after agreement was reached. If honourable senators asked me to crystallise my main objection to this legislation I simply say this: After a prolonged national wage inquiry and after judges have determined a percentage increase that can be met by industry - I am dealing solely with wage justice now - if there were a price freeze for 6 or 8 months we would not see the flow-throughs which occur when people realise that within 3 weeks the prices of basic commodities go up. The Government might say that it could be too allembracing. I say that if the Government had created a prices justification commission and industry could prove that the cost of a vital component which was important to this country had increased, there might be justification. But the fact is that these piddling little things happen and prices increase.
Let me give a classic illustration. There was much agitation in Sydney about the Theatrical Employees Union - a relatively small union - and its cinema operators and even the usherettes. John Gorton liked the show ‘Gunsmoke’. ! am a Clint Eastwood fan. 1 have seen his last 3 films in Sydney in a couple of hours that I could spare. I was amazed that cinema prices in Sydney had increased from $1.50 to almost $2, or they use another lurk of charging $1.75 throughout the whole cinema - one price cinema. I will not name the cinema and give it a free plug. This is the imbalance of the situation. The Government says that it is wrong for a union to seek something, but nobody places a stopper on Greater Union Theatres or their other competitors Hoyts for the way in which they seem to circumvent any concept of price stabilisation. This is one of the basic situations that no doubt the Government could discuss when it meets officers of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. The Government pays them the courtesy of meeting them at Budget time, but for the rest of the year various Ministers take the opportunity of engaging in what I call Hawke baiting. He cannot win.
I turn again to this West Germany syndrome. If the Government accepts the other point and says that this is a good part of the West Germany trade union structure, it should look at the other aspect. The West German officials were in Australia talking about the trade union insurance concept. Let me refer to Bourkes ACTU store. It seems to rile a lot of Government senators. It could be called a case of people’s capitalism or some other term could be applied to it. The fact is that certain people who are always watching the doings of the far Left and who read left wing publications would know that the ACTU-
– I do not.
– You should, Senator Withers. I read ‘News Weekly’, so if that publication was read in conjunction with the ‘Tribune’ the honourable senator would obtain all the different views. I am trying to develop the point of why the trade union movement cannot win in the eyes of many Government members. On one hand the Government says to members of unions: ‘Look, do not agitate about wage increases. We will reform the society from within’. On the other hand we hear all this talk about why the trade union movement should not enter the retail industry. The Government cannot have it both ways. If it says that the trade union movement should keep out of that field, I take the point to the next stage: If the trade union movement is involved exclusively with its own affairs, the Government will come to it and say: ‘We need your assistance in the immigration field’. I do not say that it should not do this or that it has done it, such aid given is not fully justified. But all these matters place impositions on the trade union cost structure. That will be related to the question of amalgamations which I will be dealing with shortly.
I want to return to the core of this legislation and the cause of it. I have dealt with the failure to stabilise prices which, in turn when the trade union movement feels it has been gypped, leads it to come back to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission again and argue that during the term of the agreement there has been such an erosion of money value that some adjustment has to be made. It may be argued that some industries are stronger than others, but as I develop my argument I do not think I can avoid mentioning the other furphies that have been advanced. The Government says that if a major strong section of the trade union movement achieves something the gap is being widened between other grades. There always have to be pace setters. I would like Government senators to reflect on the history of weekend penalty rates. In the society in which we live now the emphasis, in television advertisements and so on, is on luxury, the good world and the quality of life. That is very good. But despite what Senator Little said about the blue collar section declining and the white collor section increasing, I hope that honourable senators realise that somebody always has to look after the furnace and to work in a brick pit. If the labour market is declining, those people are entitled to maintain the parity they fought so hard to get. The Victorian Premier was squealing about weekend penalty rates and about decisions on whether State Electricity Commission workers in Victoria should maintain parity in regard to annual leave - something which has been accepted in New South Wales for many years. It is all very well to say to the ACTU and to trade union secretaries: ‘Get the members back to work and we will arbitrate’.
I was in Britain when the Wilberforce report which brought justice to the power station workers of Britain was presented.
The British Government accepted that report with good grace. This is hardly the ca.se when from time to time the Victorian Premier, and unfortunately at times even senior Ministers of this Government, try to be back seat drivers behind Sir Richard Kirby. 1 know that the judiciary in that field is very sour about the remarks of some senior Ministers. Like other people, J have been guilty of feeling that a few - not the vast majority - of conciliation commissioners have not been as mobile as they should have been. According to the Government, it was wrong for me to do this, but if the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) does it. it is statesmanship. I want to take the point a little further. I am again deliberately raising this comparison between Europe and Australia. The fascinating point is that when Herr Schiller, the West German Finance Minister, and his counterparts in other countries have endeavoured to tlo things, we have never had the situation in Australia in which the Government was exhorting what it calls wage demand responsibility. I instance the fumble that, went on with Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd. We saw the mix up over who told whom whether the company should increase the price of steel. I conjured up the image in my mind of the Prime Minister at first slip and the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) at second slip. The ball was in the air and one was leaving it to the other. That was the whole situation. Nobody seemed to know just what the Treasurer said. Whatever was said, you and I know that all that happened was that BHP upgraded the price of its commodity. The company was told that it was naughty but nobody mentioned anything about penal provisions. This is an indication of double standards, yet the Government talks about how it can obtain peace in industry. 1 have dealt extensively with wage increases. I want to deal now with other causes of industrial unrest which I refer to under the headings of containerisation, automation and computers. A number of disputes have been prolonged because the issues of either safety or future promotion or even job security were involved. The containerisation situation is a classic example of a considerable scaling down of the waterfront work force covering a number of unions including the Waterside Workers Federation, the Storemen and Packers
Union, the Federated Clerks Union, the Federated Engine Drivers and Firemens Association and one or two other unions. When the major ship owners realised that with a reduced work force there would be an ultimate saving - 1 use the word ‘ultimate’ - an agreement was reached. Then there was the idea of settling a dispute without a stoppage. That is virtually what occurred. Mr Fitzgibbon, the federal securetary of the Waterside Workers Federation, was castigated. This has been a continuation of the Government’s attitude.
I cast my mind back a few years - J look to Senator Lawrie for inspiration - to the position prevailing at the port of Mackay. There are now only 40 waterside workers operating a port where 400 worked before. I could give instances all over the Commonwealth where the work force has been reduced but where there has not been any sizable reduction in the retail cost of the product. Government members may say to me: ‘That Ls not relevant to the other point’. But I ask them to tell a meeting of trade union officials which has to agree to a phasing out of sections of their industry where the person phased out is to get work. Honourable senators can study debates in the other place about retraining. I asked a question the other week about the possible closing down of the South Broken Hill mine and about retraining schemes. As I understand the answer from the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch), the scheme does not meet this contingency. 1 instance another dispute, the one-man bus dispute in Sydney. Important lessons were learned from this dispute. Initially, the parties talked in terms of a money increase. I think that in the final analysis what was agreed upon contained a good formula which linked industrial fatigue with safe working as well. People talk about trade union secretaries, their ideological background and just pressing a button and people walking out on the job. I wonder what they would think if we had trade union racketeers like Jimmy Hoffa in the US and Boyle of the mine workers union. Honourable senators might criticise a man for what they call over-dedication. Senator Negus has had considerable experience in driving cars. He will agree that in our modern cities today with one-man buses the situation is nerve wracking. The bus drivers got a formula that they would not have got if there had not been a dispute originally. Honourable senators opposite could argue about the effect on the lives of people in a big city complex. Perhaps some of the people who are upset work in air conditioned offices. Other people have to drive a PostmasterGeneral’s Department mail van in the early hours of the morning to pick up mail; somebody else has to sign on at midnight as a boiler attendant. All these jobs are essential jobs. The point I am getting at is that the Government seems to have the attitude that people will remain docile.
I return again to the matter of containerisation. There have usually been considerable struggles for job protection, lt is one thing to say that people will be transferred to another job. but have honourable senators opposite ever seen the secondary effects of that.? 1 instance a different situation altogether. There has been a change in retail shopping hours in both Sydney and Melbourne. I doubt whether the union involved has much Marxist influence in it. Do honourable senators opposite consider that people are resentful of the change and that, they are rightly looking at it themselves? People may be accustomed to finishing at a certain time - 5 p.m. Then the late shopping hours are introduced. I know that we have to reconcile the demands of the community as a whole to the rights of individuals in the work force. The message that I am trying to get across to the Government is this: When there is resistance in a union it is to ironclad sanctions, ls it possible to eradicate such a thing? I say that it is. I think 1 can put my arguments quite effectively by quoting Mr Terry Winter, a Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commissioner from 1963 until April of this year.
– He saw both sides of disputes.
– As Senator McAuliffe prompted me, he saw industrial affairs from both sides. Referring to this legislation he said:
One may reasonably accurately forecast the approximate date of the Federal election by calculating the likely date of passage of the ensuing legislation.
To my way of thinking, the Government is hoping that there will be some reaction to the legislation and that it can again create a’ law and order bogy.
I quote now a much more damaging criticism, by Mr John Sweeney. I know that among legal men he is regarded as the doyen of industrial advocates. I am quoting from the ‘Review’ of Sunday, 4th February. He said:
The Minister proposes to separate conciliation and arbitration processes, to establish conciliation and arbitration commissioners and to ensure that conciliation is attempted by a conciliation commissioner before Ohe dispute goes to an arbitration commissioner for arbitration.
This is a senseless proposal. It seems to be based on two views - -that a conciliator is more likely to succeed if he can play no part in subsequent arbitration and that, once arbitration has commenced, there is no place for conciliation.
He also said:
In fact, at some point in any negotiations tha question each party will ask is: ‘Will we do better if we fight the case?’
The moral of that story is that the original conciliation commissioner should assess the personality of the trade union leader and that of the representative of the employers. It is a sense of timing. In some respect that may be considered old hat by Government supporters. What 1 am trying to get across to them is that unless there is supplementary wage stabilisation with more effective methods of protecting the people who are victims of containerisation there will be a source of irritation. I refer to what happened in the Golden Fleece case. That concerned the first introduction of computers into the white collar industries. The Federated Clerks Union of Australia became extremely restive. At one stage it was more or less lectured by the judge about the right of the employer to hire and fire. Do honourable senators opposite realise that once higher educational standards have been created, even for the trade union secretary, the position will be, rightly, that Jack is as good as his master. The union secretary faces that situation. He cannot sell his members a bill of goods that they are nol prepared to accept. It has to be documented.
I think I might take my argument a little further and quote Mr J. P. Ducker, a leading trade union official in Sydney. He said:
All the trade union movement is asking is that it should be placed in that position allowed to all other sellers in. the Australian market economy. For example, there is no public scrutiny of the methods of those who fix prices or sell land or houses or of those who decide to reduce the quality or decrease the quantity of goods sold while pretending to maintain a static price.
That is the philosophy of the trade union movement. We feel that effective answers have not been given to these questions. I might take my argument still further and deal with the ambit of trade union movement. I say that particularly to Country Party senators. Earlier to Senator Withers 1 said that I read the ‘News Weekly’ and the ‘Tribune’. I also read ‘Muster’. I do not think ‘Muster’ is backward in commenting on many matters. As a matter of fact, there have been visible demonstrations by sections of rural industry. I do not cavil at what they have done. We are living in a society in which people will not remain docile if they feel that governments are not moving effectively.
I deal now with the subject of amalgamation. Amalgamation of certain unions is inevitable. In the United States there is a multiplicity of unions. While the Americans believe in a minimum of government interference, this multiplicity of trade unions is getting more and more burdensome. There is one matter to which I take very strong objection. I am fortified by 2 cases which I will quote. I refer to the Government’s absurd idea that if a union of 2,000 and another of 50,000 are to amalgamate there has to be a ballot of members of both organisations. I think that is patently absurd. I will give 2 illustrations. The first is a matter for the future. One day a small union in New South Wales known as the Canvas and Tarpaulin Workers Union will have to amalgamate with another union. Its membership is 600. It has had very dedicated officials, but history has caught up with it. It probably will carry on for a couple of years, but inevitably it will be absorbed by the Australian Railways Union, which has about 35,000 members, or a similar transport workers union. The Government expects a union which has tremendous calls on its finances to foot the bill for the ballot. The second case is that of the Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia with 68,000 members which is negotiating with the Chemical Technicians Guild of Australia, which has a membership of about 2,000. It is utter rubbish that the Government should impose on those unions the need to conduct a ballot.
Trade unions costs are getting a lot higher. On numerous occasions my colleague Senator Murphy has referred to the rising trade unions costs. I make a plea for the Government to short circuit a lot of these matters by avoiding a ballot among members of the absorbing union when the ratio is 2,000 to something like 30,000 or perhaps 50,000. To my way of thinking, this clause is a deliberate way of drawing upon a lot of the resources of the trade union movement. I shall give a classic illustration of rising costs. Recently I received a communication from the Minister for Immigration (Dr Forbes) dealing with Greek migrants. The Australian Railways Union has a considerable number of such people as members. It decided to circulate the various delegates with on the job information that would be of interest to some of its migrant members. The postal bill was $175. It cannot afford to have too many of those ventures. That is probably the smallest cost in a trade union operation. I have tried to put this debate on the level of fundamentals. Members of the Opposition feel that, irrespective of the faults in the present Act, all the Government is doing is creating a considerable reaction and resentment. If it can prove to us that, as in many European countries, there will be supplementary assistance, wage stabilisation and such things that go with national wage agreements, we will be a lot better off. The only other point I make is in relation to fringe benefits Senator Lillico introduced the subject of Western Europe, not I. Western Europe and, for that matter, Eastern Europe, are ahead of us in respect of fringe benefits, severance pay and social service coverage generally. The Bill is a combination of provocation and outmoded thinking.
– Senator Mulvihill left us with some very good thoughts on this Bill. I was quite surprised that he, as a member of the Opposition with great experience in the trade union movement, should have posed the argument which was apparently applauded by most members of the Opposition - at least they interrupted his speech to the extent that no-one could hear what he was saying - that where there was a small trade union and a large trade union and it appeared obvious at some stage that the larger one would take over the smaller, it was ridiculous to suggest there should be a ballot of both of those unions to decide whether the members wished amalgamation. I think that this thinking, if it is the proposition put forward by the honourable senator, needs contemplation because this certainly does not appear to me to be the proper democratic thinking of a properly oriented Labor Party.
I believe there is wide scope for debate on many items of public interest in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1972. The Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) suggested in his second reading speech that this Bill is probably the most significant legislation since 1947 in relation to employee-employer relations. On a number of occasions the Attorney-General in his second reading speech referred to serious wage induced inflation. It is interesting to note that members of the Opposition have not thought fit to mention that aspect. However, the whole aim behind this piece of legislation we have before us is to reduce this inflation. I believe wage induced inflation to be a fact. It appears to me that there are few people in the community who fully appreciate the cetain future impact of inflation which will be eventually hardest felt by those in the community who can least afford to stand that hardship.
I have believed all of my life that it is very necessary that this community pay to employees the maximum return possible for their labour. Increased wage returns must surely be the base from which to judge an increase in the standard of living of the majority of people in the community. We would be very wise to see from every angle, whether it be from the business or employer angle and no matter to which community interest one may look that the highest wage that can be paid to employees in this community should be paid.
– - Provided it has value.
– 1 take the honourable senator’s point on board that such a wage must have value. I think the honourable senator touched on a very important matter when he said that.
– And provided the value is not destroyed.
– The honourable senator followed up his first suggestion with another most important comment which, of course, is involved in the AttorneyGeneral’s responsible statement on wage induced inflation. I believe that in these times it is still the hope of reward that sweetens labour and this community should seek to make that reward the very maximum. With the encouragement of many areas of interest in the community many benefits have been attracted to the employee in this community over the past years. At present employees have reasonably short working hours, although I realise they are not short enough for most of my Opposition colleagues. There are restricted days of work during the week as well as compensation for absence in case of sickness. Numerous public holidays are taken on full pay and annual leave, long service leave and compensation insurance are given by employers. There are many satisfactory areas of compensation for employees in the community today. These are benefits which employing bodies have been able to provide over a period of years. These benefits have been fought for by unions. They have been fought for by employees and have been agreed to willingly by governments of all complexions. One of the greatest leaders in giving compensation to employees, at least in the State of Victoria, has been the present complex of Liberal government and Senator Poyser well knows that to be the case. He knows that benefits have been given to employees, not necessarily on the demand of trade unions.
– Years behind every other State on all occasions.
– Senator Poyser thinks the Victorian Government is years behind but I do not believe he is right. The granting of all of these achievements - and I pose this to honourable senators as something which employees should consider - has gradually created a situation in which it is not a simple matter to employ a person and pay him a wage that will ensure the employer a return on his labour. Such demands are one of the contributing factors of unemployment in the community today. Not one employee is employed today without the employer having to bear in mind the fact that it will be necessary to allow at least $100 a week for a salary together with ancillary benefits.
– Who are you kidding? What about the Public Service?
– Order! I remind Senator Bishop that everyone listens to what he has to say. I suggest that he cease interjecting.
– I realise that Senator Bishop acknowledges the points I have made and realises the immediate expense that is placed on an employer from a calculation of these various benefits. He fully agrees with me that the figure would be around that mark. Indeed, I say to Senatar Bishop that my calculation of the figure that is required is much higher than the figure I have just mentioned. I think that if the honourable senator thinks about it he will agree.
On the basis of what I have just outlined, goods must become very expensive - and well we know that this is the case at the present time - and services in the community must become particularly expensive. Every honourable senator knows the rate that is required by ordinary labourers today to perform any sort of task. I believe that the erosion of the benefits of these community achievements - benefits such as those I have mentioned - will in the end result in a situation of disastrous wage induced inflation. Again I say that the ultimate seriousness of this situation is brushed aside by most people in the community. I believe that those who are harmed at present are those who some years ago retired on a fixed remuneration. I am talking about those who fought very early in their careers to set aside an amount that would be payable to them either through insurance or superannuation. The value of the remuneration paid to these people has been very seriously eroded and they are in dire plight today. I notice that Senator Milliner has not consideration for these people whatsoever and just waves his handkerchief to indicate that perhaps he should cry over the matter. But to me this is a very serious matter which flows further to other individuals in the community whom I represent in the Senate. I speak of those involved in primary production who are working for the benefit of Australia to see that Australian goods are placed on export markets.
The cost of living has undoubtedly risen in recent years. However, I think it is fair to say - and I imagine that all honourable senators in this place will agree with me - that the rate of inflation or the rate of increase in the consumer price index, as we should perhaps term it, has been very slight compared with increases in the average wage year by year. I have referred to this on previous occasions, if we have a situation in which it can be proved that generally the cost of goods has remained at a reasonably stable level or has increased at a slight figure but, on the other hand, the figure in relation to the average weekly earnings and the percentage change related to previous years has escalated, this cannot but pinpoint and endorse the AttorneyGeneral’s comment that at the present time it is wage-induced inflation. The Opposition can perhaps take this further into their minds. If it is a little difficult to comprehend in those words then I ask that I be permitted to incorporate in Hansard a publication which I have received from the statistical service of the Parliamentary Library Legislative Research Service. It indicates the average weekly earnings and the consumer price index from 1961-62 to 1970-71. I seek leave to incorporate the publication in Hansard.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) - Is leave granted?
– No; let the honourable senator read it out.
– 1 hope that the Government will take the same attitude as is being taken by some of our foolish honourable senators on the Opposition side who say that they want this publication read out. I thought that the brilliance of those honourable senators would be better spared by their being able to read the publication. I do not doubt that they will not be able to take it into their minds, particularly Senator Poyser. But I shall read it out, because it is interesting.
– I ask the honourable senator to give us a precis.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! 1 have already pointed out to honourable senators on the Opposition side that there is far too much audible conversation.
– -Thank you. Mr Acting Deputy President. I again appealto you - to save time in this lengthy debate - that this item from the statistical service of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library be incorporated in Hansard.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Senator Webster, you have asked leave and it has been refused.
– I am asking again in an attempt to save time.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - I shall ask again. Is leave granted for the incorporation of this statistical publication? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows):
– Thank you. I knew that wisdom would prevail.
– I ask the honourable senator to explain the document.
– I shall explain it to honourable senators. It is a chart showing the average weekly earnings in the community.It sets out the amounts from 1961-62 to 1970-71. Next to those amounts are figures that show the percentage change on the previous year. Taking the 10 years of change, and the percentage change year by year in relation to average weekly earnings, there have been increases of 2.6 per cent, 2.7 per cent, 5.3 per cent, 7.4 per cent, 4.7 per cent, 6.6 per cent, 5.8 per cent, 7.5 per cent, 8.4 per cent and 11.3 per cent. Those percentage changes are up to the year 1970-71. But if we look at the consumer price index - if honourable senators can keep those earlier percentages in mind - we find that from a base year 1966-67 the percentage change in each year commencing from 1961-62, has been an increase of 0.4 per cent, 0.2 per cent 0.9 per cent. 3.8 per cent, 3.6 per cent. 2.7 per cent, 3.3 per cent. 2.6 per cent. 3.2 per cent and 4.8 per cent. Ft can be seen that in not one year in the last 10 years has the average weekly wage merely equated the rise in the consumer price index. But in 7 of those 10 years the percentage change in the average weekly earnings has more than doubled that of the increased percentage in the consumer price index. As anybody must realise, this situation cannot but lead to an inflationary situation in the community.
– Can the honourable senator explain to us how the average weekly earnings can push prices up in the same ratio or more?
– It is very difficult to attempt to explain.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) - Order! It has been pointed out to you, Senator Bishop that you were heard in silence in the course of your address. 1 ask that the same courtesy be extended to other speakers.
– That excludes me because I am never heard in quietness or with courtesy.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT Order! I shall be the judge of that.
– I wish to refer to one other very important matter which I see in this wage-induced inflation. I feel that it is a matter to which the Government must give early and urgent consideration. I see a situation which has come about where the granting of a percentage increase to a basic rate by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission is interpreted by all sectors of the community as a further requirement for a percentage rise to every class of employee. To me this is an entirely unacceptable proposition; but very few honourable senators have spoken against it in the Senate. Let me give an instance. A $5 or $6 rise which has been granted as, say, a 10 per cent rise on the earnings of a particular class of employees leads to a demand for a 10 per cent rise for employees who may be earning $10,000 or $15,000 a year. A $5 a week rise which has been calculated as being a requirement for an employee who is earning $50 or $60 a week is taken to mean a requirement of a $1,500 or $2,000 a year rise- or $20 to $30 a week rise - for some person who is on a higher salary.
– Tall poppies.
– The honourable senator is not saying that what I am saying is all poppycock?
– He said ‘tall poppies’.
– I misinterpreted the honourable senator. I think honourable senators will agree, because I think 1 heard an honourable senator at question time today say that somebody had been granted an $80 a week rise. Certainly I have a feeling that in very many Federal Government and State Government circles this proposition has not been denied. I think that in these future years this is something at which we will have to look very carefully. I say again that if a 10 per cent rise is granted to somebody earning $50 or $60 a week this should not be interpreted as necessitating a 10 per cent rise for somebody earning $15,000 a year. This is one of the dangerous causes of wageinduced inflation. It will bring about a breakdown in the system of wage payments which we have in the community at present. I believe that this Bill proposes new opportunities for the development of conciliation where there are stoppages or other matters which lead to a breakdown in relations between employer and employee. I believe the Government hopes that by this Bill stoppages may be averted. It hopes that the loss of manpower which has occurred in the community certainly will be lowered in the coming years. The Bill proposes that more conciliation be induced into the various discussions between employers and employees. It further purports to extend control over the actions of organisations. This can be seen in clause 141. It proposes to give further financial assistance to ordinary members of trade unions to see that unions are properly controlled. I think that Senator Mulvihill made some reference to this when he brought forward the comments about smaller and larger unions.
As 1 read it, I believe that the Commonwealth offers financial assistance to individuals in certain cases where they wish to ensure that unions are being properly controlled. Amalgamations will require a ballot of organisations concerned in any proposed amalgamation. It will be seen that amalgamations should take place only where rank and file support is evident for the proposal. The problem of agreements negotiated outside the court has been one of the disasters in our community. We can see this currently in the instance of the waterside workers making their arrangement with ship owners who, in general, happen to be overseas ship owners and who probably agreed to the arrangement while not being in Australia. This is greatly to the disadvantage not only of people who import goods to Australia but also of people who export from this country. I believe that the problems are very difficult to define, but I think that this particularly fine piece of legislation will, in some measure, equate the situation. The Bill has my full support. I certainly believe it to be in the public interest, and I congratulate the Minister on bringing it before the Senate.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, I believe that you paid Senator Bishop a very fine compliment tonight when you said that he had been heard in silence with no interjections from members of the Government parties. That is a very fine compliment indeed. His contribution and his arguments, unlike the argument advanced by Senator Webster, were unanswerable. That is the reason he was not interrupted. I direct the attention of the Senate to a phrase used by Senator Webster tonight.
He said that in all amalgamations there should be secret ballots of the members concerned. Will honourable senators bear that in mind? I hope to show Senator Webster and his colleagues on the Government side that they are most hypocritical in their actions and attitudes to secret ballots in the matter of amalgamations of organisations. I will show this so conclusively that even Senator Webster will bow his head in shame.
As to the future, I suggest that there are 3 immediate problems confronting the workers of Australia, firstly, political problems; secondly, economic problems, and thirdly, psychological problems. I suggest that Senator Webster, who is endeavouring to interrupt me, should study some aspects of psychology. We have heard Senator Webster, a young man, say in this chamber that he would cheerfully hang his fellow man-
– Mr Acting Deputy President, 1 ask for a retraction of that comment. I have never made that statement in the Senate. The honourable senator is not telling the truth.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) - I must confess that 1 was not paying attention when the comment was made. If the honourable senator has some objection. I suggest that he raise it after Senator Milliner has completed his speech.
– 1 demand a withdrawal of the statement now.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - What are the words you claim were said?
– I claim that the honourable senator said that I would willingly hang my fellow man.
– To save you any embarrassment whatsoever, Mr Acting Deputy President, 1 will withdraw the words, but 1 will get the quotation and use it on a future occasion in the Senate. It appears to me that this Government cannot learn the lesson that repressive legislation is fruitless. It has been in power for 20-odd years but it still relies on repression to try to intimidate the workers of Australia. What has been the history of governments which have tried to introduce repressive legislation? What is the situation in
Queensland? There fs legislation in Queensland of a similar character to this Bill, dealing with secret ballots and so on. Has it had any effect? What was the biggest industrial dispute in Queensland for many years? It was the Mount Isa dispute, which was brought about by repressive provisions in the Queensland Act. Did the workers take any notice of them? Did the Queensland Government act against the workers? Of course it did. It brought in emergency powers. What did the workers say of those emergency powers? They took as much notice of them as they did of the Act itself. The Government is forcing workers into the position of ignoring and condemning the laws of the land. This is not the fault of the workers; it is the Government’s fault for bringing in repressive legislation, as it is trying to do by introducing this Bill.
History has shown that sanctions merely add Barnes to the fire. That will always be the case. Anybody with any experience in the industrial movement knows that this is so. I can tell the Senate of innumerable occasions when workers, incensed by government action, have not worried about secret ballots or legislation that might have been introduced. They have acted in accordance with their conscience, and they will always do so. Ask senators on the Government side what they would do if they were workers in the sense of the word as we know it and something of this nature happened.
– They would go on strike and take a job somewhere else.
– Senator Gair comes in with an inane interjection. He forfeited all right to workers’ consideration in 1957. I ask Government members what they would do in circumstances such as those I will now relate. A worker had the misfortune of having to take his brother to a mental asylum one Friday. All his workmates knew this, but the foreman did not. On the Saturday he was under some strain at work, as would be appreciated. The foreman noticed this, but instead of trying to find out what the trouble was, he asked the worker: ‘What is wrong with you today. Jack? You appear to be going nuts’. What happened? The worker flattened the foreman. Assuming that honourable senators on the Government side were workers. would they have acted differently? If they have red corpuscles in their blood, would they not have done precisely the same? The employer would not accept that any worker had the right to strike a foreman, so he sacked the worker straight away. What did his workmates do? What would honourable senators on the Government side do if one of their fellow workers was dismissed for something of that nature? The workers concerned walked out, as workers will always walk out over things of that nature. Innumerable matters of other kinds have caused industrial disputes.
The unions have not had a chance to try to straighten out such disputes. The workers take the initiative. I for one would not blame the workers for taking the initiative and stopping work for the reasons that I have outlined.
– The Government would want to have a ballot.
– Let us accept that proposition that the Government would want to hold a ballot. Will the Government tell me that, a ballot having been taken, it would accept the decision of the workers? Let us assume a secret ballot was held and 90 per cent of the people concerned voted in favour of stopping work and holding a strike. Will the Government tell me that it would accept that decision and not interfere with the results of the ballot? I make bold to say that the Government would immediately intervene and find some other excuse to put aside that decision arrived at by ballot.
– Just like you fellows did in Shortland?
– Listen to the Government Whip. This is the attitude of the Government Whip, Senator Young. I recall when Bob Hawke and I were trying to do something with respect to forcing the wishes of the trade union movement on Senator Young and his colleagues. He has never stepped denigrating Bob Hawke. Senator Sim up there was another.
– I am not Senator Sim.
– I said to Senator Sim: ‘I will tell you what I will do. I will arrange for Bob Hawke to meet you somewhere. You pick your own subject. You pick your own place. What are you going to do about that?’ The honourable senator never said a word. Since then, he has been to Singapore, and he said a few things over there.
I refer to the economics of the situation. How do Government members think workers feel at the end of each week when they find that the value of their wages has been eroded by higher prices and by the increase in the cost of living? The worker has no control over those matters. But he knows when he arrives home at the end of each week with his pay envelope that his wages will not buy nearly as much as they did a fortnight ago or even a week ago. What is his attitude to life? What must his wife feel about these things? They are fearful of what will happen in the future. 1 ney have no control over the future whatsoever. The Government has control over these things, lt is the Government’s duty to see that prices are controlled so that the value of workers’ wages will not be eroded. What must the worker do to offset this erosion? He must try to get more money. He must try to get his employer to conciliate. But the Government does not believe in conciliation. This is perfectly obvious from the statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) recently in relation to waterside workers and the need for conciliation. They conciliated. But now the Prime Minister denies all the efforts of that conciliatory process which was entered into by the Waterside Workers Federation and the waterfront employers. So do not talk to me about conciliation. The Government wants conciliation only to knock down the worker. It does not want conciliation to enable the worker to lift up his position in life.
Let us take into consideration the psychological attitude of the worker. No-one will deny that we are living in unusual times and times of stress. When I mention Vietnam immediately there will be catcalls from the other side of the Senate. Honourable senators opposite should not try to kid themselves that Vietnam is not an issue which has caused many problems in this country. The Government has divided families on this issue. The Government is divided on it. J know members of the Liberal Party who strongly oppose Australia’s participation in Vietnam. How do honourable members opposite think the worker feels when he knows that overseas firms are taking over Australian industries and that the profit from those firms - the worker has helped to make those profits - are going overseas in the way in which they are today? Has the Government done anything about this situation? lt has done nothing at all. It would not know the psychological effect of these things on the worker and his family. Firms make millions of dollars in profit but the Government allows them to increase the price of their commodities as they like. How must the worker feel when he reads reports in the Press of debates in which it is said that country interests are not worried by the means tests to which he is subjected? Country interests are receiving millions of dollars. This might be justified, but surely the Government must appreciate that the worker considers all of these factors.
– What are you talking about?
– How do honourable senators opposite think the worker feels about the provision in this legislation which seeks to give to conciliation commissioners a wage increase of $4,500 a year? This comes very close to Senator Webster because I feel that he will oppose that provision. The worker through his union appears before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and receives a miserable $2 a week increase in the national wage. Yet the Prime Minister of this country introduces and seeks to have passed by this national parliament legislation to give him an increase of $7,000 a year or approximately $140 a week. How must the worker feel about that? The Prime Minister, after the decision of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to give the worker an increase of $2 a week in the national wage, gleefully applauds that decision.
I wish to read a statement made by the Prime Minister’s colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch). The Minister said:
In the last 2 years, the Australian economy has experienced a severe bout of wage-cost inflation.
That is to say nothing about the increase of SI 40 a week that the Prime Minister wants to give himself. The Minister continued:
The Government has sought to stem the problem by intervening frequently and vigorously in major award hearings before the Commission.
As a result of these and other measures there are now reasonable hopes of a slowing down in the rate of cost and price inflation during 1972.
Where is the evidence of this slowing down in the rate of cost and price inflation during 1972? There is no evidence whatsoever. But in these few words we can read that the Minister for Labour and National Service and the Prime Minister are pleased that the worker has received an increase of only $2 a week and that the Government has strenuously and vigorously opposed the worker’s receiving any larger increase. How does the Government think that the worker feels about those things?
– As well as the price of land.
– My colleague mentions the price of land. Honourable senators know the difficulties that young people face today in buying land on which to build a home of their own. How must a worker feel when he knows that a government sells the natural resources of his State and receives a royalty of 5c a ton on coal and bauxite? What must be the worker’s thoughts about his country giving away its natural resources to overseas interests? Surely the worker is entitled to know what is happening. Knowing that the value of his wages are being eroded will have a psychological effect on him as he goes home each week. What does the Government expect the worker to do? 1 know what he will do. He will seek redress through his union or by his own activities on the job to achieve an increase in wages. Let me tell the story of a wharfie who, in the depression years, could not get a job. He walked the town day after day and could not get a job. He told me that he had resolved that when the depression concluded he was going to get his slice of the cake. I said to him: ‘What did you do, Phil? How did you get a bigger slice of the cake?’ He said: ‘I bought a bigger bag’. That is the attitude of the workers. If they are penalised and oppressed they will use their own means to get their way in the end.
Substantial sections of the community have condemned this legislation for various reasons. I mention the Federal Secretary of the Federated Clerks Union who has been here quite frequently this week. At a recent ACTU meeting he and others in the
Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations condemned the legislation. I do not want to read it out but it is suggested that Mr Maynes may have altered his position when the Government did not proceed with its opposition to some aspects. I remind the Senate that the federal executive of ACSPA carried the following resolution without dissent:
That (his Federal Executive reaffirms its decision taken at its February-March meeting when it said:
I will not read the rest of it but it went on trenchantly to criticise this legislation. Let us consider now a branch of the Federated Clerks’ Union of Australia. One would not call it a militant union, lt is the north Queensland branch of that Union which has its address in the Hibernian Building, 440 Flinders Street, Townsville, P.O. Box 135. In a letter that branch wrote to the State Secretary of the Australian Labor Party it said:
At a meeting of the Branch Council of this Union held on Saturday, 26th February, 1972, I was requested to write to your organisation outlining the attitude of this Union to proposals by the Minister for Labour and National Service, Mr Lynch, to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
We won ki also request that our attitude ba conveyed to your Federal Parliamentary Party for their consideration.
– Who wrote that?
– This letter is from the north Queensland branch of the Federated Clerks’ Union of Australia, lt is not a militant union.
– It must be communist controlled.
– It is communist controlled, of course! The resolution is quite a lengthy one extending over 5 paragraphs and I seek leave to incorporate it in Hansard.
She ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows):
The Federated Clerks’ Union of Australia emphatically rejects the proposals made by the Minister for Labour and National Service for amendment to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act as being discriminatory, unworkable and devoid of the type of improvement to make the Commonwealth Arbitration Commission more effective and acceptable. Such proposals would pose a major threat to the system of conciliation and arbitration and to Unionism generally.
We reject the proposals which attack the right of trade unionists to organise effectively as being reminiscent of attempts to prevent the growth of trade unions which were unsuccessfully made in the last century. These proposals are similar to the discredited anti-Union so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws to be found in certain backward States in the USA.
The proposals outlined in respect to the establishment of procedures which it is claimed will encourage greater conciliation are inefficient and have obviously been made by those who have no more than an academic and impractical understanding of the operation of the Conciliation and Arbitration system.
We slate that the proposed alterations would inhibit conciliation rather than encourage it. The proposals which allow the Commonwealth Government, which we emphasise is the largest employer in Australia, to interfere with negotiated settlements made by responsible parties to industrial disputes and to allow outside interests to similarly interfere with such settlements is a retrograde step which cannot be supported.
The proposal to eliminate the right of the President of the Commission to include Commissioners assigned to particular industries on Full Benches is also a retrograde step. This will deny such tribunals the benefit of the experience of those with the responsibility for the preservation of good industrial relations in particular industries in the resolution of some industrial disputes. lt is emphasised that the Commonwealth Arbitration Commission has stated time and again that it has regard for the economic consequences of its decisions. The proposal outlined to make this a Statutory requirement will inevitably have the effect of considerably lengthening proceedings which already take far too long to finalise.
Steps should be taken to shorten the time taken to resolve disputes, not to lengthen it. As an illustration of what can be done to shorten proceedings, we refer to the procedures in the National Wages Cases which have been evolved over the years and which have had the effect of cutting the time to argue such cases from months to weeks.
This Union calls on the Federal Government to reconsider its statement of intention and to consult with persons who occupy responsible positions in the field of industrial relations and who have had practical experience in resolving complex industrial disputes and to place less emphasis on bureaucratic advisers whose main experience and knowledge has been gained from text books.
– There are many things which can be said about this legislation. The workers and the unions have always been the targets for these types of attacks. I draw the attention of the Senate to what we in the industrial movement know as ‘Kelly’s prayer’. In 1954 Sir Raymond Kelly, then Chief Judge of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, made 14 points in all on what he wanted the trade unions to do. These are the attacks on the trade unions which have been going on ever since. He said then:
Can we agree upon a reduction by, say, 10 per cent per annum of any adjusted basic wage during o period of, say, 3 years?
He suggested a 10 per cent reduction. I did not hear him say anything about a 10 per cent reduction in the costs which are imposed by this Government. Then he said:
Can we agree that award margins should stand fixed at present rales for a period of, say, 3 years?
Does Senator Hannan agree with that? Let him say what is wrong with it. There is a pretty good argument against it. Sir Raymond Kelly went on:
Can we agree that ‘overtime’ for the first half hour of ‘overtime’ on any day or the first four hours of overtime in any week be paid for at ordinary rates . . .
Does Senator Hannan agree with that? Of course he would because he is conservative in his outlook on these things. Sir Raymond Kelly continued:
Can we agree for a period of, say, 3 years to limit our paid holidays . . .
Senator Hannan would agree with that one. But I wonder what he would say if somebody wanted to limit his holidays. He would be up in arms. There are many other things contained in ‘Kelly’s prayer’ and I would suggest to honourable senators that they look at it on some occasion. I promised that I would say something to Senator Webster which, if he had any honour at all, would make him blush with shame. I refer to the ‘Constitution and Rules’ of the Liberal Party of Australia which I received quite legitimately by writing to the Party and asking for it. Just listen to some of the grandiose thoughts on freedom in that Party’s constitution. Under (d) (iii) the following appears: freedom of speech, religion and association.
But does the Liberal Party give that right in any degree at all to workers who want to amalgamate their associations? No. It wants them to take a secret ballot. Let us look now at what the Liberal Party’s constitution says about that. Oh, this is a classic! It says under 5. (g):
To enter into any arrangement for joint working or co-operation or affiliation with any other party, association, society or body of persons whether incorporated or not incorporated carrying on work or having objects similar to the objects of the Party and to assist and support by pecuniary contributions or otherwise the operations of any, such party, association, society or body-
And just listen to this - and to take over upon any terms all or any of the property, undertakings and liabilities of any such party, association, society or body.
Where are the Liberal Party’s secret ballot provisions for affiliation there? This is its document. I would like to table the document when 1 have concluded speaking because it is a classic in hypocrisy. The Liberal Party says that workers cannot band together without having to go through all the processes of a secret ballot although the perpetrators of the legislation now before us do not accept that principle being applied to their own party. The Liberal Party will take over the property of any organisation; it will take over its assets. But it does not give its members the right to a secret vote, lt does not give to the members of the organisation it intends to swallow an opportunity to exercise a vote but it wants the workers who may, for their industrial advantage, have the opportunity to amalgamate to have a secret ballot. Would anyone believe that any body such as the Liberal Party would have the temerity to introduce legislation of this nature? Let us look at some of the things the Minister for Labour and National Service said about this matter when he opened a conference in Melbourne recently - that is where he gets all his riding instructions. He said:
It is not without a certain amount of irony, let alone the pleasure that it gives me, to bc associated today with the formal opening of the Central Industrial Secretariat which has been established by the Australian Council of Employers Federations and the Associated Chambers of Manufactures and their affiliated State Bodies lo co-ordinate their industrial relations policies.
The opening of this central body means that two very, powerful and influential employer bodies in this country have seen the benefits to their members of combining together their resources to more effectively undertake their responsibilities in the field of industrial relations.
What does the Government think the trade unions want to do? Why does it think they want to amalgamate? It is in order to do the very things that the Minister now applauds the Australian Council of Employers Federations for doing. This is the hypocritical stand of the Government on these issues. It encourages and congratulates the employers for doing those things but it denies to the workers that fundamental right.
Let us now look at the legislation. We have a case in Queensland where the meat industry union with 10,000 members wants to amalgamate with a little union, the bacon employees union, which has about 1,100 members. Both unions have to conduct a ballot among their members to determine whether the meat employees union will accept the members of the other union. What sort of legislation is it that requires that? The unions have to go to the expense of conducting a ballot. Each ballot paper costs approximately 17c. That includes the paper, the printing, the posting out to all the members, the enclosing of a stamped envelope in which to return the vote to the union. All this costs approximately 17c. The 10,000 members of the meat employees union have to meet the cost of that ballot being held to decide whether their union will amalgamate with another which has 1,100 members.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– I welcome the amendments and improvements to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act which are proposed by this Bill. Before dealing with the Bill, which perhaps might be a revolutionary development in this chamber this evening, .1 think I should traverse one or two points made by my friend Senator Milliner, who is a kind, well meaning soul. The honourable senator astonished us this evening by his venture into the class struggle. How could he say that people on this side of the chamber are interested in conciliation only for the purpose of knocking down the worker? Does he not know that very nearly one-half - it is not quite one-half - of the trade unionists of this country vote for the Government parties? If the honourable senator wants precise figures I shall give him the figures which I recall seeing following the last gallup poll. They revealed that of the trade unionists in this country 38 per cent voted for the Liberal and Country Parties and 41 per cent of their wives voted in a similar fashion, which may mean that women are more intelligent than men. However, I leave those figures with my friend Senator Milliner for his consideration.
– What are you quoting from?
– From the results of a gallup poll. I do not have the document with me but the honourable senator can check the figures with the Parliamentary Library.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) - Order! 1 am reluctant to interrupt an honourable senator when he is speaking, irrespective of from which side of the chamber he speaks, but I ask honourable senators to allow the honourable senator who has the call the opportunity to express his viewpoint without these constant interjections from both sides of the Senate.
– Thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President. I appreciate your courtesy and impartiality. Some reference was made tonight by my friend Senator Milliner to the salary of the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon). I was a little surprised that: this comment should come from an honourable senator opposite because on the occasion last year when the Government refused to increase parliamentary salaries the wailing and the gnashing of teeth that came from honourable senators opposite was piteous to hear and a frightful sight to behold. My friend Senator Milliner had occasion also to paint a rather dramatic picture of the poor downtrodden and oppressed worker coming home from his honest day’s toil only to find that prices have gone up. What Senator Milliner did not tell us - I know this was purely an oversight because his honesty and his integrity are unchallenged - was that 85 per cent of the cost of the goods to the worker was comprised of actual wages, lt is true that they are somebody else’s wages - not his. But I am not one of those people who believe that the whole blame for cost-push inflation rests on the shoulders of the workers. I do not believe that at all. I am quite prepared and willing to concede that there are avaricious employers who are quite prepared to take the community for a ride if given the opportunity to do so. But one has to be fair and impartial in these matters.
So far as the objection to the merger of employer organisations is concerned, honourable senators opposite will recall that this very afternoon in this very chamber the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) put down a statement in which he set out a proposal for legislation which will proscribe mergers which are not in the public interest. The statement, which dealt with a number of other matters also, was very lengthy and I cannot traverse it in toto.
– lt was only a statement.
– Knock it off. This statement was a forerunner of legislation to come.
– We have been waiting for it for 5 years.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) - Order! I am sorry to interrupt the honourable senator, but again I ask that these constant interjections cease.
– Thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President.
– Let him get on to the Bill.
– I have to traverse the nonsense that has been put before me. My friend Senator Mulvihill who also, as I have said of my friend Senator Milliner, is a kind, well-meaning soul, but the argument that the union has to pay for these unfortunate ballots which they will be compelled to conduct. 1 suggest that Senator Mulvihill look at proposed new section 158T(1.) and (2.) in the Bill. When he does so 1 think he will no longer adhere to that preposterous proposition. I believe that this Bill is a charter designed to keep capital and labour working harmoniously for the national well being. In order to show the impartiality of the Government in relation to these matters I again refer honourable senators to the lengthy and impressive proposals put before this chamber this afternoon by the Attorney-General.
Nationally both parties are committed, more or less - us more, the others less - to a policy of conciliation and arbitration in industrial matters. Once outside the framework of the conciliation and arbitration system the law of the jungle operates. The big strong unions and the big strong employers are able to drive the weaker workers and the weaker employer organisations to the wall. Hence it is clear that both sides of industry are affected. Perhaps the most important side of industry, if we can have a triangle and a third side, is the consumer. Industry exists in all circumstances only to provide goods or services for a consumer. Without a consumer there is no industry. Of course, one of the big troubles of honourable senators opposite is that they are not active trade unionists and they do not know very much about what goes on inside unions. 1 do not suppose half a dozen honourable senators opposite could produce their union cards.
– Goodness, that is nonsense.
– How many honourable senators opposite have a union card with them here tonight?
– I have.
– I have counted 6 honourable senators opposite who say they can produce a union card. I said that there would not be half a dozen, but I now say that there would not be 7 of them.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) - Order! I do not want to interrupt the honourable senator again but there does happen to be 7 - there is one in the chair.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, I will go back and say that I would not mind betting that there are not 8.
– I rise to a point of order. As Federal President of the Operative Plasterers and Plaster Workers Federation of Australia, I find those remarks objectionable.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! There is no substance in the point of order.
– I do not see how the honourable senator opposite can find it objectionable that only a very small number of his colleagues have their union cards with them.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - I suggest that the honourable senator concentrate his attention on the subject matter of the Bill.
– I wanted to nail the canard that people on this side of the chamber are not interested in union affairs. 1 have been an active member of my union for at least IS years. I know what goes on in unions.
– Are you an actor?
– Knock it off. You heard what the Acting Deputy President said. One of the big difficulties is that people can get out of touch with union affairs. 1 have no doubt that many honourable senators opposite have been very active in their unions in the past. They know something about what goes on in union meetings. They get elected to the Senate as a result of a secret ballot so 1 do not know what they find so objectionable about secret ballots. Then they lose touch with industrial organisations by which they rose to this place. That is why we have heard so much nonsense levelled this evening against the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.
– Is your union a member of the ACTU?
– No. It is represented on it. You, Mr Acting Deputy President, will know that my union is a left wing union. It is not a tame cat union.
– What is the name of the union?
– Do you want me to table my card?
– Yes. I would like to see it.
– All right. I will table my card in Actors Equity.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! I point out to the honourable senator that he is not entitled to table the document.
– Opposition senators asked me to do so.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENTThe honourable senator can inform Opposition senators accordingly in due course outside this chamber after he has completed his speech.
– In deference to your ruling, Mr Acting Deputy President, I withdraw my union card.
– Are you a financial member?
– Yes, I am. I have no intention of discussing many of the amendments to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act which make this Bill such a milestone in our industrial legislation. I propose to concentrate on some of the more outstanding aspects of the Bill. In it we have a sharp break with tradition in the fact that a Deputy President may be a non-lawyer. As a simple suburban lawyer myself, I commend this decision to welcome into the ranks of Deputy Presidents men with a university degree or substantial knowledge and experience in industrial and economic affairs. The question of equality before the law is a matter which the Government and the draftsman had in mind when traversing the whole of the 69 clauses in this Bill. The Government proposes to make all people equal before the law. The provisions in respect of financial assistance for those who feel that their executive has not done the right thing, the holding of secret ballots and other things, are the hallmark of a Liberal administration.
I want to contrast that approach to industrial affairs with the Australian Labor Party’s approach to such matters. I want to say this slowly so that my honourable friends on the Opposition side will be able to take it in. At Townsville in December 197! the Federal Executive of the Australian Labor Party resolved that when it became the Government - should that cataclysm ever happen - ‘union should be immune for actions in common law against private or civil wrongs alleged to have been committed by or on behalf of a trade union in furtherance of a trade dispute’. In other words, provided there is a strike, people can burn motor cars, smash windows, assault people and trespass on property. If this is done by a trade union officer in the course of a dispute he is to be immune from actions for damages and he is to be immune from actions in tort. This is a most extradordinary proposal. It has the effect of placing trade union officers and trade unionist above the law. 1 believe that members of my trade union need protection but they do not need that sort of protection. Another decision of the Federal Executive meeting in December 1971 was:
We declare our total opposition to the retention of strike penalties in the (Conciliation and Arbitration) Act, and affirm that a Labor Government will remove these provisions from the Act.
In other words, the Labor Party is saying that there must be one law for the employer and another for the employee. Mr Egerton, who would be known to one or two honourable senators opposite, said on 3rd August 1971:
The trade union movement must insist on j, right to be more than just an industrial body looking after the industrial demands of its members. Unions must make it clear that they have a right to interfere in the political movement of the nation.
Mr Egerton said that on the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s national news. I believe that the normal union organiser has the right to protect his men, to make sure that they are not exploited and to take every advantage of industrial legislation which this Government, in the main, has introduced to protect the rights of workers. We find that unfortunately this point of view is not shared completely by those who have something to do with running the industrial affairs of unions. I refer now to a statement made by Mr P. Clancy in support of Mr R. J. Hawke’s presidency of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. He said:
We want an ACTU that will . . . draw the workers into action in the various forms at every opportunity.
– Hear, hear!
– I am glad to hear that exclamation: I hope that Hansard heard it. That was the statement made by Mr Clancy on 16th July 1961. He, of course, is from the pro-Soviet socialist party of Australia. I refer now to another trade union officer, Laurie Carmichael of the Amalgamated Engineering Union and the Communist Party of Australia. What did Comrade Carmichael have to say? He said:
Workers need to be convinced of the need for strikes, demonstrations and the occupation of institutions and factories . . . It’s the primary aim of all my activity.
Honourable senators opposite will stand and defend this man as someone who is interested in the welfare of our national industries. Senator Cavanagh says that that is rubbish. It is irrefutable. I will go on to state what Comrade Mundey had to say.
– I rise to a point of order. I did not say it was rubbish. The only rubbish being spoken in this chamber is being spoken by the honourable senator who has the call. I have the greatest admiration for what Laurie Carmichael said.
– I do not challenge that statement.
– You said that 1 said it was rubbish.
– I come now to what is perhaps my final quotation about the industrial activities of people who do not have the welfare of the workers at heart, as so many honest trade union secretaries do. I do not want any misunderstanding on this point, Mr Acting Deputy President. I have as much admiration and respect for the genuine trade union leader as has any honourable senator opposite. I distinguish between a genuine trade union leader and a communist dictator. Let us hear what comrade Mundey had to say.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) Order! Senator Hannan, I am finding it a little difficult to relate the biographies of the several trade union leaders to whom you have been referring to the subject matter before the Senate which is the second reading on the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. I ask you to direct your remarks to the subject.
– In deference to you, Mr Acting Deputy President, as I have many other matters to raise which may be even more worrying to honourable senators opposite I will move on to them because my time is limited. I know that honourable senators opposite so far have not yet referred to any clauses in the BilL
I wonder whether they know that clause 19 will insert a new section 45 in the Act to deal with secret ballots. This will propide a real opportunity to find out the wishes of the rank and file. Proposed new section 45a contains stringent conditions for the conduct of a ballot. I want to have a word or two to say about this matter. If there are provisions in this Bill which should commend themselves to honest, down to earth, rank and file members of unions and honourable senators opposite - the 7 of them with tickets - they are, firstly, superseding regulation 141, the provision that will enable financial assistance to be given to a trade unionist who believes that his executive has not carried out the real wishes of his union and who demands a secret ballot, and secondly, the very extensive provisions in the Bill governing the type of ballot to be held before an amalgamation.I want to say a little about the phoney ballot which took place before the recent metal trades amalgamation. The ballot was conducted by the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Society of Australia. I have here a photostat copy of the returning officer’s report of that ballot. This is the point I want to make: Of the 35,200 members of the organisation - according to Australian Council of Trade Unions return there were 32,063; so we will accept the lower figure for the moment - of 32,063 members of the union only 21,783 received ballot papers. What happened to the other 11,000 members? Why did they not receive ballot papers? Is it suggested that they are all members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party or the Liberal Party? Surely one could not hang a dog on the result of a ballot conducted in these circumstances.
– What did the court say?
– I will have something to say about what the court said in a minute, and the honourable senator may be a little surprised.I have looked at what the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Society of Australia proposed. Of the total number of people who received ballot papers, 13,000 ballot papers were returned from a membership of 32,063 and 9,681 voted for the proposal and 3,373 voted against it, giving a small majority of some 6,000 out of a membership of 32,063. What sort of howls and screams would we hear from honourable senators opposite if they found that elections could be won on a ballot of that nature?
– They do in companies.
-I will lake up the honourable senator on that point. I am only a simple surburban lawyer but I point out to the honourable senator-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Order! There will be some semblance of order in the chamber.
– Thank you, Mr Deputy President, for your protection and your impartiality. 1 draw the attention of my friend Senator Georges who, no doubt is a company lawyer of some experience and erudition, to the fact that in the case of company takeovers a ballot of 90 per cent is required before the uniform companies legislation permits such a takeover. Do not let us have a lot of nonsense. One of the more amazing aspects of the matters relating to this extraordinary ballot - I shall remind honourable senators opposite of this in days and nights that are to come; they will never forget it - is that they have approved a ballot with a small majority of some 6,000 in which 331/3 per cent of the members entitled to vote did not receive a ballot paper. 1 will tell my honourable friends opposite how the ballot was conducted. They would not know that because they do not know much about trade unions. This is what happened in the case of the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Society of Australia: Let us assume that there is a building job in a part of the city and 100 boilermakers are employed on it. The executive sends to the shop steward on the job 100 ballot papers. This distinguished officer, if he is honest, distributes them to the 100 boilermakers on the job. If he is not honest, one does not have to be Mandrake to guess what happens to the ballot papers.
Is it even conceivable that honourable senators opposite would approve that method of voting for any office? But in a matter which involves millions of dollars, the industrial safety of the Commonwealth and the efficiency of our national industry they are prepared to accept this phoney subterfuge as a legitimate ballot in a union amalgamation. Another thing that amazes me is the extraordinary attitude of some sections of the mass media. I suppose that the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ must have almost as good an access to these facts as I have. But what did that nespaper have to say about this? It said:
The plain fact is that the 3 unions which have already merged themselves into an organisation tentatively called the Amalgamated Metal Workers Union have complied with the law in every respect.
I say to honourable senators opposite who are interjecting: ‘Come on in, spinners’. Now we come to a further aspect of the same leader of 25th February 1972:
Yet various alarmed Government supporters, goaded by the DLP -
That is really something. with its own selfish sectional barrow to push, are now proposing what amounts to retrospective legislation to quash a perfectly proper act.
I have never thought that leader writers were infallible, but this one must be out of his tiny mind. Later in the same leader it is stated:
The unions concerned have met, and are meeting, all legal requirements, and it would be intolerable if they were to he frustrated at this stage to serve a belatedly discovered political advantage.
No mention is made of the 331/3 per cent of the members of the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Society of Australia who did not. even receive a ballot paper. I conclude my reference to this extraordinary document:
But to frustrate it in this way and at this stage would arouse justifiable anger and lead to progressive opting out of the arbitration system.
If that is a proper ballot, words have lost their meaning and we might just as well conduct all our discussions in this place in pure gibberish. I have deliberately avoided much reference to the real knaves and the real villains in our industrial society - the Communist Party of Australia, whether it be the Moscow orientated crowd of Aarons, Ted Hills Mao-ist line group or the third force de frappe, I suppose it can be called, of Comrade Clancy. One reason why these amalgamations are being sought by left wing unions is, of course, that it is an essential part of the policy of the Communist Party of Australia to destroy craft trade unionism. What that Party wants is great massive industrial complexes which can hold the entire nation to ransom and which can dictate to governments. What it wants is monopolisation of control. I will deal with Comrade Sharkey and bring honourable senators opposite right up to date. Comrade Sharkey said that trade unionism in Australia has to be conducted entirely on shop lines, and that the Communist Party regards these craft divisions as a source of weakness and disunity, hindering the growth of revolutionary strength. Honourable senators opposite go along with that point of view. Sharkey claims that the best method by which to achieve this is by means of amalgamation of existing craft unions. Do honourable senators opposite support that? Finally, because my time is about to expire, I feel that I should make a passing reference- (Opposition senators interjecting) -
– Do I get time off for the noise?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired. Before I call Senator James McClelland I inform honourable senators that I will not tolerate this completely unseemly behaviour. I intend to name honourable senators who offend persistently by disregarding the Chair.
- Senator Hannan, who has just resumed his seat, made great play of his membership of a trade union. Perhaps it is not widely known that the union to which he belongs is Actors Equity Association of Australia. After watching his performance tonight all honourable senators can readily understand why he had to seek alternate employment. In the midst of his waffling speech he challenged senators on this side of the chamber to get back to the Bill. It was an odd challenge coming from him, but I propose to take him up on it. It is about time that the Senate got back to considering what is before it. The Bill is not one to improve industrial relations; it is one to improve the Government’s fortunes. It is quite clear that, as far as the Government is concerned, industrial relations run a poor second to public relations.
It is interesting to observe how the high principles which are supposed to inform the legislation took such a battering between the date of the statement of intent by the Minister for Labour and National
Service (Mr Lynch) on 7th December last and the date of the introduction of the Bill. For example, a critical editorial in the Metral Trades Industry Association of Australia paper was enough to dissolve the Government’s firm intention to do what the Minister stated to be its firm intention, namely to provide that ‘a full bench of the Commission must review a conciliated award or order if the Commonwealth refers an award or order on the issue of public interests. The Commission will be empowered to confirm the award or order in the light of what is put to it or to make such changes as it deems necessary’. They were the firm words and the firm intention of the Government before any pressure was brought to bear on it. In his second reading speech the Minister said:
Tn my statement of 7th December, I indicated that the Goverment intended to provide that a Full Bench of the Commission must review a conciliated award if the Commonwealth referred such an award on the issue of public interest. After careful consideration-
That is the Government’s euphemism for after pressure from people whom we dare not offend’ - the Government has decided not to proceed with this proposal. This clearly indicates the responsible manner in which the Government has undertaken the task of reviewing the Act
What months of careful thought and consultation should have made clear to the Government became apparent only when a powerful employers organisation trained its guns on the Government.
Another great gap between principle and performance is to be found in the Government’s provisions or lack of provisions as to compulsory unionism. Once more the brave words of Mr Lynch at the time of the statement of intent were a proclamation of the great menace of compulsory unionism in these words:
While the Government has always encouraged the organisation of representative bodies of employers and employees and their registration under the Act and has encouraged workers to join their appropriate unions, it believes that coercive action to force people to join unions is wrong in principle.
Let us note this recurring word ‘principle’ and let us see how the Government sticks to its principles. The Minister continued:
It is contrary to the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it is a matter to which I will be referring in my proposals for amendments to the legislation.
He also said:
We wilt amend the provisions of the Act relating to registered organisations to prevent unions from enforcing compulsory unionism.
Let us listen to what Mr Lynch had to say a little later, after his principles had had time to pass through the fire of the pressures that mean so much to the Government. In his second reading speech Mr Lynch said:
Before turning to a new subject, I want to refer to the proposals as to compulsory unionism that 1 outlined in my statement on 7th December last. Since then, the Government has given very careful consideration to this matter.
Once again the euphemism ‘very careful consideration’ means bowing to the pressures that mean votes. Mr Lynch came up with this conclusion:
On balance, we are now of the view that disadvantages and practical problems associated with amendments of the nature we had in mind could outweigh the advantages.
Why did he need the fulminations of the Democratic Labor Party to find out that compulsory unionism had disadvantages and difficulties? Once again we see that it is not principles that count with the Government, but the plain, shoddy, mundane consideration of votes.
Another example of what pressure can do to the Government’s principles is contained in the provisions dealing with amalgamations. Let me remind honourable senators that Mr Lynch’s statement of intent of 7th December 1971 was made after months of consideration and after months of consultation with the unions and employers. It was determined after a most mature consideration of the subject. In his speech of 7th December the words amalgamate’ and ‘amalgamation’ do not occur. Then we were confronted with the furore that came from the DLP over the Amalgamated Metal Workers Union - a great aggregation of workers who joined together under one banner. The amalgamation was approved by the employers and Mr Lynch. We must remember that Mr Lynch was forced into a corner by the approval of the employers and by the approval of such authoritative spokesmen of his principles as the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ and he could not get off the limb onto which he had worked himself. He had said that he could see nothing wrong with the amalgamation, but the people on whom he depended for support did not like the amalgamation. He could not retreat from it. Instead he threw, as a sop to the Democratic Labor Party, the amalgamation provisions in the Bill which can be described only as a code to prevent union amalgamation. Is this an example of high principle? In this, as in every other aspect of the Bill, we observe the Government looking over its shoulder at the employers, keeping its ear cocked to the DLP and ignoring only the unions. Of course it has decided, as ever, that votes are to be garnered by putting the boot into the unions.
Let us look at some of the provisions of the Bill. Firstly let us consider what is at the heart of the industrial problem in this country and at all the debate about the regulation of industrial matters - that is, the matter of strikes and sanctions. Let us get this matter of strikes in perspective before we decide whether the Government had any justification in doing what it has done in the BUI - that is, set the clock back in the matter of sanctions. As other speakers on this side have pointed out, serious and all as it may be, the time lost through strikes - half a day per man per year - is a drop in the ocean compared to the loss in production due to industrial accidents and due to the unnecessary time and production lost through the Governmentinduced unemployment which has plagued this country during the last year. If one thinks in terms of 60,000 men unnecessarily out of work over a period of a year and the production lost during that time one does not give a great deal of thought to the half day per man per year which is lost in strikes. Of course, if we want to put the matter into perspective I suggest that we should look to none other than the Minister for Labour and National Service himself and what he said in the statement of intent in December last. The Minister stated:
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 456, compared wilh 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.
In other words, there are 2 conclusions to be drawn from the figures from this impeccable source - the Minister for Labour and National Service - firstly, that this trend to increasing strikes is common to all advanced industrial countries. I suggest that it might be for the same reason that in all advanced industrial countries workers are confronted with the problem of wages chasing prices. They see no other way of making ends meet than to use whatever industrial muscle they have. The second conclusion to be drawn from Mr Lynch’s figures is that the problem is less acute in Australia than it is in these other countries.
In the face of this situation we find in the legislation before us an attempt to put the clock back, as I have said, on the matter of machinery for the settlement of industrial disputes and in the matter of sanctions which the Government seeks to have at its disposal to enforce its will on working men seeking wage justice. We have only to cast our minds back to the traumatic experiences of the metal trades strikes stemming from the decision of the Commission in the metal trades case at the end of 1968 which led to a rash of strikes early in 1969. Under the old bad unworkable sanction clauses in the Act - the old sections 109 and 111 - an employer could automatically without any certificate from the President or anyone else rush along to the industrial court, get an order against a union and then proceed to have that union fined and loaded with heavy costs. There was a great rash of these strikes and a great rash of proceedings under section 109 until the Commission itself realised that it had made an awful mistake in the award which had caused this trouble. That was the award in which the Commission attempted to say that the minimum wage would be the maximum wage by inviting employers to absorb over-award payments they had been making up till then in the rises that had then been given. Later that practice went by the board. The Government itself acknowledged that these penalty provisions were unworkable. In 1970 it introduced the present section 32a which provides for an investigation of the facts on their merits when a strike occurs and for penalties to be imposed only at the discretion of the court when all of these merits had been investigated and nothing else appeared able to be done.
Under proposed new section 33 which will replace section 32a all discretion is taken away from the court and now the presidential member who is considering the matter is not entitled to refuse an application for a certificate to proceed for a penalty unless he believes that the strike is on the verge of settlement. That is not the way to settle disputes. I suggest that the Government must know, with the experience it has, that this is not the way to settle disputes. I suggest that the purpose of this new inflexibility in the Bill is not to settle disputes; it is purely electoral. This action has been taken in order to enable this Government to pose - it is not a pose that Senator Greenwood finds difficult to adopt if we can judge from the smirk that is now spreading across his face - as the tough law and order Government. It is a scheme which is designed to intimidate the unions in the general interests that the Government has in imposing a wage freeze.
Another similar step is the revival of the hoary unworkable strike ballots. This is based on the idea that men on the job have nothing to do with strikes. It is said that men go on strike - and I heard this echoed again last night by none other than the pundit from Tasmania, Senator Lillico - because of some wicked men up there in the union office who call them out on strike. One wonders how these men who do these things that are so contrary to the will of their members ever get to be re-elected. However, this is part of the mythology of this Government. It thinks that the cure is to have a strike ballot when men are talking about a strike because somehow or other this will get behind the backs of their wicked union officials. The Government ignores the evidence of history. It ignores the Donovan Report which investigated this matter in 1968 and which found that this sort of legislation is absolutely fruitless, especially in the case of short strikes, as are most strikes. How does one hold a ballot when men are out for a day, or a day and a half?
In the United States and Canada it was found that when strike ballots were held the ballots overwhelmingly supported the strikes. Of course, once one held such a ballot and the men voted for it, what would be the result? One would have legitimised and extended the strike and made it more difficult to settle. I believe that this matter of strike ballots alone indicates either the total unreality of the Government’s thinking, as instanced by the remarks of Senator Lillico last night, or its total cynicism. I prefer to think that the second is the real explanation. I do not believe that the Government is silly enough to think that this system will work. This is just a bit of window dressing or grandstanding. I believe that the Government has no intention of trying to apply these provisions. I would remind the Government that provisions such as this have been in the Act for many years and have been available to this Government. However, those provisions have been used only 3 times since 1928. The new provisions will make almost no change in the existing provisions. Why has the Government put these provisions in the Bill? I believe it has done it so that it can say to the public: We are the law and order Government. We are going to have strike ballots’. We say to the Government that it always had these provisions but has not used them. So this action is hypocrisy; it is a fraud.
Another section of the Bill provides for the separation of conciliation and arbitration. I suggest to honourable senators that this is by far the most crass and pointless section of the Bill. Under the present system an arbitration commissioner takes over the conduct of a dispute. He gets the parties together and holds conferences. If they cannot settle, they proceed to arbitration. But it is the same man who is apprised of all the circumstances of the dispute. He has been with the parties attempting to knock their heads together. Of course all is not lost even when they go into arbitration. But under this scheme at a certain point after the conciliation commissioner - who is a completely separate individual, somebody from another planet compared to an arbitration commissioner - has failed to settle the matter he bows out and a different person altogether - the arbitration commissioner - takes over. In proposed new section 30 there is this curious and extraordinary provision which says that when a conciliation commissioner has bowed out of the proceedings he shall:
This provision really makes me rub my eyes. What a wasted effort. This trained man who has sat down with the parties, perhaps for days, who knows all about the case and who now has to bow out of it cannot make available to the new person who takes over the matter anything of what he has learnt. The new person has to start from scratch. Is this going to expedite the settlement of industrial disputes? This is part of what is alleged to be the streamlining of the Act but which, in reality, is merely word and rhetoric. This is certainly a far cry from the aim of the Act which is set out in section 2 and which is, among other things, the settlement of disputes with a minimum of form and technicality. How can we take seriously the claim of this Government that this is a Bill for the settlement of industrial disputes when it introduces this unnecessary complication, this absurd obfuscation, into the conciliation and arbitration process.
I do not have time to deal in detail with the matter of amalgamations. I shall merely reiterate what I said earlier and that is that in reality this rs a code for the prevention of amalgamations. This flies in the face of the recommendations of employers who have stated that they prefer to deal with a large, powerful union rather than with a multiplicity of unions, because employers learn in the course of their experience that if they have to sit around with 15 unions instead of one the proceedings are going to be prolonged. Of course, as everybody also knows, it is the proliferation of many unions which is the real cause of the great number of demarcation disputes which account for some 11 per cent of the disputes which occur in this country in the course of a year. But in the face of all this, in the face of the obviously common sense tendency in the community to amalgamate, the Government has confronted unions which wish to amalgamate with what amounts to an obstacle race. I make bold to say that any unions which are prepared to embark on the perilous, difficult and complex matter of amalgamation in the light of this code are very brave indeed. We, in office, as one of our first steps in dealing with this Act will certainly remove these absurd and reactionary principles which are inserted in relation to amalgamations.
Other incidental clauses in the Bill are almost breathtaking in their implications. One to which I shall refer just in passing is proposed new section 153a which creates an all time high in the intervention of government into the affairs of a voluntary organisation. We will be dealing with this proposed new section at the Committee stage. Briefly, it deals with the obligations of unions to disclose all their banking arrangements in readiness for a pounce by the Government if and when it can impose the penalties and fines which, up to now, it has not been able to collect and which, I suggest, despite this legislation it still will not be able to collect. Also we will be proposing alterations to the Principal Act. The Minister has claimed that he has embarked on a total and detailed recasting of the Act. That invites us to look at some of the matters in the existing Act which we would like to have changed. I shall not embark on them at the moment because my time is running out but I shall sum up in the brief time which I have. There have been major amendments to this highly important Act, one of the most important that govern our affairs, in the years 1947, 1956, 1960 and 1970.
In the past there has been some attempts - even though they may have been bumbling attempts - to deal with the problem of industrial relations. But this year all that we have from the Government is pure politics, the separation of conciliation and arbitration, the requirement that the Commission which, under the Constitution is charged merely with the settlement of industrial disputes, should take upon itself a consideration of the state of the national economy in the course of its deliberations, the widening of the role of the Full Bench - let us not forget that with a Full Bench, under the Act the Commonwealth has the right to intervene - and the closer scrutiny of industrial agreements.
All this points to a concerted policy on the part of this Government to try to stem the trend to negotiate agreements, maximum intervention by the Government and to maximum pressure on the Commission in the direction of the real aim of this Government, which is to achieve a wage freeze. A wage freeze will not work in the absence of other measures, including price justification, tariff reform and amendment of the Trade Practices Act. By that I mean a real amendment and not the pale amendment that was foreshadowed by the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood) today. In the absence of these broad, fiscal and monetary measures and measures directed to interest rates it is absolutely futile and whistling in the dark for the Government to imagine that it has any chance whatsoever to impose a wage freeze. We on this side dispute the continued claim we hear from the other side of the chamber that wages are the real cause of price increases. We believe, on the other hand, that wages are continually chasing prices.
We believe that instead of making the Commission an instrument of industrial instability this Bill will merely drive outside the system the parties involved in industrial disputation or industrial discussion. In that way this Bill will not achieve what the Government claims it will achieve. It will achieve exactly the opposite. Its measures in relation to amalgamations will merely increase demarcation disputes. In that way this Bill will counter the Government’s vaunted aim of minimising disputes. Its interference in voluntary organisations as expressed in proposed new section 153a, I suggest, will alarm similar voluntary organisations throughout the community. This Bill is a grandstanding attempt by the Government to show strength, but it really discloses only its weakness. It is a bad Bill. It is an insincere and irresponsible Bill. Above all, it will not work. It should be rejected by the Senate.
– Few, if any, of the Australian Labor Party speakers have mentioned, except by accident, the contents of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill or its impact upon the principal Act. Wtih respect, the previous speaker, Senator James McClelland, strayed only occasionally towards the Bill or the Act. I think it is important to realise that the speeches of the Labor Opposition have all been characterised by the usual class war cliches, the bitterness, the invective, the cry of the Jeremiahs, that in debates on 51 separate amendments of this principal Act over 68 years have sprinkled the pages of Hansard and have been consistently proven wrong in practice. To bring this debate back to the Act and to the Bill I say to the Senate that the parent or principal Act is the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904- 1970. Beyond a doubt it is the most significant piece of social and industrial legislation on the Australian statute book.
The Conciliation and Arbitration Act has done more for the welfare of all Australians, particularly Australian employees, than has any other legislation.. The principal Act has a world-wide reputation. It is mentioned with admiration in text books throughout the world as a pacesetter in industrial reform. Against the background of that Act we must look to the amendments in this Bill. I point out with some restraint the origins of the principal Act so that honourable senators can interweave the provisions of the Bill in it. It is derived from an industrial power that was written into the Constitution after the fights of 2 great men whose names were well known afterwards - the one Higgins, who became the judge of the court; the other Charles Kingston, well known in South Australia. Indeed, in the words of Conciliation Commissioner Portus, this Act emerged from the disaster of the maritime and shearers strike of 1890. In his book, ‘The Development of Trade Union Law’, Portus says:
The development of arbitration can be summed up by stating that the maritime strike made people conscious of the necessity of government intervention in industrial disputes and the Labor movement for its own reasons were prepared to co-operate with non-Labor governments when they introduced the legislation.
I recall to the Senate the fact that governments of Liberal faith initiated this historic legislation, and it has been governments of Liberal faith which have nurtured it and developed it over the 68 years of its life. Every major criticism brought forward by the Labor Party has proven wrong in practice. The criticism levelled tonight, that this is repressive legislation, will go to the ashes as has previous criticism. The notion this is somewhat of a pugilistic arena was drawn upon by Sir Robert Garran, the great authority on the Australian Constitution, who wrote in 1930 that in the first 25 years of federation the Commonwealth industrial power played a greater part in political history and legal controversy than did the rest of the Constitution put together. A similar comment would have been justifiable covering the subsequent 46 years of Federation had Sir Robert lived that long.
Attempts to amend the Act by referenda have failed some 6 times. By bestowing this power, governments of Liberal faith gave the trade unions their chance to establish themselves firmly. We proudly acknowledge that governments of our faith gave the trade unions the chance to grow, to be vigorous, and to take part in authentic industrial agitation. Indeed, it gave rise to the arbitration system which, as did the trade union movement, led the world in such industrial achievements as the famous Harvester case, which developed the basic wage, and the fixation of working hours, standards of work, long service leave, sick leave and margins for skill.
– It has been a battle all the way.
– Indeed it has. I commend to honourable senators the fact that a wise and common sense electorate has elected a pro-Liberal government for 54 of the 71 years of federation.
– You did not even exist for most of that time.
– In answer to the honourable senators who have interjected, let rae say that I hope the Labor Party continues it agitation from the Opposition benches, lt cannot claim any credit for the great social reforms that we have instituted. I commend this thought to the electorate for the future. I intend to make my own speech with no help from Senator Georges, who is seeking to interject. If he has any ideas that he thinks might be helpful, he will be able to put them to the Senate later. History will speak for itself. History will speak for the fact that under a Liberal administration, trade unions in Australia grew strong and developed faster than did unions in any other country - faster than in Britain and in the United States of America. This led Conciliation Commissioner Portus to say:
From being associations tolerated by the State they (the trade unions) have become semi-official associations which are given a part in the making and administration of law.
In this, governments of Liberal faith have helped at all times. We stand firmly for strong, vigorous industrial trade unionism, not political trade unionism, not rule by trade union bosses but authentic rule by democratic process from the grass roots of the trade unions. Contrary to the opinions of Senator James McClelland, the legislation before the Senate tonight will give the trade unions more democratic protection and democratic rights at the grass roots. It is significant that none of these things has been mentioned tonight. In fact, one would have thought that the Opposition was speaking on another Bill.
– You are not talking about the Bill.
– I will read the details of the Bill for Senator Bishop’s edification. Because of that background, inside those 68 years Australia developed as a country with the greatest sharing of production and incomes of any country in the world. Labor supporters are tender on that score and are inclined to quote from Professor Henderson. I draw attention to the book ‘Poverty in Melbourne’ in which Professor Henderson says that Australia has the lowest poverty rate in the world primarily because we have the greatest sharing of incomes of any country in the world. Let Labor senators squeal, but the facts cannot be denied. They are seeking to knock this Bill tonight, but the principal Act has done more for the people of Australia than has any other piece of legislation. I repeat that it has been a pace setter in social and industrial reform throughout the world.
– Ask the workers and hear what they say.
– Yes, I shall. Since I have been told that this legislation does not relate to reforms, I would like to mention the major reforms contained in the Bill. The Bill has some 9 clauses or groups of clauses that seek to add further protections to unionists at the grass roots. Let Labor senators laugh. The Labor Party concept of a trade union is an organisation that seeks power for the trade union boss and no freedom for those people at the grass roots. When I hear Labor senators plead in this chamber for the freedom of the ordinary trade unionist, my heart will be glad. In truth, the only people, the only parties and the only governments that have written protection of the workers into these Acts - not protection of bureaucrats - have been of the same political complexion as have honourable senators on this side. The Bill contains 9 major provisions relating to unproved conditions for the workers. Clause 6 strengthens the protection of workers and members against loss of employment, should they be officials or intending to be officials or should they be witnesses, about to become witnesses or likely to be witnesses.
– Who wants that protection?
– We do. This Government stands for protection. It does not mouth civil liberties. Let honourable senators opposite interject.
– Order! I remind honourable senators that the previous speaker, Senator James McClelland, made a model speech in a second reading debate. I noticed that honourable senators on my right winced from time to time at the thrusts he made, but he was listened to in the silence that he was entitled to receive. I would be grateful if honourable senators sitting on my left would extend to Senator Carrick the same courtesy as was extended to Senator James McClelland.
– Thank you, Mr President. I was asked: ‘Who wants those protections?’ We on this side of the Senate are willing to give practical civil liberty. This is an enormously valuable protection. If that is not so, will members of the Opposition go out into the trade union movement and say that this is not necessary?
Clause 19 widens the grounds under which a secret ballot may be secured. Let the Opposition mock secret ballots, lt mocks them when this action suits it. It seeks secret ballots when it wants them. I say that this will widen the grass roots support. Clause 21 enables the Commission to provide for unlimited accumulation of sick leave. We take our pleasures sadly, do we not? Do honourable senators opposite deny that that is a first class reform? Does anyone in the Labor Party say that it is not good? Why is it that there has been abysmal silence in this matter? Clauses 33 and 34 extend the powers of inspectors in terms of the rights of entry to premises outside ordinary working hours. Is that right or is it wrong?
– That has been sought for years.
– Senator Mulvihill confirms what I am saying. Does anyone doubt that the inspectors should have these powers or that this will help the workers? Clause 45 and clause 46 make provision for procedures when the rules of an organisation are contravened and for the performance of those rules. Is that bad? Clause 47 provides for financial assistance for members under section 140 and section 141 of the principal Act in seeking legal costs. Does any member of the Opposition say that that is not the extension of a valuable democratic right to a trade union member? If he does, let him rise to his feet and say so. Clause 49 covers rules regarding the resignation of membership. Clause 52 provides for an official inquiry into alleged irregularities in elections. Do not those 9 collective reforms add up to a valuable widening of the rights and protections of unionists at the grass roots?
Having said that, let me test these points. Not one of the speakers on the Opposition side has referred to this or to the enormously valuable steps that will be taken to help to strengthen authentic industrial unionism. By that the Bill is measured. Secondly, and without help from Senator Milliner who has spoken already and who is trying to interject - indeed his speech was not helpful - this Bill aims to reform the conciliation and arbitration processes so that by those reforms we get a speedy, more effective, more flexible and more responsive kind of approach for the settlement of disputes quickly at the grass roots. It is a response through specialised understanding.
– You do not believe that, senator.
- Mr President, let me help Senator Bishop who needs above all some tender eduction. This measure has 6 main provisions. It separates conciliation and arbitration functions so that the same commissioner docs not sit as Caesar appealing to Caesar. Does anyone doubt that this ls right? The trade union movement has asked for it. The second provision is the reconstitution of the Commission to provide for an unspecified number of commissioners with a retiring age of 65. Do we argue about that provision? The third point in this provision is that deputy presidents need not be lawyers but may be people of particular qualifications. Is that wrong? Is it not sensible? The fourth provision is a key one. This is the establishment of task forces by the Full Bench, each with a deputy president and at least one conciliation and arbitration commissioner, taking industries or groups of industries and being responsive immediately. Was there a mention of this provision? Was there a commendation of it? The fifth provision is that before ratifying a consent award the commission must take into account the public interest and the commission must note the economic consequences of its actions. Here is another basic provision. The sixth provision is that when an application is made for the insertion of a bans clause the primary duty of the presidential member is to bring the conduct to a cessation at that point. These are major points which should have been debated. Then there is the provision iin respect of amalgamations. Though some loose rules exist, the Act now does not provide for amalgamations in any regular form. The present Bill seeks to correct that situation.
What is the nub of this legislation? The nub is that, ever since arbitration has existed, the Labor Party has taken an ambivalent view of arbitration. It has sought the privileges of arbitration. It has wanted the protections ofarbitraion against employers. It has wanted employers to be punished. But it will not have a bar of the acceptance of responsibility for enforcing behaviour upon itself. I think it was Disraeli who said that the newspapers of his day were like the courtesans of old, seeking absolute power with no responsibility. The Labor Party in its approach to arbitration has been perennially an industrial courtesan. Here is the ambivalence of its attitude. It wants the privileges but it wants to hop under the fence into the industrial jungle. The fact of the matter is this: The Labor Party is trying to move out of the field of arbitration and into the field of collective bargaining despite the fact that the whole history of collective bargaining throughout the world has these 5 major criticisms: The first is that under collective bargaining strikes are invariably much longer, more widespread and generally national in impact. The second criticism is that collective bargaining favours big industries which can meet its terms. It is highly destructive of small industries. In Australia, 90 per cent of all our industries have 50 employees or fewer. So collective bargaining will wipe out small industries. This is the Labor Party which claims that it is out to help the small man. In fact it is out to create industrial monopoly.
The third criticism of collective bargaining - and this is important - is that no method has been devised to enforce the bargain when it is made. The fourth criticism is that collective bargaining destroys the small trade unions and promotes the large trade unions. Australia has 305 trade unions of which 198, or 65 per cent, have fewer than 2,000 members. I hope that we will nurture the small unions which have done a first class job. The final criticism is that collective bargaining by its insistence on numbers tends to ignore those with skill. The skilled are swamped by the unskilled and the margins for skill dwindle. Senator James McClelland set out to show by figures from the International Labour Organisation that the man-days lost in Australia in the period 1965 to 1969 were fewer by far than the man-days lost in Canada, the United States of America and Italy. In so doing, the honourable senator was inadvertently condemning collective bargaining and praising arbitration because it is the arbitration system in Australia and the system of collective bargaining elsewhere that have created this situation.
The second main challenge by the Labor Party is to sanctions or penalties, lt is a strange thing that this challenge should be made by the Labor Party because all of its great leaders whom it reveres and sanctifies - I go along with their being so regarded - have stressed the importance of the maintenance of sanctions. They have stressed the importance of sanctions as being imperative to arbitration. I mention a former Premier of New South Wales, the late Mr Cahill. He is revered, and rightly.
In referring to what Mr Cahill said, an article that I have states:
No arbitration Act could be effective unless it included some disciplinary code. … If arbitration were discredited it would mean all-out war between employers and unionists.’ . . .
Mr Cahill urged the conference not to ‘be impulsive or hurried’ in considering the proposed changes in the Act. ‘Under the guise of removing the penal clauses, there has been an Australiawide effort to discredit arbitration generally,’ he said. “This is to be deplored.’
He then went on to say that the history of industrial disputes since, say, 1939 did not bear out the claim that the existing penal clauses in the Act had operated particularly harshly against the unions. He set out to prove that in that time the penal clauses overwhelmingly had weighed against the employers and had worked in favour of the unions. Need I quote what Mr Landa, the then Attorney-General, said? He had this to say:
No law is of ase unless it can be enforced by sanctions or penalties. If the penal clauses are entirely eliminated the compulsory aspect of arbitration will disappear.
Need I quote what Mr Maloney, the then Minister for Labour and Industry, said. He went on to say that if the penal clauses are removed the only people it will help will be the communists and he proceeded to set out that it was the Communist Party’s policy to have them removed. Need I quote the remarks which were made by Mr Chifley in 1949. He said: 1 now say to the rank and file of the miners: The policy of the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments is known to you. The attitude of the great body of your fellow unionists and your fellow members in the Australian Labor Party has been made clear to you. Either you forsake the law of the jungle, which is the communist creed, and return to the proper and lawful arbitration authority, or you ally yourselves with the world-wide movement that seeks to wreck the democratic way of fife.
That was said by Mr Chifley. Dr Evatt, the then Attorney-General, had this to say:
The Parliament has recognised its special duty to the coal-miners but they in turn owe a duty to the community. They cannot wage economic war on the community and at the same time claim the rights of the arbitration system. They cannot have it both ways.
Now may 1 refer to what was said by Mr Whitlam and Mr Clyde Cameron who by public announcements sought to impose the harshest penal sanctions on trade unions, sanctions which I deplore. Let the
Opposition deny that in a public statement in October last they sought to penalise individual trade unionists $20 for breaches of a law. Need I remind the Opposition how the Australian Council of Trade Unions asked its executive to look for ways of enforcement. No law can be enforced unless it has proper penalties in it. I do not stand for punitive action at all. I believe that penalties should be the last resort and they have been. In every other sort of law, whether criminal or civil, the power of the arbitral authority or the court must be related to the calling of witnesses and of evidence and to compelling people to appear and give evidence. Let me make this clear: Unless an arbitral authority acting, as it does, as the community and for the community, can say to the employer if he is in the wrong: ‘You will stop your lock out while I hear this matter’ or say to the employee: ‘You will stop your strikes’, what we have is community blackmail because no judicial authority can be placed under pressure and duress of lockout or strike in order to force it to give a judgment it would not otherwise have given. Nobody in the community would accept otherwise. The dilemma throughout the world is how to enforce agreements when made.
I have spoken basically about the contents of this Bill the generality of which I approve and commend fully to the Senate. Despite the jeremiahs it will strengthen enormously in the interests of trade union workers at the grass roots their conditions of work and this Government to which I proudly belong will work towards that end. A great deal of slang-whanging about what causes inflation has been engaged in. I do not want to blame any one person or any one group for this. This community has a habit of committing industrial hara-kiri. The Conciliation and Arbitration Act cannot of itself be a panacea to solve our present problem - a universal one - of inflation. It can go some way towards it and I want to talk in my remaining few minutes of that. The Act must work hand in hand with a number of handmaidens and one which I welcome is the Trade Practices Act. It is working in England and will work here. Another is the sensible use of tariffs so that they provide and protect employment but at the same time do not allow excess prices due to unused tariffs. Yet another is a progressive taxation scale.
When I made my maiden speech in this House I stood here not representing either employees or employers. I felt that honourable senators represented the community as a whole. I said that I rejected the class war and I do now. I do not believe in the concept that the employer is out on the make entirely to give the employee as little as possible or that the employee is out to do as little as possible for as much as possible. There is no doubt in this world that the only way an employer can be prosperous is to have prosperous employees, and they are the working section of the community. There is no doubt at all that the only way in which the employee can have a higher wage is to get costs down and production up. Consequently increased productivity is the twin goal of both sides. 1 hope that we will have no more in this chamber or elsewhere of these shibboleths of the class war.
This legislation has a world wide reputation and other countries look to it with envy and admiration. They are seeking to adopt it because they know that it gives more to the employees than any other form of legislation. Until 3 years ago - and I pay this tribute - the industrial leadership of this country for the 17 years before that was by a great Australian, Mr Alfred Monk, who understood the difference between authentic industrial unionism and political unionism which exploits the worker. In that 17 years we had a high level of industrial peace and the lowest rise in industrial costs of any industrialised country.
– You attacked the Australian Council of Trade Unions then.
– I have never attacked it in my life. I am grateful to Senator Bishop for interjecting. He seems always to know more of the sub-rose things than I do. Nobody has ever heard me on my feet or in writing attack the ACTU or even Mr Hawke or authentic trade unionism. I am as strong an advocate as anybody in this place for trade unionism. We had a miraculous run of 17 years of great peace, sharing and prosperity. It was better than it was anywhere else in the world. When the trade union movement moved towards the left and towards political unionism it did a grave disservice to its own people and the people generally of Australia. This Bill still cannot work purely as a piece of legislation unless the hearts and minds of all people are behind it. I make the plea to the grass roots trade unions of this country to look towards industrial unionism rather than the anarchy of political unionism.
– We are considering the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill and what was just said by Senator Carrick is significant. He said that the legislation would work only if the hearts and minds of people were entirely behind it. The hearts and minds of the people are not behind these amendments to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act because the people think that the amendments are not genuine, and they are not genuine. They know, for example, that the . provisions relating to amalgamations are: not genuine because the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) only a few weeks ago exploded the basis upon which these amendments are now brought in. They are brought in as a result of political pressures of which the Government ought to be ashamed. The Bill has 2 main aspects, the first of which is that it deals with the procedures of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in general. Those procedures are being juggled about in some endeavour to prevent flow-ons and to prevent real wage justice being done throughout the community. I think that the proposed new procedures will have very little general effect on the movement in wages and the improvement in conditions because those matters will be determined largely by economic pressures. They will have some effect, namely, in creating injustices in relation to small unions and groups which cannot really cope with these procedural difficulties which are being created by the Government.
The second aspect of the Bill - this is the main aspect - is that it contains provisions which worsen the situation of trade unions. That is a very important aspect of this Bill. Perhaps in its long term effect those provisions will be the most significant aspect of this Bill. What the Government has done here is to introduce by way of the Bill and the Act, as it would be amended by this Bill, a blueprint for dealing with corporations. This Act, as it would be amended, deals with the corporate structure of trade unions. It deals with the internal affairs of trade unions in a way that will produce interference which. I think, is unprecedented throughout the civilised world.
I stated earlier that the trade unions are dealt with as corporations under this legislation. My suggestion that this Bill was a blueprint for dealing with corporations was regarded as being incorrect. In fact, I was challenged by a Government senator to state in this Senate that the trade unions were corporations under the provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. I was somewhat astonished at that suggestion especially since it was said that Government senators - I find it difficult to believe that the Government itself would be proceeding on the basis that trade unions, although registered organisations, were not corporations - apparently had been advised that trade unions were not corporations. That is an astonishing suggestion.
– They do not have any corporate entity in the way that corporate bodies have.
– Did I hear the Attorney-General say that they do not have any corporate entity in the way that corporations have?
– That is right.
– Well, Mr Deputy President, it seems to me extraordinary that in relation to a matter of such great importance as this, which has passed through the House of Representatives, there should be a difference of opinion so profound and that the Government is proceeding on the basis of the proposition enunciated by the Attorney-General and apparently believed in by other members of the Government parties. Let me dispose of this extremely important matter. I refer honourable senators, and the AttorneyGeneral in particular, to the ordinary practice book called ‘Federal Industrial Laws’, which is the bible on this matter and which sets out the provisions of the Act and refers to the famous cases in industrial law which deal with this subject. Section 136 of the Act, whose marginal note is Incorporation of organisation’, provides:
Every organisation registered under this Act shall for the purposes of this Act have perpetual succession and a common seal, and may purchase take on lease hold sell lease mortgage exchange and otherwise own possess and deal with any real or personal property.
That provision has been in the Act since it first came into existence and was considered in the first great case which was decided on the Conciliation and Arbitration Act back in 1908 - not just tonight, but in 1968. The great Chief Justice Griffith referred to that section, which was then section 58, and said:
This is the accepted formula for creating a corporation.
He and the other judges went on to refer to the provision in similar terms. The great case of Williams and Hursey, I think, must be familiar to many members of the Senate.
– Yes, I know Hursey’s case.
– I thank Senator Hannan for indicating that he has heard of it.
– As a matter of fact, I have quoted it from time to time.
– I suggest that Senator Hannan have a look at that case and inform some of his colleagues of the position in relation to it. He will find that in that case the High Court - in particular, Mr Justice Fullagar, with whom the Chief Justice and Mr Justice Kitto concurred - set out in the most clear and definite terms that the trade unions which were registered organisations under this Act were, by the very section to which I have referred, made corporations under Federal law.
– I am not arguing with you.
– I thank Senator Hannan. He might give the benefit of his legal knowledge to the other honourable gentlemen opposite, including the one who interjected a little earlier. This question ought to have been beyond any doubt whatever, and it is astonishing that we could be dealing with this legislation on the basis that the Attorney-General has suggested and that the thought could be in the minds of honourable senators opposite that the Federal trade unions in fact are not corporations. Let me quote several lines from the judgment of the High Court which referred to that provision. The judgment states:
This provision alone is, in my opinion, quite enough to give to a registered organisation the full character of a corporation.
– For the purposes of the Act. That is in the section.
– If the honourable senator who interjected will look again, he will find that these corporations are capable of engaging in business, of owning newspapers and of doing all sorts of things, apart altogether from engaging in the settling of industrial disputes. It ought to dawn even on Government senators that, if it is provided that this kind of interference can be engaged in in relation to corporate bodies which happen to be trade unions, then it can be engaged in in relation to corporate bodies which happen not to be trade unions. If there is provision for interference which is contrary to what was slated in the International Labour Organisation conventions and contrary to what has been set out as to what ought to be the rights of trade unions, if we are to have judicial decisions which interfere drastically with the affairs of trade unions and which allow no appeal to anybody, and if we are to have an amount of interference by administrative bodies such as we have in this Act and especially in the amendments which are being proposed by the Government, does anyone think it will stop there? I am astonished that Government senators have not been told what the position is, namely, that we are dealing with corporations and that the provisions of the Bill provide a blueprint for future governments as to legislation dealing with the rights of corporations and with corporation mergers.
What are these amalgamation provisions? Do honourable senators opposite think it would be very difficult for someone to say that these provisions should be adapted to deal with mergers of other corporations? Members of the Government and its supporters have been dealing with this legislation without even knowing its implications. It is time that some thought was given to what the Government is doing to these corporations. Leave aside the idea that it is very nice and convenient to engage in the bashing of trade unions.
Industrial Relations - Brisbane Bookmakers Incorporation of Unread Matter in Hansard Report - Printing Industry Dispute - Immigration - Margarine
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - 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.
– 1 apologise for speaking again on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate but if honourable senators want to blame anyone they should blame the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood) and Ministers who refuse to answer questions. T am getting sick and tired of asking questions in this chamber and having them evaded by Ministers. It is extremely difficult under our system of conducting question time to ask supplementary questions in order to try to prise out of a Minister the answers that one requires. I am referring not only to the Attorney-General because any Minister who does not want to answer a question just waffles on and leaves one in the position of having to seek further information. Today, I must admit, I got into a bit of strife trying to clear up a question that I asked the Attorney-General yesterday. He failed to answer the vital part of my question. In order to get an answer I got involved in a long garrulous speech. But this is the point: He did not bother trying to answer the question that he failed to answer on the previous occasion.
In this chamber in the last few weeks we have heard 2 arguments on the question of draft resisters. The Opposition side has said that warrants against draft resisters have been issued on a selective basis. The Attorney-General has said that this is not true. I wanted to find out who was telling the truth. Either the Attorney-General was telling the truth or he was lying.
– Or he was deceiving this chamber, or deceiving the public. The same applies to members of the Opposition: They were telling the truth or they were deceiving us by saying that warrants had been issued against all draft resisters. That was the inference I gathered as an individual listening to both sides of the argument. As far as I can gather from the remarks of the Attorney-General on the question of draft resisters, there has been no selection of people who have resisted the draft and that summonses or warrants have been issued against all of them. That is the impression I got. However, I was becoming confused so I asked the Attorney-General a question. I asked him how many people were draft resisters and against how many had warrants been issued? I did that in order to clear the matter up. But Ministers have got so touchy about political matters that they cannot believe that question can be asked purely for the sake of getting information.
I am not taking sides on this issue and I was not taking sides; I wanted to know who was right. I was told that I was garrulous in asking my question but I notice that it took up 13 lines in Hansard while the Attorney-General’s answer took up about 60 or 70 lines. I presume that he is more garrulous than I. Nevertheless, he went on to say that there are 3 classes of draft resisters. I do not care how many there are. If people do not register they are draft resisters. If they do not attend call-ups for medical examination they are draft resisters. If they do not answer the call-up they are draft resisters. The AttorneyGeneral classified them into 3 and pointed out <my ignorance. All right, I am happy to be ignorant. He went on to say that 2 per cent of the people who should have registered failed to register. Well, 2 per cent sounds as if it is nothing. It sounds like a figure that is so small that it is insignificant. But when we realise that 2 per cent refers to 14,000 people - that 14,000 people have failed to register - that is a significant number. Against how many of those people have summonses been issued? The Senate did not hear an answer to that question. If the Attorney-General has been condemning the Opposition and saying that it is a fantasy on its part that warrants are not being issued against people, he should know the exact numbers.
He should have the figures in his head. He should know how many there are. How can he deny statements by the Opposition when he cannot answer that question? I presume he knows the answer but is not telling.
The Attorney-General went on to say that 147,000 people had been required to attend medical examinations and that only 0.3 failed to attend. Again, 0.3 per cent sounds like a very significant number but what happens when we work it out? I think I might give the Attorney-General an abacus; it would help him. There were 441 people who failed to attend for medical examination. What has happened to those people? Were warrants issued for every one of those people? That is something I want to know. Why cannot the AttorneyGeneral tell us? It is his Department that issues the warrants. I apparently asked the wrong Minister about the numbers because that matter is dealt with by the Department of Labour and National Service. However, the Attorney-General obtained the information for me.
Finally, the Attorney-General went on to say that 0.2 per cent, or 2 in every 1,000, did not respond to call-up notices. Now, 0.2 per cent is a very small percentage but in figures it means that 110 failed to respond. The Attorney-General went on to say that only 20 warrants were outstanding for persons who had failed to appear in court to answer summonses either for failing to attend a medical examination or for failing to obey a call-up notice. There are 551 persons in those 2 groups - those who failed to attend for medical examination or failed to respond to their call-up notices. How many of those people have had warrants issued against them? This is what I am trying to find out. The Government cannot accuse the Opposition of having fantasies when it cannot tell us the numbers.
I cannot follow these figures. I am a simple person. In regard to the 551 people involved, there are 20 warrants outstanding. Does this mean that warrants have been issued against 531 people? If they have not been issued, why have they not? Warrants cannot be issued on a selective basis. TJ the Government believes that these people have resisted the draft or dodged it - call it what you like - then it should have issued warrants for their arrest. Have they been apprehended or not? That is all I want to know. J do not care which way the matter goes at the moment but I want to know whether we can get some figures. I want to ask the Attorney-General specific questions and I ask him to please answer them specifically. My questions are: Against how many of the 14,000 persons who failed to register have warrants been issued? Against how many of the 441 people who failed to attend for medical examination have warrants been issued? Against how many of the 110 people who failed to respond to their call-up notices have warrants been issued? Finally, out of all those, how many have been apprehended? If the Senate were given those figures we could clear up this argument that has been going on for weeks between the Attorney-General and members of the Opposition.
– For years.
– Well, there should be a simple answer. The AttorneyGeneral’s Department issues the warrants and he must know. He has no right to deceive us, if he has been deceiving us, and he now has the opportunity to show us that he has the figures and that he knows exactly what has been going on in his own Department. I am getting sick and tired of this attitude and just because someone stands to ask a question the question obviously is political and should be sneered at but not answered.
– I call Senator Poyser because he wishes to address himself to a matter which also lies within the responsibility of the Attorney-General.
– I take this oportunity provided by the motion for the adjournment of the Senate to put the record straight about a question asked this morning of the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood) by Senator Hannan. I refer to an industrial dispute that occurred in the city of Geelong where I live which is associated with a Russian ship, the ‘Ho Chi Minh’, which is loading wheat purchased from Australia by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I propose to answer this matter in very low key simply by reading into the record of this Parliament 3 Press reports which appeared in the Geelong ‘Advertiser’. From my own information of this dispute I believe these reports to be a reasonably accurate description of what has occurred. In his question this morning Senator Hannan stated that the captain of this Russian ship had refused to comply with the conditions of labour in this country and had failed to co-operate with the trade union movement. This was the tenor of his question. It was a complete misrepresentation of what has happened in this matter. Without any further comment I propose to read into the record 3 statements that have appeared in the Geelong ‘Advertiser’ appertaining to this matter. The first was on 1 8th May 1972, which was last Thursday. The headline is:
Unions Query Fumigation. Black Ban Threat on Russian Ship.
The article states:
A black ban may be placed on the Russian ship, Ho Chi Minh, now loading wheat in Geelong.
It is believed that two unions will consider imposing the ban today.
They are the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers’ Union and the Federated Shipwrights and Ship Constructors’ Association.
The ship, named after the former North Vietnamese leader, is loading wheat for Vladivostok, the USSR’s eastermost seaport on ‘ the Sea of Japan.
Before it berthed at the bulk wheat terminal, crew members cleaned and fumigated its holds, a job normally done by shore-based crews.
The policy of the Australasian Council of Trade Unions is that this work be done by shore-based crows rather than ships’ crews.
The matter was discussed by the Geelong branch of the Waterside Workers’ yesterday, but the branch secretary (Mr Eric Kenworthy) said later no decision had been taken as the matter did not directly concern his union. <
He would not comment further.
On 20th May 1972, the following article appeared in the Saturday edition of the Geelong ‘Advertiser’. The headline reads:
Black Ban on Russian Ship: Misunderstanding Captain Alleges.
The article states:
Union officials will inspect the Russian ship. Ho Chi Minh, at the Bulk Wheat Pier today and decide whether the black ban on it will continue.
The ban was imposed on Thursday after union officials claimed the crew had - cleaned its holds before berthing at the wheat terminal.
But the master of the Ho Chi Minh, Captain Ivan Chuyko, said yesterday the ban was the result of a misunderstanding.
He said he had not been told (hat the work was normally reserved for shore-based crews.
A Federated Ships Painters and Dockers’ Union shop steward, Mr David Fort, said his union was worried that cleaning of the Ho Chi Minh by its own crewmen would set a precedent for other foreign-owned ships in Geelong.
If they get away with it this time, others will follow,’ he said.
Mr Fort, who works for Lewmarine Pty Ltd, said cleaning a ship the size of the Ho Chi Minh would normally provide work for 17 or 18 members of his union and the Federated Shipwrights’ Association.
But Captain Chuyko said the work took less than two hours.
Before sailing for Geelong, the ship had discharged a cargo of magnetic iron ore al Mackay. Queensland.
The three holds which had contained the ore - the Ho Chi Minh has five holds - were then cleaned by painters and dockers at Mackay. The two remaining holds had not been used since they were cleaned during repairs at Vladivostok in March.
A Wheat Board surveyor who inspected the ship when it arrived in Geelong had refused to issue a clearance certificate because there was dirt on the beams across the ceilings of the holds which contained the ore.
Captain Chuyko then borrowed a long ladder through the ship’s agents, Robert Purnell Pty Ltd, and put some of his crewmen to work cleaning the beams.
He said the Ho Chi Minh arrived in Geelong and anchored in Corio Bay on May 11, and berthed at the Bulk Wheat Pier last Tuesday.
At no stage had any union official attempted to explain the position regarding cleaning before the ship berthed, he claimed.
Yesterday, 27 waterside workers allocated to the Ho Chi Minh refused to load it. The Stevedoring Industry Authority assigned another 21 men to the ship, but they failed to appear.
Then the assistant secretary of the Trades Hall Council, Mr P. 1. Nolan, stepped in to the dispute.
He arranged for officials of the Federated Shipwrights’ Association to inspect the ship today to check how much work was done by the crew.
But Mr Nolan said members of the Federation would repeat the work, on principle, before the Ho Chi Minh could be loaded.
Captain Chuyko said yesterday he could not understand why ohe unions were making an issue out of the incident - it was the result of a misunderstanding, he said.
On 22nd May 1972 - Monday of this week - the headline: ‘Ban on Ship is Lifted’ appeared in the Geelong ‘Advertiser*. The article states:
The union ban on the Russian ship, Ho Chi Minh, which berthed at the Bulk Wheat Pier last week, was lifted on Saturday.
The ban was imposed on Thursday after union officials claimed the crew had cleaned the holds of the vessel before it berthed at’ the wheat terminal.
A Federated Ships Painters and Dockers’ Union shop steward, Mr David Fort, said the union was concerned that this would set a precedent for other foreign-owned ships in Geelong.
The master of the vessel claimed the ban was the result of a misunderstanding.
The article basically repeats the statement that appeared in the Geelong ‘Advertiser’ on the Saturday morning. If any honourable senator desires I am prepared to read it in full. The point I make is that there was no deliberate attempt by either side to create a major dispute out of this issue. It was a misunderstanding that was cleared up very quickly by the Melbourne Trades Hall Council in association with the unions concerned and the master of this ship. It was a misunderstanding that I believe could occur in relation to any foreign ship that may come into any port of the Commonwealth on a first occasion. The matter has been satisfactorily settled. There was no major dispute on a political or any other basis in relation to this matter. It lasted a very short time. When proper negotiations and discussions took place between the parties concerned it was resolved very quickly and amicably to everybody’s satisfaction. The inference contained in Senator Hannan’s question today was never part of this dispute in any shape or form.
– In addressing my remarks to the Queensland Grant Bill 1972 on Tuesday, 16th May 1972, 1 made reference to the millions of dollars turnover in Queensland in the gambling sports. I mentioned that now Queensland is a claimant State if a move by a cartel of bookmakers to take over the gambling business in Queensland was not investigated and cleaned up, the State could lose millions of dollars in the way of turnover tax, plus the fact that being a claimant State, Queensland is now subject to budgetary restrictions and auditing procedures by the Commonwealth Treasury which would place Queensland in a bad light. In presenting that story I made certain claims. Subsequently, Press statements have been made by one of the gentlemen to whom I referred, Mr Stan Sheldon, President of the Queensland Bookmakers Council, to the effect that his
Council is beyond reproach, that it has the support of 10 organisations and that the claims that 1 made were untrue and unfounded. People who have known me for any length of time know that I do not go off half cocked. I have in my possession this evening 9 documents which I will itemise and then ask for leave of the Senate to have incorporated in Hansard so that people reading Hansard will be able to decide the matter for themselves. They are documents which will fully substantiate the claims which I made in my address on 16th May. I shall list briefly the 9 documents, they are: 1, A list o£ bookmakers associations recognised by the Queensland Bookmakers Council and showing the large scale resignations in each instance; 2, Letters from the Queensland Bookmakers Council intimating that all bookmakers had to join the Council and that only upon joining could they expect to become licensed bookmakers; 3, A circular sent to all members of their association by the North Queensland Racing Association bookmakers; 4, A second circular sent to all members of their association by the North Queensland Racing Association bookmakers; 5, A list of individual resignations from the Queensland Bookmakers Council by north Queensland bookmakers; 6. A petition sent to the Hon. the Minister in charge of Racing, Sir Gordon Chalk, K.B.E., by the Licensed North Queensland Racing Association Bookmakers protesting against the action and attitude of the Queensland Bookmakers Council; 7. Comment on the Queensland Bookmakers Council in the Cairns ‘Post’ of 14th January 1972; 8, A letter from the Mackay Bookmakers Association to the North Queeusland Racing Association protesting about being forced or bound in any way to join the Queensland Bookmakers Council; 9, A new document - a statement of receipts and payments for the period from 1st October 1969 to 31st October 1971, duly audited by B. M. Scott, public accountant, and showing an amount of $4,000 in a fighting fund. Bookmakers are upset and concerned that details regarding the fighting fund are not available and they that feel pandemonium would be let loose if particulars regarding the $4,000 were made public. 1 must admit that an extraordinary situation exists and has been allowed to continue by the officers of the Queensland Bookmakers Council not doing everything humanly possible to explain the item in their balance sheet when they have had so many requests to do so. I believe that it is the duty of the Minister in charge of Racing in Queensland, Sir Gordon Chalk, to tell the bookmakers the story about the $4,000 if the Queensland Bookmakers Council will not. I ask for leave of the Senate to have these documents incorporated in Hansard.
– Is leave granted?
– Leave is not granted.
– Anything that is shady you want to put under the table.
– I take a point of order. I ask that the offensive words used by Senator Keeffe against the Attorney-General Anything that is shady’ - I did not hear explicitly what followed, but I understood it to be to the purport ‘you want to cover up’ - be withdrawn without equivocation.
– Order! Senator Keeffe, I think that, in the heat of the moment, with the electoral fever that is overtaking honourable senators, you will agree that perhaps it was not a permissible remark, and I would be grateful if you withdraw it.
– 1 regret that my remark might have sounded out of place, but as far as I am concerned, when matters of this nature are raised the Attorney-General consistently refuses leave for any documents to be incorporated. To the best of my knowledge, the term that I used was certainly not unparliamentary. It might have had some overtones. I would think that if any body were offended it was the AttorneyGeneral. I do not know where the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) comes into the argument. As I fee] that I have not said anything offensive, I decline to withdraw.
– On the contrary, I regard it as offensive in the context in which it was said. I would be grateful if you would withdraw it.
– If the word that I am alleged to have used is offensive to the Attorney-General - if it is not offensive to the Attorney-General, it is offensive to the Minister for Works - I may look at it from another angle and reiterate what I said a moment ago. There is this extreme reluctance by the Attorney-General to have statements of any kind incorporated when members on this side of the Senate seek to have this done.
– I think that is what you meant. Having said what you meant, would you withdraw the word?
– I appreciate your impartiality in getting me off the hook, but I want to say that when there is a matter of a doubtful nature the Attorney-General expresses great reluctance to have documents incorporated. If that word is acecptable I will withdraw the word that I am alleged to have said.
– I shall read document No. 1. It is interesting to quote the constitution of the Queensland Bookmakers Council. The first document reads:
The Council shall consist of the following organisations:
Townsville and District Bookmakers Association. (Some 23 of their members resigned from the QBC on 7.2.72.)
Queensland Greyhound Bookmakers Association. (Their Association resigned from the Council on 8.2.72.)
St Leger Bookmakers Association. (Their Association resigned from the Council on 8.3.72.)
Gold Coast Bookmakers Association. (Most of these members have stated that they will not join the Council.)
Downs and South Western Bookmakers Association.(Most of these members state that they will not join the Council.)
Rockhampton and District Bookmakers Association. (It is said that they will not contribute to the Council.)
QTC Paddock Bookmakers Association. (Some 36 members resigned from the Council on 1.2.72.)
Provincial Bookmakers Association. (Became dissociated from the QBC on 11.1.72.)
Far Northern Queensland Bookmakers Association. (Some SO members resigned from the Council on 7.2.72.)
Mt Isa Bookmakers Association. (Their Association resigned from the QBC on 8.2.72.) and such other associations of Bookmakers and kindred bodies as the Council may from time to time determine.
We ask: ‘Would the Queensland Bookmakers Council now still be acting within their Constitution, by entering into an arrangement with the Queensland Government under section 104a - Bookmakers Guarantee Scheme?’
It is believed that there are some 600 to 700 registered bookmakers in the State and at a guess it is doubtful if the Queensland Bookmakers Council has bonded 35 of these bookmakers. Therefore they do not represent any more than 5 per cent of bookmakers in the State if this be the case.
Document No. 2 is a letter on the letterhead of the Queensland Bookmakers Council and bears the signature of S. Sheldon, the President. His address is 504 Marine Parade, Labrador. The letter is dated 9th November 1971.
-Senator McAuliffe, I wonder whether you would allow me to intrude on behalf of honourable senators.
Instead of having the documents incorporated in Hansard, you could seek leave to table them.
– I want them in Hansard, with respect, Mr President.
– That is all right. I thought 1 might be able to relieve you of the duty of having to read them.
– With respect, I would like them in Hansard. Could I seek leave to have the remainder of the documents incorporated in Hansard?
- Senator Greenwood, do you wish to sight the documents?
– I say no, if heis asking for leave to have them incorporated.
– The second document reads:
To the Presidents of all Affiliated Associations’.
The Council has been duly notified by Sir Gordon Chalker, K.B.E., that the Racing and Betting Amendment Act received Royal Assent on Monday, 1st November 1971. Consequently, the provisions relating to the Bookmakers Guarantee Fund are now in force.
I enclose a copy of a letter forwarded to the principal Licensing Authority in your district, which should be self-explanatory. I believe this authority will advise the Bookmakers in your district of the added requirement to be a Government Licensed Bookmaker.
As soon as this advice has been received, Mr J. Cerutti. (Treasurer of the. Quensland Bookmakers Council) and myself will visit your Association Headquarters to meet your Executive and district Bookmakers. Arrangements can then he made for the collection of the necessary bond money which will enable them to become accredited and thus have the financial status to be licensed as Bookmakers.
Copies of the Act, together with copies of Hansard, will be forwarded to you as soon as they are available from the Government Printer.
Also in that document is another letter bearing the signature of S. Sheldon, President, of the same address, 504 Marine Parade, Labrador. It is on Queensland Bookmakers Council letterhead. The council’s motto is: ‘He profits most who serves best’. The second letter which is part of document No. 2 reads:
I have been notified by Sir Gordon Chalk, K.B.E., Minister in Charge of Racing, that the Racing-Betting Amendment Act received Royal Assent on Monday, 1st November 1971. Consequently, the provisions relating to the Bookmakers Guarantee Fund are now in force.
The Minister has also .directed my Council to put in operation and set up the Guarantee Bond System for all classes of Bookmakers in Queensland. We will accept liability for a Bookmaker’s default on any one day as follows:
The liability of guarantee will be limited to an amount of $5,000 in respect of defaults made by each Bookmaker in paying bets lawfully laid by him or paying Bookmakers Turnover Tax in respect of bets so made by him on any one day. The Council will be responsible to settle all claims according to the procedure set down by the new Racing Amendment Act. The Act stipulates that the $5,000 Guarantee Bond is an added requirement to be a Government licensed Bookmaker in Queensland.
Provision has been made by my Council to accept a Bookmaker as a member when his application to operate as a Bookmaker has been approved by the principal Licensing Authority, provided he has complied with the requirements to become a member of the Council.
The Bookmaker will deposit $1,000 with the Council, to be held in a Trust Account approved by the Government. He will receive 4 per cent per annum interest on his deposit and, provided there has been no claim by a principal Licensing Authority or by the Commissioner of Stamp Duties, his deposit will be returned to him on resignation or any other reason.
The Minister initiated that section of the Act regarding the Guarantee Bond Fund at the request of my Council, with the unanimous support of all affiliated Associations.
I am sure that we can work amicably together in the joint interests of Bookmakers and your Committee on this matter. There is no doubt that the racing public generally will appreciate the fact that their bets will be safe and guaranteed when made with a registered on-Course Bookmaker. I would be pleased to meet your Committee and discuss further details of this system at your earliest convenience.
I now refer to document No. 3 which is a circular sent to all North Queensland Racing Association bookmakers. Before reading this document, 1 seek leave to have the rest of the documents incorporated in Hansard?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - Is leave granted?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Leave is not granted.
– Document No. 3 reads:
As you may have heard there is a scheme afoot led by a few Brisbane Bookmakers who call themselves the Queensland Bookmakers Council to take $1,000 from each of us plus $25 per year to guarantee us. This sudden desire to guarantee us comes not from the Government or theNQRA but from the Queensland Bookmakers Council which is trying to tell us they have been instructed by Sir Gordon Chalk to do so. This is a deliberate lie and in the new Racing and Betting Act Amendment Act they do not get a mention, the act says the Minister may enter into an agreement with a (any) Bookmakers Bond Guarantee Fund. So beware of this trap and send no money to them and do not join their Association. The Townsville and District Bookmakers Association, the Mackay Bookmakers Association have sent letters of protest about this Queensland Bookmakers Council to the Minister and NQRA, the Mount Isa Bookmakers Association have resigned from it.
A copy of the petition which we have signed, about 80 Bookmakers from Townsville, Ingham, Ayr, innisfail, Cairns, Mareeba, Atherton Tablelands, Mackay and Mount Isa, is enclosed herewith and in the interests, of us all you should sign it and post to the Minister for Racing, Hon. Sir Gordon Chalk, K.B.E., Parliament House, Brisbane, or send signed letter to P.O. Box 132, Hermit Park, for inclusion with original petition being set shortly.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT-
Order! Did the honourable member use the term ‘a deliberate lie’ when referring to Sir Gordon Chalk?
– No, I described him as a K.B.E. The document continued.
We have been unable to contact you to sign the original petition but your signature on this copy will give further weight to our fight against any attempt by the ‘Queensland Bookmakers Council1 to Demand money from us.
We have sent a similar petition to the NQRA but as they are already opposed to the ‘Queensland Bookmakers Council’ we feel it necessary for you to add your signature to this one only and thus speak as a body to the Minister for Racing.
In a letter received on 9th February 1972. from Mr W. Gillman, Solicitor, of Dean, Gillman and Thompson, he states: ‘It is my opinion that a Bookmaker licensed by the NQRA is not bound nor is he under any obligation to become a member of a Bookmakers Association or of the “Queensland Bookmakers Council”. If Bookmakers licensed by the NQRA wish to dissociate themselves from any agreement made by the Council or their Association then they should resign from that Council or their Association.’
I turn now to document No. 4 which is a circular sent to all North Queensland Racing Association bookmakers. With respect.
Mi Acting Deputy President, may I have the rest of the documents incorporated in Hansard?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Is leave granted?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENTLeave is not granted.
Sentaor McAULIFFE - I will wear them down. Document No. 4 reads:
At a meeting of the Townsville and District Bookmakers Association on 7th February 1972, a motion was passed by an overwhelming majority that when the question of guarantees arised, that we have a choice as to how we wish to be guaranteed and no pressure be brought to bear on any licensee to join any particular body. A letter to the NQRA and also one to the Minister for Racing, Sir Gordon Chalk was to be sent. Also money which was about to be sent to the Queensland Bookmaker’s Council was withheld. This clearly indicates that Northern Bookmakers are suspicious of the whole set up and propaganda of the Queensland Bookmakers Council. This body through the press and by two expense paid propaganda tours to the North has been telling everyone that it is law and compulsory to give them $1,000 and $25 membership fees with the threat of not being granted a licence in the coming year.
This is a deliberate falsehood and in the recently passed ‘Racing and Betting Act Amendment Act’ the Queensland Bookmakers Council is not even mentioned! This is the most blatant and obnoxious attempt to frighten licensees into giving $1,025 to a few organised schemers who want $700,000 plus 700 $25’s per year subscription from the Queensland Bookmakers.
If anyone in his right mind wants to give then $1,000 plus $25 each year let him do so but the same amount given to the mafia would bear as much return or security.
There are a very few brainwashed propagandists for this organisation still lobbying for it up here but do not be fooled by them. The only reason for suggesting the amount of $5,000 (personal) is to come in to line with the new Greyhound Board’s requirements which has Government sanction and equals the amount of guarantees of the Queensland Bookmakers Council. There is not much doubt which choice we will make, the Fidelity Bond now in operation with the Trotting Board. Think for yourself, or reflect on the legal opinion obtained on 9th February 1972, of Mr W. Gillman, Solicitor of Dean Gillman and Thompson, of Townsville, who stated:
It is my opinion that a bookmaker licensed by the NQRA is not bound, nor is he under any obligation to become a member of a bookmakers association or of the Queensland Bookmakers Council. If Bookmakers licensed by the NQRA wish to dissociate themselves from any agreement made by the Council or their Association, then they should resign from that Council or their Association.’
The attached petitions signed- by NQRA Bookmakers should put an end to any further harassment by the Queensland Bookmakers Council.
I come now to document No. 5. This document contains a list of names. I seek leave to have it incorporated in Hansard.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Is leave granted?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Leave is not granted.
– The list contains resignations in north Queensland from the Queensland Bookmakers Council. It reads:
Townsville - A. Bell, A. Bowden, L. R. Bracken, J. M. Davidson, R. J. Franzman, D. L. Kilby, B. C. Kilby, W. H. Kinsey, J. I. Leonardi, W. A. Pascoe, W. R. Tamblyn, R. L. Taylor, W. E. Vause. C. J. Allingham, K. W. Cooney, V. J. Cummins, H. Langdon, A. V. Scarr, J. P. Shinnick, F. J. Tyrrell, D. W. Crowe, F. Clout, G. R. Stevens.
Charters Towers - L. F. Mitchell, R. J. Sweeney, W. J. Thomasson, E. R. Torkington, C. H. Robins. Hughenden- J. P. Close, J. T. Paine. Home Hill- -W. B. Prizeman. Ayr - J. N. Leonardi. Cardwell- J. H. Cable. Ingham - S. Russo.
Innisfail - C. J. Anderson, E. B. How Keo, W. L. Sue Yek, J. Lee, N. Lee.
Mareeba- A. C. D. Best, T. J. Goodwin. D. W. Hughes, T. P. G. Meehan,J. F. Little.
Atherton - J. M. Geraghty, E. G. Hopkins, P. Jue Sue, K. S. Sanderson.
Yungaburra - N. Davis.
Tolga- R. E. Allwood.
Cairns - H. Davidson, J. C. Brown, R. F. Melvin, B. R. McKeown, B. McIntyre, K. R. Brewer, E. P. Lisha, M. H. Limkin, G. D. Chapman, G. J. Eustace.
Mackay - T. Crittenden, A. Townsend, F. J. Paul, L. J. Palmer, T. W. Howell, J. J. Clerc, C. E. Cooley, A. P. Cuniac, E. F. Hanson, R. D. McLeod, J. J. Molloy, S. Gauci, F. Bilney.
Mount Isa - T. Christison, R. H. Chambers, R. A. Howie, T. F. Maher, P. O’Keefe, F. Godier, A. H. Swan. K. H. Wyld, G. A. Saunders, R. M. Bakleash, R. G. Jenkin, R. Chambers, R. McLaughlin.
We now come to document No. 6. I seek leave to have that document and the remainder of the documents incorporated in Hansard.
– Is leave granted?
– There being objection, leave is not granted.
– The letter is over the signature of some 80 licensed North Queensland Racing Association bookmakers. The signatures are all here. The letter is dated 11th February 1972. It is addressed to the Minister for Racing, the honourable Sir Gordon Chalk, K.B.E., Parliament House, Brisbane. It states:
We the undersigned, The North Queensland Bookmakers, do hereby formally request that in the matter of guarantees to be required in the near future, you extend to us the privilege of a choice in (a) Cash Deposit of $5,000.00 to be held by NQRA; (b) a Fidelity Bond Guarantee to the value of $5,000.00; or (c) a Bookmakers Guarantee Bond in accordance with the Provisions of Section 104 of Racing and Betting Act (No. 2) 1972, similar to the Greyhound Racing Control Board requirements.
The Queensland Bookmakers Council, which is most unpopular amongst the NQRA Bookmakers and has no support whatever from any of the undersigned, who feel that their best interests would not be served by being members of the said body.
We therefore feel that no pressure should be brought to bear on any Bookmaker to join the Queensland Bookmakers Council provided he is adequately guaranteed by Fidelity Bond or otherwise to the satisfaction of the Government, and the ruling body, The North Queensland Racing Association.
At a meeting of The Townsville and District Bookmakers Association comprising A, B and C class licensees, held on 7th Fberuary 1972, a motion was passed by an overwhelming majority that a similar request be made to you and the NQRA, and at a meeting at Mt Isa of the Mt Isa Bookmakers Association they resigned from the Quensland Bookmakers Council.
All the signatures are there.
I come now to document 7. There are 3 more documents. To add some commonsense to the debate I seek leave to have the remainder of the documents incorporated in Hansard.
– Is leave granted?
Government senators - No.
– There being objection, leave is not granted.
– Document No. 7 is a report in the Cairns ‘Post’ of Friday, 14th January 1972. It states:
More than 40 Far North bookmakers have sent off a petition to appropriate authorities as a protest against a Betting and Gaming Act amendment which comes into operation in Queensland this year.
The amendment calls for all registered bookmakers in the State to lodge $1,000 cash each with the Queensland Bookmakers Council before March 31 as a guarantee against defaultment
This in addition to having to pay premiums on a $5,000 fidelity bond each.
Bookies have been told that unless they pay the money the QBC will advise the appropriate racing authority - in our case the NQRA - not to license the offender.
The bookmakers will get 4 per cent a year interest on their money and will not be refunded the $1,000 until they retire from fielding.
Copies of the petition have been sent to the QBC, NQRA and the Minister for Racing, Sir Gordon Chalk.
Almost all Far North bookies have signed.
They argue that the fidelity bond is sufficient to guard racing against a bookmaker defaulting.
Many of them also want to know what will happen to the other 4 per cent as their capital is sure to be loaned out at no less than 7½ or 8 per cent.
With close to 700 registered bookies in Queensland you don’t need to be an Einstein to work out that there will be close to $28,000 in kitty once the bookmakers are paid their annual interest.
It seems inequitable that a bookie in a remote country area who fields only six or eight times a year has to pay the same amount as a Brisbane man who stands up three times a week.
That may be an extreme comparison even though the circumstances do exist.
On the other hand it is hardly right that a Cairns fielder who holds little more than $1,000 a meeting should pay the same as a Brisbane paddock bookmaker who would hold 10 times that amount ON ONE RACE!
Another point local men are objecting to is a report some time ago that the QBC made the proposal to the Minister for Racing that the $1,000 guarantee be instituted.
It was supposed to have been a unanimous decision of all Queensland bookies,’ a local fielder told me yesterday, ‘but most of us in the Far North knew nothing about it until it became law.’
There is no doubt another side of the story but I - and dozens of Far North bookmakers - would like to hear about it.
Whatever the outcome of the whole business, the $1,000 guarantee threatens to sound the death knell for the small operator who has a bank of only about $2,000 to $3,000 to work on.
Document No. 8 is over the signature of the North Queensland Racing Association bookmakers. The address is 149 Goldsmith Street, Mackay. It is dated 16th February 1972 and it is addressed to the Secretary of the North Queensland Racing Association, Townsville. It states:
I have been instructed by my Association to acquaint you of a resolution which was moved and passed by unanimous vote of all members at a meeting of Mackay Bookmakers Association held on 15th February, 1972.
The resolution moved was as follows -
That the NQRA and Minister for Racing, Sir Gordon Chalk be informed that Mackay Bookmakers Association reject any proposal that they be bound to join the Queensland Bookmakers Council, and that further in regard to any proposed Fidelity Bondage required of Bookmakers, that they also be allowed a choice of where the Bond be obtained from, either as a body or individually, providing, of course what such Bond be in accordance with any provisions set down at Government level.’
In effect our proposal simply requires that we be allowed the choice of obtaining any required Fidelity Bond from a suitable source, (e.g. The type of Bond already required by Queensland Trotting Board) rather than be forced to join the Queensland Bookmakers Council and in turn be obligated to that Council only.
To the very best of local knowledge, we feel that it can honestly be stated that to date, and particularly since lie introduction of Turn-Over Tax, there has never been one single case of any Bookmaker from Mackay area having ever defaulted in payment of Turn-Over Tax, whereas such would not appear to be the case in so far as Brisbane is concerned.
Therefore our Association members are very reluctant and apprehensive at the possibility that we should have to help shoulder the burden of responsibility by being forced or bound in any way to join the Queensland Bookmakers Council without being given the free choice of obtaining alternative means of coverage.
Document 9 is a circular letter dated 17th December 1971 over the signature S. Sheldon, President of the Queensland Bookmakers Council, 504 Marine Parade, Labrador, Queensland, to all affiliated Associations. It reads:
The Management Committee has had a complete audit and investigation made of the Council’s financial activities for the period 1st October 1969 to 31st October 1971, and enclosed herewith is a copy of the Certificate of Audit as supplied by V. M. Scott, Public Accountant.
The Auditor has also certified that Mr Cerutti’s financial reports dated 31st October 1970 and 31st May 1971 were correct in detail. This certification Will be made available to all delegates and submitted for their perusal at a meeting to be held in January 1972.
Wishing all your Members a Happy Christmas, and plenty of luck in the New Year. They will need it. Let me now read from the Queensland Bookmakers Council statement of receipts and payments for the period 1st October 1969 to 31st October 1971.
– Order! Is that a balance sheet or a mass of statistics in dollars and cents?
– It is a balance sheet.
– I think you could reasonably seek leave to have that incorporated. Let us be rational about it. I do not want to hear any arguments from honourable senators who are seeking to interject. Production of a balance sheet in Hansard is a difficult matter. Is it necessary for the point you wish to make, Senator McAuliffe, that it be incorporated, or will you table it?
– With respect, I will speedily go through the payments - the expenditure side - and then seek leave to table it if I may. In fairness to the Minister who will reply, I think he would like to know the items and the payments.
– Very well.
– The expenditure side shows:
Receipts are shown as follows -
– I raise a point of order, Mr President. I draw, attention to standing order 407a which provides that any honourable senator may move that the limit of 1 hour on speeches may be extended for 30 minutes and that such motion shall be put without debate. I intend to move that the honourable senator’s time be extended for 30 minutes.
- Senator McAuliffe has not yet exhausted his time. When he does, Senator O’Byrne, you may propose that motion.
– I shall now list the receipts:
I have read from the documents which 1 was refused leave to have incorporated in Hansard. They will be there now for everybody to see and to judge. 1 hope that if it does nothing else, it will allow decency to come to the surface. I will be awaiting an explanation, which I have sought tonight, of the $4,000 for the fighting fund. If the Queensland Bookmakers Council is not willing to give the information in response to a request by its members, I think it is the duty of the Minister in charge of racing in Queensland, Sir Gordon Chalk, to tell us about it. Nobody should know better than he, as Minister, who got the $4,000. I made my case last Tuesday week. I must say that as a new senator I am very disappointed in the attitude that was adopted in the chamber this evening. Since I have been here, I have endeavoured to fight hard and fairly. I have tried to support with documented evidence everything I have put forward in this chamber, but when I made my speech on the Queensland Grant Bill last Tuesday week I did not have that evidence. I received it as a result of statements made to the Press.
– Order! The honourable senator is trespassing on the Standing Orders in making reference to a Bill that has been before the Senate.
– I say in conclusion that everybody I have mentioned should welcome a public inquiry - a judicial or police inquiry - because if they have nothing to hide they have nothing to fear.
– Mr President, I have a point of order to raise. I move, under standing order 364:
That the documents from which Senator McAuliffe quoted be tabled.
– Order! It is all very well for you to move that motion. Senator McAuliffe informed me earlier that he wished to table the balance sheet. Will you table it now, Senator McAuliffe.
– Speaking to the point of order, I submit that as Senator Rae has moved a motion he is entitled to have it put.
– Indeed he is, but not entitled to take the conduct of the business out of the hands of the President. Senator McAuliffe, will you table the document that you promised to table?
– With respect, Mr President, at the outset of my address this evening I offered to table the document. I had no reservations-
– I know that.
– Mr President, I-
– Order! Please resume your seat, Senator McAuliffe. I asked you whether you would table the balance sheet. You indicated that you would table the balance sheet. Now, will you table the balance sheet?
– I certainly will.
– Well, table it now.
– by leave - I table the balance sheet.
– I will now take Senator Rae’s motion. I call Senator Rae.
– Pursuant to standing order 364,I move:
– Mr President-
– Order! Senator McAuliffe!
– I am only trying to help you.
– Order! I will read the Standing Order. Standing order 364 provides:
A Document quoted from by a Senator not a Minister of the Crown may be ordered by the Senate to be laid upon the Table; such Order may be made without Notice immediately upon the conclusion of the speech of the Senator who has quoted therefrom.
The question is: ‘That the motion be agreed to’. Those of that opinion say aye, to the contrary no, I think the ayes have it.
– Mr President!
– Mr President!
– I wish to speak on the motion.
– I wish to speak in opposition to the motion which has been moved by Senator Rae.
– Order! Wait a minute. Let me read the Standing Order again. Standing Order 364 states:
A Document quoted from by a Senator not a Minister of the Crown may be ordered by the Senate to be laid upon the Table; such Order may be made without Notice immediately upon the conclusion of the speech of the Senator who has quoted therefrom.
Now, Senator Douglas McClelland, you dispute that Standing Order?
– No, Mr President. Senator Rae has moved a motion. I believe that that motion, having been moved, is one which may be debated by the Senate.
– I call Senator Douglas McClelland.
– Mr President, 1 suggest that it would be wrong for the Senate to carry a motion of this nature at this stage having regard to the antics that have gone on in this chamber at such a late hour of the night on the part of 2 Government Ministers. After numerous attempts by Senator McAuliffe to see sanity, common sense and reason prevail in this chamber by seeking to have a multiplicity of documents incorporated in Hansard, as though they were Flanagan and Allen the 2 Ministers joined in the chorus: No, no, a thousand times no’. This was after Senator McAuliffe at the outset of his remarks had offered to table all of the documents from which he was made to read verbatim. Frankly, I regard this motion as an insult to a colleague of mine who at a late hour of the evening wanted genuinely to present a case and who had every obstacle put in his way by 2 Ministers. As far as I am personally concerned, believing it would be an affront to my colleague, I object to the motion moved by Senator Rae, after my colleague, Senator McAuliffe, has gone to the tedious, long and exhausting task of reading every word in these documents which could well have been tabled or indeed incorporated in Hansard in half a second’s time. I oppose the motion.
– We have listened to Senator Douglas McClelland out of his immaturity and puerility refer to proceedings in this adjournment debate. The fact is that, when a Minister proposes to ask for leave to make a statement in this House, the courtesy of providing a copy of that statement as early as possible to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) is afforded before leave is sought so that the Opposition may be informed of the statement for which leave is sought to be given.
– You did not do that the other day.
– We do it as far as practicable.
– That is a qualification.
– Order! There are too many Solons in this Senate.
– Secondly, with respect to the incorporation in Hansard of matters for which leave is asked it is the duly of this Senate to consider the appropriateness of those documents becoming the contents of the record of the Senate. That involves a consideration of their length and their substance. Having heard these documents read, 1 believe that they represent a most cowardly attack attracting the privilege of this Senate, attempting to defame and to accuse a Minister of the Crown in the State Parliament of Queensland, who is not represented here and who has no opportunity to brief any Minister or member of this place. For me to give consent to that sort of material being incorporated in Hansard would lead me to regard myself as a most cowardly ally to any Minister of the Crown so accused. For a pipsqueaking statement to be made that the refusal of leave is a matter of antics is something that excites my anger.
– I take a point of order.
– Order! What is the point of order?
– I object to the term that the Minister has used in relation to Senator McAuliffe. If anybody is being cowardly, it is the Minister for Works using this chamber to be cowardly. With very great charity, one would feel that the man almost needs medical treatment.
– Order! You are compounding the error. I have been through all these objectionable words, phrases and this, that and the other. I find it tedious and I do not believe that it is in keeping with the dignity of the Senate for these matters to be raised. Surely any mature man cannot take exception to what Senator Wright said. That is all there is to it. I am sure that Senator Douglas McClelland is in that category.
– I speak on the motion moved by Senator Rae seeking the tabling of the documents. I do so because I believe the tabling of the documents lacks value. At the last minute, Senator Rae thought that he had to back up his colleagues by some move or other. They had consistently refused to permit the incorporation in Hansard of the documents. Senator Rae was off the stage and not in the limelight. Because of this, he wanted to get into the play and moved for the tabling of the documents. What is the value of tabling these documents which will be published tomorrow in Hansard where everyone can read them? The motion for the tabling of the documents, if successful, would have no benefit other than to give some justification for what the 2 Ministers have done in the course of this evening’s adjournment debate and to give some support to those Ministers in the reason that they advanced for corrupting the normal procedures which are followed here in an adjournment debate.
The Opposition has taken the attitude that, if members of the Government wish to play, it is prepared to stay here and carry on this act. Mr President, you have my sympathy in that you must preside over a chamber in which such Ministers for no reason at all, despite what Senator Wright has said, refuse to an honourable senator the right to obtain leave to incorporate in Hansard documents which he could and did get in by reading those documents. The Ministers and honourable senators forget occasions when, by consent of the Opposition, the Government is given leave to incorporate in Hansard material including second reading speeches which should never be so incorporated. Therefore 1 say that it cannot be expected that the co-operation which has been given in the past for the inclusion of documents in Hansard will continue in the future.
– So far as those 2 Ministers are concerned.
– I do not know whether it should be extended beyond the 2 Ministers. They are part of the Government which uses no means to discipline its Ministers for action in this House which to my mind is disorderly. The Government should take some action against the Ministers who should be held wholly responsible for what has occurred. I do not know whether there is some jealousy between Ministers but we get behaviour like this at a time when the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) is not here which we do not get when he is here. Whether it is done to try to show up some junior Minister who has been promoted over someone else I do not know. However, we have an attempt on this occasion to discredit Senator McAuliffe who was placing before Parliament what he thought was a genuine case. He was prepared to make all the documents available and asked for their inclusion in Hansard. Now we have them in Hansard and there is nothing in those documents that cannot be found out because the documents will be published later today. So what is the purpose in cluttering up the room of the Clerk of the Senate? The documents were attainable and everything in them will be known now. I do not think that there is any strong objection to Senator McAuliffe tabling these documents, but on principle they should not be tabled. It is an insult to the Senate to table documents after, because of the opposition of Ministers, we had to go through the procedure of having them placed in Hansard by being read. I hope the motion is defeated.
– I rise to Order, Mr President. Would you rule whether there is provision for debate under standing order No. 364?
– Order! I have ruled that the motion seeking a document to be laid upon the table can be debated subject to the rale of relevancy.
– I want to join my colleagues in opposing the motion moved by Sentor Rae. It is a frivolous motion in view of the circus that has taken place on the Government side of this chamber tonight. When Senator McAuliffe first raised this matter a few days ago I believe that he was endeavouring to uncover something which he believed was unfair and probably also improper. Tonight he came into this chamber with considerable documentation which bore out everything he had said previously but which enlarged on it in many respects. The other night when we clashed over another matter in this chamber I said that I would leave no stone unturned if I believed that there was corruption in any sector of public life, in any avenue of industry or in any avenue of commerce. As legislators, whether in opposition or on the Government side, we are required to be honest in our approach to everything. Thirteen million people in this country send to the House of Representatives 125 representatives and to this chamber 60 senators. When we come here they expect us to act on their behalf in a sincere and honest manner. Tonight we saw Senator McAuliffe endeavouring to expose certain aspects of a matter that happened in Queensland.
– Order! We are dealing with a motion moved by Senator Rae for the tabling of documents. Senator Webster raised the question of debate with me and I said that a motion for the tabling of documents may be debated subject to the rule of relevancy.
– I did not intend to digress. I felt that I needed to enlarge on the remarks that were made by 2 honourable senators on my side of the House who preceded me. I will continue perhaps in a more technical vein.
– We are dealing with technical matters.
– Yes, I realise that. I wish to speak to the motion that these papers be tabled. On several occasions here tonight Senator McAuliffe sought leave to have them incorporated in Hansard and at one stage sought to table one of the documents.
– Senator McAuliffe sought leave to incorporate the documents and the Senate refused.
– Senator Wright, I am capable of making a responsible speech, even if you are not.
– Order! Senator Keeffe, you should address the Chair because you are advising me on what course I am to follow.
– Yes, but I was diverted then by Senator Wright. The situation where these documents could have been incorporated or tabled was available at all times over a period of 55 minutes. On other occasions when leave was sought for this purpose 2 Ministers very irresponsibly refused leave. What Senator Wright said earlier is not true and I feel I must rebut it. He said that when he presents a statement in this House he is always able to make a copy of it available. On numerous occasions not only Senator Wright but also other Ministers have come into this chamber and read a document of which no copy has been available. Sometimes a copy is not available for several hours and it is certainly not available until after the statement has been read. This is a factual situation. I speak with my colleagues on this side of the Senate against the motion. I have said it is frivolous and I could call it something else but I would be out of order. I completely oppose the motion.
– The implication that has been made in the moving of this motion asking for these papers to be tabled is an implication that the documents from which Senator McAuliffe read are false and this implication is something I resent very much in view of the fact that Senator McAuliffe sought to have these documents incorporated in Hansard on several occasions. After there was refusal of leave to do this time and time again we now have Senator Rae saying that these documents must be tabled so that we can determine their authenticity. I believe the implication is very strong. Senator McAuliffe is a man of great integrity and honour and is not a person who would read from documents or attempt to have incorporated in Hansard documents that are false, lt is a direct insult to this honourable man for this motion to be moved by a Government senator after the number of refusals that Senator McAuliffe had when he sought leave to have the documents incorporated.
I think it is worth repeating the point that has been made. All the information that is contained in those documents will be available at an early hour today. The information will be available for every person to read. I deplore the behaviour of 2 Ministers who have taken a very petulant attitude towards these matters and I hope we never have to see this type of petulant behaviour repeated in this place. At the risk of being pulled up let me say that the pip-squeaks are not on this side of the Senate, they are sitting on the front benches on the opposite side of this chamber. This motion should be voted against by all fair minded senators who believe in the integrity and honesty of Senator McAuliffe.
– I point out to the Senate that 2 things have occurred this evening. The first is that an honourable senator has chosen to speak on the adjournment and to seek to have incorporated in Hansard a document which took him exactly 45 minutes to read at a fairly fast rate. I suggest that all honourable senators take note of what has occurred. There should be an objection made in this Senate to any honourable senator who wishes to come into this Senate, produce an enormous document or a book which he feels he has the right to request be incorporated in Hansard and then read it. The Minister at the table or whoever is responsible has a duty to reply to the matter which is being put forward on the adjournment. I remark to honourable senators opposite that the 2 Ministers who sought to have the document incorporated in Hansard were acting in the best interests of the Senate. The other point is that Senator Rae moved that the document be tabled. My recollection of an incident involving myself which occurred in years past - I must admit that you were not the President then, Sir - is that Senator Willesee called on me to table a particular document. On that occasion nothing happened other than the President saying: There has been a request that you table the document, Senator Webster. You will please table it.’ There was no further debate relating to it.
– I desire to address myself only briefly to this motion. I believe that had Senator Rae known earlier that Senator McAuliffe had offered to table the document
– 1 did not know.
– No, that is exactly what I am saying. Senator Wright is attempting to interject. If he continues to interject on me I will give him something for his corner too.
– Order! You will do nothing of the sort.
- Mr President-
– Order! Do pot defy me, Senator Milliner.
- Mr President-
– Order! Senator Milliner, you and I have never quarrelled but we are on the eve of it. You will address yourself to the motion before the Senate.
– I would not wish to quarrel with you, Mr President. I repeat my belief that had Senator Rae known earlier that Senator McAuliffe had indicated that he would table the document, he would not have moved the motion that he did.
– On the contrary-
– You try my patience. I hope that Senator Wright will apologise to Senator McAuliffe for some of the things he has said tonight. Mr President, we are senators who represent our respective States. Senator McAuliffe believes that something is wrong in a certain direction in Queensland. Surely nobody can object to his raising the matter in the national Parliament when he has done so for the simple reason that the Queensland State Parliament has not met since November and will not meet again until August. I will leave the matter on that point. I hope that Senator Wright will apologise to the Senate and to Senator McAuliffe for his objectional remarks.
– Certainly not.
– Order! I suggest to honourable senators that the argument and debate on the procedural motion moved by Senator Rae under standing order 364 has proceeded far enough. I put the question: That the motion moved by Senator Rae be agreed to’.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . 0
Question resolved in the negative.
– The motion before the Senate is that under the sessional orders the Senate do now adjourn. Senator Turnbull raised a matter in connection with a question which he asked earlier today. I indicated to him that, having regard to the doubt which he had cast upon answers which had been given and in view of the clarity and accuracy which he wanted, it was appropriate to put the question on the notice paper so that I could provide him with a complete answer. I propose to provide him with that complete answer, after having the appropriate inquiries made, so that he may be satisfied. However, I feel that I should clear up one misapprehension under which Senator Turnbull is labouring. Even though I think it regrettable that Senator Turnbull, having made his statement, is not here now to hear the response which he asked for, I point out that the misapprehension under which I think Senator Turnbull is labouring is that a warrant is issued simply because a person does not attend for medical examination or does not answer a callup notice. That is not so. A warrant is a warrant for arrest, and a warrant for arrest is issued by a court. It is only in circumstances in which a person has not appeared in response to a summons or, having been convicted, cannot be apprehended because he is not present to be apprehended that a court will issue a warrant for his arrest. Therefore it is only in very rare cases that a warrant will be issued. I would imagine that if Senator Turnbull examines the Hansard record either tomorrow or at a later hour this day he may ascertain that there is some confusion in his own mind as to the circumstances about which he is inquiring.
– He wants to know how many summonses have been issued and how many proceedings have been instituted.
– That may be what he wants to know. I do not have that information with me at the moment but it can be readily supplied from within my own Department. Because the honourable senator has been asking about matters which come partly within the responsibility of the Attorney-General and partly within the responsibility of the Minister for Labour and National Service, it is only appropriate that research be carried out in order to get an accurate answer. For the record I repeat what I said at question time today: If the question is put on notice that information will be supplied.
The second matter was raised by Senator Poyser. Apart from revealing some of the problems which occur when unions impose black bans, I do not think the matter requires any answer from me. The honourable senator set out to clarify a matter which was raised earlier. The third matter was raised by Senator McAuliffe. Why he chose to make it a responsibility of the Attorney-General, I do not know, because 1 share the views of the Minister for Works (Senator Wright). I think the debate on the motion for the adjournment in the Senate has been misused in order to cast an attack upon persons who are unable to defend themselves. 1 have read what Senator McAuliffe said in the course of the debate on the Queensland Grant Bill last week. At the time he spoke he indicated that he did not know whether what he was saying was true or not. He said it was simply a matter of rumour, a matter of murmuring. Whether it was true or not he could not say; he just hoped that the Minister would have a look at it and call for an inquiry. Apparently, in the light of the material which he has produced, he now believes that the allegations he made on that Tuesday are to be sustained. Having listened to what he said tonight and having read what he said before, I cannot see that the material in any way sustains the position. I do not know whether the material raises a case for an inquiry. However, I certainly believe that the way in which debate is used to have the effect of defaming under privilege people who have absolutely no opportunity of defending themselves ought to be the concern of the statement. It may be that upon inquiry the points can be sustained, but that is one of the consequences of what has been done tonight.
– I rise to a point of order. I have not defamed anybody. The remarks of the Attorney-General are offensive to me and I would like them withdrawn.
- Mr Deputy President, I do not know whether you desire me to speak to the point of order. I do not believe that there has been any breach of the Standing Orders in saying whether or not a person has been defamed.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Order! Senator McAuliffe claims that he is offended. According to our practice there is an understanding that words should be withdrawn if they give offence.
– If you direct me to withdraw words on the basis that an honourable senator asks for words to be withdrawn because he is offended, and nothing more is required than the fact that he says he is offended, I doubt that your ruling is in accordance with the Standing Orders. I will withdraw if you direct me on that basis.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I direct you on that basis.
Sentor GREENWOOD- I withdraw the statement because you direct me. I do not challenge your ruling but it does establish a precedent.
– I rise to a point of order. I would say that that qualified withdrawal was not a withdrawal. It was an insult to the Chair. I think the honourable senator ought to make an unqualified withdrawal of the words used, as you directed.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I do not sustain the point of order and I do not understand Senator Greenwood to have qualified the withdrawal. He withdrew because he was directed to do so.
– Lest there be any misunderstanding, I withdrew, and I withdrew absolutely at the direction of the Deputy President. I do not qualify that in any sense. I do make the comment that for the sake of precedent for the future we as a Senate should consider the implications of having a statement withdrawn simply because an honourable senator says that it offends him. It absolutely destroys debate in this chamber. I return to the matter raised by Senator McAuliffe. The situation that a Minister of the Crown in Queenland is subjected to innuendos raised in this chamber ought to give concern to every honourable senator because of the way in which people outside the chamber can be defamed, if not offended, by what is said. I can say only that the quite deliberate use of this forum by Senator McAuliffe in the way in which he has used it is not in accordance with the standards of the Senate prior to the occasion when he entered it. I only regret that the Queensland State election has produced the result that this forum is available for the purpose of debating Queensland State issues which have absolutely no relevance to any issue concerning this Senate. Not a word which was mentioned tonight by Senator McAuliffe about the alleged omissions of. or actions which ought to be taken by, the Queensland Minister who is in charge of racing and bookmakers in Queensland has any relevance whatsoever to a matter which affects this Commonwealth Parliament.
– Mr Deputy President, I do not think there is any need for me to say on my behalf and, I think, on behalf of all my colleagues in the Opposition that I am disappointed, to say the least, at the manner in which both the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) and the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) consistently refused our colleague Senator McAuliffe the normally accepted right of honourable senators to have documents incorporated in Hansard, especially al a late hour. I tell members of the Government and their supporters quite frankly here and now that during the rest of this session if at any time Senator Greenwood or Senator Wright seek leave to have anything incorporated in Hansard I will adopt the same attitude as they adopted tonight. - and that includes the incorporation of answers to questions on notice.
I now want to refer to another matter which I regard very seriously. I gave notice of it earlier this evening to the Minister at the table, the Minister for Air (Senator Drake-Brockman). For the last couple of weeks there has been a dispute in Sydney between the New South Wales Branch of the Printing and Kindred Industries Employees Union and the proprietors of the Sydney metropolitan dailies over an industrial issue. This afternoon I was informed by the Federal Secretary of the union that that industrial dispute has been settled. However, during the course of the industrial dispute something apparently occurred which, on the information given to me, I regard as being of a very serious nature. I refer to an allegation by the New South Wales branch of the union about the use of military personnel by one of the proprietors as guards for his establishment during the course of the dispute.
– Oh, that would not be right.
Let me give the facts as they were given to me. Yesterday afternoon I was informed by an official of the New South Wales branch of the union that last Thursday night - Thursday, 18th May - the union decided to put a picket line outside the premises of the Sydney ‘Daily Telegraph’. The union told the New South Wales Police Force of its intention and there were one or two officers of that force there in their role as protectors of the rights of the people and, of course, in their role as the protectors of property. The union has advised me that its relations with the New South Wales Police Force during the course of the industrial disturbance were very good, to say the least. But when the members of the union arrived outside the premises of the Sydney ‘Daily Telegraph’, last Thursday night they were confronted with what the union official described to me - I quote his words - as ‘five or six big burly men of large build, anything from between 5 ft 10 to 6 ft and above in height, some wearing big black boots’. One of these men was recognised by a member of the union as being a member of the Australian Army Provost Corps.
– You are not protesting against his having a second job, are you?
The matter was drawn to the notice of one of the officials of the Printing and Kindred Industries Employees Union by the union member concerned who, I understand, spoke to a senior executive of the company. The union official asked the senior executive of the company who they were. The answer given was something like this: ‘It does not matter who they are. These fellows are prepared to stay here for 7 months if necessary’. The union official supplied me with the name of the identified man. I was asked to endeavour to ascertain whether he is still a serving member of the regular forces. I contacted the Minister for the Army (Mr Katter) yesterday afternoon. He told me that he would make immediate investigations. I say, in fairness to the Minister, that he acted straight away. He contacted me this afternoon to say that it would appear that the man concerned is a member of the Regular Army. He said also that a commanding officer may give authority to members of his unit to engage themselves in evening work such as that of a waiter, a barman, a service station attendant or work of that type and, to use the Minister’s words when he spoke to me on the telephone: ‘It has to be work of integrity’. They are not my words, but the words that were used by the Minister to me during the course of our telephone conversation.
As a result of my complaint to the Minister on behalf of the union - again, I am being fair - the Minister has assured me that he has now issued an order through the Chief of the General Staff telling all unit commanders that in giving approval to servicemen to engage in evening work the unit commanders are to exercise much more discretion in the future and that no member of the armed Services is to be permitted to take part in any work that is suggestive in any way of their becoming involved in an industrial or a political conflict. Frankly, I appreciate the Minister’s issuing this edict and that he acted with promptness. But the fact is that apparently military policemen have been allowed to be employed in this sort of activity. It is very dangerous for this to be permitted in the Australian community.
– Did the commanding officer authorise this?
Senator DOUGLAS MCCLELLANDLet me come to this. Had something happened to spark off any trouble at that office, one does not need to have much imagination to appreciate what could have happened in the circumstances. If this Government is not paying members of the Services sufficient to maintain them in their one job - I am now answering Senator Webster’s earlier interjection - I do not object to their being allowed to do another job provided it is not taking work from someone else and provided the civilian job is not in any way related to their Service work or the type of work they do in the Army. For instance, it would be unpardonable if a military policeman by day worked as a Metropolitan Security Service guard by night. Indeed, to me it would be unpardonable if a military policeman worked as a guard on the doors of a metropolitan daily newspaper especially if, in relation to that establishment, there is an industrial disputation between the proprietor and members of a union working in the establishment. I suggest to the Government that under no circumstances will the Australian public tolerate the use of members of the armed Services particularly Army provosts, in work which obviously is intended to be undertaken, as it were, as a show of strength and possibly with the use of strong arm tactics against Australian workers who in their hearts have a genuine industrial grievance.
Military personnel, and particularly military policemen, should not be allowed under any circumstances to be used in an inflammatory manner relating to any industrial dispute. Because I regard the matter as being of a very serious nature, I seek answers to the following questions: Is the person whose name I have given to the Minister in fact a member of the Australian Army Provost Corps? If so, how did he and probably others know that such a job was available. Unfortunately I cannot say that there were others until I know their names but there were, as I have mentioned, on the information given to- me 5 or 6 big burly men, one of whom was identified. If he or others knew the job was available by advertisement, when and where was such advertisement published? Since this information was given to me I have been through the issues of the ‘Daily Telegraph’ back to Saturday, 13th May - 5 days preceding this incident - in an endeavour to find such an advertisement, and I have not been able to find one in the time available. Was someone in the Provost Corps telephoned or approached in any way to provide men for the type of task involved? Was the commanding officer of the unit approached for permission for the civilian work to be undertaken? If the commanding officer was approached, did he ask what the work was? If so, what was he told was the job that was involved? If he was told the job that was involved, why did he give permission?
I regard the matter as very serious, as do members of the union. I demand that the Government make a full statement on the matter. Not only should the edict that apparently has been issued by the Minister or the Army- be issued, but also it should be issued by the Minister for the Navy (Dr Mackay) and the Minister for Air in regard to members of those Services. This Government has spoken much in recent times about law and order but if it goes so far as to allow military personnel, particularly military policemen, to be used in work which could be regarded as being related to or involved in industrial disputes there will be an awful lot of trouble in this country. I suggest to the Minister and to the Government that there should be a full and open inquiry into the matter and that, to say the least, a ministerial statement should be made in the Parliament.
Seantor DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia - Minister for Air) (12.50 a.m.) - Let me say immediately to Senator Douglas McClelland that I view the matter as a serious one. Service personnel working outside their normal duty hours, not the particular occurrence to which the honourable senator referred, is a matter that I come across quite often in the administration of my Service portfolio. Let me assure the honourable senator immediately that there are stringent laws laid down for the employment of Service personnel outside working hours. In accordance with the general policy of the armed Services, approval may be given, by a unit commander, for a man to engage in outside civilian employment, but rules are laid down by Air Force standing orders, by Army routine orders and, I take it, by Naval orders.
The application for approval to undertake employment outside normal Service duty hours must contain a statement from the applicant that he understands that his private employment will not interfere with his Service duties, that he is not to take part in any private activities which may give rise to a suspicion that he could use his Service knowledge to futher his business interests, that the activity in which he is engaged does not involve the use of official time, that the activity does not involve the use of official information or experience acquired in the course of official duties, that the activity will not bring the Service into disrepute and that he does not replace or receive the remuneration of a civilian who is on strike. These are the orders that are laid down.
Sentor Douglas McClelland - Are they for all the forces?
– They are the general rules that are laid down.
– If that information is correct, he was in breach of the orders.
– Yes. The decision must be left to the discretion of the commanding officer and of the individual. My understanding is that in this case approval was given by the unit commander for this man to engage in civilian employment. I understand that approval was given on the basis that the man would be in employment with Metropolitan Security Services Pty Ltd. On the night to which the honourable senator referred this man was not working for that organisation. Apparently he was working in a private capacity, unknown to his commanding officer.
As soon as the honourable senator raised the matter with the Minister for the Army (Mr Katter) the Minister immediately called for a report. When he found out that one of the five or six big burly men of whom the honourable senator spoke was a serviceman, he took action. The honourable senator said that he had information that one of the five or six big burly men was a man who, the honourable senator’s informant believes, is a serviceman. So, he said, the Government was using the military for an incorrect purpose. I think that that statement is a little unfair. This man was off duty. Unknown to the Army and not working-
– I said ‘If the Government allows it’. That is what I said.
– I think that statement was a little unfair because one swallow does not make a summer. The man was working, unknown to his commanding officer and not at the particular job at which he was given approval to work. As soon as the Minister heard about it he called for a report. The report stated that a member of the provost corps was involved. The Minister immediately issued, as the honourable senator said, a statement that he was most concerned and that he treated the matter very seriously. He has asked that the orders be again promulgated in routine orders, and stated that this kind of think has to stop.
– Is working for a night watching service permitted?
– I would have to take up that matter with the Minister.
– I would think that under no circumstances should ft be tolerated, because it is work of a like nature, related to his military duties.
– A night watchman can go on the rounds, look at buildings, see that doors are locked and so on. His job does not always involve him in this kind of work. As Minister for Air, I am most concerned. I will not tolerate one of my servicemen trying to act as a guard or as a picket in a strike. I will see that the Chief of Air Staff and the Secretary of my Department understand my feelings on the matter. I am sure that the Minister for the Army, from his discussions with the honourable senator, feels exactly the same way. He has already acted in this connection. I feel quite sure that I am also speaking for the Minister for the Navy (Dr McKay) in this matter.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Order. Some time earlier I was required to give a ruling on a point of order on the matter of the withdrawal of words deemed to be offensive. It has been drawn to my attention that it is possible that my words in that connection could b? construed as meaning that the Chair had no option but to request the withdrawal of any matter deemed to be offensive by a senator. The practice of the Senate is that the Chair has a discretion in the matter. In the circumstances I exercised a discretion, but I would not like honourable senators to believe that in all circumstances it is obligatory to withdraw any words deemed to be offensive.
– I rise simply to make submissions at the behest of Mr Robert Jago, the President of the South Coast Branch of the Federated Ironworkers
Association of Australia on behalf of a MiNick Papatheofanous who is an FIA member employed as a rigger by Australian Iron and Steel Pty Ltd at Port Kembla. The case refers to what I regard as not enough activity by the Department of Foreign Affairs. Mr Papatheofanous has children aged 4, 6, 7, 10, 13 and 14 years. Recently he was advised from his native country, Greece, that he was a beneficiary to the extent of $800 in a legacy. Of recent times he has acquired Australian citizenship. Without going into too many details, he has sought to obtain this money. He has had discussions with the Greek Consul-General in Sydney. I quote the relevant paragraph from the letter of the Greek Consul-General. It states:
The Monetary Committee examines each case individually, and accordingly decides whether to approve or not, the transfer of money overseas.
In this case the Monetary Committee rejected the application. In view of the discussion that we had earlier, I think even Senator Hannan would agree with me that a rigger in the steel industry in Wollongong who has 6 children and who receives a legacy of $800 would regard it as something of great value. It may be rather egotistical to quote one’s own speeches, but last Sunday I had the honour of participating in an immigration seminar at which the Minister for Immigration, Dr Forbes, was present. At that gathering I said:
The classic area of double standards, however, involves the cases of Greeks and Spaniards either naturalised or unnaturalised who approach Commonwealth parliamentarians with problems which involve their dependants in those countries. Possibly at the behest of our Foreign Affairs Ministry one is sternly told it is purely a domestic matter for each of the Governments concerned.
I put it to Senator Wright who has waited so patiently tonight to hear my submissions that obviously a certain amount of money flows back to Greece and other countries from people in Australia. As an internationalist I do not have any objections about this. I am quite happy to see the flow of capital from one nation to another, particularly when it benefits the battlers of the world. Obviously the case I have mentioned vindicates my reservations about the policy in connection with which I expressed those fateful words at Picton last Sunday. I fail to see why the Australian diplomatic representative in Athens could not speak up about this virtually open door policy on the flow-back of money from Australia to Greece. I am not passing judgment on the Greek Government. 1 could say a lot about the Greek Government but I am not going to rock the boat at this stage. However, I believe that our Ambassador should take a much stronger line. Senator Wright would be aware of the number of occasions when heads of State meet and when Ministers go overseas to countries from where migrants come. There are times when we have to speak up for the equity of people of various nationalities who acquire Australian citizenship. I and other senators have attended virtually hundreds of naturalisation ceremonies at which we are told about the privileges, responsibilities and rights of people becoming citizens of this country. I believe that the interests of these people should be looked after.
I believe that the case I have mentioned is one of many occasions on which our diplomatic representatives should at least tactfully suggest to the Greek Government - and I would Jink the Spanish Government in this matter - that it might be a different thing if the person involved was a Greek-Australian multi-millionaire who had enough economic fat to live on. However, the person I am concerned about works in one of our basic industries. He has a sick wife and 6 children 14 years of age and under. He is a quiet Australian citizen and I think that at least we could express a view to the Greek Government. I do not say that in a patronising fashion. I think that our diplomatic representatives should get away from the niceties and be forceful about what can be done. Whatever way we approach this situation, if the Greek Government replies that we should not interfere in its affairs I think the Australian Government has an obligation to suggest to it that we might have to do the same as some of the NATO powers have to do at times, notably in the case of the Scandinavian countries.
I know that it is now early morning. Notwithstanding that, when Mr Robert Jago, the President of the South Coast Branch of the Ironworkers Federation approached me I felt that this was the place to ventilate the matter about which he was concerned. I hope that we will have a much stiffer attitude in discussions with the Greek Government. After all - and I say this quite respectfully - when we give leave of absence for Ministers to go overseas I think that the problems of the little people should be discussed, although they are too often ignored. I will leave the matter on that basis for Senator Wright’s reply.
– I say to the Senate that I regret that I rise at about 4 minutes past 1 o’clock to speak on the motion that the Senate adjourn almost 2 hours after the motion was put. However, let me say that during the time I have been here I have not spoken on an average of more than once a year on the adjournment debate. However, I regret that I must rise to speak at this late hour this evening. On the other hand, I would advise the Senate that as is the usual practice I sought the Deputy President’s desk at 4.15 this afternoon and placed my name on the list of speakers for the adjournment debate. At that stage I was second on the list to Senator Turnbull. There were no other speakers at that time.
– That is not so, Senator, because the list was made up in my office.
– At the time 1 saw the list on the Deputy President’s desk there was only one name in pencil written above my own. 1 point out to the Senate that honourable senators perhaps speak on the motion for the adjournment for several reasons. Strange as it may be, they think the matter of public interest they raise, in the context of the day, may catch the eye of the Press or may be of concern to the interests that the senator represents. I agree that an injustice may have been done if a senator was called to speak 2 hours after the motion that the Senate do now adjourn was moved. Earlier in the evening I would have said that something occurred today, but at this moment I must say that it appears to me that yesterday 2 major announcements were made. Firstly the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) made a statement on restrictive trade practices and perhaps of greater impact and of greater importance was his statement on the monopolisation of industry in the Commonwealth. My speech has reference to that statement.
– I rise on a point of order. 1 draw to your attention, Mr President, a very clear ruling that has been upheld by many Presidents over the years, namely, that the subject matter of an order of the day cannot be discussed on the motion to adjourn the Senate.
– I adverted to that earlier. Senator Webster is out of order in referring to it.
– The matter of like importance and connected to the first mentioned matter relates to multi-national corporations and their effect on Australia. The financial pages of 24th April 1972 headline the fact that the Unilever group in Australia had a record year in 1971, and made a profit of $4.1m. The Chairman claims that this was the best the group had done in its history in Australia. He went on to say that sales and earnings in 1972 were better than they were in the previous year. For that information I quote the ‘Daily Telegraph’. From a business trading point of view this is a most creditable performance. The report revealed:
It is paying back $4m of this to its AngloDutch parent. Last year’s dividend payout was the same - -half a million dollars more than the net profit of $3. 5m.
For that I quote the ‘Australian’. Australian shareholders of this company, if there were any, would at least be satisfied that the dividend paid - that is, virtually the whole of the profit - was paid to shareholders. However, Australians have no equity in this company, as the whole of its dividends are paid to its huge multinational Anglo-Dutch parent, which lifted profits in 1971 by 32 per cent of $416m. For that I quote the Sydney ‘Sun’ of 1st March 1972. Unilever Australia Pty Ltd produces and sells a wide range of household products.
– 1 raise another point of order. I think I am right in saying that Senator Webster has already spoken this evening on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate. During the evening there was intervened another motion which was resolved. Mr President. I draw your attention to a ruling by Sir Walter Kingsmill. He was a President of the Senate and came from Western Australia. He ruled that debate on the adjournment of the Senate cannot determine any issue; discussion on the adjournment must only be to direct attention to certain matters. It is true that tonight we determined an issue which I suggest to you, Sir, was out of order. I hear the guffaws of Senator Wright. I am quoting Senator Kingsmill, who was a gentleman and a great senator. I draw your attention to this ruling. If we are to uphold that very outstanding president, Mr President Kingsmill, we are out of order in having an honourable senator speak twice on the motion that the Senate do now adjourn. With great respect, we did intervene tonight with a motion and determine that motion. That should have been ruled out of order. It is a very clear ruling that we cannot determine issues on the motion that the Senate do now adjourn. I suggest to you that anybody who is speaking twice tonight is out of order. I regret intervening on Senator Webster but it happens that my attention has been drawn to the fact that he has already spoken tonight.
– Earlier Senator Willesee indicated to me, when I was discussing these matters with him, that he was going to rely on Senator Kingsmill. As the President’s desk contains rulings by presidents of the Senate I looked at this ruling. 1 must rule against Senator Willesee on the ground that Senator Webster is still within his rights. Because he is speaking to a formal motion which was moved by Senator Rae, I do not think that deprives him of his right to deal with matters which are appropriate and proper in the Senate. Senator Webster, I overrule Senator Willesee with much regret, because he is a very knowledgeable senator, and I call you to conclude your remarks. You may observe the verb in my statement.
– Unilever Australia Pty Ltd produces and sells a wide range of household products, including soaps, detergents, tooth paste, shampoos canned goods, margarine and ice creams under various company and brand names. The chairman declines to give a breakdown of the group’s profits or sales and states:
There are some who would dearly like to know.
I am. quoting from the ‘Australian Financial Review’. However, in one area in which I am vitally concerned some of the facts are known. I speak now about the Australian dairy industry and the effect that Unilever’s activities in the margarine field have had upon it. The following information is readily available from the
Commonwealth Statistician or market surveys. Mainly due to the development of so-called soft cooking margarines the Australian butter market, which previously held some 80 per cent of the total spread market, has now lost 9 to 10 per cent of that market. This is mainly due to the activities of this company which, by intense and extremely costly advertising, has come to dominate the market. I instance that by saying that so much has it dominated the market over the last 9 years its production and sales of cooking margarine have increased by 1,100 per cent whereas those of other Australian competitors have increased by only approximately 82 per cent. Obviously this is not to the advantage of other Australian margarine manufacturing companies.
This policy of dominating the market by Unilever which is common throught the Western world is not only to the disadvantage of competitors in the industry but also it can be doubted whether it is to the advantage of the consumer as this company’s monopoly of the market depends on extremely high levels of advertising which can be paid for only by the consumer. In other words the growth of this multinational foreign owned company, with absolutely no Australian equity, is currently operating to the disadvantage of the Australian dairy industry, Unilever’s competitors in the Australian margarine industry and, doubtless, of the Australain consumer. As I have said in this senate on a number of occasions, because cooking margarine is 90 per cent tallow it is not the Australian vegetable oil seeds industry which will benefit from the development of such a market. If there is any gain to be made at all it will be to the tallow industry. I again exhort the other governments in Australia to follow the example set by the governments of my own State of Victoria and of Tasmania, and restrict the devastating effects of the growth of this product by banning the use of artificial colouring and flavouring in cooking margarine.
– I have noted the comments by Senator Webster on multi-national corporations and on the particular effect that the operations of the Unilever organisation has on the dairying industry. I cannot say any more than that. 1 would not be able to help him any more than that. But I listened to bis comments with great interest.
– I rise to express my interest in what Senator Mulvihill so courteously submitted to the chamber. I am sure he will not expect me to be informed on the subject matter that he raised and that he will accept my assurance that what he has said will be presented today to the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) for his consideration. Another matter 1 wish to mention is that in deference to an equally courteous speech by Senator Wheeldon on 11th May I, as speedily as possible, sought information in response to his reference to certain international training courses. That information consists of a description of events of some 2-odd pages which, in deference to Senator Wheeldon, I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard.
– Is leave granted?
Opposition senators - No.
– That being the case, and in perseverance of an effort to oblige Senator Wheeldon, I lay a statement containing that information on the table of the Senate.
– Mr President, as I understand the situation, Senator Wheeldon will not receive a reply from the Minister for Works -
– I am not prepared to argue this.
– I am not arguing with the Minister. I am not even talking to him. I am addressing myself to you, Mr President. I would like your guidance, Sir. I understand that the document tabled contains information in reply to something that Senator Wheeldon has raised; that as that information has been tabled it will not be conveyed to Senator Wheeldon; that it will not appear in Hansard; that it will merely go into the archives, and that if Senator Wheeldon wants it he will have to go down to the old mausoleum and get it. Is that the position?
– The subject matter of the tabled document will, I have no doubt, be conveyed in writing to Senator Wheeldon by Senator Wright. If Senator Wheeldon wishes to make it a public document he can read it into the Hansard record tomorrow.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 1.19 a.m. (Thursday).
The following answers to questions upon notice were given:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
I have been informed that:
The Australian Opera was incorporated as a company on 28th September 1970 and began operating as a company from 1st January 1971. Before that date the company was known as the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust Opera and bad been operating since 1956.
$650,000 was provided by way of a general grant in 1971-72. Further grants totalling $19,120 were provided to train opera and technical personnel.
State Government and local support for the company is normally channelled through the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust. For the year 1972 the company received through the Trust a grant of $185,000. <4) The Australian Opera Company at present has permanently employed 34 resident singers, 36 chorus members, a music staff of 7 and on administrative and technical staff of 28.
During 1971 the Australian Opera engaged 12 guest artists, 2 guest conductors, 2 guest producers and 6 designers.
The level of government support for opera companies varies. European opera houses receive about a 70 per cent government subsidy, Britain’s Covent Garden receives 50 per cent, whereas major companies in the United States receive no government support at all. Government subsidies provided to the Australian Opera for 1971 represent about 42 per cent of total income.
I am aware of the Australian Opera Company’s claims for additional subsidies relating to the company’s preparation for the Sydney Opera House.
The Australian Council is at present considering the Australian Opera’s budgetary submissions for .1973 and will be discussing with the company its plans, including its proposed ticket prices, before making recommendations regarding the company’s grant for the financial year 1972-73.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation:
Is it a fact that an invalid or age pensioner who requires an artificial limb
Is the cost of an artificial leg now listed at $150; if so, is it reasonable to expect pensioners to be able to pay this amount in advance.
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The
Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(a) So far as the Social Services Act is concerned, where an invalid pensioner is accepted through the Commonwealth Rehabilitation. Service, which comes under the control of my colleague, the Minister for Social Services, any artificial limb required in connection with his rehabilitation is provided without any cost to the pensioner. Otherwise, there is no provision under this Act for the supply of artificial limbs, without cost, to age and invalid pensioners.
The cost of an artificial limb depends largely upon the site of amputation and the specific needs of the particular patient. Costs vary widely but, as an indication, the most common type of limb prescribed for an above-knee amputee costs approximately $260 and for a below-knee patient approximately $150.
A civilan or sponsoring authority provided with a limb by a Repatriation Artificial Limb and Appliance Centre is charged the cost of manufaturing the particular limb, the relevant costs being collected and recorded individually for each job.
The Department is currently in the process of introducing standard charges for certain more commonly prescribed limbs.
These charges are based on the average cost of manufacturing the particular type of limb. The concept of standard pricing has recently been on trial in Victoria and the current charge there for a below-knee patellar-tendon-bearing limb is in fact $150.
Individual costing will continue for less commonly prescribed limbs.
(Question No. 1977)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
I would preface my answer by stating that:
In reply to (1) information is obtained by the Board from the following sources:
Where it is considered that there may be a depature from the requirement of the Standards the matter is followed up with the station concerned with a view to correction of the position.
Exceptions, relevant to paragraph 31.1 (b), have been made in recent times as follows: 2AD Armidale
Exemption has been granted to the extent that the Board has approved the employment of an unqualified technician at the station subject to specific reservations as to the duties he may perform, qualified staff at Tamworth being required to perform other duties. 2MG Mudgee, 2BS Bathurst
Exemption has been granted tothe extent that the qualified technician at either station is permitted, in the absence of the other, to act as standby for both stations. 3HA Hamilton
A temporary relaxation of the requirement was made but it is no longer current. The exception was made following the departure of one of two qualified technicians from the station and pending the appointment of another qualified technician and on the basis that a qualified technician would be available from the Victorian Broadcasting Network’s nearest station 3CV Maryborough. 3MA Mildura
Short term exemption has been granted in the past to cover recreation leave of the qualified technician. 4LG Longreach
This station has great difficulties with technical staffing due to its remoteness and it has the Board’s qualified approval to employ an unqualified man as Chief Technician. 4VL Charleville
This station (whose Manager is a qualified technician) has a long history of difficulty in retaining the services of a qualified technician due to its remoteness. The Board indicated to the station that ft would be prepared to consider maintenance On the basis ot periodical visits by a consulting engineer as a permanent arrangement (as an alternative to providing a qualified technician in addition to the Manager). The offer was not taken up as a qualified technician was subsequently recruited. He, however, left and currently an unqualified technician is employed with the Board’s approval and subject to specific reservations as to the duties he may perform.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
Senator COTTON- The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Waters Ltd; R. Rixon, M. K. Collins; J. D. and D. A. Pender; A. E. Mawson; C. V. and P. J. Morton; R. P. Rambat; E. Kerle; Elsey Station Pty Ltd; J. C. B. Morley.
Overpayments to individual pastoralists vary in amount; a number are less than $10.
The overpayments occurred by an administrative error in not immediately reducing maintenance payments when child endowment rates were increased in 1964. Since 1969 child endowment has been paid direct to Aboriginal mothers and in 1970 the rate of the maintenance subsidy paid to pastoralists was changed to a nett figure which is not related to movements in child endowment rates. The overpayments made in earlier years, cannot, therefore occur again.
There is no evidence to suggest that the overpayments were used by pastoral managements other than for the maintenance of Aboriginal children on the properties concerned.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - The
Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Attorney-
General, upon notice:
Will the Attorney-General supply a list of persons who have been financially assisted, after application to the Registrar, in Arbitration Act actions during the past 5 years, and the trade unions concerned.
Senator GREENWOOD- The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Since 1st January 1967, the Registrar has, pursuant to regulation 138 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Regulations, directed that financial assistance be given by the Commonwealth to the persons set out in the following list. The list also sets out the respective trade unions involved in the proceedings brought by those persons. In some cases, such as those where the applicant was awarded costs against the respondent or where the proceedings have not yet been completed, no application has been made by the applicant for a payment pursuant to the regulation. An asterisk has been placed against the names of persons in respect of whom the Registrar has determined that an amount should be paid pursuant to the regulation.
(Question No. 2018)
asked the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:
Is the Minister aware of an outbreak of scabies among Aboriginal children on the Purfleet Reserve; if so, will the Minister take appropriate action to have Common wealth funds made available to improve housing on this reserve and thus assist to improve the general health of children living there.
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 New South Wales Directorate of Aboriginal Welfare:
When the scabies outbreak occurred it was investigated immediately by the Deputy Medical Officer of Health from the Newcastle Health District Office of the New South Wales Health Department. He paid two visits to the area and conferred with Officers of the Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare, the Education Department, the local Council and the local hospital. A campaign was mounted to treat and bring under control what was, in fact, a very minor epidemic.
The campaign was successful and the outbreak has waned, with only two cases being reported since 9th March, 1972. Besides normal medical treatment, steps have been taken to rid any houses on the Reserve of possible pest infestation.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
Senator WRIGHT- The Minister for Labour and National Service has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:
Was the above knee rotator joint in artificial limbs developed by the Repatriation Department to meet the habits of Asians who sit on the floor cross-legged, and have any been fitted to artificial limbs in Australia; if so, how many.
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The
Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
No. The knee rotation unit for above knee prostheses was developed by the Repatriation Department’s Central Development Unit to test whether the principle of passive rotation above the knee would prove advantageous in situations such as squatting on the floor, gardening, entering a car, etc. Nine prototype units were evaluated by 14 patients in 4 States. Although this evaluation demonstrated that the principle could be given effect in practice, the expected advantages were not as great as hoped for, as so often happens in the research field, and further production was suspended.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation:
Is the Minister aware of the CDU intermittentfriction knee joint; if so, (a) will the Minister explain its function, (b) was this a modification of the United States Navy knee joint, first made in 1958, and referred to by Captain Thomas Canty at the 1958 Pan Pacific-Conference in Sydney; and (c) was this knee joint superseded in 1966 by the North-Western University knee.
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The
Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 2069)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The
Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
However, separate research on a knee joint incorporating a tennis ball system was in fact undertaken in the Repatriation Artificial Limb Appliance Centre at Sydney around 1958. This unit was subjected to extensive evaluation but, in view of the availability of other more satisfactory knees, it was decided not to proceed with general production.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:
Are results of research on artificial limbs, carried out by the Repatriation Central Development
Unit, made available to interested persons working in this field; if so,
have requests been received from Mr Giche of Thebarton. South Australia, Mr Tidmarsh, Crippled Children’s Association, South Australia, and Mr Sharpe, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, South Australia, and
has the requested information been supplied.
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - The
Minister for Repatriation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Dissemination of the results of research and development on artificial limbs and appliances carried out by the Repatriation Department’s Central Development Unit is normally distributed within the Repatriation Department. However, from time to time the results of research projects conducted by the Central Development Unit are published in the Repatriation Artificial Limb and Appliance Service Journal. This journal, which has a world-wide distribution, is freely available on request to the Department Indeed, I am told that both the Executive Director of the Crippled Children’s Association in South Australia and the Medical Superintendent of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital are sent 2 copies of each edition of the Journal. Furthermore, work of particular interest is described in papers submitted from time to time to various medical and other journals relevant to the field of prosthetics and orthotics.
I am not aware of any recent requests from Mr Giche, Mr Tidmarsh or Mr Sharpe to be provided wilh the results of the Central Development Unit’s research.
If information on research results over and above that published in the Repatriation Artificial Limb and Appliance Service or other journals is sought by an interested party outside the Department, this is normally supplied.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 24 May 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1972/19720524_senate_27_s52/>.