27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack) took the chair at 10 a.m., and read prayers.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. On 27th April I asked him to inform me by letter (a) when the Department of Labour and National Service requested advice from his Department in relation to the conscientious objection application by Paul Fox and (b) when the Attorney-General’s Department furnished the advice sought by the Department of Labour and National Service. The Minister agreed to my request. I have not received any letter to date. I now ask the Minister whether he will let me have the information at the earliest opportunity and, further, whether he will cite the section’ or sections of the Act which required his Department’s attention.
– I am sorry that the honourable senator has not received a reply from me. I will have a look into the matter and see what stage it has reached within my Department. Whether I will give him the additional answer will depend upon the nature of the precise inquiries which were made. I do not think it is appropriate that legal opinion which is delivered by the AttorneyGeneral’s Department to a client department should generally be made available - certainly not without the consent of that department. But it may be that the question the honourable senator asked does not involve that, and I will have a look at it. But I make that reservation right at the outset.
– Has the AttorneyGeneral seen the challenge issued by the Premier of South Australia with regard to a draft resister in that State? Has the Commonwealth any powers in this matter? If so, what action does the Attorney propose taking?
– I have read in the newspapers what some headlines have described as a challange by the South Aus tralian Premier. I can only say that 1 have made no statement to which any response by the South Australian Premier could be regarded as a challenge. The fact that on his Own initiative he issues a challenge suggests that there may be some political implications in the actions which have been taken. The constitutional position is that South Australia, as any other State, is required to receive into its prisons all Commonwealth prisoners. The Commonwealth, in the Australian Capital Territory or in the States, has no gaols. Under our federation the gaols of the States house offenders against Commonwealth laws. The position which has been adopted ever since federation is that an offender against Commonwealth laws is housed in State gaols, and the Commonwealth expects that he will be incarcerated according to the local prison rules. 1 ‘
The Commonwealth expects that Commonwealth prisoners will ‘receive no better treatment and no worse treatment than do other prisoners. I must say that it is a farce, marked by a high degree of irresponsibility on the part of the South Australian authorities, to let out a prisoner who is offending against a law which the South Australian Government says that it does not like, to address a political meeting. To let a prisoner out to address a political meeting and to say that it is simply a case of a person being visited in gaol is just puerile nonsense. The fact that he is also to be allowed to have a Press conference within the gaol indicates to me that in South Australia there is one thing which appears to be superior to ordinary lawful processes, and that is the current policy of the Australian Labor Party.
Mr President, my question is directed to you. I ask: Did the executive producer of the Australian Broadcasting Commission programme ‘Our Man in Canberra’ seek permission to take certain interior film shots of this Parliament when not in session to be included as excerpts in the production? Was this request not acceded to? Are you aware that reports are circulating that after seeing a script or scripts of the production you suggested to the ABC that it look at the programme again bearing in mind section 1 16 (2.) of the Broadcasting and Television Act? Are you in a position to confirm or deny such reports?
– In answer to the honourable senator’s first question which, as ] recall it, was whether permission was denied the Australian Broadcasting Commission to take photographs or background shots in Parliament House when Parliament was not in session, I can state that I gave permission to the ABC to take such photographs. The second part of the question was whether I had asked to see any script. The answer is no. The third question was whether I had seen any of the film. The answer is no. The fourth question was whether 1 am aware that I am supposed to be involved in this matter. The answer is no. In answer to the fifth part of the question I say that I do not know who is the executive producer of the ABC but certainly, in April, I was asked by an officer of the ABC in Canberra whether I would give permission and I gave permission. These were private conversations between the officer and myself in the presence of a Senate officer.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether he has seen a reported statement of Mr King, the South Australian Attorney-General, that Mr Martin -
Has Mr Martin ever applied to have the question of conscientious objection determined by the courts?
– I have seen the statement attributed to Mr King, the South Australian Attorney-General. I know Mr King. I understand his attitude even though his approach on some of these matters would differ from mine. But what I find strange is the apparent discounting altogether which is given to the existing provisions of the National Service Act. Mr King says that Mr Martin, who is in prison at the moment, has a conscientious objection to military service. There is expressly provided in the National Service Act an exemption from all obligations under that Aci to people who hold such a conscientious belief. Mr Martin has a record of having resisted aspects of the National Service Act from away back in 1969. At no time during that period has he applied to the courts to have his status as a conscientious objector declared by the court. He could at any time have done so. The fact that he has not done so is merely an indication that much of what is done by way of objection to the National Service Act is a publicity stunt. This was so evident last week when a person who was currently in gaol for an offence against the National Service Act had his conscientious objection application heard. The application had been lodged before, or signed before the actual hearing at which he was convicted, and he said he had never brought it to attention because he wanted to get the utmost publicity. These facts ought to be known because they put the whole question of so-called non-compliance with the National Service Act into a proper perspective.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. As the wool deficiency payments scheme expires on 30th June, how does the Government propose to continue with this scheme or an equivalent financial scheme after 30th June if there is no legislation either amending the present scheme or giving effect to a new proposal?
Minister for Primary Industry is fully aware of this situation. At the present time he is studying certain proposals which he plans to put before the Government. No doubt when all of this information has been considered by the Government the Minister will make an announcement.
– My question, too, is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. I ask whether the Minister’s attention has been drawn to an article in the National Bank’s monthly publication which refers to a wool promotion programme? Is it a fact that the International Wool Secretariat is launching a promotion campaign in the interests of 2 new treatments of woollen garments, one of which has developed in Australia? Can the Minister give any information on the processes involved and their effect on the garments so treated, and whether any benefits can be available earlier than the 3 years suggested in the article?
– The honourable senator some time ago drew my attention to this article and I said I would obtain some information, which I have done. I understand that the term Super-wash’ was created by the International Wool Secretariat to identify pure wool knitwear treated by either of 2 processes - the chlorine hercosett process developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia or the dylan process developed in the United Kingdom. The former process has the widest application. It gives a very high degree of washability and does not impair the softness of handle or warmth of the wool product. It is claimed to improve abrasion resistance, textile strength and resistance to pilling in wool products. The forthcoming campaign is very carefully planned on a world wide programme. It could develop faster than the 3 years at present proposed. This autumn 2 million super-wash garments will be on sale in the United States of America. It is expected that by 1975 10 million Super-wash garments will be sold annually. Wool hand knitting yarns treated with the Super-wash process have been manufactured and sold in Australia for the past 2 years.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts and Minister-in-charge of Tourist Activities. I draw the attention of the Minister to the fact that on 18th April 1972 I asked question No. 2109 concerning the mineral deposit at the former Aurukun Mission and sought certain information. I now remind the Minister that part of this question was answered in another place yesterday and ask why he has failed to bring a reply to this question into this chamber.
– I am not aware of any of the details about which the honourable senator has asked me. I cannot recall the question which I received on behalf of the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts in April and am not clear as to what answer was given in the House of Representatives yesterday. In those circumstances all I can do is assure the honourable senator that I will make some inquiries to ascertain whether further information can be made available to him.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for External Territories whether his attention has been drawn to recent Press reports that the United Nations Trusteeship Council mission to Papua New Guinea has reported that elections in the Trust Territory in February were comprehensive, thorough and fair and has complimented the Australian authorities on the pain they took to ensure that everyone was given an opportunity to vote. As both Russia, a traditional, if ill-informed, critic, and China were members of the 6-man committee, is this report a remarkable commendation of the Federal Government’s handling of its Trust responsibilities?
– I think the appropriate response I should make to the question is that it provides its own sufficient answer.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service and, of course, I refer to Senator Wright. Was the conscientious position of Robert Martin, the young person imprisoned under the National Service Act in South Australia, brought to the notice of the Department of Labour and National Service at any time? Was the Department aware of his conscientious position? Did the Department seek a referral to a tribunal, a court or magistrate, lo establish his conscientious position and, if so, was any evidence provided by the Department in support of the referral?
– Some of these people become notorious but it is a bit too much to expect that I should take detailed interest in each case so that I can give an immediate response to questions. I ask that the question be placed on notice.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration: In view of the lack of jobs available for Australian graduates, as revealed by the number of applications for graduate employment recently refused by the Public Service, which is typical of the rest of the community, will the Minister say whether the Government intends to continue to allow overseas graduates access to Australia or can some more sensible restriction be applied to graduate immigration until the present Australian graduate surplus is employed?
– I say at the outset that I will refer this question to the Minister for Immigration to enable him to give a considered reply to the honourable senator. The question is such that it requires a considered reply. But I should also amplify what I have just said by indicating that the Minister for Immigration has made it clear in times past that the reduction of the immigration intake for this year is effected by taking account, among other things, of whether there will be employment opportunities for persons seeking to come into Australia having regard to the local demandsupply situation in this country. Of course, this is particularly significant in the area of graduate employment. Having said that much from my recollection of statements the Minister has made, I undertake to ensure that the question is conveyed to the Minister for him to consider.
– My question is addressed to the Attorney-General and follows his answer to Senator Jessop in which he attacked the South Australian Premier, Mr Dunstan, for statements in connection with practices which apply in South Australia with respect to the gaoling of those who have offended against the National Service Act.
– Order! Please ask the question, senator. Do not go into long preamble. The Senate is aware of the background.
– Mr President, I was trying to connect that with the question I am about to ask. I ask the AttorneyGeneral: In view of the fact that the case of Robert Martin has been the subject of many questions in this Senate over a long period and that the degree of freedom which is to be accorded to him is characteristic of the treatment accorded to other people in South Australian gaols, has the Minister at any time directly taken up this matter with the Attorney-General or Premier of South Australia? Before making his attack on the South Australian Premier did he make a point of visiting the area to ascertain whether, in fact, this characteristic freedom to which I have referred is universal to all South Australian prison accommodation?
– 1 have not visited the area to acquaint myself with the surroundings, nor am 1 sure that the surroundings make any difference to the situation. My knowledge of this matter derives from information which came to me yesterday morning through the Press that Mr Martin had been given permission by the South Australian authorities to address a meeting outside the gaol, even though he was a prisoner serving a sentence for a breach of a Commonwealth law. I ascertained the position to learn whether this was in accordance with the prison rules and I noted that the rules contained a very wide discretion which would enable the Comptroller of Prisons to act in this way. However, 1 gathered also from the Press - I may be wrong in this - that this was a matter in which the political heads of the South Australian Government or of the relevant department were at least consulted before a decision was made. As to whether I have erred as the honourable senator said in attacking the South Australian Premier, the first I saw of statements by the South Australian Premier was his statement reputedly challenging me to take him to court. Far from any attack being instituted by myself, I think that the statement by the South Australian Premier was unquestionably provocated. As it was made without any prior statement by me, I just wonder whether there are not some political implications in what he is doing.
– I address my question to the Attorney-General. Is it a fact that Mr Charles Griffiths, M.P., yesterday submitted to the Attorney-General a series of documents for his perusal? Did Mr Griffiths allege that such documents supported his statement in another place that there had been fraud, blackmail, conspiracy and forgery in the conduct of various Australian Labor Party pre-selection ballots for Shortland? If these are facts, in view of the extreme gravity of such charges will the Attorney-General advise the Parliament what steps should be taken to establish the truth or otherwise of the matters alleged?
– It is a fact that Mr Griffiths saw me yesterday and that we discussed matters which had been the subject of a statement by him in the House of Representatives. Mr Griffiths had sought me out because I had said, following his statement in the House of Representatives, that if there was material which suggested the commission of criminal offences, it was obligatory upon any person to facilitate police inquiries into those matters. 1 had a discussion with Mr Griffiths. He showed me a number of documents and I said to him that I would make a statement after our conversation had concluded. I make the statement that those documents revealed to me a situation which is of a political character, a situation within the Australian Labor Party which I have no doubt from what I saw and what I was told indicates that there has been conduct of the general character to which Mr Griffiths referred.
– Mr President, I take a point of order. The Attorney-General has been asked a question by the honourable senator. Questions may be directed to the Attorney-General in his capacity as Minister dealing with the law and justice of the Commonwealth. The Attorney-General has already indicated by his answer that the matter raised by Senator Carrick has nothing to do with the public responsibilities of the Attorney-General. Therefore I submit that the matter is not within the proper scope of questions to be asked of the Attorney-General and is not to be used as a means of attack upon another political party.
– There is no substance in the point of order for the simple reason that Mr Griffiths, the member in another place, sought out the Attorney-
General in order to provide him with evidence of what Mr Griffiths appeared to consider was activity of a criminal nature. The Attorney-General seems to be embarking on an explanation. As far as he is concerned there is no criminality involved. As Attorney-General he is entitled to give an answer to the question asked by Senator Carrick. The Attorney-General- will proceed.
– I was saying that I had indicated to Mr Griffiths - this is what I told him 1 would say afterwards - that there did appear to be within the Australian Labor Party a situation of a general character which he had outlined but that because it was a political matter it was not an area of which I could take any cognisance. It was a matter for him and for the people in the Party to which he belonged to take such action as they thought fit. On the other aspect as to whether there was any evidence of a criminal offence having occurred, I indicated to him that there was a matter which could be investigated by the police because there were suggestions that perhaps false statements had been sworn contrary to the provisions of the law in New South Wales and that his inquiries should be made in that direction. 1 told Mr Griffiths that this is the sort of statement I would make after our conversation concluded. He appreciated that it was a fair assessment of the situation as we had discussed it.
– Can the AttorneyGeneral tell me whether the South Australian Chief Secretary or the Premier has breached the law in any way by allowing Robert Martin to attend a Press conference or to address a meeting on Sunday next outside the walls of Yatala Gaol?
– Although I am asked for a legal opinion I trust that the Senate will bear with me if I say that the prison regulations in South Australia, permit the Comptroller of Prisons to allow a prisoner to leave a gaol in certain circumstances, and there is a broad circumstance as the Comptroller thinks fit’. I assume that in permitting Mr Martin to leave the prison for the purpose of addressing a political meeting the Comptroller is acting with the approval of either the South Australian
Attorney-General or the Premier, because it would be unthinkable that a Comptroller would take such action without getting authority from his political head. If that is the basis upon which approval is being given, there is no breach, as 1 see it, of the prison regulations. That is my reply in respect of contravention of the law. I leave it to the people of South Australia and to the people of Australia to judge whether the processes of law are being upheld when this sort of conduct is allowed by the person who is the head of the Government of South Australia.
– Has the AttorneyGeneral’s attention been drawn to the judgment given yesterday by Mr Justice Eggleston in relation to resale price maintenance? If so, can the Attorney-General explain why the result should appear to place an Australian bookseller in a different position from the bookseller in other countries which have similar legislation?
– I am aware that after a long hearing and after considering his judgment the Chairman of the Trade Practices Tribunal yesterday delivered judgment in which he refused the application of a certain person, on behalf of the book industry, for exemption from the resale price maintenance provisions of the Trade Practices Act. I have not read the judgment although I have read the Chairman’s synopsis of the judgment. He quite clearly indicates that his decision was reached by balancing what he would acknowledge to be some problems in some areas which would arise by the refusal of the exemption and, on the other hand, the reduction of prices, particularly in the case of school text-books, which he believes would flow from the decision. But that is only a short statement of a very long judgment. Before being able to answer the honourable senator’s question as to why the result in Australia is different from the result of an application for exemption in the United Kingdom, T would have to read that judgment and make my assessment in the light of the judgments here and there. All I say is that the chairman of the Trade Practices Tribunal heard this case. He heard evidence over a period of many weeks from many witnesses, and the judgment he arrived at, I am sure, bears the mark of his distinguished competence which has been displayed in many other judgments.
– Order! Honourable senators will be aware that there is a newly emerged nation in the South Pacific, namely the nation of Fiji. There is present in my gallery this morning Senator the Hon. R. L. Munro, C.B.E., the President of the Senate of Fiji, and I think it would be opportune and appropriate, with the concurrence of honourable senators, to invite him to take a seat on the floor of the Senate.
Honourable senators - Hear, hear!
Mr Munro thereupon entered the Senate chamber and was seated accordingly.
– Can the Minister for Civil Aviation say how many airlines that can properly be classified as international airlines use Tullamarine international airport?
– Yes, most certainly I can give the honourable senator that information. It will mean searching the records. I cannot give the information from the papers I have here, but I shall be pleased to get it for the honourable senator.
– 1 ask the AttorneyGeneral: Was his Department charged with the responsibility of preparing opposition to sections of the agreement recently reached between the Waterside Workers Federation and waterfront employers? Is it not a fact that this new agreement for improved rates of pay and physical conditions of employment on the waterfront was concluded to the mutual satisfaction of both parties after months of patient and painstaking negotiations? I also ask the Attorney-General whether he is aware that unionists endorsed this agreement in a secret ballot. Finally, does he recognise that the attempt to interfere with such an agreement is a provocative and unwarranted action by the Government and that any consequential action by either or both parties to the agreement to sustain the terms of the agreement is the responsibility of the Government?
– 1 am not able to give a detailed answer to all the aspects of the question asked by Senator Brown. Furthermore I feel that I ought not embark upon any elaboration of what could be responses to what Senator Brown said, in view of the fact that this is a matter which has been placed before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The issue of whether or not this agreement does serve the public interest ought to be determined by the tribunal which has the overriding judgment in these matters. I think that that is what people of Australia would expect, and it is certainly, I believe, what the economy of Australia ought to have before there is any concluded decision on the merits, or otherwise, of that agreement made between the parties.
– 1 preface my question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, by reminding him that on the 27th of last month the Leader of the Government in the Senate advised me by letter that the cost of Commonwealth Government air travel within Australia during 1970-71 was just over $8m. In that letter the Minister indicated that the Public Service Board was examining the question of economy air travel for Government employees in the light of possible savings. I ask: Has the Public Service Board come to a decision concerning economy air travel for Government employees? If not, when may such a decision be expected?
– I think the honourable senator will recognise that he was referring to correspondence between the Leader of the Government and himself which I have not had the opportunity of viewing. All I can say to the honourable senator is that I shall take up his question with the Prime Minister and obtain that information for him.
– Is it desired to postpone or rearrange the business of the Senate?
– Yes, Mr President. I move:
That Government Business Order of the Day No. 1 take precedence over other business on the notice paper this day.
I have done that because there are a number of procedural matters on the notice paper which would normally take precedence over Government Business Order of the Day No. 1. They include a notice of motion in the name of Senator Murphy, a motion in the name of Senator Hannan and the introduction of a number of Bills which have been received from the other place. I believe that those matters should be dealt with after the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill has been debated. I have moved this motion to give honourable senators the opportunity of discussing the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.
– I have no objection. In any event, I intend to move subsequently that Notice of Motion No. 1 in my name be stood over to the next date of sitting.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) agreed to: That Notice of Motion No. 1 standing in the name of Senator Murphy under Business of the Senate be postponed till the next day of sitting.
Consideration resumed from 30th May (vide page 2300).
Proposed new sections 32 to 35.
– Mr Chairman, I wish to speak of what we are about to do today. As a result of the decision of the Senate the committee stage of the debate on this Bill is to finish at 12.30 p.m. which means that our programme will have to be extremely tight if we are to consider all the clauses that we want to consider. The Opposition intends to move a number of amendments and there are a number of clauses it would want to oppose. The clauses to which the
Opposition would want to object are fairly well known. May 1 say that the Opposition will be endeavouring to confine its discussions on the various matters. I ask that some assistance be given by the Government as well in this regard and that no provocative action be taken by the Government, such as the moving of a motion that the question be put. The Opposition wants to debate all of the amendments it has circulated, but there should not be any need for the application of the gag. I remind the Committee that one of the considerable delays in the Committee stage of this Bill was caused by the introduction of a new amendment by the Attorney-General after the Bill had reached the Committee stage. Consideration of this amendment consumed a great number of. hours and might well have been intended to do so. If the Attorney-General does not endeavour to provoke opposition honourable senators by such tactics we may be ab/e to get through the programme because the divisions themselves will take quite a lot of time.
– You are not suggesting that the Government is filibustering are you. because that would be out of order?
– 1 suggest that what happened last Friday in relation to the date of operations of certain provisions of the Bill was no doubt a deliberate tactic to extend the time taken in Com.mittee by an amendment that should noi have been introduced. All we would ask for is that we be permitted to deal with the Bill in such a way that our amendments will be put to a vote and the clauses to which we object will be put to a vote.
– 1 welcome the general change in approach which has been shown to us by Senator Murphy. I can assure him that we shall do ali we can to speed the further discussion of this measure and the matters which the Opposition wants to discuss on the clauses. But I say only 2 things: There has been no deliberate provocation on my part and there is no foundation whatsoever for the statement made by Senator Murphy. Secondly, there was no deliberate attempt by the Government by the introduction of the amendment which I moved last Friday to prolong the debate on those clauses of the Bill to the exclusion of other matters which the Opposition may have wanted to discuss. I make this statement only to clarify an erroneous statement by Senator Murphy and to enable it to be put on the record.
– I support what Senator Murphy has said and I point out-
– You are delaying consideration of the Bill.
– This has to be stated.
– I have allowed the Leader of the Opposition and the Attorney-General to make statements which are not directly related to proposed new sections 32 to 35 and it would help the Committee if the honourable senator would confine his remarks to these sections.
– I merely wish to refer to the procedure. The Labor members of this Parliament in this place and the other place are so incensed about the proposition that we had resolved to divide on the most contentious provisions of the Bill. There was an announced intention of this course of action but because of the Government’s attitude and the gagging of the debate we are now forced to save time by not dividing because otherwise we will not be able to float our amendments. Accordingly, in these simple terms, I point out the reason for the lack of strong resistance by honourable senators in relation to the consideration of these clauses.
– The question is:
That proposed sections 32 to 35 stand as printed.
Those of that opinion say aye, to the contrary no. I think the ayes have it.
– May it be recorded, Mr Chairman, that in the estimation of the Opposition only the members of the Opposition were voting against this clause and we did not call for a division. May I have the indulgence of the Committee to so indicate on every similar occasion, because it will shorten proceedings, rather than having divisions?
– I accept the suggestion. No objection has been raised.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 14 to 40 - by leave - taken together.
– I wish to comment on clause 16. I take it that senators will be allowed to roam over all the clauses from 14 to 40, Mr Chairman. The Opposition is opposed to clause 16 which alters section 39 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The clause reads:
These provisions relate to the sections of the Act concerning industrial agreements-; for example, I refer to section 31 of the existing Act, which relates to the reference of disputes to the Commission and to appeals from awards. The proposed new sub-section 2 of section 39 reflects again the intention of the Government to tie down as rigidly as possible every action which might be taken by the trade unions in an attempt to obtain decent awards and agreements in order to match the escalation of inflation and prices. This provision emphasises the economic effects of arbitration decisions and lawyers such as Senator Murphy and Senator James McClelland could spend hours debating the present use of the so-called wide ambit of public interest. Now we are considering the question of economic effects in this provision which is certainly contrary to the intentions and main aims of section 2 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, which states, in part:
The chief objects of this Act are -
The effect of clause 1 6 is to import into the Act legal prescriptions and inhibitions recommended by this Government which are in fact political. The Commission will be tied down by this and other provisions to the sorts of limitations we face today. We think this is a backward step. Normally we would ask the Senate to divide on the motion but in this instance we simply say that we intend to vote against it.
Clauses agreed to.
– May the record again show that the Opposition voted against this group of clauses because of its objection to clause 16? Only members of the Opposition voted against the clause and because of the time factor we did not proceed to call for a division.
– As there is no objection, that course will be allowed.
Section 104 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting after paragraph (a) of sub-section (2.) the following paragraph: - “(aa) proceedings for an offence against section forty-six of this Act;”.
– I move the following amendment:
Leave out clause 41, insert the following clause: 41.- (1.) Section 104 of the Principal Act is amended -
In short the amendment seeks to provide that when proceedings are before the Commonwealth Industrial Court under sections 140 or 141 of the Act the Court shall be constituted by a bench of 3 judges. The amendment also provides that if one of the judges should be unable to continue to take part in the hearing and the determination of the matter because of illness, death or otherwise, if the parties consent the proceedings can be continued by 2 judges. The existing provision is that 1 judge may hear these matters. In practice I understand that the usual course - although it is not a course which is followed on every occasion - is that 3 judges sit by direction of the Chief Judge of the Court. Therefore the effect of the amendment will be to give statutory form to what is currently the practice. I think it generally would be regarded as desirable that 3 judges should constitute the membership of the Court which hears matters set out in section 104 of the principal Act.
I might say that the consideration of this amendment arose from an examination of a proposed amendment which had been circulated by the Opposition. The Government did not like the Opposition’s amendment because it sought to establish an appeal from one judge who might hear a matter to a court consisting of 3 judges. The Government felt that this would involve additional legal proceedings into an area where we desired to keep the legal processes as minimal as possible. The Opposition’s amendment would also have created a situation in which there could be a multiplicity of members of the Industrial Court, and we thought we could possibly achieve the objective which we believe the Opposition had in mind by making a comprehensive amendment to ensure that, in the first instance, these matters were heard by a court consisting of 3 judges. For those reasons the Government proposes that clause 41 as it now stands in the Bill should be left out and that new clause 41, as circulated, should be inserted.
– On behalf of the Opposition I thank the Attorney-General for his gracious concession that the amendment which he just moved has been prompted by an amendment which was circulated by the Opposition. We concede that the amendment moved by the AttorneyGeneral goes a long way towards achieving the aim which we had in mind in our own amendment. What disturbed us was that the Act permitted one judge to sit in such important matters as challenges to the rules of a union and in matters which could seriously affect the career and tenure of office of office holders in trade unions. We concede that over recent years it has been the practice for a bench of 3 judges to sit in such matters, but it was anomalous that the legislation as it stands permitted one judge to hear such important matters. One case that comes to mind in my own experience was a case which was heard some years ago by one judge in which, by a strange quirk of fate, I happened to be appearing on one side of the record and my Leader, Senator Murphy, on the other side. I won the case but Senator Murphy was robbed. Enshrined in the judgment of the court in this matter - I will not refer to the judge himself - is this imperishable legal gem. When it was objected to by Senator Murphy that the client for whom he was appearing had not been given natural justice because no evidence of the charge that had been laid against him had been produced, His Honour stated:
I am of the opinion that the reading of the summons in this manner amounted to the presentation of evidence in the proceedings.
That is a mind boggling proposition from a judge of such an important court as this. It underlines, at least in my mind, the everpresent possibility of judicial error and the desirability that matters of such importance as this should be heard by a bench of at least 3 judges. For my part, I would be satisfied with the Government’s proposed amendment to section 104 because it goes a long way towards meeting the objections that we have to the section and towards curing the possibility of such egregious errors as the one to wish I have just referred.
– I thank Senator James McClelland for reminding me of the fact that a judge could state that the reading of a charge against a man was evidence of his guilt. This shows the necessity for provision to be made for some kind of appeal. Other examples of decisions which are made and which would seem strange to others are legion. It fortifies us in the view that there should be provision for appeal. The matters with which we are concerned in this place are not matters of arbitration, not the fixing of wages and conditions; they are strictly judicial functions. The Commonwealth Industrial Court is exercising the judicial power of the Commonwealth. It would seem to us that no judge of what is a court of limited jurisdiction and not the High Court of Australia should be able to make decisions without some form of appeal existing against such decisions.
Indeed, while we say that the amendment moved by the Attorney-General has gone a long way, it does not strictly meet the question that we pose, that is, that there ought to be some form of appeal. What he has done is to provide that there must be a multiple bench. That is an improvement. In the exigencies of today, we are prepared to say that we will forgo the amendment which is on the list that we have circulated. Senator James McClelland did not move for the incorporation of that proposed amendment on the matter of an appeal. I ask for leave to incorporate it in Hansard.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The proposed amendment read as follows):
Page 27, after clause 41, insert the following new clause: 4 1 a. Section 104 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting after sub-section (4.) the following subsection: “(5.) If the jurisdiction of the Court is exercised by one Judge, or by two Judges who are divided in opinion on any question, an appeal shall be to a Full Court consisting of at least three Judges”.’.
– Perhaps some consideration could be given - views differ on this question - to whether under the Constitution there should be an appeal from the Commonwealth Industrial Court to the High Court and to the provisions of section 114 of the principal Act which debar that kind of appeal. I say no more than that. The Australian Labor Party is of the view that there should be some form of appeal. In view of the amendment that has been moved by the AttorneyGeneral, we indicate, notwithstanding our view on it, that we are prepared to forgo pressing our proposed amendment and to accept ana to supportwhathasbeen put forward by the Government as some measure of improvement.
Amendment agreed to.
-I rise to indicate that the Opposition is not proceeding with its proposed amendment, as circulated, to clause 41.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Section 119 of the Principal Act is amended by omitting from sub-section, (1.) the words ‘section thirty-two a’ and inserting in their stead the words section thirty-three’.
– Mr Chairman, as you allowed debate to proceed on all these issues it might be appropriate to move the Opposition’s amendment as circulated. As we intend to embark upon some discussion on section 119 of the principal Act, which is to be amended by clause 42 of this Bill, perhaps at this stage I should move the amendment circulated by the Opposition in that regard. The Government is well aware of our views and also of those of the organisations that we on this side attempt to support. I am referring, of course, to the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the other organisations that do not accept penalties imposed under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Yesterday I referred to the fact that penalties imposed on trade unions had aggregated to between $100,000 and $200,000, whereas penalties imposed on employer organisations are quite minor. Since 1968 only 2 penalties have been imposed on employers for failing to observe awards, and those penalties involved only some hundreds of dollars. Mr Chairman, I suggest that we take together the next 2 amendments proposed by the Opposition. Therefore, I move:
In clause 42, leave out the words ‘“section thirty-two a “ and inserting in their stead the words “ section thirty-three “, insert “ or, except in the case of a breach or non-observance of a term of an order or award of the kind referred to in subsection(1.) of section 32a of this Act.’
After clause 42, insert the following new clauses: 42a. Section 119 of the Principal Act is amended by adding a new sub-section: “(1e.) In sub-section. (1.) of this section a breach of non-observance of an order or award shall not include a strike ban or limitation of work in furtherance of any claim by an organisation or person in or in connection with an industrial dispute”.’
If these 2 amendments are agreed to, section 1 19 of the Principal Act would then read: 119.(1.) Where any organisation or person bound by an order or award has committed a breach or non-observance of a term of the order or award, a penalty may be imposed by the Court or, except in the case of a breach or non-observance of a term of an order or award of the kind referred to in sub-section (1.) of section 33 of this Act or, except in the case of a breach or non-observance of a term of an order or award of the kind referred to in sub-section (1.) of section 32a of this Act . . .
Section 33 of the principal Act deals with powers of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to make awards and to certify agreements. Section 32a deals with actions to hinder the observance of an award. In recent years fairly satisfactory discussions have been held between the national trade union centre and the responsible Minister representing the Government. As a result of those discussions the sanctions provisions in the Act were accepted by the responsible Minister, then Mr Bury. Later his successor has modified the position. The Opposition claims that employers have used these provisions generally for ‘king hit’ purposes. However, the sanctions were modified, indicating a good trend, but the amendments to the law did not go as the trade union movement wanted. At least there was this trend to which the Opposition referred earlier. Our attitude is the same as it was then: We oppose sanctions in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act because we believe that they are unnecessary. They create a lot of bad feeling in the trade union movement. Moreover they are discriminatory in their application. I have already referred to the hundreds of dollars in fines imposed on employers compared with the many thousands of dollars in fines that have been imposed on trade unions. In addition, there is continuing argument between the Government and the unions over these provisions. The Opposition’s amendment will have the effect of ensuring that penalties will not be imposed on trade unions in respect of disputes involving general matters such as wages claims and working conditions. However, penalties could still be imposed on employers for non-observance of awards for failure to pay appropriate wages, and so on.
– First of all, I seek the leave of the Senate to deal together with the amendments moved by Senator Bishop in relation to clause 42 and proposed new clause 42a.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
- Mr Chairman, proposed new clause 42a appears to be a technical amendment because it is an amendment to a clause of the Bill, and the purport of it has been well set out by what Senator Bishop has said. Turning to section 119(1.) of the principal Act our amendment to clause 42 proposes to leave out the words: ‘a breach or non-observance of a term of an order or award of the kind referred to in sub-section (1.) of section 32a of this Act.’ In other words, we propose to leave out of that section reference to a term of . an’ order or an award - a strike ban or a work limitation. The amendment which we seek by means of new clause 42a will make that proposition doubly certain by providing that a breach of section 119 (1.) shall not extend in an industrial dispute situation to that kind of a breach, namely, a strike ban or limitation of work. Does the Attorney-General follow that?
– I think you might look at the terms of your first amendment. It is confusing as it reads at the moment. I think I get the gist of what you are attempting to do but I do not think the terms of the amendment give effect to it.
– Proposed new clause 42a reads: . . a breach or non-observance of an order or award shall not include a strike ban or limitation of work in furtherance of any claim by an organisation or person in or in connection wilh an industrial dispute.
– It is the preceding amendment to which I was referring.
– The difficulty in relation to the preceding amendment is that it is dealing with the terms of the Bill. The Bill reads:
Operating on the wording of that clause of the Bill we are proposing to leave out the reference to section 32a.
– In your amendment you say ‘insert’; I think you might mean ‘leave out’. I am not sure.
– We are proposing to leave out the words ‘section 32a’, which is provided for in the Bill, and insert instead these words: ‘or, except in the case of a breach or non-observance of a term of an order or award of the kind referred to in sub-section (1.) of section 32a of this Act’. If our amendment were carried its operative effect would be to delete from section 1 19 of the principle act the words: or, except in the case of a breach or nonobservance of a term of an order or award of the kind referred to in sub-section (1.) of section 32a of this Act’.
– Because our amendment would make that irrelevant.
– That is right, it would be made irrelevant. We wish to delete those words because we do not want the reference to the industrial dispute situation in section 119(1.) at all, and in order to make this doubly certain, because there are general words being left in section 119, we propose to add new clause 42a which states specifically that a breach or non-observance under section 119(1.) shall not include that type of breach, namely, a strike ban, a limitation on work or anything arising out of the furtherance of an industrial dispute. Does the Attorney-General now appreciate what we propose?
– 1 certainly see what you are intending. I am wondering whether what you intend will be given effect to because of the way in which the amendment is drafted.
– I think it will. This is an extremely important matter of principle. There is often great confusion in relation to it. It is said: ‘Are there to be any penalties at all?’ Of course, the penalties which would be left in the Act would be penalties directed at employers or employees or, conceivably in some situations, an organisation, but they would be dealing with the application of the order or award. In other words, if an employer underpaid wages there would be a breach of the award. If an employee accepted moneys which constituted an underpayment he would be in breach of the award. If health conditions were broken by the employer or the employee, that would be in breach of the award. If in some way an organisation was guilty of these kinds of things concerned with the operations of the award, section 119(1.) would apply. But what the Australian Labor Party is saying, and this is where there should be a clear understanding, is that penalties should not be directed against the kind of activity concerned with changing the award or the conditions which apply. So that if claims are being made for a different code to cover industry, a different award with higher wages or new conditions, we say that they should not be the subject of penalties under the Act. It is as simple as that. If anyone wants to talk about penalties and say that any penalties would remain, of course they would, and people would be expected to observe the matters that are set out. Those requirements are not to be ignored. But we say there should be no penalties in relation to the actions taken by one side or the other in relation to the furtherance of claims in an industrial dispute, in substance for improvement in wages or conditions. That is the purpose of the amendment, and it is as clear as that.
– Before we leave this group of clauses I should like to record the Australian Labor Party’s opposition to clause 19, which is the clause which introduces provisions for the conduct of secret ballots in unions when an industrial dispute occurs or is threatening. Because of the limitations of time I do not wish to regurgitate what has already been said about this matter.
– Order! We have already considered clause 19. We are now dealing with clause 42 and the amendment thereto.
– Then I ask for the Committee’s indulgence to consider this matter out of order.
– To save time I suggest that we revert to this clause and divide on the matter if there is sufficient time. 1 suggest that we reconsider the clause. Obviously there has been some misunderstanding about which clause we are dealing with.
– Is leave granted for clause 19 to be reconsidered? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I have very little to say on this clause. I merely record our formal opposition and indicate that this is one of the clauses on which we intended to divide and on which we want our opposition recorded on the grounds that I think have already been fairly fully canvassed, namely, that the introduction of a system of secret ballots when industrial disputes occur or are threatening will be ineffective; that it flies in the face of international experience of the fruitfulness of such provisions and flies in the face of the Donovan report in England, which fully considered this matter; that such powers have been in the Act since 1928 but the Commonwealth has chosen to avail itself of those powers on only 3 occasions; and that the only effect we can see of the introduction or the actual implemention of such provisions would be to exacerbate industrial relations, prolong strikes and make their settlement more difficult. For that reason we oppose this clause.
– The Government will oppose the amendment to clause 42 - I presume that at this stage we are discussing it-
– We are.
– The Government will oppose the amendment which has been moved by the Opposition. I had some doubts - I still do - as to whether the precise wording which the Opposition amendment contains is effective to achieve the objective that Senator Murphy has expressed. I have sought to apply those words to section 119 and I find the reconciliation a little difficult to make. I say that by way of preface. The purpose which the amendment seeks to achieve is quite clear and the Government cannot agree with that purpose. In effect, the purpose is to say that, if there is a breach of an award by an employee or by an employee organisation in an area in which there is an obligation not to engage in limitations, restrictions or cessations of work, no penalty shall be imposed. To me, that is destroying one of the central features of our industrial legislation. For decades we in Australia have, with due cause, prided ourselves upon a system of industrial arbitration which produced for the wage earners of this country advances, security and rising living standards at a far earlier stage than they were produced in other countries.
– But we stopped in the 1950s.
– I know that this is a matter of political disputation. But I take the view that we have high living standards in this country and that they have been secured in the past by sensible use of our arbitration system, by strong unions acting responsibly and by employer organisations which have known when to respond and on occasion when not to respond. This is an attitude which our arbitration system has engendered. I hope that it remains. I say this because in the arbitration system which operated sanctions or penalties were imposed upon persons who did not comply with the awards of the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration in the old days or of the Conciliation and Arbitrations Commission, or with the requirements of the Industrial Court, essentially in order to maintain respect for the authority of the Court or Commission. If no sanctions exist, what obligation is there which is accepted by organisations to comply with the requirements? If there is no sanction, organisations may disobey with impunity. If that situation prevails there is no law, because law which has no sancition is simply a rule which can be observed when one wants to observe it or not observed when one does not want to observe it. I feel that that is the danger - it is a danger as the Government sees it - into which our industrial system may be lapsing. Accordingly, the Government is strongly committed to the maintenance of sanctions provisions.
As I have said, and as the Prime Minister Mr McMahon) and the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) have said, if there are breaches of the provisions of this legislation or of awards for which penalties are imposed and the result of those breaches is that fines are imposed by the Industrial Court or by other courts, those fines will be enforced. I feel that no-one should be in any doubt as to the Government’s intention in that regard. The Government has maintained a consistent approach to sanctions all the way along the line, except that in times past it has sought to accommodate particular situations where it believed that by that accommodation some overall benefit could be derived. But that accommodation has not been respected. The Government’s policy in relation to this matter was announced last year. Within a very short time of it being announced, all the outstanding fines under the new legislation which the Government said had to be paid were paid. The Government is now following a course that these fines, if imposed, will be enforced. The Government is not adopting a curious attitude in this approach. When the Australian Labour Party was in office in the late 1940s it continued the then existing sanctions provisions in the conciliation and arbitration legislation. In 1947 Dr Evatt rejected proposals that all the sanctions provisions should be taken out of the Act. The New South Wales Labor Government stood by the principle of sanctions, and it was not willing to remove them from the New South Wales Industrial Arbitration Act. Today one does not know clearly what the ALP attitude is to sanctions. I think there is some equivocation about its attitude. Certainly one knows from its platform that it would remove all penalties - penal clauses, as it describes them - from the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Consistent with that platform, there is a motion today which quite clearly indicates that if the Labor Party had its way, there would be no penalties whatsoever capable of being imposed in circumstances where an award provides that the employees bound by it shall not go on strike or impose some limitation on work and that clause is breached. On the other hand, we had the situation last year - and I am not sure how far it has advanced - in which the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Whitlam, and the spokesman for the Labor Party on industrial affairs, Mr Clyde Cameron-
– Mr Chairman, I intervene simply as a matter of order. A limitation has been put on us. Surely in the circumstances of today, when we are not even moving some amendments and are not opposing clauses which are of vital importance to us, the Attorney-General should not now seek to make a secondreading speech. If this is not a secondreading speech he is making, what is it? Does he intend to say these things and expect the Opposition not to reply? This is a deliberate tactic by him. We have already had to forgo some vital votes on the Bill, and now the Attorney-General is entering into a debate on matters referred to by the Leader of the Opposition, which we have to deal with. In the circumstances, this is not a fair go to the Opposition.
– I take it that your intervention is on the grounds of relevance?
– 1 think there is some substance in the objection. The amendment is fairly narrow.
– If I may speak without trespassing on your indications of what you feel should be said, the amendment is designed to remove from the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, appropriately or inappropriately, all provisions for sanctions in this particular context. The Government believes that this is an integral part of the legislation. I sat back and I listened to, I think, 3 Opposition speakers put their case for the removal of these words in support of their amendment. I am the first and, I imagine, I will be the only speaker on the Government side to oppose this amendment. I do not accept Senator Murphy’s statement. He is now pleading for time, but there was a lot of time yesterday that could have been used in debate rather than in the histrionics and acrobatics that were engaged in then. All I am saying is that this question of sanctions is vital to the legislation. The Opposition, as I said, has an equivocal view. I have mentioned one point of view from its platform, as it is expressed in this amendment and another point of view has been put forward in statements made by Mr Whitlam and Mr Clyde Cameron in times past. Where does the Labor Party stand? Does it still maintain the provision in the Act that permits penalties to be imposed on individuals?
– I take the objection that the Minister’s statement is not relevant to the discussion of the clause. He has raised the same points, to which the Leader of the Opposition in this House took objection, and you ruled were irrelevant, and he is now coming back to discuss what is Labor Party policy. He asks: ‘Is the policy what is in the book, or is it what is said by Mr Whitlam?’ I therefore ask you to uphold this further objection.
– I think the Minister has resumed his seat.
– Only because a point of order was raised.
– I again request the Attorney-General not to traverse ground that has been debated previously while speaking in support of his opposition to the proposed amendment.
– I respect your ruling, Mr Chairman. Section 122 of the Act contains a provision which “is not adverted to at all by the proposed amendments. Section 122 states:
No person shall wilfully make default in compliance with any order or award.
That, to me, maintains the position that if a person does break an award he can be fined, yet I imagine that is imposed upon individuals. Does the Australian Labor Party propose to retain that provision? I presume that it does because it wants to remove only those sections which would provide for the fining of an organisation. It is for these reasons that I say that the attitude of the Labor Party is hopelessly equivocal. Perhaps Mr Whitlam and Mr Clyde Cameron have the Act on their side after all and it will be maintained.
The Government opposes this amendment not because it feels that the equivocation in itself is sufficient reason for opposing it but because it believes that to have an effective system of industrial arbitration we must recognise that to ensure that people adhere to their obligations, adhere to their bargains and do perform their awards there should be sanctions, some penalty, if they break them. If there is no penalty what inducement is there for people to observe what they have been ordered to observe?
The CHAIRMAN (Senator Prowse)The question is: That the amendments be agreed to’. Those in favour say ‘Aye’, to the contrary ‘No’. I think the ‘Noes’ have it.
– Again I would like to indicate, Mr Chairman, for the record, that members of the Opposition voted for the amendments moved by Senator Bishop and were the only ones to do so.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 43 to 48 - byleave - taken together.
– I want to indicate, because of what was stated a little earlier by the Attorney-General, that merely because amendments are not moved to some of these proposals that does not mean that we are agreeingwith them. He criticised the Opposition for not moving other amendments. I want to assure the Committee of the Senate that there are serious objections to a number of matters in these proposals. I will give one example: There does not appear to be any clear provision for the hearing of a person who is affected before an interim order may be made by a judge under some of these sections. We do not agree that that is proper. There is a host of other matters in the provisions to which we take objection but there is a time limit on discussion of these matters. There is a guillotine. The mere fact that we do not indicate our objection or divide on each of them separately is not to be taken as indicating that we support the proposals.
-The question is: ‘That clauses 43 to 48 stand as printed’. Those of that opinion say ‘Aye’, to the contrary ‘No’.
– I think the ayes have it.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Clauses agreed to.
– May I refer to an amendment which was carried earlier? I ask for leave to refer to clause 41.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– My adviser and the draftsman have drawn my attention to the fact that there was an omission in the amendment 1 moved on behalf of the Government. I would like to repair that omission. The amendment related to establishing a court of 3 judges, lt is noted that section 105 - -
– That is not clause 41.
– The amendment was made lo clause 41 of the Bill.
– I see. Clause 41 refers to section 104 of the principal Act.
– The Government would seek to add a new clause after clause 41 as follows:
Section 105 of the principal Act is amended by omitting from sub-section (1.) the word ‘two’ and inserting in its stead the word ‘three’.
It is a matter which becomes quite apparent if one turns to section 105 of the existing Act. At the moment it reads:
J 05. - (1.) A single Judge exercising the jurisdiction of the Court may, if he thinks fit, refer a question of law arising from a matter before him for the opinion of the Court constituted by not less than 2 Judges.
The intention is, to be consistent with the amendment, to make it 3 Judges. This was omitted in the drafting. Therefore I move:
The question is that the proposed new clause be inserted in the Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Section 145 of the Principal Act is repealed and the following section inserted in ils stead: 145. (1.) A member may resign his membership of an organization by notice in writing if -
– In this matter the Opposition wishes to move an amendment as follows:
In proposed new section 145(4.) after ‘informed’ insert ‘in writing’.
I note that this morning the Government circulated among ils further amendments an amendment in the same terms. I take this to mean that the Government concedes the force of the Opposition’s point on this matter. Briefly, the amendment to section 145 of the principal Act which was inserted in the Bill had as its intention the laying down of a general rule that resignations from a union should be in writing. But sub-clause (4.) made an exception to this general rule by providing that resignation of membership of an organisation is valid notwithstanding that it is not effected in accordance with this section - that is, in general, not in writing - if the member is informed by or on behalf of the organisation that the resignation has been accepted. In other words, it was not to be open to a union to claim that: a man had not resigned, even though he had not resigned in writing, if the union had accepted the resignation.
But the flaw in the formulation of the Bill is that it would leave it open to a member to claim that he had been informed over the telephone or otherwise verbally that his resignation had been accepted, and there would be no safeguard for the union on the question of whether it had been accepted. This is cleared up by inserting the words ‘in writing’. In other words, a resignation which is not in writing will still be valid provided that the union has acknowledged in writing that the resignation has been made. This is the purport of the addition of these words.
– I support the amendment moved by Senator James McClelland and at the same time seek clarification of the intention of the proposed new section of the Act. It appears to me that there are 2 reasons why a member may resign from an organisation. Proposed new section 145 reads as follows: (I.) A member may resign his membership of an organization by notice in writing if -
From the first part of the section it appears to me that there is no requirement that the member of the organisation resigning has to be financial. He can be in arrears with his contributions, levies or fines. I believe that this is contrary to most of the resignation rules of all the organisations of which I am aware. As a matter of fact, the resignation rule of the Australian Workers Union stipulates that a member wishing to resign shall be liable for all membership subscriptions, fines, levies and dues owing by him to the union to the date of the expiration of such notice. It is my interpretation that the provision proposed in the Bill does not make it obligatory for the member resigning, if he changes his occupation by going to another organisation, to be financial. I think that this point should be cleared up because resignations from the membership of unions cause quite a lot of conflict between members and officials. The rules of the various organisations are not uniform. Therefore when one refers to the Act at least it should stipulate clearly the intention of the proposed new measures contained in the Bill.
– I wish to speak very briefly. There is a point which is relevant to clause 49 and which does nol involve an amendment. I wish to take this opportunity to make a suggestion. There is always a problem in relation to the average union member who does not read his rules and does not read the Act and who wishes to resign but does not realise that he has to resign in writing. The situation then is that the union continues to carry him on the books for perhaps a year or two. He becomes overdue with his union dues. Eventually the matter is cleared up by his resigning in writing and probably receiving a summons for several years union dues. There is ill-feeling and wasted time, lt is wasteful to the union and expensive to the member. I think that it would be unfortunate in general relationships. It would be preferable if, in some suitable way, the necessity for resignation in writing was drawn to the attention of union members. One of the simple ways to do that is to have it stated either on the receipts for payment or on the card. I simply make that suggestion for the consideration of those concerned.
– I have a small point which I would like the Attorney-General to clear up. It concers some words which appear in the third line of proposed new section 145<l.)(b) as follow:
Perhaps the Attorney-General might give the interpretation of the words ‘before the resignation is to take effect’. Does this refer to the date the resignation is submitted? Is it the date on which the union accepts the resignation at a monthly meeting or something of that nature?
– Senator James McClelland has moved this amendment and, as he indicated, the Government accepts that there is merit in the proposal. We indicated by our circulated list of amendments that we would also move this amendment. In effect, we shall support the Opposition’s amendment. It does create some problems. There may be circumstances in which there is clear and incontrovertible evidence that a secretary of an organisation tells a member that his resignation has been accepted. In those circumstances it may be that the imposition of the words ‘in writing’ may work some hardship. On the other hand if there is ever any dispute about the matter the problems involved in contested evidence are such that it is a matter of some concern as to whether the expense involved in that sort of litigation does not outweigh the objective to be attained. The provision indicates that the notice of the secretary that he accepts the resignation should be in writing. This makes the issue beyond doubt. It should be clear to anybody whether the organisation is bound. As Senator James McClelland has indicated, this will apply only in the particular circumstances that a person has not observed the requirements which are set out in the section. 1 certainly listened with interest to what Senator Rae said. 1 noticed that there was some indicated support from various places around the chamber for the proposition which he was putting. 1 think it is unquestionable that if a member of a union desires to resign he should know and should be able to find out if he does not know what steps he should follow. I think that there are obligations upon union secretaries to pass on that information. I am unable to say whether they do so but certainly a person in an organisation should be able to obtain this information readily. I must say that I was not able fully to appreciate the point that was made by Senator Donald Cameron. It appears to me that the circumstances in which a person may resign his membership are the 2 circumstances which are contained in proposed new section 145. These new provisions are designed to overcome what, at least in one case, were found to be the deficiencies of the existing section 145. If one looks at existing section 145, one finds that it is in very short form. It simply says that:
A member may resign his membership of any organisation:
if he accepts employment in an industry other than that represented by the organisation; or
on giving 3 months’ notice and the payment of all dues to the date of his resignation.
Proposed new section 145 indicates in far more detailed form how he shall give that notice of resignation. It is a matter, I think, for the rules of the particular organisation whether or not it can have a member who currently is not employed in the industry in which the organisation is operating. It is a matter, of course, which is subject to the general requirements of the Industrial Registrar, at the time the organisation is registered, as to what the rules provide. I know there are exceptions from time to time as to the circumstances in which people outside the industry may continue to be members, but it is fundamentally a matter for the organisation itself as to who shall be members of that organisation. I am not sure whether or not I caught the point raised by Senator Donald Cameron but that is the way it struck me.
The other point was raised by Senator Milliner. I would think that resignation takes effect as from the date it is intended to take effect. According to the provision contained in proposed new section 145, as in old section 145, that notice in writing is given because a person wants to resign, that period is not less than 3 months. If it does not state a specific period, and the person just wants to resign, 1 would imagine - this may be a question for lawyers to argue about - it is 3 months after the date upon which it was given. But they are matters which appear to me to have arisen from the discussion that has already taken place.
– This is a very important section that has been the subject of court cases over, I think, half a century. For example, payment of dues has been construed by the High Court in one famous case as remaining liable to pay the dues. Perhaps the proposed new section will produce a great deal of contention. I do not think it is satisfactory at all. There are considerations which have been mentioned by Senator Rae, as well as others. What is proposed by Senator James McClelland is an improvement, but the consequences of resignation to an organisation, to a member and to those in the industry are very important. One would think that it is a simple matter like leaving a tennis club. However, it is not. There have been many great cases over this and the fate of officers has depended upon such small matters as the effectiveness of resignations as well as admission to membership. This is not a small matter at all. I regret that the proposed new section is not framed in a better shape than the way we are leaving it, but there is nothing much we can do about it in the circumstances.
– I do not want to prolong the debate on this clause but I was called out of the chamber and missed the full explanation of the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood). Perhaps I could just illustrate a case and the Attorney-General might answer it for me.I would like to give the example of an employee of a factory in Sydney. This case may be further complicated, as the Attorney-General can appreciate by migrant overtones. Take the case where the delegate takes the union dues on a Friday to the union office and, there being a lack of communication, the employee, that is the union member indicates to an interpreter that he is leaving that day. This is conveyed verballyto the union delegate and this fellow is struck off the list of members. The union then writes to an address, say in Marrickville, that it has accepted his resignation. Let us assume that because of the migration of people all over the urban areas this letter goes to the Dead Letter Office and then is returned to the union. What would happen after that? In this case the union has endeavoured to meet the requirements, the letter goes to the Dead Letter Office and the fellow is under the impression that he is still a member. What would happen under these circumstances?
– It is difficult to give an answer to the question asked by Senator Mulvihill because it poses so many problems,I would have thought - and I say this off the cuff -that that person would still be a member of the organisation because he has not complied with the rules laid down for giving notice of resignation. Even though there was an attempt by the organisation to accept his verbal resignation in the circumstances which Senator Mulvihill posed, that person was not informed by the secretary.
– They could give him a note at the office then and there.
– Senator Murphy constructively says that if a note were given to him then and there at the office it would meet the situation. I agree with what Senator Murphy suggests. The Government will examine the operations of this procedure and will be receptive to any comments forthcoming as to how it has worked in practice. The amendments arise from the Government’s perception of the problems that arose and were revealed in one court case and possibly in others. The Government’s continuing interest will be available for those who feel that this procedure will need some amelioraton in the future.
– With a spirit of helpfulness I suggest for the consideration of Senator James McClelland who moved the amendment a further amendment to sub-section (4.) of proposed new section 145. If it is worded in the way I shall suggest it will overcome the problem which has just been raised. I suggest that sub-section (4.) read:
A resignation of membership of an organisation is valid notwithstanding that it is not effected in accordance with this section if the acceptance of the resignation is recorded by the organisation or if the member is informed in writing by or on behalf of the organisation that the resignation has been accepted.
I have added the words ‘if the acceptance of the resignation is recorded by the organisation’ and ‘in writing”. So the union records recording the resignation or the notice in writing would be proof of the acceptance of the resignation. This seems to go someway towards overcomingthe problem.
-I welcome the spirit in which Senator Rae has put forward his suggestion but 1 can assure him - and there are some extremely experienced honourable senators in this field in the chamber who would support me - that this is a very technical matter which is not really to be embarked upon at this stage of affairs. We cannot do justice now to what Senator Rae has suggested. There are a lot of complications involved and it would be preferable for this suggestion to be looked at again on an occasion when there is more time and when some real discussion can take place. There is an enormous amount of learning behind all this and what seems simple to Senator Rae about recording is not quite so simple.
– I have been involved in quite a bit of litigation about this.
– There are some who have an even greater experience of these precise problems and who have had long and intimate acquaintances with the difficulties of organisations and the way in which they work.
– I am not claiming any great expertise, only some knowledge of what the problems are.
– It would be better not to tamper with the matter. We on this side are not happy with the situation but we do not propose to tamper with the suggestion that was made by Senator James McClelland.
– I indicate to Senator Rae that the Government will examine this section not only in the light of what Senator Murphy has said but also in the light of what he has said. My initial thought was that if Senator Rae’s suggestion were accepted we could have a situation which was known in the union office but not known to anybody else and people could proceed on an assumption which, if a challenge were raised, could be proved to be incorrect. That is one thought that strikes me. There is prudence in leaving it as it is because, as Senator Murphy has said, it has its problems. The Government will continue to see how it operates in practice.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Proposed new clause 49a
– I move:
The enormous history behind this matter is well known to many honourable senators and was set out at some length in the great judgment of the High Court of Australia in the case of Williams v. Hursey. The fact is that trade unions have had to battle against attempts, by various devices, to prevent organisation of the workers. These attempts were declared to be illegal. We know the history of this matter - Australia is intimately connected with it. Men were transported here because they had the temerity to get together in small groups and ask for meagre improvements in their wages or conditions. Their organisations were treated as illegal and they were treated as criminals. They were actually sentenced and dealt with as criminals. In one way or another throughout the entire English-speaking world con sistent attempts have been made by legislation and through the courts to prevent the legitimate organisation of trade unions and the furtherance of their trade disputes.
The history of labour injunctionsin the United States was a great disgrace. Finally the Congress of the United States had to place curbs upon the various endeavours through the courts and by the use of equity procedures to prevent trade unions carrying out their legitimate functions of endeavouring by disputations, bans or limitations, or by any other weapon which they had at their disposal, to try to advance the interests of their members against the great power of those who were employing them and who were able to organise freely. Unions and their members have been harrassed over the years by actions for conspiracy, inducing breaches of contract and so on. These actions were so much against .whatwas seen to be the national interest that, in the United Kingdom, specific legislation was introduced to prevent actions of this kind being taken.
We have had very little history of such actions in Australia. There have been one or 2, but procedures of this nature fell into disuse because of great public disapproval. For example, it was thought that when actions came before juries, the juries would not find persons guilty, even civilly, of an offence of conspiracy or of inducing breach of contract and would not have required unions or their members to pay damages. However, the law is not clear. Within recent times - this has not been well publicised - cases have been brought before the courts. There was a recent case in, I think, Bathurst, New South Wales, against a few union members who were involved in a disputation connected with the Australian Workers Union.
– There were two in South Australia.
– I am informed that there have been two instances in South Australia in which cases were brought and damages obtained. This certainly happened in the New South Wales case.
– This was not the case in South Australia.
– Apparently this did not occur in South Australia. This runs against what generally has been regarded as the proper way to sort out industrial affairs. There is a difference of opinion as to whether sanctions should be imposed upon trade unions by the Industrial Court. I hope there will be no difference of opinion as to whether there ought not to be civil actions for conspiracy and so on. It is to make clear that such action should not be possible that the amendment has been moved by the Opposition.
– The Government will oppose this amendment and is amazed at the enormity of what the Australian Labor Party is asking the Australian people to accept. This matter has been resolved. Not only is there a suggestion that in industrial disputes which lead to limitations of work or strikes should there be no penalties if the union is in breach of an award but if a union exercises its industrial power and, as a result, breaks contracts, engages in retortive conspiracy and if - I think this would be covered by the language of the amendment - an assault is occasioned to a person, that organisation and any person connected with it would not be liable to pay any damages for any loss which is caused. The enormity of that suggestion strikes one as soon as one examines the amendment because it would put union organisations and their officials above the law. All they would have to say is that if there is an industrial dispute they can in effect do what they please. They cannot break the criminal law; I must concede that. That is still an area in which the Labor Party is prepared to say that the law ought to be imposed. Apart from that area, union organisations and their officials can say that they will not be liable to any civil proceeding.
– One would have to go as far as the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union dispute in Melbourne at the moment to come under that jurisdiction.
– I may have made too great a concession when I suggested that they do not say that the criminal law will not apply. It is a matter of interpretation.
– It is an action. The Attorney-General knows what an action is.
– It is a matter of whether the interpretation has the result which I have suggested. I heard Senator Murphy interject. He said that it is not intended to apply to criminal actions. I note his interjection so that the position can be made clear. Prima facie that would be my view also, but I am not sure how far one can regard these words as exculpating persons or organisations. The criterion upon which this applies is whether the conspiracy, the breach of contract or the conduct inducing a breach of contract arises in any way in or in connection with an industrial dispute. An industrial dispute is defined in the Act, and it is defined extensively. Section 4 (2.) states:
A reference in this Act to an industrial dispute shall, unless the contrary intention appears, be read as including a reference to -
a part of an industrial dispute;
an industrial dispute so far as it relates to a matter in dispute; or
a question arising in relation to an industrial dispute.
So peripheral matters could be regarded as part of the industrial dispute and, if any action is taken by a union or an office bearer of the union involved in these matters, that action may be taken with impunity. The union or its office bearer will not be liable to any civil action. In Victoria recently a number of persons in the Trades Hall Council agreed that a supermarket which was seeking to trade, in accordance with the law, at certain hours in the late night should be boycotted. The power of the union movement was such that supplies could be stopped from reaching Safeway’s. A court action was instituted and the court ordered that there should be an injunction served upon the various unionists concerned. The problem was to find these unions. The matter did not result in a hearing because it was settled before it was to be heard. But the point I make is that action of that character by an employer to protect his own business would not be allowed if the Labor Party were able to carry the day with this amendment. Believe me, we know that this is part of the policy of the Labor Party enunciated at its Executive meeting in Townsville earlier this year. It is not only expressed in the amendment, it is also a part of the Labor Party’s policy, and to put union organisations and officials above the law entirely is to me an appalling prospect.
– We have heard what I suppose one would expect from the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood). The statement that he has just made indicates that he wants to turn industrial law back into the last century. I would think that the general viewpoint of the employers and of all the people who are concerned with industrial matters, of the reports which have been made, such as the Donovan report, and of the legislation which has existed in England under Conservative as well as Labour governments, has been in line with what we have proposed in our amendment and is directly contrary to the statement made by the Attorney-General, that the organisations should be exposed to actions under the civil law. That is completely in the teeth of some 80 or perhaps 100 years of thinking.
– He is not a man of this century.
– He is not even in the 20th century at all. Apart from what the Attorney-General has said, I do not think you would find that any member of a previous Liberal government has ever made such an extreme statement as has just been made by the Attorney-General. To suggest that organisations should be exposed to the civil law in the way that he has suggested- that actions for conspiracy, actions for inducing breaches of contract and so forth could be brought against organnisations
– If it is unlawful, of course an action should be brought and of course it could be.
– Listen to him say: If it is unlawful, of course it should be and of course it could be’. The purpose of the legislation in the United Kingdom and the purpose of our amendment is to ensure that that action will not be unlawful; that it will not be susceptible of the civil processes. Otherwise, what is the purpose of having an Arbitration Act? The whole idea of introducing an Arbitration Act and of setting up tribunals - the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and the Commonwealth Industrial Court - was to remove these matters entirely from the areas about which the Attorney-General is speaking, actions for conspiracy and actions for inducing breaches of contract and so on, because it was found that those actions were only productive of further industrial disputation.
Do you really want a situation where, when there is some industrial disputation, instead of the matter being taken to the Arbitration Commission an action for conspiracy is brought that will drag on in the Supreme Court of New South Wales for some 3 years or so, during which time there is constant friction in the industry? Even with the scheme which the AttorneyGeneral proposes, under which there is provision for penalties, injunctions and so forth, the matter can at least be dealt with in some way. This is why, even when the area has been opened, those of intelligence have realised that you cannot handle industrial disputations in this way. The AttorneyGeneral thinks that we can turn the clock back into the 19th century and do this. I am staggered. As far as I know, no member of the Government has ever suggested anything as extreme as the AttorneyGeneral has suggested on this occasion. There is some indication which rs quite contrary to the kind of thing that the Attorney-General is suggesting. Section 147 of the Act states:
Unless the contrary intention appears in this Act, no organisation or member of an organisation shall be liable to be sued, or to be proceeded against for a pecuniary penalty, except in the Court, for any act or omission in respect of which the Court has jurisdiction.
Probably the belief of the people who inserted that section in the Act was that this would dispose of such actions for conspiracy and for inducing breach of contract. It happened that somebody cleverly has been able to avoid what is the evident intention of the principal Act. Now we find that actions are being taken. There was one in New South Wales and there were several in South Australia. Obviously the intent of the Act should be given effect. There should be a clear provision to the effect that none of these actions shall be commenced and that industrial disputes shall be dealt with in the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and the Industrial Court under an industrial code and not be subjected to actions associated with the 19th century concept of the criminality of trade unions. Such actions would be productive of endless friction and disputation.
That the proposed new clause 49a (Senator Murphy’s amendment) be inserted in the Bill.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Prowse)
Majority . . . . 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause 50 (Organisations to notify particulars of bank accounts, etc.)
– The Opposition opposes clause 50 which deals with the notification of particulars of bank accounts. It is repugnant to us as being an unacceptable interference with the affairs of trade unions. It is consistent with the Government’s repudiation of its own philosophy. If there were any remnants of the Liberal Party philosophy which has been expounded all over Australia they are being ripped rapidly away by the proposals made by this Government. The precedents being set by this legislation for interference with corporate structures, for prevention of mergers and interference with internal affairs of corporations - which happen to be trade unions - are a sign that no-one in
Australia can expect the Liberal Party to observe even what it proclaimed as its philosophy in the past. What can be done to corporations which are trade unions can be done to corporations which are not trade unions. Once this kind of precedent is introduced into legislation there is little doubt that future governments will tend to follow it. This will have the effect of reducing the freedom of organisations and will cause an erosion of the freedom of individuals. The Liberal-Country Party coalition is taking steps towards an unfree society and this legislation is a clear example of it. We will oppose the clause.
– I sense that much of what Senator Murphy said he had elaborated upon in his second reading speech, and I replied to the points raised at that stage. I do not intend to repeat what I said then. I think we must look at clause 50. It proposes to insert as a new section 153a, the effect of which will be to require a registered organisation to file with the Industrial Registrar particulars of the banks in which funds of the organisation are kept and also particulars of the banks or other financial institutions which have custody of moneys or negotiable securities of the organisations. This provision extends also to funds and negotiable securities of branches of an organisation. The details of the particulars to be filed with the Registrar are to be prescribed by regulation. I think it should be noted that sub-section (2.) of proposed new section 153a states:
The particulars that may be prescribed do not include particulars of the amount or value of any moneys or negotiable securities or of the nature of any negotiable securities, but do include particulars of the situation of places of business of financial institutions at which accounts are maintained, whether in the name of the organisation or in another name, of the designation of accounts or of the situation of safe deposits.
The purpose of the provision is to enable information to be on record about the location of certain assets of registered organisations so that they may be more readily found for the purpose of enforcing penalties imposed under the Act. An example of how these difficulties arise was found in the O’Shea case. The Tramways Union had refused to pay penalties imposed upon it under this Act. It was known that the Victorian branch of the union had funds in the Commonwealth Savings Bank. This money was recovered under the ordinary writs of execution issued against the bank. It was believed that the union had substantial investments in loans of the State Electricity Commission. The location of those securities was not known nor was the location of other assets of the union. The regulations under the Act provide for enforcement by writ of execution but before proceedings can be taken by way of writ of execution it is necessary to find out where the securities are located.
For this purpose action was taken to obtain an order that Mr O’Shea, the Secretary of the Victorian Branch, should attend for oral examination before a judge of the Industrial Court. It is a matter of history that he attended, refused to answer questions and was thereupon committed to prison for contempt of court. The consequence of the industrial action which thereby was initiated was avoided by the anonymous payment of the fine which had been imposed upon the union. On reflection, 1 am not sure whether the fine was paid anonymously on that occasion. 1 may be thinking of another occasion. I think on that occasion the man who paid the fine was identified, but I am speaking from recollection.
While the amendments proposed by this clause do not require a registered organisation to disclose the location of all of its assets it will go some way towards avoiding the situation which arose in the O’Shea case. Where a union has funds in bank accounts, or moneys or negotiable securities in safe deposits, or any other organisation has these assets, these can be taken under a writ of execution without the need to summon union officials to disclose on oral examination before the Court the location of those assets. 1 think Senator Murphy’s proposition that this in some way intrudes on the affairs of voluntary associations, registered organisations or companies or corporate bodies is made without due regard to the existing provisions of section 152 of this legislation. Amongst the records which the organisations have to keep are accounts in proper form showing receipts, payments and funds; also records of the effects of the organisation. Each branch of the organisa tion is required to provide certified copies of those documents for the Industrial Registrar each year. This to me is the same type of requirement and I cannot see that it is such a great departure as to warrant the attack upon it that Senator Murphy has made.
That clause50 stand as printed.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Prowse)
Majority . . . . 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– I move:
I notice that it is now about 12.23 p.m. I have moved my motion because we are almost on the final stages of this Bill. A couple of amendments remain to be put and it will be almost impossible to deal with them in the time allotted. The final stages of the Bill will not take very long to deal with and the Opposition and the Australian Democratic Labor Party should at least have an opportunity to put their amendments. I ask for an indication that this request will be acceded to as a matter of common sense.
– I would be happy to alter the deadline of 12.30 p.m. to 12.45 p.m. to enable the other matters to be proceeded with in the intervening period. Is that acceptable to the Opposition?
– Instead of doing that let us say that the whole debate will finish by 1 o’clock. We will not need a quarter of an hour for the final stages of the Bill.
– I am prepared to leave it to the Senate to decide whether we should go until 12.45. There are a number of votes to take place and I assume that the Opposition will seek to divide on the remaining stages of the Bill.
– We would like to.
– In those circumstances I think we should proceed on a basis that the other place will receive the Bill this afternoon after it resumes.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
After Part VIII. of the Principal Act, the following Part is inserted: - “PARTVIIIa.- AMALGAMATION OF ORGANIZATIONS. “158a. In this Part, unless the contrary intention appears - “158k. - (1.) If approval in respect of the amalgamation is given in accordance with the last preceding section, the Industrial Registrar shall arrange for the conduct, in respect of each of the existing organizations concerned in the amalgamation, of a ballot of the members of that organization on the question whether they approve the proposed amalgamation of that organization with the other existing organization or organizations concerned. “(2.) A ballot referred to in the last preceding sub-section shall be a secret ballot by postal voting and the Industrial Registrar shall -
– The Opposition objects to the whole of clause 51. These amalgamation procedures clearly have been designed to prevent amalgamations. The most experienced persons in the industrial sphere say that this is the design behind these amalgamation provisions. This would be the effect of them. I have not the time to take the Committee through the procedures which are contained in clause 51. But step by step time limits are imposed and procedures are involved which not only constitute an unwarranted interference with these corporate bodies in merging with one another if they so desire but also are designed to prevent such legitimate mergers. Reading from the beginning to the end of the Bill, one sees that its design is to delay and to defeat mergers.
Sufficient time is not available to deal with the obnoxious features of this clause because of the guillotine which has been applied to this legislation. Without in any way accepting the scheme, which we will vote against, I move:
At the end of proposed section 158k add the following sub-section: “ ‘(7.) Where-
The effect of this amendment is that where an amalgamation is proposed between 2 organisations, if the size of the one deregistering is 5 per cent or less than that of the host organisation, there need not be a ballot of the larger organisation unless the Industrial Registrar in special circumstances thinks that there should be. We think that this proposition is reasonable. The membership of small unions should be consulted. But if the clause provides that a ballot must be held of all the members of the larger organisation to an amalgamation, the expense involved will be too great.
An organisation with 70,000 or 80,000 members may propose to merge with one which might have a membership of 2,000, 500 or 300. If one looks through the list of organisations one sees that a number of them are actually quite tiny with memberships below 100. Many more have memberships of 3,000 or 4,000. The expense for the larger union to an amalgamation to conduct a ballot of all its members would run into many tens of thousands of dollars. Such a larger union simply would not be prepared to undertake the expense. It would have to allow the smaller organisation to get along in an uneconomic way. That is the intent of the proposal. It is understood that there would need to be agreement by the governing bodies of the larger organisations. By the Act and regulations they must be represented. Even if they agree to it, we consider that this is a reasonable proposition. If there is any such case, the Industrial Registrar may require that there be a ballot. What is unreasonable about this proposal? If there is any good faith about the matter, this amendment ought to be accepted. We ask the Committee to accept it.
– I do not wish to go over the whole philosophy on amalgamations. At this stage of our consideration of the Bill, after the second reading speeches, we know that there are those amongst us who have entirely differing points of view on the question of amalgamation. The Australian Democratic Labor Party has some reservations about clause 51, but perhaps for reasons different from those expressed by Senator Murphy. In his amendment he is trying to deal with a very special set of circumstances. On that point, we find that we can go quite part of the way.
It seems reasonable that it should not be necessary for a major trade union to conduct a ballot as a general principle when it absorbs another union that does not have a membership exceeding 5 per cent of the total membership of the major union. However, this could lead to some weaknesses. The stage could be reached where a major trade union with 80,000 members could absorb a union with 4,000 members, bringing the total membership to 84,000. As a result, the 5 per cent figure would rise. Within a period of one year a major trade union could absorb as many as 10 other unions. As each of them would not have membership constituting 5 per cent of the total membership of the major organisation, the situation could get completely out of hand. For this reason we propose to move an amendment to Senator Murphy’s amendment. I ask Senator Murphy to give most serious consideration to our proposed amendment. Although we feel that we can go along with the general principle that he is trying to establish, we do not feel that the security we seek would affect his proposal. In order to achieve the protection that we seek it will be necessary for the amendment that we propose to move to Senator Murphy’s amendment to be agreed to. We accept all of his amendment except paragraph (b) of proposed sub-section (7.). Therefore, I move:
The effect of the amendment is that it will not interfere in any way with the right of a major organisation to seek exemption from a ballot except when over a period of 3 years it exceeds the 5 per cent level of its membership by absorbing other trade unions. This would mean that if the major union wished to do that within a period of 3 years it would need to conduct a ballot of its members. If after the period of 3 years rt wished to amalgamate with another union, thereby exceeding the original 5 per cent of its membership, again it could seek exemption from holding a ballot. This would be the total effect of my proposed amendment. We believe that it would achieve that and nothing more. We feel that there are no dangers in the proposal and we suggest that it is a sensible move.
– I see a danger in the amendment to my amendment. It is unacceptable to the Opposition. If Senator Little will address himself to it I think he might concede what I am putting. Although the Opposition has had little time to consider his amendment it would seem that it is proposed to leave out paragraph (b) of proposed sub-section (7.) of my amendment, which is the 5 per cent provision, and to insert a provision that the total number of members that have been, and could be, admitted to the organisation upon and by reason of the amalgamation and any other amalgamations during the preceding 2 years shall not exceed 5 per cent. The words ‘the total number of members that have been, and could be, admitted’ means that there is a completely indeterminant situation. You deal with an organisation that might have SOO members, so that it covers category A, and amalgamates with another organisation that has, say, 100,000 members. In that industry there might be another 5,000 or 10,000 workers who are not in the union. But once the constitution of A is added to the constitution of B it is clear that there could be admitted to the organisation upon and by reason of the amalgamation the required number of members. The amalgamation involves a change of constitution and those other persons could be admitted.
– That is not the true meaning of it.
– It is its true meaning. It does not refer to members of the organisation. It does not say that there shall be so many members; it says: ‘the total number of members that have been, and could be, admitted to the organisation upon and by reason of the amalgamation. . . .’ The amalgamation involves a change of the constitutional rules of the bodies concerned. I suggest with very great respect that because of that the amendment is defective. An amalgamation could never really be established and there would be uncertainty as to whether it was operative. We have put forward an amendment which provides for a figure of 5 per cent. We have said that in special circumstances in which the Registrar thinks there ought to be a ballot he can order to that effect. Surely that is enough to meet the situation. I believe that our amendment should be accepted rather than an amendment which is put forward speedily at this stage and which I think has a serious defect in it. I ask the Senate to support our amendment which is a reasonable one.
– I do not accept the arguments that have been put forward by Senator Murphy. The words ‘the total number of members that have been, and could be, admitted to the organisation upon and by reason of the amalgamation’ are concerned with the actual amalgamation itself. There is nothing in this amendment that would stop any organisation from admitting new members at any future date to its organisation. Therefore our amendment does not contain the dangers that Senator Murphy suggested that it could. Under its rules an organisation can always add to its membership to meet the requirement in terms of numbers. Our amendment wholly and solely covers those members who will be brought in for the purpose of the amalgamation.
– What is the meaning of the words ‘have been and could be’? Why do you say in your amendment have been, and could be’?
– The amendment states’. the total number of members that have been, and could be. admitted to the organisation upon and by reason of the amalgamation . . .
It refers to those members who have been admitted and those members who could be admitted by reason of the amalgamation itself. It does not in any way prevent the joining up of new members to any particular organisation at any particular time. This is covered by other sections of the Act in dealing with other sections of union organisations. This clause is intended purely as a precaution.
– You are determining an optimum.
– That is right. We are determining an optimum which cannot be exceeded. We suggest it is a reasonable proposition. We suggest to the Opposition that it is the only amendment to the clause that we would accept. This amendment will cover precisely the set of circumstances in which the Opposition is interested in relation to a particular organisation which happens to be affiliated with its Party.
– It is all messed up.
– If the honourable senator thinks it is messed up, it is too bad. The organisation to which I referred has requested the Opposition to achieve the objective which will suit its purpose. We are helping the Opposition to achieve that objective and at the same time we are taking into consideration the safeguards that we think are necessary in relation to this clause. We have a choice of 2 amendments and I suggest that the better of the 2 is the amendment which we propose.
– I think I should indicate that the Government recognises that there is a general agreement, certainly amongst the majority of the Senate, that there should be some such provision as is proposed, and the Government will not oppose some such provision. The real question at issue appears to be what should be the form which this provision should take. It appears to me that the difference is that the Australian Labor Party takes the view that one should simply look at the organisation which is sought to be absorbed and the number of members it has, without any regard to an overall context and that the Democratic Labor Party’s amendment does take into account what has been happening over a period of time. The Government will support the DLP amendment.
– We are entitled to know from the Attorney-General what unions he has in mind. Why do we not deal with realities instead of bloody fantasies?
– Order! The honourable senator should be careful in his choice of language.
– I intended earlier to say a few words on this clause. One will recall that in my speech at the second reading stage 1 said that the Government had agreed to save the Federated Ironworkers’ Association of Australia from these amalgamation provisions. Now the Democratic Labor Party seeks to insert an amendment for the purpose of saving one organisation. I think I put up a case which justified the amalgamation with which 1 was concerned. The Industrial Registrar has ruled that the application under the 2 required sections was in prior to last Friday, and he has now stated that the Building Workers Industrial Union and the Operative Plasterers and Plaster Workers Federation amalgamation will be the last amalgamation dealt with under the old Act. That amalgamation will be covered by the existing provisions. While that application for amalgamation could receive no support on the Government side, the Government and the DLP have now joined forces to save the Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia. They came to an agreement, as is well known, and the Government agreed to accept an amendment, as is also well known. It is frightful administration to amend the Bill for one organisation.
– The proposal which has been made is really useless. The Attorney-General has not answered it. I think he must be well seized of what I said to him. The Democratic Labor Party amendment deals with the potential membership of a union. As one sees the amalgamation provisions of the proposed new section 158h, if something is added to the constitution of the host organisation, under the DLP proposal one has to look at the potential membership, not the actual membership of the deregistering organisation. We have to look at the potential, at what could be obtained by the host organisation. That means that we have a completely indeterminate element. Persons could be admitted to the host organisation, but they might not be admitted because they belong to no union or because they belong to some other union. The fact is that at law they could be admitted to the host union by virtue of the amalgamation, upon or by reason of it. That means that it is completely-
– They are quantified by the number of members of the union amalgamating.
– The amendment states: the total number of members that have been, and could be, admitted to the organisation upon and by reason of the amalgamation . . .
– The word ‘upon’ means ‘at the time’. You are not giving it sufficient emphasis.
– ‘Upon’ means ‘following’. The amendment refers to persons who could be admitted. The moment we change the constitution of the host organisation we have to ask: What is the potential membership that the host organisation could get by reason of this change in its constitution? This is one of the matters under proposed new section 158h. This provision will help nobody because it will be a completely useless provision. Instead of having a sensible provision, either innocently or deliberately an attempt has been made to nullify the simple proposal which we made. I think it is consistent with the attitude of the Australian Democratic Labor Party that it is opposed to amalgamations, and this bears out entirely the approach it has made during the Committee stage.
The CHAIRMAN (Senator Prowse)With the leave of the Committee I propose to put the 2 amendments moved by Senator Little together. Is there any objection? There being no objection, I will follow that course.
That the amendments (Senator Little’s) to Senator Murphy’s amendment be agreed to.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Prowse)
Majority . . 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
The CHAIRMAN (Senator Prowse)Order! The time for the consideration of the Bill in Committee having expired, I must now put the remaining questions.
Amendment (Senator Murphy’s), as amended, agreed to.
That clause51, as amended, be agreed to.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator Prowse)
Majority . . . . 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
The question is, that the remainder of the Bill, including the remaining amendments circulated by the Government, be agreed to and the Bill be reported.
-I point out that the Australian Labor Party intended to oppose a number of clauses but because of the guillotine has not been able to do so. Consequently our view is as established in the other place.
The CHAIRMAN (Senator Prowse)The question is: That the remainder of the Bill, including the remaining amendments circulated by the Government be agreed to and that the Bill be reported’.
Part VIIIa of the Principal Act as amended by this Act does not apply in relation to an amalgamation in relation to which, before the date of commencement of this section -
Government amendment -
At end of paragraph (a) leave out ‘or’, insert and’.
– MayI indicate that the Opposition will not ask for a division but that only the Opposition is voting against the motion that has just been put.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
In the Senate
– Mr President, I have to report that the Committee has considered the Bill and has agreed to the same with amendments. I further report that the motion was agreed to in the Com mittee in accordance with standing order 407b under which the time allotted for the remaining stages of the Bill was until 1 p.m. today.
Motion (by Senator Greenwood) agreed to:
That the report by adopted.
Motion (by Senator Greenwood) put:
That the Bill be now read a third time.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . . . 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Sitting suspended from 1.4 to 2.15 p.m.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
I indicate to my colleagues that this speech covers about41/2 pages. Having regard to the pressure on our time . I suggest that they might allow me to incorporate it in Hansard.
– Is leave granted?
– As Senator Cavanagh is not happy with that suggestion 1 am content to read the speech, particularly as it interests me greatly. This Bill provides for the continuation of financial assistance for a further 5 years from 1st July 1971 to the States by the Commonwealth, for the purpose of expanding the rate of softwood plantings and so assist in meeting our needs for forest products. As honourable senators are aware the States have for the past 5 years been assisted financially to the extent of $18m by the Commonwealth to expand softwood planting in accordance with the Sortwood Forestry Agreements Act 1967. The States have been enabled to increase the area of Government-owned softwood plantations from about 528,500 acres as at 31st March 1966 to 793,000 acres as at 31st March 1971. In addition the area of softwood plantation in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory increased from 27,959 acres to 36,546 acres during the same period.
The assistance provided by the Commonwealth to the States in the first programme was by way of long-term loan funds provided on very favourable terms. The funds, which are repayable over 25 years, are free of interest during the first 10 years after the date of each advance. Repayments, which are geared to the cash flow pattern of a forestry investment where there is no financial return until first thinnings, also commence 10 years after each advance. It is estimated that, during the second 5-year programme, the Commonwealth will make available some $21m to cover the proportion of State government planting that it has agreed to finance up until 30th June 1976. These loan funds will be provided on the same generous terms and conditions as for the first programme.
Honourable senators will be aware that the total level of planting programmed for the second 5-year period covered by this Bill is 273,400 acres, which compares favourably with the previous 5-year programme of 256,800 acres, although, by comparison with the last year of the first programme the annual rate of planting will be reduced from 58,500 acres to 54,680 acres. The area to be financed by the Commonwealth under the provisions of this Bill over the 5 years is 125,000 acres, compared with the total of 113,100 acres financed during the first agreement. The Government gave careful consideration to the level of planting in the second programme and decided that the total annual level of softwood planting should continue at about 75,000 acres. Of this total the State governments share would be 58,000 acres, the Department of the Interior in the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory some 2,000 to 3,000 acres, with private forests expected to contribute 15,000 acres.
The purpose of Commonwealth financial assistance is to enable the States to increase their rate of softwood plantings beyond what they could support from their own resources. The Commonwealth proposed initially that the States should finance 33,600 acres themselves and the Commonwealth provide financial assistance to plant 24,400 acres. This represented a modest growth in State-financed planting over the first agreement and seemed reasonable in the light of the continued expansion the States achieved on their own accord in years preceding the first agreement and of the increase in capital funds that have been made available to the States over recent years. However, following discussions with the States a base-year acreage of 29,680 acres was agreed to by the States and the Commonwealth raised its level of assistance to 25,000 acres.
I should point out that although the Commonwealth and States jointly decide upon both the total level of planting for the 5-year programme and its distribution between States, the distribution of planting within any State is a State responsibility. In making the offer to the States for the sec- ond programme the Commonwealth, in an effort to assist afforestation planning by the States, has agreed to consider the question of support for a further 5-year programme before the second programme terminates. Should the Commonwealth agree to finance a third 5-year programme, however, it could not be assumed that the present financial arrangements will be continued.
The agreement to be signed between the Commonwealth and the States containing the terms and conditions of the second programme, although similar to the first programme, has some important amendments which I would like to mention. These amendments result from experience gained during the operation of the first agreement. Firstly, the method of calculation of financial assistance due to a State in any one year has been changed thereby avoiding the problem which arose because the planting year in forestry differs from the financial year. It is hoped this will make the calculation of financial assistance more flexible in the new programme. Secondly, a provision has been included providing for the State to carry forward to this second agreement approved overplanting and under-planting that, as the case may be, was incurred by the individual States during the first agreement.
Thirdly, the agreement requires the States toseek approval to incorporate any above - or below - programmed plantings occurring in this second programme in the new assistance formula, within one year of the variation occurring. This is important to ensure that the level of annual plantings should be as close as possible to that programmed. It is a complex legal agreement and I consider these amendments will smooth out any of the administrative problems we became aware of in the first agreement as well as facilitate the transition from the first programme to the second.
Mr President, this scheme is one which has its genesis in the Australian Forestry Council. Although the scheme directly assists the States to increase their softwood resources, its final objective is to ensure timber is available for the forest industries based on these resources. It is estimated that in financial year 1970-71 Australian consumption of forest products was in excess of $900m and domestic production was $650m. This scheme will provide raw material for expansion and growth of Australian industry and it is hoped that this will enable large, efficient, integrated industries to be established. At the same time it will provide employment in the forest and in forest industries thereby stimulating employment opportunities in rural areas; it will complement our existing resources of native forests and enable a wide range of forest products to be available to the community and it will reduce our reliance on the import of forest products from overseas. The States are to be congratulated on their achievements in the first programme and the manner in which they undertook their task augurs well for a successful second programme. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Mulvihill) 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.
I seek leave to incorporate the second reading speech in Hansard.
– Is leave granted?
Leave not granted.
Suspension of Standing Orders
– I am in charge of this Bill, Senator Cavanagh, and I have indicated that 1 would like the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) to incorporate the second reading speech in Hansard. I move:
– The question is that the motion be agreed to. Those in favour say ‘aye’, to the contrary ‘no’, I think the ayes have it.
– No. 1 would ask that my vote against the motion be recorded.
– I direct that Senator Cavanagh’s dissent be recorded.
– I now incorporate the second reading speech. (The document read as follows):
This Bill to extend and amend the provisions of the Industrial Research and Development Grants Act 1967 was foreshadowed by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in another place on 1st March 1 972 when announcing the extension of the Government’s incentive provided under the current scheme for a further 5-year period from July of this year. The purpose of the legislation introduced in 1967 was to provide an incentive that would induce Australian manufacturing and mining companies to allocate more of their own funds to industrial research and development activities as a means of improving products and processes. This remains the objective behind the provisions and amendments which the Government is now introducing.
The ability of Australian industry to compete with overseas producers, both in Australian and world markets, depends to a considerable degree on achieving a high level of research and development, bringing with it not only new products and processes but a build-up over time of a higher technological capability and capacity throughout Australian industry. The arrangements, introduced in 1967, are administered by the Australian Industrial Research and Development Grants Board. They operate by providing grants to Australian industrial and mining companies which increased their expenditures on research and development salaries and contracts between a particular year - the grant year - and a fixed base year - .1965-66. In addition, the actual net cost of plant and equipment purchased in the grant year is also eligible for grant, but with the provision that at no time would a grant be approved in respect of net plant expenditure which would result in the cumulative grants for plant expenditure exceeding the cumulative grants given for salary and contract expenditure.
The Act contains some broad rules which companies must comply with before they become eligible for a grant. A company must be incorporated in Australia and carrying out manufacturing or mining operations. Research and development operations must be performed by professionally qualified persons or by persons working in direct assistance to a qualified person. One reason why the scheme has worked well is that it contains a minimum of administrative requirements and obligations.
There is no doubt that the present Act has attained a good deal of success, and a significant portion of increased industrial research and development by companies over the past few years must be attributed to the incentive. The Australian Industrial Research and Development Grants Board states in its Fourth Annual Report, that of the 808 companies which had received grants by June 1971, 54 per cent (440) did not perform any industrial research and development in the base year 1965-66. The Board earlier estimated that there had been an increase of 64 per cent in the number full time professionally qualified persons engaged on industrial research and development between 1965-66 and 1968-69.
However, recent examination has shown that there are many more companies with a technological capacity that are still not undertaking research and development and there is still scope for others to lift the level of their research activities. A recent official survey shows that of some 13,000 manufacturing and mining companies approached, only 1,320 replied that they had incurred any industrial research and development expenditure in 1968-69 and only 546 companies qualified for a grant in respect of that year.
The Government has decided that a broad incentive along existing lines should continue with, as at present, general grants for increases in eligible expenditure up to $50,000 and selective grants for eligible expenditure over $50,000. At present the general rate of grant is 35 per cent. The Government has announced that the general rate of grant for the first year of the extended scheme, 1972-73, will be increased to 50 per cent. It is proposed that in future the general rate will be announced at least 6 months before the commencement of the relevant grant year. As at present, rates for selective grants will be determined by the Grants Board in accordance with national interest criteria specified in the Act, and having regard to the total funds available.
In the light of experience of the existing scheme the Government has decided on a number of changes affecting the operation and administration of the system to ensure the continued effectiveness of the incentive. Changes proposed by the Government, which I will shortly outline in more detail, affect principally the base period provisions, the range of items eligible for grant, the treatment of salaries and wages of employees engaged for part of the year on industrial research and development, the treatment of plant expenditure, and conditions governing eligibility of companies for grants, as well as a number of amendments of an administrative nature designed to strengthen and clarify certain areas of the Act’s operation.
The base period under present provisions is the financial year 1965-66. A fixed period has a number of disadvantages. A company, for example, may happen to have had an abnormally high level of expenditure in that particular year. Also a fixed base can eventually become so remote from the grant year that the incentive for companies to continue to increase their industrial research and development effort is no longer effective.
The Government therefore proposes a base period of 3 consecutive years. Base expenditure will then be calculated by taking one-third of the aggregate expenditure in the base period. This will average yeartoyear fluctuations in expenditure. In addition, there will be a moving base maintaining constantly a clear gap of one year between the grant year and the end of the base period. This will provide a continuing incentive for companies to increase the level of their industrial research and development expenditures year by year. Allied to this will be removal of the so-called ‘inflation adjustment’ by which, under section 29 of the current Act, the Board is required to reduce a company’s eligible expenditure by in effect notionally increasing the research and development salaries and wages paid by the company in the base year in line with increases in salary and wage levels between the base year and the grant year.
Items of expenditure which qualify under the present Act are salaries and wages of personnel employed essentially full-time on industrial research and development for the whole of the year; contract work for a firm undertaken by an approved research organisation, and allowable plant expenditure. The restriction of expenditure allowable under the present Act to these items has given rise to some inequality of treatment between companies which conduct industrial research and development work in their own plants and those which have industrial research and development performed for them by an approved research organisation. The Government therefore proposes to allow a much wider coverage of in-company items of expenditure. This will largely or completely eliminate any existing advantage that contract work may have over in-company work under the present legislation.
Provision will therefore be made to prescribe by regulation a consolidated list of allowable items of expenditure incorporating both existing and proposed new items. This list will include the following: Salaries and wages of industrial research and development employees including, as specified, those employed for part of the year; administrative salaries and fees; provisions for superannuation, long service leave and workers’ compensation; travel; hired staff; materials; technical information and reference services; plant including pilot and prototypes; repairs and maintenance work on plant; rent and leasing charges for the use of buildings, including notional charges where the buildings are owner-occupied; printing, stationery and general supplies; cleaning costs; telephone rentals and charges; light, power and water; computer charges; insurance; and contract expenditure.
The proposed inclusions do not affect of course the basic intention of the scheme to allow for grant purposes only those costs clearly identifiable with industrial research and development activities which involve systematic experimentation or analysis in the fields of science, engineering or technology. Furthermore, the allowance of these items would be subject to compliance with all the other requirements of the Act, for example, satisfactory records of expenditure and professional qualifications.
In the present Act only the salaries or wages of employees working essentially fulltime on industrial research and development who are themselves professionally qualified persons or who work in direct technical assistance to such a person may qualify as salary expenditure in grant years. In many cases, however, even for large companies, the most efficient use of highly qualified people involves their use from time-to-time on activities other than research and development. Moreover, for many small companies, especially in industries where seasonal factors operate, industrial research and development performed for part of a year could be a necessary transitional stage before undertaking such work on a full-time basis. Under the amended arrangements it is proposed that periods of employment on industrial research and development of not less than 4 consecutive working weeks will qualify for grant purposes. Other costs, for example involving materials, technical information services and repairs to plant and equipment, are important areas of industrial research and development expenditure and their inclusion will be of substantial value to a wide range of companies.
Because the basic objective of the legislation is to provide Australian companies with an incentive to increase their research and development effort, the expenditure eligible for grant is in the main, the increase in expenditure between the base period and the grant year. There is, however, an important exception, that is, expenditure on plant and equipment. Plant by its nature warrants special treatment. A significant part of total expenditure on plant incurred in research and development is spent on the construction of prototypes and pilot plants. The Government recognises that this type of expenditure is absolutely essential to the successful conclusion of much of the most important research and development work carried out in industry. It is in many cases the essential link between laboratory research and industrial application. However, the high cost involved can easily be a strong deterrent to Australian companies with limited financial resources. Acknowledging the key import ance of this type of expenditure the Government proposes that all net expenditure on pilot plant and prototypes incurred in the grant year be eligible for grant purposes.
This will also ensure that companies will not be penalised for incurring peaks of expenditure from time to time on a pilot plant, or a prototype. The inclusion of sporadic expenditure of this type in the base period could seriously reduce a company’s eligibility for grant for several years simply because of the peaking effect of this type of expenditure in a particular year. This could seriously reduce the effectiveness of the scheme.
Expenditure on plant required for research and development work, other than expenditure on pilot plants and prototypes is, of course, in the main, designed to increase the capacity of the company to carry out research and development. However, to some extent, such expenditure is incurred to maintain existing capacity, lt is therefore proposed in principle to treat as eligible expenditure, that expenditure on plant, other than pilot plants and prototypes, which represents an increase in the capacity of the company to carry out research and development. The practical basis which it is proposed should be adopted for the application of this principle is to allow total expenditure incurred on such plant in the grant year less depreciation at 10 per cent on the value of such plant on hand at the beginning of the grant year.
Experience with the current Act has brought to light some areas where improvements of a lesser or administrative nature could be effected in addition to the major matters to which I have already referred. It is therefore proposed that a number of amendments be made including a direction to the Grants Board that in certain cases of company takeovers, mergers and re -organisations it should make the necessary adjustments to ensure that the level of eligible expenditure is equitable in terms of the actual industrial research and development activity of the companies concerned. It is proposed that the incentive will extend to manufacturing and mining operations in such areas of the seabed adjacent to Australia as are prescribed.
Eligibility for grants under the present Act extends only to incorporated companies carrying on in Australia in the relevant grant year the manufacture of goods or mining operations. The Government proposes a number of amendments affecting this provision. One amendment will be to include industrial companies set up under Australian laws which do not confer incorporation. Firms which do not commence manufacturing or mining operations until the year following the relevant research and development will become eligible to qualify for grant. A further amendment will ensure that companies which do not actually perform the manufacturing process themselves but sub-contract the manufacture of goods to other companies may be regarded as eligible for grant purposes.
Annual reports will in future be made on a financial year basis rather than a grant year basis and the Board will be authorised to publish at any time, not just in its annual reports, information regarding the amounts of grants paid to companies by the Board.
Honourable senators will be aware that a requirement of the Industrial Research and Development Act is that for eligibility purposes the employees of a company must either be professionally qualified or be working in direct assistance to a professionally qualified person. This particular provision aims at upgrading industrial research and development standards of work. It is expected that this encouragement for industry to employ more of Australia’s professionally trained technical people will help to promote the future development of Australia’s technological capability.
The results to date are most encouraging and as already mentioned, it is the estimate of the Grants Board that there had been an increase of 64 per cent in the number of professionally qualified persons engaged on industrial research and development between 1965-66 and 1968-69. Australian industry and the community in general cannot afford to lose too many of its professionally qualified people to other industrialised countries.
To overcome some of the problems which have arisen in this area, it is proposed to modify the definition regarding professional qualification and allow the
Board to accept either suitable qualifications granted by an institution of tertiary or technical education or alternatively, appropriate membership of a professional institute recognised by the Board. However, the Government believes it important to retain a requirement as to professional qualifications.
Finally, in continuing a broad, flexible and proven incentive with certain modifications, it is the Government’s expectation that such encouragement will provide a basic spur to accelerate the development of Australian industrial technology over the next 5 years of the scheme. Indeed, the Government expects that each company which participates in the scheme must be conscious that it has an obligation to contribute to this national objective. It is for this reason that companies will be required under the Act to give an undertaking that they will exploit their industrial research and development on normal commercial terms for the benefit of the Australian economy.
Because of the increasing importance of Australian industrial research and development the Government intends to remain in close touch with developments in this area with a view to implementing further policies at a future stage that would be in keeping with the needs of industry and the community in general. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Murphy) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator DrakeBrockman) read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Drake-Brockman agreed to:
That the second reading be made an order of the day for a later hour of the day.
Motion (by Senator Drake-Brockman) agreed to:
That intervening business be postponed until after the consideration of general business, notice of motion No. 7.
Motion (by Senator Hannan) agreed to:
That leave be given, to introduce a Bill for an Act to forbid sale or distribution of the book known as The Little Red Schoolbook in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
– This Bill defines ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ and provides a substantial financial penalty-
– Order! Whether it be a private member’s Bill or a Government Bill, the forms of the Senate must be observed. You must ask for leave for the Bill to be read a first time and then, in accordance with the normal process, move that the Bill be read a second time.
– I did that but at your direction I shall do it again. I move that leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act.
– We have agreed to give you leave.
– Leave was given to introduce a Bill for an Act.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– Order! Senator Hannan, would you mind resuming your seat while we sort out the procedure to be followed.
– I rise to order. The Opposition has agreed to the Bill being introduced. Any honourable senator, as a matter of free speech, should have the right to introduce a Bill. But now another element comes into the question and it involves the priority which the Bill should be given. We have had the important Conciliation and Arbitration Bill guillotined this morning. Is it the intention of the Government that some special priority be given to this Bill, even over Government business? Was it for this reason that the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill was guillotined through the Senate? The Opposition does not object to the honourable senator being heard but surely, as a matter of priority, it is unreasonable that this Bill should intervene. After all, we would be proceeding with general business, in the normal course, on a Thursday night. Does the Government want to give priority to this Bill?
– All that Senator Hannan is doing is seeking leave of the Senate to introduce a second reading speech. The honourable senator put this Bill down some time ago and in the interests of Government business, particularly the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, he has in this place asked for leave to postpone this Bill and that has been done continually. I agreed last week that I would give him the opportunity to seek leave to introduce a Bill, move the first reading and make a second reading speech. I said that I would then move that the debate on it be adjourned. I agree with Senator Murphy that any honourable senator should be allowed the opportunity of introducing a private member’s Bill. The Senate gave Senator Milliner earlier in this sessional period an opportunity of doing so. Now 1 am asking the Senate to give Senator Hannan the opportunity of doing so.
– Is leave granted for Senator Hannan to move that the Bill be read a second time? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– [ move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill defines the ‘Little Red Schoolbook’ and provides a substantial financial penalty or imprisonment or both for its sale, loan or distribution in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. There may be some constitutional question in relation to the Northern Territory but none so far as the Australian Capital Territory is concerned. I thank the Minister for Air (Senator DrakeBrockman) for his courtesy in making the time available to introduce this Bill which I regard as being of some significance.
– You mean the Senate.
– And I thank the Opposition too. I do not discriminate in this matter. This matter is a matter of some significance.
– I hope you are not assuming from the fact that the Opposition granted you the privilege of having free speech that it is in any way an endorsement or otherwise of what you are proposing.
– No not at all. A simple reading of the ‘Little Red Schoolbook’ will explain the motivation for this Bill. I do not intend to provide any titillation for the chamber by reading substantial extracts from it. I am satisfied, from my perusal, that the book is obscene having regard to the people or the readership for whom it is intended. I also regard it as subversive of all constituted authority - the authority of parents, the home and the school.
I realise that my action will be stigmatised as Torquemada of old burning the books. I know that the infallible leader writers are bound to take affront. Leader writers are a special race of men. They are all wise, they are infallible, they are incredibly upright and just, they are far-seeing beyond the normal human being and they pontificate in a manner which makes us glad that we do not have to move in the stratosphere alongside them. Despite all this I believe that this Bill is in the best interest of our community. I want to make it abundantly clear at this stage that this Bill is not intended as an attack on the integrity of the Minister for Customs and Excise, Mr Chipp. I understand his point of view. I disagree with it. He said that the book is rubbish, that his legal powers to ban it are inadequate and that the less publicity it receives the better. I simply state that as a Liberal parliamentarian I am disagreeing with his judgment. I am disagreeing with his decision. In fact, I am simply exercising the freedom which is given to Liberal Party members of Parliament - a freedom which was so favourably commented upon by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) last Monday at the meeting of the Federal Libera) Party Council.
I can recall a most distinguished Australian Prime Minister - perhaps the most distinguished Australian Prime Minister of all time - beginning many of his speeches with the words ‘I am a simple Presbyterian’. I am not a Presbyterian, simple or otherwise, but I quote with wholehearted approval the editorial of ‘Australian Presbyterian Life’ of 6th May last. It says in part:
This has gone too Far
Surely the time has come for the Christian Church to stand up and say it has had enough. There have been many things in our society over the past few years which have breached not only Christian standards of conduct but ordinary canons of decency. But the appearence of ‘The Link Red Schoolbook’, with the implication that it is to be read by school children, should be an occasion when the Church says that things have gone too far and it calls on all its members to insist, through the ways open to them as citizens, that this sort of thing has got to stop.
It should be said at the start that ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ is not really phornographic in the sense that it treates obscenity in a manner calculated to deprave - certainly not adults.
I emphasise that point because this book is aimed at children. The quotation continues:
But in the section to which principal objection will be taken, it deals with sex in terms and from a standpoint which is crude, objectionable and frankly disgusting. It is practically impossible to give those who will not read the book a fair indication of its contents without being offensive. An indication of the writers’ attitude can be gained from an early sentence on one page which discusses the reasons why people indulge in sexual intercourse. One reason, ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ says, is ‘They do it because people need sexual satisfaction and masturbation is no longer considered to be enough’.
The whole of this section is written in terms which are down at the level of the gutter. The sexual organs are described in what are known as the 4-letter words. Sexual intercourse itself is given a name with which every reader of the writing on lavatory walls is familiar. These words are then put together in the crudest way to describe (for school children) what happens in intercourse. A succeeding paragraph goes on to tell how ‘a boy and a girl can give one another more pleasure’, and adds. ‘They should talk about it and tell each other what they really enjoy*.
On 15th May last the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Anthony, expressed his view on ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’. He said: 1 cannot give it one vestige of support. Its sub versive nature makes it dangerous to our society. Publications of this type should not appear to be condoned by governments in Australia and I am pleased to see a number of State governments have taken action against it. The book basically aims at undermining authority at all levels. It does this under the guise of an enlightened liberalism that defends free and creative thought and individual development. In reality it denigrates the family unit, the church, our moral codes, our schooling system, law and order and government It belittles what is necessary for an orderly society and what is good and wholesome in it. I consider it a handbook for juvenile revolution and anarchy.
That statement appeared in the Melbourne Sun’ of 15th May last. On 27th May the Deputy Prime Minister returned to the attack, as reported in the Melbourne ‘Sun’ of that date, and I quote in part:
The Country Party Leader said he had been surprised by the volume of letters he had received since his recent comments criticising ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’. The letters had expressed real fears about trends in Australian society, not just on this book but on what people see as a sustained attack on the foundations of our society, its standards and its laws. This is not a phoney issue manufactured by the Government as some would suggest, but something about which many people are deeply concerned.
As honourable senators are well aware, conscience votes are recorded by members of some political parties on certain matters which are regarded as issues of conscience - for example, hanging, divorce, marriage - and rightly so. We go to great pains, and again rightly so, to provide conscience escape clauses for genuine conscientious objectors under the National Service Act. There seems much selective indignation among some people. There are some who become apoplectic with moral indignation over the National Service Act, an Act designed to preserve the defence and security of the nation, but they happily ignore - they even praise and support - glitter type literature designed to corrupt school children. As both Socrates, who was no right wing reactionary, as honourable senators would well know, and Sir Henry Bolte have pointed out, pollution of the mind is more serious than pollution of the body.
In my view there can be no argument but that this book is an incitement or encouragement to school children to hold all authority in contempt, and to indulge in sexual intercourse and unrestricted promiscuity. This is beyond challenge and how any religious leader could actually praise this type of garbage completely escapes me. If this book succeeds in its purpose it must have a number of evil material results, apart from the moral results. It will increase the incidence of early unwanted pregnancies and their possible abortions. Last week the Melbourne Herald’ drew attention to the fact that many school children were having babies and that many of the mothers were as young as 13 years old.
– That was before ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ was printed.
– Do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that the book is the root of all evil. 1 am saying that it is an evil that ought to be suppressed. If the book’s philosophy is followed, it must result in an increase in venereal disease among the very young. Venereal disease is making an alarming comeback as a major health hazard in our community, lt is doing this all over the Western world. As Clifford Roberts pointed out, during World War I, 100,000 units of penicillin were sufficient to deal with or to cure the average dose of gonorrhoea, but now it takes between 2i and 3 million units. A new strain of venereal disease is developing. It has shown increased resistance to penicillin, lt has been found necessary nowadays whenever penicillin is given to combine it with another drug probenecid, which slows down the rate of penicillin excretion from the body, maintaining a curative action at higher levels and for far longer periods. Is this the type of disease with which we should encourage our children to experiment? In addition there is also the crime of carnal knowledge where a male person, boy or adult, has sexual intercourse with a female below the age of consent. In most States the age of consent is 16 years. There is no doubt in my mind that this book is an incitement to committing the crime of carnal knowledge. 1 find it incomprehensible that a book bounty should be paid on ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’, but one has in fact been paid. Bounty is normally the equivalent of 25 per cent of the cost of production. In a lengthy answer to a question by Senator Little, the Minister for Customs and Excise, Mr Chipp, said inter alia:
Payment of bounty is in no way related to the merit of the book. Bounty has been paid on the production of every type of book, including cheap, badly written detective stories and trashy romances; merit, literary or otherwise, is simply not relevant.
However, the definition of ‘Book’ in section 3 of the Book Bounty Act 1970 provides that book means a publication of a literary or educational character that is in book form. It would seem, therefore, as no-one could claim that ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ is of a literary or educational character; that bounty has been improperly paid upon it. I shall conclude by quoting an extract from the ‘Advocate’ of 18th May. T must ask honourable senators to bear with me as I read it since 1 want to give the precise terms. It reads:
The anti-censorship drive has produced great changes in community standards in the past decade, as may be seen from the type of literature for sale in our bookshops, and the plays and films advertised. Is it possible to believe that this change is unconnected with the alarming rise in crimes of sex and violence among the young, and the increased prevalence of venereal disease?
The anti-censors are fond of saying that books and plays do not really corrupt, and that to interfere with private choice in their regard is a gross infringement of citizen freedom.
But, as Milton said long ago, books arc not dead things, but can sprout like the dragons’ teeth in the Greek fable. If good books can influence human beings in favour of good living and high causes - like the liberation of the oppressed or inter-racial justice- the converse logically applies, that bad books can stimulate the mind and imagination in ways that are socially baleful.
The effect of these on individuals varies with age, character and circumstances, but there is impressive evidence that scenes of sadism, lurid sex and crime in books and plays contribute to delinquent behaviour as well as unhealthy personal attitudes.
Gallup Polls have shown that the community wants its standards upheld against the advocates of porn and moral subversion, whose propaganda undermines the roots of ordered freedom by the pollution of the people, and those in power would do well to give more heed to real public opinion than to mass media writers who do not reflect it. 1 hope that the proscription of this piece of gutter literature in the Australian Capital Territory will encourage the relevant State authorities to take similar action. As I said earlier, this Bill is no attack on the integrity of the Minister for Customs and Excise; it is simply an exercise in that democratic freedom which Liberal parliamentarians enjoy. There is a substantial body of Liberal opinion strongly opposed to the entry of the type of rubbish into our school rooms. I conclude by expressing my thanks to the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Leader of the Opposition for their courtesy in granting me leave to bring this matter forward without having to go through the usual delays. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator DrakeBrockman) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 17th May (vide page 1734), on motion by Senator Greenwood:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, it may suit the convenience of the Senate to have a general debate covering this Bill and the Northern Territory (Administration) Bill 1972 as they are associated measures. Separate questions may, of course, be put on each of the Bills at the conclusion of the debate. I suggest that the subject matter of the 2 Bills be discussed in this debate.
– I think that is a sensible course to follow and I concur with it.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - Is it the wish of the Senate that the Seat of Government (Administration) Bill 1972 and the Northern Territory (Administration) Bill 1972 be debated together? There being no objection, that course will be followed.
– These 2 Bills are of very great importance. They deal with a vexed position which has arisen under the industrial laws because of the operation of the Constitution which, in general, restricts the Commonwealth conciliation and arbitration jurisdiction to the prevention and settlement of disputes which extend beyond the limits of any one State. That is not the only power involved. There are other powers. There is the interstate trade and commerce power, the power relating to trade and commerce with other countries and, in various special areas, the legislative powers which provide the basis for the operation of the industrial jurisdiction. But the main basis on which the Commonwealth has proceeded hitherto has been the conciliation and arbitration power. That has been shown to be defective - in fact. I think it has been made to be defective in some significant respects - by the decisions of the High Court of Australia. Each of the words in the constitutional provision is a word of limitation. It appears that, because the Constitution says laws can be made with respect to conciliation and arbitration, they cannot be made outside those limits. Because the expression ‘industrial disputes’ is mentioned they must be industrial in their nature.
The High Court has put what seems to be a very artificial meaning on the word industry’. We know that in a series of cases it has held that, for example, teachers are not in industry and that fire fighters are not in industry. There was the fairly recent case of Pitfield v. Franki. The Conciliation and Arbitration Commission is limited and hedged in by these difficulties. It re therefore reasonable, if we want awards to be made and the industrial processes to operate in other fields, that every endeavour should be made to make that possible. It can be done in the Territories of the Commonwealth because one can use the power to legislate with respect to the Territories. That power is not subject to the limitations I have mentioned. It is possible that other powers will be used in the future that will go beyond the limitations involved in the use of the conciliation and arbitration power. For example, the external affairs power may well be a source of legislative power in carrying out decisions of international bodies to which Australia is a party. Where we enter into some agreement it may well be - there is a great deal of learning on this - that this Parliament could legislate to carry out the terms of some such arrangement. But in this area the extension to the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Terriory of industrial jurisdictions, free of limitations, is desirable in principle. We will therefore support this legislation.
Perhaps I should say that this legislation may not be without implications that would be worth looking at. In dealing with the notion of industry in the way in which it is dealt with in this Bill some surprising results have been obtained which may not have been intended. However, we think that in principle the legislation is satisfactory. One result may be that the industrial tribunals could in a proper case move even into the domestic scene in the strict sense. Hitherto it has been thought that the industrial tribunals should not attempt to regulate what occurs in the home itself by way, for example, of domestic service. I am open to correction, but it would seem to me that in a proper case, anyway, that barrier will no longer obtain in the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. That may have its disadvantages. I think it may have advantages.
– in reply - (2.56) - I thank members of the Opposition for their approach to this Bill. I particularly appreciate the remarks of Senator Murphy and share his views on how it is desirable that this measure should be applicable to the Australian Capital Territory. The limitations of the Constitution in this field were imposed by the founders, the draftsmen of the Constitution, about 70 years ago. They would be as surprised by some of the results which have ensued from their draftsmanship as we might be surprised now by some of the difficulties that they resolved and the way in which they resolved them 70 years ago. This legislation is designed to overcome in areas where undoubtedly the Commonwealth has plenary power the particular problems which have been raised by 2 particular High Court decisions on the meaning of the word ‘industry’. It may be that the further point made by Senator Murphy will raise some problems, but 1 do not think so. Time will tell whether that is the case. I thank Senator Murphy for his support for this measure.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Consideration resumed from 17 May (vide page 1734), on motion by Senator Greenwood:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 17 May (vide page 1770), on motion by Senator DrakeBrockman:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– In the Committee stage I propose to move:
I have been informed that a list setting out the proposed groupings for the consideration of the votes has been distributed for the information of honourable senators.
– I would like to know whether the Minister intends to proceed directly to the Committee stage or whether we are to have a second reading debate.
– I would be quite happy to have a second reading debate. My concern is that I was given to understand that a list setting out the proposed schedule would be distributed. It has not been distributed. I therefore think we should allow the second reading debate to proceed.
– I regret that I missed the introductory remarks of the Minister. Did he say at the beginning of his remarks that we are taking the 2 Appropriation Bills together or are we taking Appropriation Bill (No. 3) first and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) afterwards? The 2 Bills were considered together in the Estimates Committees and I would like to get that point clear.
– I was making a trunk line call and I missed the Minister’s opening remarks. Is this debate independent of any discussion we will have on the Estimates Committee reports, or is it all taken in conjunction?
– My understanding is that we are at the second reading stage. I have been referring to consideration of the Appropriation Bills in Committee, but I did that purposely to indicate the general pattern of the work. I have no objection to the second reading debate proceeding if an honourable senator would like to make some observations. I believe we could quite properly take the 2 Bills together to save time because very often there are cases in which they are interrelated when one case bears upon another. The general procedure of our work would be to follow the pattern of the Estimates committees in the schedule that has been laid down here. I would imagine that it is appropriate within the time for anybody to refer to the work of the committees if he wants to do so at this stage, or at a later stage.
I can assure honourable senators that I am anxious to co-operate with my colleagues in the Senate to facilitate what we need to do having regard to 2 pertinent factors. Firstly, quite an exhaustive examination has been made of all these matters in the Estimates committees of the Senate. Secondly, some pressure of time is upon quite a number of honourable senators.
– Now that we have the procedure clear I wish to move briefly to the second reading debate. As the Minister has already pointed out, the 2 Appropriation Bills were considered in considerable detail in the various committees. I would think that persons who took part in the deliberations of the committees would not wish to go any further in their investigations. It is not only possible but an actual fact that some members of the Senate were not able to attend the 2 committees in which they were interested because they had to show their loyalty to either one or to the other of those committees. Therefore, it was not possible for them to carry out any investigations in one of those 2 committees. When these Bills are before the Committee of the Whole - I anticipate that this will be very shortly - the opportunity will be given to those honourable senators to look at the items which they were not in a position to investigate more deeply previously. Having said that as an introduction, I wish to make 2 comments only on these Appropriation Bills.
In my first comment, I will look backwards and in the second comment I will look forward. 1 feel that a large contrast exists between the attitude of the Government when it brought down the Budget for 1971-72 last August and the Appropriation Bills related thereto in trying to limit expenditure in order to cut down the processes of inflation as it saw them and what the Government now proposes in the Appropriation Bills before the Senate. The Budget measures adopted last year, the Government finds, have failed. I felt that those measures were far too drastic. At that time the Opposition expressed the view that the Government’s approach was not the right one to put the economy on an even keel again. After a short period of some months following the introduction of that Budget the Government has realised that its approach was far too drastic. I give the Government credit for being prepared to correct the mistake as it saw it. But I think that the Government went too far in the first place, as we said, and now it appears to have erred on the other side. In retrospect, I feel that a little more care and thought on the part of the Treasury, which is really in control of the whole of the operations of the Estimates, would have helped to avoid this situation. A more careful analysis of the Australian economy, as we see it, was required.
I now look forward. We have seen that, on a seasonally corrected basis, the unemployment situation is not improving at the rate at which the Government would have us believe. The position is practically static at the moment. This most serious situation is being aggravated in many ways. We heard here only yesterday questions about the closure of the General MotorsHolden’s assembly works in Western Australia. A few days ago we had brought to our attention the situation at Broken Hill where Broken Hill South Ltd proposes to close down its mine at very short notice and in doing so will put some 640 men out of employment. The families of those 640 men possibly will be denied their livelihood. This is a most serious situation. The Government was aware of the impending closure of this mine. It could have looked more closely at the situation. I have here the report of a geological survey conducted by the New South Wales Department of Mines only this year. It was completed in May. This report goes very carefully into the situation of the Broken Hill South mine and comes up with an appreciation of the problem there with information on existing mineral deposits. The known lodes there will guarantee some 3 years of operations of the mine at the present level of production which is at a slight loss.
The Broken Hill South company proposes to close this mine and to put 640 men out of work, with consequent effects upon their families, because it says it cannot continue at this rate. It does seem to me - this course is recommended in this report - that one of the things that could be done would be for the Government to subsidise this operation for a short period of 3 years, the men there would then have 3 years notice of the fact that their employment was coming to an end. This would give them the opportunity to look for other employment. I propose this as an alternative to the sudden ultimatum on the part of the Broken Hill South company that employment will cease in the very near future. This is the sort of thing that the Government, with an ear to the ground to determine what is happening in the community, might have been aware of and it might have taken some steps in last year’s Budget on the lines that I have suggested to try to smooth over this most regrettable situation. The unemployment situation throughout Australia will be aggravated by the closure of this mine. If these employees move from Broken Hill, the effect on South Australia will be reflected in an increase in its unemployment figures. This action will mean tragedy for a large number of families.
In pinpointing these 2 examples - that of the Broken Hill South mine and the closure of the GMH plant in Western Australia - I am not saying that the Government should act on these matters only. The Government should look for the possibility of such problems arising. Its experts should be able to give it information on these matters. Then, in an Appropriation Bill such as those before the Senate, not only could the Government meet added costs caused by rising wages and salaries but also it could deal with some of these other matters. We know the action that is proposed with regard to pensions and so on. The Government should be considering some other ways in which it can help the community and smooth over this most difficult period through which we are going. I do not wish to continue further at this stage. I have pointed out what I believe are the errors that have been committed by the Government in these matters. The Senate estimates committees have looked at the appropriations already. I will conclude my second reading speech now so that we may enter the Committee of the Whole proceedings as soon as possible.
– I wish to raise a question which, if discussed at the Committee stage, would involve some considerable speaking time and might lead to the accusation that I was making a second reading speech. In the course of the consideration of the Budget last year by the Committee of the Whole, I raised the question of the amount of money being paid to one Michael George Kailis for 2 or 3 tin sheds and a freezer and, I am advised by Mr Kailis, 12 acres of land. The amount was said to be $335,000. It seems now that the amount was $343,000. I have had a look at the answers that were given by the Minister for Air (Senator Drake-Brockman) in reply to some queries by me at the Committee stage of our consideration of the Estimates last year.
At page 140 of Hansard report for Senate Estimates Committee E of Wednesday, 10th May 1972, we read:
– My query is concerned with Learmonth and the additional $68,000 required to settle claims in respect of property acquired from M. G. Kailis Gulf Fisheries Pty Ltd. ls this the final amount payable to Kailis? A fair amount of money has been paid to Gulf Fisheries Pty Ltd already. Can you tell us the total amount of the claim?
– The amount payable to Kailis himself?
– This is in respect of land thai we acquired from Gulf Fisheries, is it not?
– I understand from Mr Sutherland that the total amount payable to Kailis is $343,000.
– And this amount of $68,000 is the last payment to be made?
– Yes, that $68,000 will enable us to pay the $343,000.
I now turn to what the Minister said in December 1971 during the Committee stage of consideration of Appropriation Bill (No. 1). The Hansard record reads as follows:
– When did you acquire the freehold?
– We have not acquired the freehold.
– You said that you acquired the freehold of the leased land.
– No, I did not. ] said it was decided that it would acquire the freehold interest in the land in 1969.
It is a peculiar thing that this so-called prawn factory was established at Exmouth Gulf in 1963 and Mr Kailis just squatted on the land. He had no control over the land. He had not obtained a lease on the land from the Western Australian Government or anyone else. Later the Minister advised me that the decision to upgrade the Learmonth airport was made in 1965. This was in response to a query from me as to whether the decision to acquire the land was made while Mr Gorton was the Minister for Defence, or when he was Prime Minister. The Minister replied that the decision was made in 1965. Despite that fact Kailis was allowed to rebuild his factory in 1965. However, this factory still amounted to only a few sheds and a freezer. His workers were living in caravans. I then got on to the question of the amount that would be paid to Kailis for this land. I asked about the reasons for the acquisition of the land in view of the fact that refuse from the prawn factory attracted bird life which would place aircraft and Air Force personnel in danger, a situation that we all want to avoid. This was the reason given for the acquisition. I do not quarrel with that. But in reply to my remarks the Minister stated:
It is all very well for the honourable senator who knows that if his Party were in office it would use every power to push this or that chap out of his business.
What an assumption for the Minister to make, that the Labor Party would do that, even in an Estimates debate. When I am pointing to incidents that may amount to graft on the part of someone the Minister wants to play politics.
– Which Minister said that?
– Senator DrakeBrockman. The Minister went on to say in his reply to me:
But this Government does not operate that way.
I wonder what the workers are saying about the statement ‘But this Government does not operate this way’ in view of the performance of the Government in this chamber over the past week. I wonder what the workers will say when they see the results of the work carried on in this Senate last week and this week. The Minister then went on to say:
The honourable senator is talking about the Government bypassing the Parliament. No such thing has been done. Parliament approves and allocates certain funds to a department. The expenditure of those funds on individual items is a matter within the prerogative of the Minister concerned. In this particular case $275,000 was allocated under a Supply Bill, the additional funds for the item coming from the Treasurer’s Advance. This is normal practice which is carried on by departments . . .
I do not want to read any more of that. The 2 sources from which the Minister obtained the funds was $275,000 from funds made available through a Supply Bill and the balance from the Treasurer’s Advance. A little later in the proceedings I said:
The Minister for Air (Senator DrakeBrockman) has attempted to make an explanation based on the Government’s chaotic cost accounting system. First of all, he said that $27,500 of the money that was paid to Kailis-
– I beg your pardon, senator, I made a mistake. It is $275,000.
– Very well. The Minister said that $275,000 came from the Department of Supply,
– No, from the Supply Bill.
– The Minister said $27,500, as I noted it, came from the Supply Bill and the balance from the Advance to the Treasurer. But wherever it came from is neither here nor there. It does not matter because what the Government is doing is taking a sum out of one pocket and then asking this Parliament to appropriate that sum to put back in the pocket. The principle is the same. It does not alter just because the money is available and it is used. What will happen if the motion seeking rejection of Division 707 is carried? It will mean that the purpose for which the money sought under the Supply Bill is required will be $275,000 short. It will not be able to be supplemented. The balance to $335,000 which comes out of the Advance to the Treasurer will not be able to be supplemented. This is the simple way of dealing with it, instead of using the archaic accounting methods of this Government which have been criticised throughout the world and which no-one understands. The simple facts - the Minister cannot embellish them in any way - are that the Department has paid out $335,000 without the approval of this Parliament. No matter how the Minister tries to get around it, that is the simple fact. The Government will have paid the money out and will not be able to supplement it. If this is the way in which this Government and its departments want to operate, in future every cent covered by Supply, Bills, and every cent covered by the Advance to the Treasurer, will have to be documented so that we will know the expenditure proposed under the Supply Bills and the Advance to the Treasurer.
During the course of that debate I was assured by the Minister that at that stage - December of last year - Kailis had been paid $335,000, part of which came from the Supply Bill and part of which came from the Advance to the Treasurer. I want to impress upon honourable senators that the figure which had been paid to Kailis was $335,000. However, the Minister has advised Senator Wilkinson that the total amount payable to Kailis was $343,000. That is a difference of $8,000. Yet when we look at the appropriation made in these additional estimates we find that in relation to Learmonth, Western Australia, additional funds amounting to $68,000 are required to settle claims in respect of property acquired from M. G. Kailis Gulf Fisheries Pty Ltd. This is $60,000 more than the Minister told Senator Wilkinson was due to Kailis for his factory. I want to know just how these things are worked out. The amount of $335,000 was paid up to December 1971; $343,000 is the total payment for the acquisition from Kailis; and in May another $68,000 is required. That requires some explanation.
– Senator, could I interrupt you for a moment? Did not one of the committees bring out the fact that part of this expenditure was incurred because of the transfer of a telephone exchange or telephone connections of some sort?
– Last year I raised the matter of the movement of the factory a distance of 6 miles. The Minister said that it was 12 miles. In these vast open spaces it is easy to make mistakes. Kailis says that the factory was moved 6 miles, lt cost over $6,000 to move the telephone facilities. That is not a bad subsidy - $1,000 a mile. I think that was the additional money due to Kailis over and above the $335,000. The words of the Minister as they appear in Hansard are that Kailis has been paid $335,000 and that the total amount due to him is $343,000. I want to know: What is the purpose of the additional appropriation of $68,000 this year? It is not stated in the explanatory notes that this amount is being paid to any department or that it has been overdrawn. The notes state: ‘Payment to M. G. Kailis - $68,000’. I think there is something for the Minister to answer in that respect.
I gain the impression, as a result of my raising this question, that it is suggested that we members of Parliament who represent the people of Australia should not raise these sorts of anomalies when they are brought before them; that we should remain dumb and allow people to use or abuse public funds or graft or do whatever they like with public funds, without us members of Parliament opening our mouths. Mr Kailis was interviewed by the Australian’ newspaper. The article states:
Mr Michael Kailis, the Western Australian fisherman attacked by Senator Harry Cant in Parliament on Wednesday, is regarded as a millionaire . . .
So he ought to be a millionaire, if he can obtain money in this way. He has been paid the sum of $335,000 for a couple of tin sheds, a freezer and a couple of caravans. With the addition of this further appropriation of $68,000, the total sum paid will be more than $400,000.
– Have you seen these buildings?
– No, but I know what they are. Other people have seen them. If the honourable senator wants to defend Kailis he can do so at a later stage. The article continues:
The 42-year-old principal of Kailis Gulf Fisheries is a second-generation West Australian and a member of the State’s leading fishing family. He pioneered the fishing of the big king and tiger prawns of the north.
Let me say something about the pioneering of the prawning industry in Western Australia. The industry in Western Australia is dealt with on somewhat the same basis as the cray fishing industry in that State. In the cray fishing industry a boat is allowed 2 pots for each foot of its length, fishing is allowed only during certain periods and an embargo is placed on fishing outside those periods. All sorts of restrictions are placed on the cray fishing industry in order to conserve it in the interests of the nation and of continuing to receive the amount of overseas currency that it can provide. When the prawning industry was established, the government of the day - it was a Liberal government, by the way - was not going to give the fishermen open slather to destroy the prawning grounds in the north. So it fixed the quotas of boats that could fish in the various designated areas in the north. Exmouth was one of them. There were 10 prawn fishing boats allowed to fish in the north. I happen to know some of the people who are engaged in this industry. I have a brother-in-law who was a pioneer in it and who started in it way back in the 1920s. He tried to obtain a prawning fishing licence at Exmouth and could not obtain one. Of the 10 licences that were issued, Kailis was able to obtain 5. This is an indication of the sorts of rackets that are carried on in this industry. Do not let people talk about Kailis being a pioneer and about how he came to be a millionaire. These are the sorts of things that happen. The article continues:
Some of Mr Kailis’ sternest critics are among his own family. There was a falling-out somewhere back in their West Australian history, and he is accused of egotism for what appears to be a most generous gesture to some Indonesian islanders.
This has been played up. The generosity of this man has even been written about in newspapers in New South Wales. He is not generous. If he is not getting a quid out of it he is not there. He is not there for his dancing. The article continues:
On the Aru and Kai island groups, 700 miles north-east of Darwin, a consortium led by Michael Kailis is starting a totally integrated fishing industry to help the 30,000 islanders.
He took an ecological study group to the area - a geographer, an anthropologist, a geologist and a marine biologist - and they believe a fishing industry can be set up to work the local tuna and prawns.
Starting with a sawmill to get the islands’ timber out (and this may later snowball economically) they will build trawlers to Kailis’ specifications and then work the fishing grounds and process the catch.
For his $750,000 in risk capital (which includes the first stages of schools and hospitals, a radio station and airstrip) Mr Kailis hopes to take part in the processing and marketing.
This is the man Senator Cant this week accused of taking a $275,000 rake-off-
The amount of $335,000, not $275,000, was substantiated by the Minister - from the Federal Government because of his advance knowledge about plans for upgrading the Exmouth Gulf base.
According to the senator, Mr Kailis deliberately spent money on his prawn plant there knowing it would have to be moved at Federal Government expense.
To this, Mr Kailis replies: ‘He can’t even get my name right.’ Senator Cant referred to him as George Kailis.
Let me say this to the Senate and to Mr Kailis: I called him George Kailis. His name is Michael George Kailis, so he tells me now. But I do not know the name of any other gangsters or racketeers in this country. I do not know the correct name of Legs Diamond, Al Capone or any other racketeer. I do not associate with these people, and I think they should be exposed at every opportunity. Mr Kailis says that I do not even know his name. I have known members of the Kailis family for many years. I do not distinguish them by name. I know that this man was known as George Kailis. He says that his name is Michael George Kailis. I do not doubt that. But I will not have him accuse me of not even knowing his name. I emphasise that I do not know the names of any other racketeers. They all go under pseudonyms. I will not proceed any further with that article. I wanted only to raise those points. I then received a letter from Mr Kailis of M. G. Kailis Gulf Fisheries Pty Ltd. He writes to me:
I refer to your statement in the Senate regarding the acquisition of Learmonth by the Commonwealth Government. It is quite evident that whoever fed this information to you must have had some malicious and mischievous thoughts in his mind . . .
No-one fed the information to me; I obtained it from the Estimates. I do not want information fed to me. He continued: . . because 1 cannot think of anybody giving such erroneous facts without having some ulterior objective in mind.
Due to your statement, my name has been slandered from one side of Australia to the other and has caused myself and my family a considerable amount of embarrassment.
I will not labour on the details, but I would like to point out that our Firm established the fishing industry in Learmonth-
I know how it was established - without any assistance whatsoever from the Governments, both State or Commonwealth.
That is doubtful. He continued:
In fact, since its inception it is remarkable what little interest both State and Commonwealth have given to these projects in the North, and to be humiliated and slandered by remarks made in the Senate for the work we have done up there 1 think is a very cruel fate.
Surely with your experience in the North you know what conditions were like back in the 1960s. This is before all the Iron Ore development, the Radio Base and the Air Force base were even conceived. Therefore, I think I am entitled to an apology both in the Senate and in writing.
I have given Mr Kailis my apology today and have said what I think of his propositions with regard to the acquisition of land. I want to emphasise this again: He got $335,000 last year, on the admission of the Minister; he got over $6,000 for the removal of his telephone; his total commitment, according to the Minister in charge of these estimates, is $343,000; and now there is an appropriation of another $68,000. I would like some answers to these questions.
– I take advantage of this debate on Appropriation Bill (No. 4) an Appropriation Bill (No. 5) to refer to a question that has arisen over the decision by commercial television station GTV9 in Melbourne to show a football programme on Sunday mornings in breach of the existing paragraph 35 of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board’s television programme standards. Frankly, the lethargy of the Government in regard to this matter simply amazes me. It appears to me that the Government expresses great concern about demonstrations by minority groups on the one hand but merely dilly dallies in regard to amending the law when if is under challenge so far as it relates to the control of powerful interests in this country. The Government’s record on this subject is disgraceful. I call upon the Government to lay on the table of the Parliament all correspondence exchanged between the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and the commercial television stations and the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations on this subject.
The question as to whether the replaying of football programmes on Sunday is a good or bad thing is not the principal matter to be considered. To me, speaking personally, there is a certain amount of hypocrisy in the present situation when restrictions are imposed between 6 a.m. and 12 noon, apparently because between those hours church services are being held; but between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Sundays when, of course, evening church services are taking place, the commercial stations can put on practically what they like. Of course, on Sunday mornings in New South Wales, the State which I and the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) have the honour to represent in this chamber, one can go to a club, play poker machines and have a drink - and on Sunday afternoons picture theatres are open. But one cannot watch sporting events on a television screen in the sanctity of one’s home on a Sunday morning. However that, as I said, is not the principal issue involved in the subject with which I am dealing.
If any Australian writer, artist, musician, director, producer or techncian is in any doubt about the sincerity of this Government in wanting to protect his right to a livelihood in this industry, those doubts now should be completely dispelled. If those people not only want to preserve the little existing protection that they have but also get greater protection for their right to work in their own profession in their own country, they should not only vote this Government out of office but actively come out and support Australian Labor Party candidates at the forthcoming Federal election.
The chronology of events only goes to confirm the statement I have made because in my opinion the Government’s delay and procrastination are inexcusable. It was on 21st May 1970, over 2 years ago, that the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations notified the Broadcasting Control Board that it questioned the validity of the Board’s programme standards regarding Sunday morning programmes. It was on 1st July 1970, 22 months ago, that the Federation supplied to the Board extracts from legal opinions supporting this view. The matter was referred by the Board, according to answers given to me during the course of the recent Senate Estimates committee discussions, to the AttorneyGeneral’s Department in August 1970, about 20 months ago, and the AttorneyGeneral’s Department replied to the Board in January 1971, about 17 months ago. I do not know what was contained in that reply but if it was that there was some doubt about the powers of the Board to enforce its regulation the Government has had nearly 18 months in which to deal with the matter. The simple fact is that it has done nothing.
The information given to me is that each time the Board has issued a direction to a network the network invariably has written back asking under what section of the Act such a direction has been issued. When the Board has then set out the specific section, invariably there has been a threat of a challenge to the Board’s power. In fairness to the Control Board, I think that probably it has set out to endeavour to protect the public interest but I believe it has been frustrated by the failure of the Government to back it up in any way. The delay, the procrastination and the vacillation of the Government are unbelievable and show lack of concern on its part for the public interest. If the Board’s standards are wrong, according to public interest, they should have been amended by this time. If they are right, according to the public interest, then they should be enforced, and it is up to the Government to see that they are enforced.
So what has happened? After all the delay, after the initial challenge, the referral by the Board to the Attorney-General’s Department, the referral back to the Board from the Attorney-General’s Department GTV9 in Melbourne decided to take the matter into its own hands 22 months after the original complaint was lodged. On Easter Saturday morning the station showed 11 hours of football and I understand that it has been doing so ever since.
– What code of football?
Australian Rules in Melbourne but these replays could well spread to other places.
– What is wrong with that?
– I will not go into States’ rights issues at the moment. If anyone wants proof of the Government’s dilly-dallying I have only to read a statement attributed to Mr Arthur Cowan, the General Manager of the Fedeaation of Australian Commercial Television Stations. On Saturday, 8th April, he was reported as having said:
The board withdrew the standard but asked stations to continue to seek approval for Sunday morning programmes pending its review.
Stations co-operated but it was only when nothing happened after 20 months-
I emphasise those words - ‘nothing happened after 20 months’ and one station notified that it was intending to act within its rights and show delayed football, that a new standard quickly materialised.
That was a statement made by Mr Arthur Cowan, the General Manager of the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations as recently as 8th April 1972. Not having seen the new regulations officially I asked a question in this Parliament on 13 th April. I seek leave to have that question which I directed without notice to the Acting Postmaster-General, Senator Cotton, incorporated in Hansard.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Is leave granted?
– Yes, but surely it is already in Hansard?
– It is already in Hansard but I seek leave to incorporate it here. If the Minister objects I shall read it now.
– No, not at all. I was just trying to help.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows):
– I direct a question to the Acting Postmaster-General. Did the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations first challenge in May 1970, programme standard 35 of the Broadcasting Control Board’s standards, which relates to Sunday morning programmes, and was this matter referred by the Board to the Commonwealth Crown Solicitor’s Office for advice some considerable time ago? Will the Minister explain the protracted delay on the part of the Control Board in reaching a determination on the matter nearly 2 years after the challenge was first lodged and only after the commercial station had taken direct action to challenge the law by putting itself in the category of a law breaker? What action does the Government intend taking in this matter?
Senator DOUGLAS McCLELLANDThe Minister for Civil Aviation who is at the table was then the Acting PostmasterGeneral. He gave me the PostmasterGeneral’s answer on 17th May:
The Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations questioned on 1st July, 1970, the power of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to determine as a standard, paragraph 35 of its Programme Standards regarding Sunday morning programmes. The Board sought the advice of the Attorney-General’s Department and as a result of the Department’s advice and a decision by the Government, it was decided that a full examination of the Board’s powers should be undertaken. Pending this examination, which has commenced, the Board has considered requests by stations to televise programmes on Sunday mornings on an ad hoc basis. The delay in promulgating the Board’s revised standard (Paragraph 35) was caused by the examination referred to above.
As the honourable senator is aware, the Acting Postmaster-General-
That was Senator Cotton - announced on 28th April 1972, that the Government proposed to introduce legislation to clarify the Board’s powers in this regard.
During April while Senator Cotton was Acting Postmaster-General he made 2 statements. One was made on 7th April. Incidentally,It was not referred to by the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) in his reply to me on 17th May. The other statement which was in fact referred to by the Postmaster-General was made on 28th April. But on 7th April the Acting Postmaster-General said:
The Government will be asked to consider an amendment to the legislation to clarify the powers of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to regulate programmes on Sunday morning.
The statement continues:
At this stage it was nearly 2 years - but this was a long and complicated matter which would not be finished quickly.
However’, he said, ‘the action of station GTV in Melbourne in seeking a declaration from the Courts that the Board’s standards regarding Sunday morning programmes are not valid makes it desirable for this point to be clariefid at once’.
The Minister said that he was taking the course of making this announcement immediately to avoid putting the station, the Commonwealth or any others to the expense and difficulty involved in legal action.
The statement continues:
He hoped that the Government would be able to consider the proposed amendment to the legislation within, the next 10 days.
That statement was dated 7th April. On 28th April the Acting Postmaster-General, Senator Cotton, made another Press announcement. He said:
The Government will legislate to make clear the powers of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board with regard to Sunday morning television programmes.
Even though 28th April was not within the 10-day period previously referred to by the Acting Postmaster-General, at least one was gaining the impression from this Press release of 28th April that the Government would introduce legislation in this session of Parliament to correct the matter. The Minister, as Acting Postmaster-General, went on to state: . . the Government had considered the situation which had arisen as a result of the challenge to the powers of the Board by station GTV in Melbourne. Senator Cotton said the Government had for some time been engaged in a fullscale review of theBoard’s power. . . .
If the Government felt strongly about the matter, as one can infer it did from the Press statements made by the Acting PostmasterGeneral on 7th April and on 28th April and from the answer given by the Postmaster-General on 17th May to a question which I asked, then it could have and should have acted by this stage. After all, it brought down legislation at a much later date regarding restrictions on cigarette advertising on radio and television. If it could deal with that sort of legislation in this sessional period of Parliament then it could have introduced legislation of the type to which I am referring now. Of course, in answer to a question asked by a colleague of mine in another place, the honourable member for Franklin (Mr Sherry) on 10th May 1972 the PostmasterGeneral said that legislation would be introduced early in the next session. I suggest that that is merely playing with words. Next session is the Budget session. The Budget debate will take up the whole of August. At the earliest it will be midSeptember before legislation of the type which is being suggested and which we were told on 7th April would be introduced within 10 days will be dealt with and passed in both Houses of Parliament. Of course by the middle of September the football season will be over and the interests of the commercial television stations will be fully protected. On 16th May this year I addressed 2 questions to the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood). I seek leave to have those questions and answers incorporated in Hansard.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows):
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral. Did the Postmaster-General state in another place last week that the Government would not be able to have legislation prepared before the next parliamentary session to prevent the re-playing of football programmes on Channel 9 in Melbourne in defiance of the existing law? Does this mean that because the Budget will be presented in August such legislation will not come before the Parliament before September at the earliest, when the football season will have finished? Why does the Government tolerate this deliberate defiance of the law on the part of one of its licensees when it calls upon others in the community to recognise the general principle of law and order? Is the decision not to bring down the legislation in this session a deliberate decision on the part of the Government to protect those commercial interests which are operating in defiance of the existing law and to stop any friction occurring between the Government and its commercial masters while the football season lasts?
– I reject entirely the somewhat snide innuendoes which characterise the honourable senator’s question. In the first place the Government’s action is not designed to protect certain commercial interests contrary to the public interest; nor is it a deliberate act designed to tolerate deliberate defiance of the law. 1 am quite sure that the honourable senator does not believe what he suggested when he posed the question in that way. I cannot recall, without having the record in front of me. precisely what the Postmaster-General said last week. My recollection is that he was unsure whether the legislation could be introduced this session or whether it would have to wait until the Budget session, and that his suggestion was that any delay would be due to the exigencies of the legislative programme. All honourable senators are aware of the very many Bills still on the notice paper which have to be debated in the next fortnight. As to whether there is any defiance of the law, the Postmaster-General indicated that there was uncertainty as to whether the Australian Broadcasting Control Board has power to impose the restrictions in this area which it has imposed over a period of time. My colleague Senator Cotton, when Acting Postmaster-General, indicated that it was the Government’s intention to bring down legislation to clarify the law. I am sure, Mr Deputy President, that the honourable senator who asked the question was aware of those facts. In those circumstances, when the honourable senator suggests that there is some action designed to tolerate deliberate defiance of the law, he is ignoring the knowledge which would be available to him.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. Should I take it from his earlier reply to my question about replays of football programmes on Sunday mornings that, while the Government delays in introducing legislation to clarify the existing powers of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, the Board is quite powerless to act against any programme shown by commercial licensees in that time period and that therefore commercial licensees are completely free to show any programme at all between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 noon on Sundays?
– The honourable senator is asking me to provide elements of a legal opinion. I am sure he is aware of the Standing Orders and that I ought not to do so. I do not think it is fair to say that the Government is delaying in the sense that it is deliberately taking a step which will avoid the introduction of legislation. The Government has indicated its intention to have legislation which will clarify an uncertain legal position. The statement has been made by the Acting Postmaster-General and, I think, by the Postmaster-General that this legislation will be introduced. At the same time, it has been stated that it is to be hoped that those persons who present programmes between the hours mentioned on Sunday mornings will have regard to the standards which the Australian Broadcasting Control Board has suggested. But I venture to say that until, the matter has been clarified it is largely the sense of obligation which these licensees demonstrate which will determine what will be shown during those hours.
– I thank the Senate. It will be noted from a perusal of the answers given me by the Attorney-General on 16th May that he stated: . . it is to be hoped that those persons who present programmes between the hours mentioned on Sunday mornings -
That is between 6 a.m. and 12 noon - will have regard to the standards which the Australian Boardcasting Control Board has suggested. But I venture to say that until the matter has been clarified it is largely the sense of obligation which these licensees demonstrate which will determine what will be shown during those hours.
In other words if I take what I understand to be a literal interpretation of the AttorneyGeneral’s remarks he means that the commercial licensees have a sense of obligation. But, in fact, they can do what they like. Taking the clue from what Senator Greenwood said in reply to me, Channel 7 in Sydney decided not to play ball with the Attorney-General but instead to play football on a Sunday morning. Last Friday 26th May the Sydney ‘Sun’, a paper linked with Channel 7 and owned by the Fairfax group in Sydney, had a heading which stated: Two hours of TV sport’. The article reads:
Channel 7 launches a two-hour sporting service at 11 a.m. on Sunday. lt will include re-runs of all Melbourne races and the Sydney double, an expansion of features on Sportsaction and demonstrations by Australia’s Olympics athletes.
The new programme makes a big news and sport week for Seven.
One can well imagine that if the Packer station in Melbourne can set the pace, as it has set the pace - I understand that as a result of the showing of the re-play of football matches in Melbourne the audience ratings have increased considerably - certainly the Packer station in Sydney, Channel 9, will not leave the market for Sunday sport or football to the Fairfax station, Channel 7, which has already indicated that it intends having a 2-hour sports re-play.
I am not opposed to re-plays of football on Sunday mornings provided that the rights of minorities are protected. But this Government in allowing these programmes at these times has not taken any action at all to protect the rights of those minorities. If it wants documentaries and educational programmes to be put on by the commercial television stations and the Australian Broadcasting Control Board indicates some of the programmes it wants to see put on, the Government has to legislate to provide for quotas of documentaries and educational programmes on commercial television generally. Incidentally, last year the total transmission time for programmes of this nature on commercial television stations represented a mere 0.5 per cent of total transmission time. The Australian Labor Party has said that upon assuming office, among other things it will protect the rights of such minority groups by imposing quotas not only for drama but also for professional variety, documentary and educational programmes.
What also concerns me is that I read in March 1971 that the secretaries of TCN 9 Sydney and GTV 9 Melbourne challenged the Board’s powers to lay down requirements for Australian content on Australian commercial television. The matter was referred by the Control Board to the Attorney-General’s Department in June 1971 and went back from the AttorneyGeneral’s department to the Board in March of this year. Again this is information given to me during the hearings of the recent Senate Estimates Committees. I want to know whether there is to be any direct challenge during the parliamentary recess by stations not adhering to the quota provisions, and I want an undertaking from the Government that if there is any doubt about the Australian content provisions, the amending legislation in respect of football replays on Sunday morning which is proposed to be introduced by the Government in the next session will set out also to correct any deficiency that there might be in the present Act revealed by the challenge by TCN 9 in Sydney and GTV 9 in Melbourne.
Th: Government has bent over backwards in yielding to the interests of the commercial licensees in this matter and has let the public interest run last. By the Government’s lethargy, inaction, procrastination and delay it has clipped the wings of its own statutory authority, the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. Very unfortunately, and probably because of Government inertia and lethargy, the public has become quite cynical about the controlling authority of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. The public believes that Packer, Fairfax and the others who control the commercial licences can do whatever they like while this Government is in office. The whole Broadcasting and Television Act needs complete rewriting to give the Control Board sufficient teeth so that it can in turn give protection to all sections of the Australian public. According to the last annual report of the Control Board the net profits before taxation of commercial television stations in Australia in the 5 years from 1965 to 1970 jumped from $3.5m to $1 6.67m, an increase of over 500 per cent. These are the people who talk about the inflationary spiral if the worker is lucky enough to get a mere $2 a week from the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.
The Government should have taken action by this time to protect the public interest and the rights of the minorities which are so often referred to by this Government and also by the Control Board in its annual reports. If it is in the interests of the public to have sporting programmes on Sunday morning and if it is in the interests of the public to protect minorities then the Government should have legislated to ensure quotas at other times for the programmes which the Board itself has described as Australian programmes of merit and programmes for minority interests. This is an important matter. The Government has indicated its lethargy and inaction and I warn all those who are engaged in the television industry - actors, writers, producers and technicians - that if this Government is returned to office the very little protection that they now have can well be dissipated after the next election.
– I wish to use the opportunity provided by the debate on the Appropriation Bills (No. 4) and (No. 5) to point out 2 matters to the Senate. One refers to the Kimba-Polda pipeline in South Australia which has been the subject of an application by the State Government for a grant from the National Water Resources Fund for a number of years. I recall when I was a member of the House of Representatives that this question was discussed in conjunction with consideration of the KeithMannum pipeline and on that occasion the State Government’s submission pointed towards the wisdom of granting money for the purpose of that pipeline. Last year the State Government made a further representation for a grant of money from this source to assist in the very important task of completing a pipeline which would serve quite an important farming area in South Australia.
The pipeline is a 15-inch main and is 60 miles long. It passes through a productive farming area. The scheme itself will cost $2. 5m and will serve to stabilise the primary industries in that area and allow for the continuation of diversification. Unfortunately the submission from the State Government did not stress the efforts being made by the farmers in that area to diversify their stocking patterns. It pointed fairly clearly to the increase in the sheep population in the area and, of course, the Government bearing that in mind was justified in suggesting that at a time when the Commonwealth was helping the wool industry it would be unwise for it to aggravate the situation in that area by encouraging the further production of wool.
However, in October of last year 2 members of the State Opposition, Mr Graham Gunn, the member for that area, and Mr Arthur Whyte, M.L.C., together with honourable senators from this side of the House made representations to the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz) pointing out the significant attempts of the farmers in that area to diversify their production. We showed that there was a substantial increase in cattle production in that area - from 1,215 in 1965 to 4,753 in 1971. Pig production increased from 1,634 in 1965 to 4,582. There is evidence that the raising of English bred sheep is being encouraged in that area, purely for meat production purposes. So I was glad when the Prime Minister recognised the efforts of these farmers to undertake diversification. The Minister for National Development and the Prime Minister agreed to consider a further submission from the State Government. Regrettably, to date the
State Government has not made a submission, although I understand that the Premier of South Australia has written a letter to the Prime Minister indicating that such is his intention. I hope that before long the submission will arrive and that the substance of the submission will substantiate what I have already told the Senate. I do hope that when that time comes the Commonwealth Government will look kindly upon the submission and grant the money necessary to ensure a speedy completion of that important pipeline.
Another matter to which I refer is the much vexed question of national highway No. 1 or, as it is known in South Australia, the Eyre Highway. It has been the subject of comment in the Senate by senators from both sides. We realise the need to ensure that that highway is sealed at the earliest possible time. We realise that the State Government has indicated an interest in that road and has decided to allocate S>5m appropriated from certain funds in that State. It is prepared to direct that amount towards the important work of constructing and sealing the highway, provided the Commonwealth Government comes to the party with $2.5m, the additional amount required to complete this important road. On many occasions I have pointed out to the Minister that this road carries a large number of vehicles that are registered in States other than South Australia. Figures given to me following questions Senator Bishop and I asked on this matter during a Senate estimates committee hearing indicate that the volume of interstate traffic on that road now amounts to 80 per cent of the total traffic. In my view, that points quite strongly to the need for the Commonwealth Government to reassess its attitude to roads of this character, because I am quite sure that all honourable senators will agree that the State Government cannot be expected to give an extremely high priority to a road that carries only a relatively small number of vehicles registered in that State.
We hear the excuse given by the Commonwealth Government that under the Commonwealth Aid Roads Agreement the Commonwealth cannot interfere in this area because the categories of roads are defined clearly, the amounts are allocated and it is up to the States to decide on the priorities which they give to roads which they consider need attention. I point out that not only does the Eyre Highway, national highway No. 1, come in that category but in my view other roads can be classed as national roads as well. There is a road in Queensland, the Landsborough Highway, there is the Stuart Highway, also in South Australia, and there is a road in Western Australia, the Great Northern Highway from Meekathara to Port Hedland to Broome. In my view these roads demand more attention from the Commonwealth Government. I think there is a strong case for a complete review of the Commonwealth Aid Roads Agreement, bearing in mind the need to recognise a special category of national roads which should be mainly the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government. I referred to the Stuart Highway in South Australia. I know that when the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) was Minister in Charge of Tourist Activities he journeyed over that road which goes through a very interesting part of South Australia and which leads into the Northern Territory. It passes through the Coober Pedy opal area. It goes through potentially rich mining areas and also fairly rich beef growing areas. I recall that on his return he said that he could well understand the complaints of people in that area about the road because in many parts it was nonexistent.
I appreciate that the Commonwealth has recognised the need to improve transport between the Northern Territory and South Australia because it is currently surveying the route of a railway line from Tarcoola to Alice Springs. It would appear to me that it would not only be good sense if the Government allocated, in the forthcoming Budget or in the near future, sufficient funds to allow for the construction of that railway line but also it would be wise for it to consider the economic feasibility of carrying out at least the basic roadworks necessary to form that road along relatively the same route. It would be an economic project as far as I am concerned. I believe that the Commonwealth Government should look at the matter of sealing that road in the near future. Of course I realise that it can be done only with the co-operation of the South Australian Government. As far as I know the State Government has made no approach to the
Commonwealth with regard to that highway. I think it is fair, under the present system, for the Commonwealth to say that it cannot make a special grant for the Eyre Highway, bearing in mind that 4 or 5 other roads in Australia are in the same category. The Queensland Government made a plea for certain moneys to be allocated for the Landsborough Highway. It received the same answer. I think we have a strong case here. Senator Bishop may agree with me that there is a case for the Commonwealth Government to consider grouping all these roads together in an effort to get the lot done at the earliest possible time. I would appreciate it if the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) would take notice of what I have said about both projects, which are of great significance to South Australia.
– I take the opportunity during the debate on Appropriation Bill (No. 4) to make a plea on behalf of the metal trades unions in New South Wales about overdue action by the Commonwealth Government, through the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony), to stabilise the rolling stock manufacturing industry. The story begins on Tuesday, 14th March, when I introduced a fairly sizeable metal trades deputation to Mr Anthony. At that deputation the unions put forward special proposals. Actually the history of the rolling stock manufacturing industry in Australia shows that the industry has always been subject to sudden fluctuations. In the era when Sir John McEwen was Minister there were times when the unions had to see him. The allegations made were that, particularly in relation to large northern Australian mining ventures, far too many tenders for ore wagons were being let to Japan and other overseas countries. It was said at that time, to quote Sir John McEwen, that what was lost on the swings would be gained on the roundabout. Where the workforce in the manufacturing industry was jeopardised he did to a degree arrange for alternate orders to be placed to stabilise the workforce. Subsequently - I suppose this is an indictment on the capitalist system - it was found that additional tenders were placed in Ontario in Canada. While I would not question the argument that, because of the balance of payments position, Australia would have been justified in importing some manufactured goods from Japan. 1 do question the wisdom of tenders being let to a Canadian firm when it was apparent that the employment situation in Australia in the rolling stock manufacturing industry was extremely brittle insofar as long range job opportunities were concerned. That was the background to the meeting of this delegation with Mr Anthony on 14th March.
I was involved in this .matter because, as an elector of Lowe, which is the electorate of the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon), I was aware that the engineering establishment of Tulloch Ltd at Rhodes had dismissed over 100 men. I understand that it was put very forceably to the Minister for Trade and Industry that by mid-June several hundred others could also be dismissed. I take the opportunity of the debate on this legislation to ventilate this matter. I am trying to paint a picture of how the trade union movement, has followed the normal textbook approach. No overtime ban or anything of that sort was imposed. The delegation approached the Minister for Trade and Industry and asked him what he could do to stabilise the industry. It did not adopt a Dick Turpin stand-and-deliver attitude. The delegation put specific proposals to the Minister. 1 should mention in passing that the Minister claimed, as he was entitled to do, that sizable grants which had been given to the New South Wales Premier could have been spent more expeditiously.
The delegation claimed that if the New South Wales Commissioner for Railways had acted upon a tender he had for 106 new railway carriages all would have been well. Of course, the manufacturers contended that that contract had not been pushed through because the Premier reckoned that he had other commitments to meet. Without acting on a party basis, the delegation put several proposals to Mr Anthony. The chief proposal was to the effect that there should be a more effective co-ordination of the placing of railway rolling stock orders from the railway systems in Australia. There is no doubt that with more skilful direction or manipulation - honourable senators can apply any word they choose to use - of the railway systems in Australia there would be stability of employment in this industry. There is no reason why firms like Tulloch and Goodwin and their counterparts in the other major states should not be informed 12 months ahead of the sorts of contracts that are going to be let. That is the nature of the proposal that was put to the Minister. I felt that he was rather receptive to it. He pointed out that the possibility of success depended on his colleague, the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon), conferring with the State Ministers for Transport and their respective railway commissioners.
The major criticism 1 make is that that delegation met the Minister on 14th March and we are now almost into the month of June and the delegation has not received a reply from the Minister on its proposals. It is beyond my comprehension how, in this computer age, there cannot be more effective dialogue between the State instrumentalities and the Commonwealth on such matters. The outcome of the talks between the Commonwealth and the States should have flowed back by now to the Minister for Trade and Industry and in turn to the trade union movement. It is true that the Minister did claim that restoration of the investment allowance would stabilise the industry.
I should point out that every week the unions concerned have been asking Mr Unsworth, the organiser of the New South Wales Trades and Labour Council, what is happening. 1 do not criticise the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton), who represents in this place the Minister for Trade and Industry, because I know of the situation in which he is placed. 1 have been bombarding the Minister for Trade and Industry for a decision. The members of his staff have always been reasonable to me whenever I have telephoned the Minister. They have pointed out to me that apparently the Minister for Trade and Industry has not received a response to his representations from either the Commonwealth Minister for Shipping and Transport or, going further down the line, the respective State commissioners for railways and State Ministers for Transport. There has been some talk about trade unions being unreasonable in their approaches. Here is a classic example of a trade union which has tried to hold the line at a time when production has been cut, but because of some ineptitude - probably at a State ministerial level - nothing has happened and the Commonwealth transport Minister must be held culpable. In a day or two this Parliament will be adjourning until August and between now and then some people who were employed in the Prime Minister’s electorate of Lowe - former employees of Tulloch - will have experienced a pretty bleak mid-winter.
Honourable senators on this side of the chamber have argued that trade cannot be divorced from foreign policy. It has been argued that a tag should be put on some of the aid given to foreign countries. I think the Minister for Trade and Industry should place a much more effective curb on the activities of the large mining companies that operate in northern Australia. In the past these companies have said: ‘We will give orders for 40 per cent of our ore waggons to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane firms, but we will purchase the rest overseas’. The fact is that the United States of America, West Germany and even countries in Eastern Europe make sure that their basic heavy industries are fully involved in all major projects of this nature undertaken in their countries. I appreciate that the delegation did not say to the Minister for Trade and Industry that he should be virtually a back seat driver to our foreign policy. I know that in all the major political parties the question of putting ties on economic aid to underdeveloped countries has raised certain problems. But I do respectfully say that in this age of automation, which has distinct limitations on job availability, a [ong range view must be taken. I think the Minister for Trade and Industry should go into a huddle with the Minister for Foreign Affairs about whether some of our aid to overseas countries would be more effective if it were given in terms of goods manufactured in this country and not money.
In the interim I appeal for a solution to the problem I have raised. There should have been a quicker response from the State Ministers. It has been said on numerous occasions by Ministers in this chamber that the answers to some of the problems my colleagues and I raise lie in the federal system which means partnership. That is true to a point. But I think that Senator Cotton, who knows a lot about Commonwealth-State relations, will agree with me when I say that I think the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) should indicate to the States at the next Premiers Conference that not just the question of dangling the carrot is involved but that if the State Ministers do not respond a lot quicker they will be making a mockery of our federal system, which in turn will mean that the innocent will suffer.
While I am making this very strong appeal on behalf of the trade union movement 1 think I should point out that the deadline for impending dismissals is being reached. I believe that this is a disease that is spreading right throughout the federal system. Honourable senators will be aware that as a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment I presented a minority report on the subject of gun control. I asked the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) to try and get the State Ministers to speed up their responses to the question of gun control. T exempt the Victorian Government from that criticism because I believe that it has been more aware than the other States of this problem. The other States, including my own State of New South Wales, seem to be bedazzled by the so-called gun lobby, which is completely exaggerated in importance. The point I am trying to make is that in this year of 1972 a much tougher line will have to be adopted by the Government in those situations in which there is a delay in consultation by the States with the Commonwealth.
I repeat that time is running out for the workers who face dismissal in the rolling stock industry. Mere academic theory is not involved. What is involved is the dismissal of possibly 250 men at Tulloch. What is more important is that these men could gravitate from the various engineering trades into other fields of endeavour. I say that because the situation could arise where the Government will be bound up in an extensive defence policy requiring a large number of tradesmen to do particular jobs and it will find that there is a denuded work force in the engineering trades. I say respectfully to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry that it is not good enough for me to be told almost at the beginning of June that the Minister for Trade and Industry is still waiting on responses from either the Minister for Shipping and Transport or the States about a deputation to him on 14th March. I leave the matter on that note.
– I wish to raise 2 matters which I feel are of great importance to the people of Australia. The first matter relates to the Homes Savings Grant Act, which I believe contains a great anomaly. Paragraph (b) of sub-section (2.) of section 20 provides: (2.) A grant under this Act shall not be made to an eligible person in respect of a dwellinghouse -
unless the amount that the Secretary is satisfied is the value of the dwelling-house, or will he the value of the dwelling-house when it is erected, does not exceed -
Paragraph (a) of sub-section (4.) of section 20 provides: (4.) For the purposes of paragraph (b) of subsection (2.) of this section, the value of a dwellinghouse is the value -
A person who buys a block of land, makes no improvements whatever to it and then proceeds to build a dwelling on it at a cost not exceeding $17,500 will qualify for the homes savings grant of $500. But an industrious person who buys a block of land, does not have the amount required to construct a home but in the meantime with the small amount he has available builds frences, a workshop or garage or lays paving, or undertakes similar types of improvements, finds when he has the amount required to pay a deposit on a dwelling and applies for a homes savings grant that the improvements he has carried out before lodging the application are included in the cost of the dwelling for the purposes of the Act.
I have spoken to officers of the Department of Housing in both Adelaide and Canberra. They have been most cooperative and sympathetic, but because of the terms of the Act nothing can be done to help those people who have gone ahead and made improvements to their land before applying for a homes savings grant. I and many other people believe that this is an anomaly. A person who is not prepared to make any improvements to his land until he applies for a homes savings grant receives the grant providing the cost of the dwelling does not exceed the amount stated in the Act, but a person who carries out improvements to his land before making application can be debarred from receiving the homes savings grant.
I have been told by members of the Department that it would be very hard to differentiate between people who are building a home and people who are buying a home. It would be hard to sort out the people who would be eligible in respect of improvements and the cost of the land as against the cost of the dwelling. Yet in the first part of the Act it distinctly says that the amount is applied to the dwelling. I would like the Government to do what it can to amend the Act so that young people who are genuinely seeking a grant to set up a home are not debarred from a grant because they have made improvements to their land.
Another anomaly arises because certain local government bodies have by-laws which require people to erect a certain type of front fence. The cost could vary from $200 to $600. If a young couple build a home to the value of $17,500, they may be hit with the local government requirement to build a fence and can thus be debarred from receiving a home savings grant. They may not want a front fence but are compelled to erect one. I make a plea to people in the Department of Housing to see whether something can be done to amend the Act as soon as possible so that the people to whom I have referred may be eligible to receive the homes savings grant.
I wish now to raise another matter. I have received correspondence from school organisations in South Australia and from voluntary organisations of the Methodist Church in relation to increased postal charges introduced in the last Budget. I have received a letter from Mr J. M. Cook, Secretary of the Allendale East Area School Committee, which states:
Allendale East Area School,
Allendale East, via Mount Gambier, S.A. 5291 24th March, 1972
The Honourable Senator G. McLaren, Parliament House, CANBERRA, A.C.T. 2600
On behalf of the Allendale East Area School Committee, I desire to draw your attention to the difficulties being encountered in the financing of the ‘School Post’. The ‘School Post’ is a publication of the Australian Council of State Schools’ Organisations, and for postal purposes, the PostmasterGeneral’s Department has placed it in Category ‘B As a member Committee of the A.C.S.S.O., we believe that the ‘School Post’ warrants classification in Category ‘A’, thereby easing the financial burden to the Council and its affiliates. State School Committees are primarily engaged in activities concerning the welfare and education of school children, and increased postal charges on our magazine means less money for our main purpose.
We therefore earnestly request you to make representations to the Postmaster-General to have the ‘School Post’ reclassified into Category ‘A’.
I contacted the Postmaster-General’s Department and received a reply from Senator Cotton. It stated briefly that the issue had been carefully examined on a number of occasions and the Minister regretted that it was not possible to vary the classification of the publication concerned. Senator Cotton enclosed a copy of a statement which had been prepared regarding the classification of school parent organisation journals. With the concurrence of the Senate I will have a copy of that statement incorporated in Hansard.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows):
Almost half the loss sustained in the provision of postal services is caused by the transmission of registered newspapers and periodicals at concessional rates of postage. The reduction of the extent of the concessions for registered publications and the application of stringent eligibility conditions were necessary to contain the loss.
Registered publications are now classified in three categories, namely Category ‘A’, Category B’ and Category ‘C. Category ‘A’ registered publications are confined to country newspapers and periodicals, and newspapers and periodicals published by religious, charitable and welfare organizations, and by educational, scientific or technical organizations having the dissemination of knowledge as their principal object. Other publications on the register before the 31st December 1971, or for which applications for registration were lodged by that date are classified in Category ‘B’. However, any applications for registration lodged after the 31st December 1971, in respect of publications not eligible for Category A’ can only be considered for Category ‘C classification.
To be regarded as a ‘country’ periodical for postal registration purposes, a journal must be primarily concerned with ‘country’ subjects - those subjects which are an essential part of country life as distinct from capital city life. The publications of parents’ organizations associated with schools are not of special interest to country people, as distinct from city people, as they con- tain information of common interest to people in all areas.
The Post Office is unable to regard the various school organizations, for postal purposes, as either charitable or welfare organizations. Charitable organizations are considered to be those which devotea substantial and continuing effort to the relief of the poor or afflicted and have this as one of their principal objects. A welfare organization is considered to be one whose objects are actually directed to and whose activities are substantially and continually involved in assisting, supporting or improving the conditions of life of underprivileged or disadvantaged persons or groups within a more favourably placed community.
Educational organizations must have the dissemination of knowledge as their principal object. School parents’ associations are not regarded as educational organizations in the generally accepted sense of the term in that they do not have a substantial degree of systematic or formalised education in their activities.
Publications issued by school parents’ organizations, therefore, are not eligible for Category ‘A’ classification. However, the Category ‘B’ rate, which is applicable to this kind of publication registered as a result of an application lodged by 3 1st December 1971, still represents a substantial concession when compared with the normal printed matter rate.
I have also received a letter from Mr Keith Smith, Secretary of the Board of Management of the ‘Central Times’, a Methodist Church publication in South Australia. Mr Smith wrote: 26th April 1972
I write to you on behalf of the Board of Management of this newspaper which is the official publication of The Methodist Church in South Australia,
Our Board is deeply disturbed at the impact of increased postal charges which were imposed under the last Federal Budget. Under the provisions of the Budget, bulk postage rates covering items such as periodicals and newspapers were increased by 50 per cent, compared with an increase from 6c to 7c in first class postage. We are concerned that this measure involves a serious additional burden to organizations of a charitable, religious or philanthropic nature, which are dependent for their existence and support on the good-will of members of the community. Newspapers and periodicals such as ‘The Central Times’ provide an essential means of maintaining such support.
Particularly in recent years, there has been wide-spread recognition by Governments of the importance of voluntary social agencies and the contribution which is made for community wellbeing by organizations such as churches. As the result of this recognition, the responsibilities of churches and welfare organizations have been enormously increased and the need for additional financial contributions from members of the public has resulted.
In the case of our own paper, increased postal charges will require an additional $1,438 in a full year.
On behalf of the members of the Board and the 13,500 Methodist families who read ‘The Central Times’, I would urge you to use your influence to have this unfair imposition removed. I also request you to strenuously resist any proposal which will have the effect of ‘Taxing’ charitable and religious organizations whose funds come entirely from voluntary contributions from members of the public by increased postal charges or other financial measures.
I have raised these 2 matters to point out to the Senate the significance of the work done by voluntary organisations in the religious and educational sectors of the community. Irrespective of the answer I received from the Postmaster-General’s DepartmentI again make an urgent plea to the Government to give due consideration to these people when framing the next Budget. As they have said to me in correspondence, they are working on a voluntary basis. If they were to abandon their work and throw the burden back on the Government, the Government would find that it was up for an amount far in excess of that which it receives from the increased postal charges payable by these people. The increased postal charges do not apply only to religious or school organisations. This problem is experienced also to a large extent by trade unions and the motoring organisations in each State. Because of the increased postal charges for the newspapers that they publish for and distribute to their members, these bodies have had to increase their fees. This has had a detrimental effect on their endeavours to inform people of what their organisations are doing. The circularisation of these periodicals has had to be reduced. This is not helping those organisations in the job of work that they are attempting to do. That is why I am raising these matters today.
– I revert to the subject which was raised by Senator Jessop. I wish to deal with road works in South Australia and also the urgency of railway construction there. First, 1 reply to Senator Jessop who inadvertently stated that as far as he was aware the Government of South Australia had made no applications for assistance for the reconstruction or upgrading of the Stuart Highway. I know what the South Australian Government has done over the period; most honourable senators do. The South Australian Government has been endeavouring to get the Commonwealth Government to make some reasonable arrangement for bituminising the surface of the Eyre Highway. As most honourable senators will know, senators from both sides of the chamber have directed questions on this matter to the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) who represents here the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon).
No clear decision has yet been announced following the last application by the Premier of South Australia, Mr Dunstan, for such an arrangement except a reply from the Minister for Shipping and Transport last week to a question asked by the honourable member for Grey (Mr Wallis) who represents the Port Augusta area. Most national automobile or tourist authorities have agreed that the Eyre Highway is not a State highway at all; that it is a national highway. It should be classified as such and should not be covered by the normal appropriations which are given to the State governments under the Commonwealth aid roads scheme. The Minister for Shipping and Transport has suggested that what Mr Virgo, the the Minister in South Australia responsible for roads, should do is to make arrangements to reallocate some of the moneys which are for essential work on internal roads in the State to work on what are national roads.
Surveys have been carried out on these roads. The survey of the Eyre Highway has shown that the greater proportion of vehicles using that road are interstate vehicles. On 26th May the Adelaide Advertiser’, in an article reporting what Mr Nixon had said on this subject, stated:
Mr Nixon said that the South Australian Government set its own priorities on how the money was spent. ‘For my part I would like to see it meet more responsibility as far as the Eyre Highway and the Alice Springs road are concerned’.
As a prelude to trying to get the Commonwealth Government to adopt a more reasonable attitude to the work on the Eyre Highway, recently the South Australian Government provided another $3m for its part of the work. It then made a request to the Commonwealth Government for some funds to complete that work. The South Australian Government was supported in its request by many people other than members of the Labor Party and by the national organisations which are concerned about the state of this road. Recently, as honourable senators know, in common with other honourable senators I have drawn the attention of the Minister to the road accidents which continue to occur on this highway. They include many fatal accidents. Only recently a priest was stranded on the highway for a long time as a result of the road conditions and many of the hazards there.
This state of affairs is continuing despite representations by State governments. After all, State governments have heavy responsibilities particularly at a time when the level of inflation is rising constantly. Their financial commitments are very heavy and they are unable to make appropriations for extra works of this special nature. Surely an obligation to try to work out a deal in respect of these South Australian roads in particular rests on the Commonwealth Government. I support Senator Jessop’s notion that some sort of plan ought to be worked out for South Australia in relation to the Eyre Highway and the road to Alice Springs.
In addition, there are other related works. Let me refer to the difficulties that we have had and the troubles that have arisen. Over the years, the State Government has been asking for additional Federal money. Honourable senators and members of the other place have been raising this question and asking for some consideration of it. But it would appear that, at this stage, no communications exist between the South Australian Government and the Commonwealth Government which would induce the hope that work on the Eyre Highway will be completed within a reasonable time. It ought to be, not only for the safety of Australia as a whole but also for the safety of road users.
I turn to the Alice Springs road. Senator Jessop has faithfully reported the conditions of this road and the surveys and the inspections which were made by Senator Wright, the Minister for Works. After the Minister’s visit, some works were carried out on the road. The ultimate situation is not satisfactory. The Commonwealth Government ought to adopt a plan in respect of this road particularly at a time when unemployment of quite a magnitude exists. The estimates are that the unemployment level will not be 60,000 but 100,000. These are the times when such a plan ought to be adopted.
I mention the figures given to the Senate Estimates Committee D on this matter. The cost of bituminising the Eyre Highway from Penong to the border of Western Australia would be $10m and the cost of bituminising the Stuart Highway from Pimba to the Northern Territory border would be $16m. That is the story with respect to those roads. Nobory can say that the Government of South Australia or members representing South Australia in this Parliament have not tried to raise this matter to a higher place in the priorities.
I know that time is running away but I wish briefly and quickly to revert to the highly important topic of railways. We had a great battle to obtain a financial arrangement on the broadening of the railway gauge between Adelaide and Port Pirie. The arrangement in that respect now is fairly formal. That has been settled. But no undertaking has been given in respect of the Commonwealth’s obligation to rebuild the railway line to Alice Springs. Our information is that the surveys that are being undertaken will be completed before too long. Mr Smith, the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner, has stated that the new line could be completed at a cost of $60m. This is not a large sum. The work has to be done sometime. Each season frequent troubles caused by washaways and floods occur. AH sorts of devices are used to get the trains through. Passengers on those trains are fed in their emergency situation by air lifts of food by aircraft and helicopters. Senator Jessop has said that he believes that a plan for such a scheme ought to be advocated. I fully support that proposal because we on this side of the House have been pressing for many years for such a vision on the part of the Commonwealth Government.
– This is the second reading debate on 2 Appropriation Bills which, as Senator Wilkinson has pointed out, the Senate is dealing with as cognate measures. The first Bill might be described as the operating Bill while the second one might be described as the capital Bill. We are treating them as though they were one Bill. A number of speakers in the second reading debate have dealt with various matters. I must say that I have sat and listened carefully to them. As I recall, there were 7 speeches which came from Senators Wilkinson, Cant, Douglas McClelland, Jessop, Mulvihill, McLaren and Bishop. The speeches have been quite interesting. One would like to reply at much greater length to them but one is conscious of the fact that if one were to do that and one was so to prolong the debate into next week one’s personal popularity would shrink well below its current level, which is not high. So I will refer very briefly to those speeches. I ask my colleagues to understand that I am not being discourteous, but I am anxious to make the time required to reply as short as possible.
Senator Wilkinson queried the change in the Government’s attitude since the last Budget with regard to inflation and containing Government expenditure. The honourable senator referred also to the closing down of the Broken Hill South Ltd mine and its consequences on employment and the closing down of business. I will not elaborate in any way on the Broken Hill South mine except to say to Senator Wilkinson that I am quite familiar with the whole situation. I know a little about the matter. My father’s first job in life was to work on Broken Hill South when he was a young man in 1905. My family has been associated with Broken Hill since that time. I understand the problem. I know a little about it.
Some of the remarks made by Senator Wilkinson are worthy of much greater comment perhaps at another time.
The Broken Hill South mine for a long time has been existing on a very diminishing ore body. I think the mine has been operating for nearly 88 years. It has been a very great mine. It has done a lot for this country, but its life was distinctly limited. It was possible - this was referred to recently in a series of interviews about this matter - that with some relaxation of industrial conditions the mine might have been capable of continuing operations for a few more years. This was decided against by those unionists involved, and the life of the mine was thereby shortened to some extent but not markedly. The real fact of life in relation to the South mine is that the ore body is largely mined out and what remains is a fairly low grade deposit which would have lasted only a couple more years. The consequence of what has happened now would have been inevitable within a couple of years. I think Mr Mills, who was the manager of the mine, last year told the unionists concerned that the mine certainly would close within 2 years.
Nonetheless, Senator Wilkinson’s remarks about the South mine are of great moment and concern to anybody from Broken Hill because its closing represents the end of an era in that city, just as the closing of the old BHP mine represented the end of an era when it closed. I can remember the same sort of things happening on that occasion. There were the same predictions of doom, the same air of gloom and foreboding which, relatively, provided to be unnecessary. Broken Hill has had a great capacity for looking after its own development. I am not without some optimism about the future of that city. I make those remarks to say that I note Senator Wilkinson’s observations. I refer to the matter because I personally am a little involved.
Senator Wilkinson should note that the original figures in the Budget were based on known costs and existing services at the time. The additional appropriations covered increases in costs and the requirements for new services that have been approved since the Budget. Savings that have been effected throughout the year - wherever possible these have been effected - are in accordance with Government policy and they are reflected in the figures. I think I should mention also that Senator Wilkinson made reference to a comment made by Mr Garland in the other House about employment. It is only proper to point out that really it is not relevant to talk about the closing down of complete sectors of industry. If this had happened it would have resulted in a massive increase in unemployment, and this has not occurred. What we have seen happening in recent days is a decline in the total number of persons registered for employment. From a peak level of 130,000 at the end of January when the figures were inflated by an influx of school leavers onto the labour market, actual unemployment has fallen to about 93,000. In seasonally adjusted terms, total unemployment has also declined somewhat in April, which is the most recent month for which figures are available. On seasonally adjusted figures there was a decline in unemployment in all States except Western Australia and Tasmania.
Senator Cant referred to Gulf Fisheries Pty Ltd at Exmouth Gulf which was owned by Mr Michael Kailis. The Department of Air has made available information on this matter. As it is a matter of some precision necessitating some detail, I think I could leave it to my colleague Senator Drake-Brockman, the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate, who can raise this matter when dealing with the estimates for the Department cif Air. I think he probably would prefer to do that rather than my intruding into it.
In regard to Senator Douglas McClelland’s comments in relation to football replays, the Government has announced that it will introduce legislation to clarify the powers of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board in regard to Sunday morning programming on television. There has not been sufficient time to introduce appropriate legislation this session. I know that every honourable senator who has a particular interest in a particular matter believes that that matter should be dealt with immediately, but the legislative programme before a government is an immense one. It gets larger and more complex every year. Honourable senators will know this because of the intensive work they are required to carry out. The challenge by the
Federation of Commercial Television Stations on Sunday morning programming led to a detailed examination of the Board’s powers generally. This has taken some time and it is still continuing. There is a very wide area to be covered. It needs a detailed examination. The matter is very involved. To some extent it goes beyond legal areas into areas of public interest, emotive concept and what various people regard as public interest. For instance, the people of Victoria regard Australian Rules Football played on Sunday as part of their religion. The people who play Rugby League do not so regard that game. These are the differences.
– Do you not have regard to New South Wales?
– I realise that Senator Mulvihill and I will put ourselves in some danger of physical harm if we do too much about this in the State that we represent. Stations have been asked to comply with the Board’s present standards pending the introduction of the legislation. It was put to them that this was a fair thing because the legislation is complex and difficult. For the short time that I was involved in trying to help in this field, I found from talking to the people concerned in the Broadcasting Control Board - they are very fine people who are conscious of their responsibilities - that this clearly is a complex matter in relation to which they had not found it easy to see a perfectly clear and final path. They have been working seriously on this matter with the Attorney-General’s Department. Most stations are adhering to the Government’s request. To the extent that they are not, they have not obeyed the request of the Broadcasting Control Board, and perhaps it would be in the public interest if they were to conform with everybody else pending the legislation being finalised. The challenge by TCN on the Australian content requirements was part of a general examination of the Board’s powers. The stations are complying with the Australian content requirement. 1 am informed that the challenge by TCN was only in relation to one section of the overall requirement.
Senator Jessop spoke about some of the problems in South Australia. He mentioned the Kimba-Polda Basin pipeline. I believe that this pipeline is still the subject of examination between the Commonwealth Government and the South Australian Government. I believe that there is still the same interest in the project. It fascinated me to hear of the availability of a water supply in that area. It seemed to me to be a water supply scheme that had a lot to recommend it. However, I am not the Minister responsible for this matter, and therefore it cannot be taken that I am the person who can give approval to the project. I simply say that the prospect of such a pipeline created a lot of interest from myself.
Senator Jessop referred also to roads in South Australia. He, Senator Bishop and other senators from South Australia have referred to this subject on quite a number of occasions. He referred to the Stuart Highway and the Eyre Highway. I think the remarks that I make to Senator Bishop and Senator Jessop will cover the general area of this subject. I understand the point being made, namely that these 2 highways bear a great deal of traffic which is over and above the traffic incidental to the State of South Australia. They are tending to become part of an internal highway system in this country for people who are travelling throughout Australia. When one considers that increasingly the people of Australia are on the move in motor cars, both on holidays and long service leave, one realises that there is a case for examination of some of these highways. Another highway referred to was the Landsborough Highway. There is also a highway that goes from Sydney out through the central west, through Cobar to Broken Hill and links up with the main coastal highway at Port Pirie. Another one leads out from Brisbane, passes through Mount Isa, crosses the Barkly Tableland and finishes at Darwin. Increasingly people in this country are travelling by road - they use caravans as well as cars - to see their own country. It does seem to me that there is a case here to have an overall Australian approach to our roads.
As I listened to both honourable senators it occurred to me that this is a case to be referred to the Commonwealth Bureau of Roads which could look at the matter in that light. Perhaps one of the things one can do in this country is to encourage internal tourism. I think there is a need to encourage the people of Australia to see their own country. I think all honourable senators will realise that I have been quite keen on this proposition for some time. So, in relation to this matter, as in relation to the other matters raised, the remarks made by honourable senators will be referred to the appropriate departments. 1 make my comments not to take up the time of the Senate but to indicate the view that 1 have and perhaps to support some of the comments that have been made. 1 do understand the problems. It seems to me that in the context that these highways are bearing traffic over and above the incidental purposes of the State to which Commonwealth Aid Roads Agreement moneys pass, this problem should be directed to the Commonwealth Bureau of Roads for examination.
Senator Mulvihill talked at some length about the employment situation in Tulloch Ltd at Concord. I am not terribly familiar with this matter. The honourable senator has spoken to me about it before, as he has about the John Lysaght case in Newcastle. When he spoke to me about these matters I referred them to the Department of Trade and Industry. The honourable senator has been to the Department with a deputation, too. I should think that that matter has been taken into account by the Department fairly seriously.
Senator McLaren spoke about the homes savings grant scheme. I noted his remarks and I will pass them on to the Minister for Housing (Mr Kevin Cairns). The honourable senator spoke also about the effect of the postage increases in the Budget on journals that relate to schools and churches. When I was Acting PostmasterGeneral I took up that matter on behalf of a number of honourable senators, one of whom was Senator McLaren. I did not succeed in making any change in the situation, really because the overall Post Office position is that there is a very heavy and increasing deficit between revenue and expenditure. Therefore, the Post Office is not impressed at all with propositions to decrease its revenue. I cannot say anything more than that at this stage. I think I have covered in the broad, as I said I would, the matters that were raised. I again say to honourable senators that, as always in these cases, through an arrangement in my office, the contents of the relevant speeches they make are passed on to the responsible Ministers and departments for their attention.
– Would the Senate be so kind as to give me leave to reply to that portion of the submissions made by Senator Cant to which Senator Cotton has referred as being within my portfolio?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– Senator Cant made reference to the Kailis business at Learmonth. He informed the Senate that he had read my replies to the questions asked by Senator Wilkinson during the hearing of Senate Estimates Committee E. The Department of Air supplied a book to the members of Estimates Committee E. On the second page there appears a summary of revised estimates. Lt the honourable senator looks at the notes on division 707, which deals with the acquisition of sites, he will see that the Budget estimate for acquisition was $515,000. The acquisition of land for the Department of Air is carried out by the Department of the Interior. The officers of the Department of the Interior are responsible for approaching the owners of the land and carrying out the negotiations until a final figure is arrived at. If the honourable senator looks at the notes he will see that the revised estimate is $671,000, which leaves a figure of $156,000 which the Department is seeking as additional appropriation.
At the time of the original estimate the Department of Air believed that in 1971- 72 it would be called upon to pay the sum of $275,000 for this programme at Learmonth. That information was provided to the Department by the Department of the Interior. The Department of the Interior had said at that time that it believed that the final figure would be $335,000. These are the figures which the honourable senator used. At no stage when I was replying to him on the last occasion did I say that the figure of $275,000 was thought by my Department to be adequate. The finalisation of these negotiations has proceeded more quickly than anticipated. This is not unusual. It happens quite often. I think that I indicated at the time that the negotiations were nearing completion. The final figure is a little higher than that estimated by the Department. All it has done here is to take advantage of the Advance to the Treasurer to seek the balance of the final figure. The final figure for compensation paid to Kailis is $335,000. The cost of reinstatement of the telephone service is $6,521. There are some anticipated small or miscellaneous expenditures which add up to $1,479. That makes a total expenditure on the acquisition of that site and all that is entailed of $343,000. The honourable senator went into some detail about previous discussion and a letter that he had received. I will have a look at what he said. If there is further information which I can provide and which I think will be of use to him, I will make it available.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– Earlier I sought to explain what seemed to the Government to be a reasonable way to proceed at the Committee stage, which we have reached now. I indicated that I would move in a certain fashion. I move:
I am told that a list setting out the proposed groupings and order for the consideration of the votes has been circulated for the information of honourable senators. I want to be sure that that list, which gives the departments covered by Estimates Committees A, B, C, D and E, is in the hands of honourable senators.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– We now proceed to deal with the group of departments covered by Estimates Committee A. The question is:
That the votes for the group of departments covered by Estimates Committee A be now passed without requests.
Proposed expenditures agreed to.
– We now deal with the group of departments covered by Estimates Committee B.
– The question I wish to raise here is a very difficult one to raise at this stage, but I do not know how I can otherwise deal with it. When we look at the second department covered by Estimates Committee B, the Postmaster-General’s Department, we find that the appropriation is for radio broadcasting and television. There is no appropriation for the PostmasterGeneral’s Department in relation to telephone or postage activities. Yet this is a question which, with your indulgence, Mr Temporary Chairman, I would like to raise. The Department is all the time spending money that it receives in revnue. It is a rather awkward situation that we have no access to information on this. I crave your indulgence, Sir, because we are not dealing with this matter although it is covered by the Postmaster-General’s Department. It is not in this appropriation. The Minister may not be able to give me an answer on this, either. But I want to put the point forward.
In the workings of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department a large amount of money has been used during the past 12 months and is continuing to be used for the installation of telephone services to country subscribers within 15 miles of exchanges. The Senate agreed to this. The Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) said last year that subscribers in country areas who were within the 15 mile radius would have their telephone connected free of charge. I wonder whether it is possible for the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral is this place to give me an estimate of what this has cost up to the present time. I felt at the time this scheme was announced that the proposal by the Postmaster-General was not a fair one in the sense that, although it was a simple and straightforward gesture, he did not tell us what it would cost. I take it that the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) will speak for the Postmaster-General.
– This was dealt with in Estimates Committee B.
– I presume the Attorney-General heard my earlier remarks when I said I had some doubt about bringing the matter forward. However the Temporary Chairman has permitted me to do so. I doubt whether the Attorney-General can give me an answer but I ask for the indulgence of the Committee. Perhaps the Attorney-General can give me an estimate of what this cost in the last 12 months.
– I heard the general gist of what Senator Wilkinson said. He rightly supposed that I am not in a position to give him this information at the present time. The best course I can adopt - I trust he appreciates that it is the only course I can suggest - is to forward his query to the Postmaster-General’s Department with a view to the PostmasterGeneral (Sir Alan Hulme) supplying to him, as soon as he is able, what information he has along the lines that the honourable senator is seeking.
– I will be happy for that course to be followed.
– I undertake to pass on the request to the PostmasterGeneral.
– I seek information from the Department of Immigration on 2 counts. The first relates to the statistical operations of the Department. I will give an example. On 9th May I placed on the notice paper question No. 2156. In it I sought statistics on immigration from both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic for the first quarter of 1972. What I cannot understand is that this week there appeared in most of the major morning newspapers figures stemming from the Bureau of Census and Statistics for arrivals and departures up to March and a little beyond. I want to establish why I cannot have these statistics up to March - and I point out that now it is almost June. What is the link between the Bureau of Census and Statistics and the Department of Immigration? They both feed figures out to the people at large but who has priority and who gets the details first?
The second subject relates to a matter which is well known to the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) and myself. I refer to “The Review’ for the period 27th May to 2nd June. I will gloss over the matter of Mr Srecko Rover and his passport. The point is that in “The Review’ there was an article stating that Mr Ante Vucic, head of the Croatian
National Resistance movement in Germany, is due in Australia on a fund raising tour. We have had plenty of fireworks in the Senate in the last few days so I will be content to get an assurance from the Attorney-General who as he said the other days wears several hats, being the Attorney-General and the spokesman on immigration. The West German authorities were extremely vigilant when Mr Marincic went to West Germany and smartly sent him back. Can I have the assurance that we will be equally vigilant in Australia, or in our establishments in Bonn or elsewhere, to see that Mr Vucic does not come here to reopen old sores?
– Senator Mulvihill raised 2 matters. He has not received a reply to question No. 2156 because the pressure of business in the Senate this morning was such that answers to questions on notice were dispensed with. If he does not mind, he will get his answer tomorrow in the formal manner. However, I can give him some information now. He asked how many people migrated to Australia from Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic in the first quarter of 1972 and the last 2 quarters of 1971. The figures for the first quarter of 1972 are not yet available. However I have the figures for the last 2 quarters of 1971. In the September 1971 quarter 363 people came from Northern Ireland, 38 came from the Republic of Ireland, and there were 341 from Ireland undefined. I can only interpret that to mean either Northern Ireland or the Irish Republic. In the December 1971 quarter, 422 came from Northern Ireland, 28 came from the Republic of Ireland and 374 came from Ireland undefined.
Turning now to the other matter he raised, I trust that he appreciates that the question of whether or not a person is allowed entry into Australia is one which has to be resolved by the Minister for Immigration (Dr Forbes). I would not like him to believe that the Minister for Immigration does not neek advice on issues about which he has some doubts or upon which he feels advice is prudent from other departments, including the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, and officers for whom he is responsible. It is difficult to say in advance what the attitude of the Minister for Immigration would be. It would be imprudent of me to seek to commit him in any way. However I know that he looks at these matters carefully. He is aware, as we all are aware, of the problems within the Yugoslav community in Australia. Without seeking to apportion blame or responsibility, we know that we do not wish to create or add to the existing difficulties which might inflame the vendettas which had their origin in Yugoslavia in times past.
– I want to raise a certain matter again. I refer to an answer given by the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) about the ever increasing deficit in the operations of the Post Office. I asked a question about the increased postal charges. I notice in the Estimates that the original estimate was $255m. The Government now is seeking an extra $15m, making a total payment of $270m to the Post Office Trust Account. My query relates to the fact that this money has been collected by the Treasury from the taxpayers of Australia. The money then is passed over to the Post Office Trust Account for the operations of the Post Office. Then, for some reason best known to the Government, the taxpayers are called upon to pay a further interest charge on money already gathered from them to run government operations. How much of this sum of $270m represents interest charges and how is this offset against the deficit at which the Post Office is running at the present time?
– I regret that I am not in a position to provide that information at the present time. Of course that is appropriately information which the estimates committee are designed to elicit. When the estimates committees are sitting and I am representing the PostmasterGeneral (Sir Alan Hulme) I have available officers who have this sort of information at their fingertips. If they do not have it, they have a broad idea of the situation. If they are not in either of those 2 situations, they can get the information fairly readily. Again I must say, in response to Senator McLaren, that I will do the same with his request as I have promised to do with that of Senator Wilkinson; I will refer it to the Postmaster-General and indicate that it has been raised, and I am sure that the Postmaster-General will do what he can to give the honourable senator an answer.
Proposed expenditures agreed to.
– We now proceed to the group of departments covered by Estimates Committee C.
Senator MULVIHILL (New South Wales (5.15) - I take it that the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) is handling the debate for the Government at this stage of the proceedings. I want to take him back along the corridors of time to a question I asked not so long ago in which I made a plea about what was being done outside New South Wales by the Department about the apparent rising incidence of silicosis in jackhammer operators. I had in mind the Northern Territory. I know that this is a deep question. 1 wonder whether the Minister or his officers have anything further for me on that matter?
– No, I have nothing further to add to the answer I gave a couple of days ago. It will be fully in the mind of the honourable senator.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
– Order! We proceed to the group of departments considered by Estimates Committee D.
– I refer to the Department of the Interior. During one of my excursions in the adjournment debate I tabled a letter from the secretary of the National Parks Association of the ACT. It was quite a technical letter. I think that the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) referred it to the Department of the Interior. In the letter this very vigorous organisation asked for a clear cut designation of the various land uses involving parks and reserves in the Australian Capital Territory. It pointed out that while in overall terms the land was in the custody of the Commonwealth Government, the Association felt that just as there have been instances in the Northern Territory where minerals have been discovered, the equity of national parks or general reserves could be in jeopardy. In this case I assure Senator Wright that it would be well over 5 weeks since I raised this matter. I would like the Minister to take up this matter with his officers.
It becomes a ritual with me every year when speaking to the Estimates to ask when we are to obtain a clear cut announcement on what will constitute the boundaries of the ACT national park. I visualise an area in the Mt Kelly ranges. I have been out on a survey with departmental officers and I know the potential there. I keep receiving letters telling me that there is nothing to worry about, that there are a lot of legal impediments or that the Department is waiting for the land of a leaseholder to revert to the Commonwealth. But all that would have been told to me at least 6 to 8 months ago. Frankly, I believe that it is well and truly time that the Rubicon was crossed. I leave the matter like that.
– J have 2 matters I want to raise. The first relates to the Department of Civil Aviation and the second to the Department of the Interior. In December last year during a debate on the Appropriation Bills I raised a matter relating to the Darwin airport on behalf of people who use that facility. I pointed out to the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) the congestion which occurred. The Minister advised me that it was expected that tenders would be called in either the first or second quarter of this year for the extension of the passenger terminal and that an amount of $650,000 - I think it was - was envisaged for that purpose. Can the Minister advise what progress is being made with the detailed master plan in connection with the proposed establishment of the civil terminal in the north west corner of the airport? One of the other matters which I raised at that time was in connection with the problem of the Darwin Aero Club. The Minister, in his reply, promised me that he would have a look at the matter, but at that time he could not give me any promise that he could obtain any result to the query I put to him.
In these debates one often finds that one has to criticise Ministers. I now find myself in the very happy situation of being able to offer the thanks of the Darwin Aero Club to the Minister because he was able to do something,. I am not sure that I am in order in mentioning this matter at this time but I would like to do so. The members of the Darwin Aero Club are very grateful to the Minister for the action he took in relation to the establishment of a service hangar. A few weeks ago when I was in Darwin I was happy to see that the hangar was under construction and I think that by this time it would be completed. I thank Senator Cotton on behalf of the members of the Darwin Aero Club for the action he took in seeing that the Club received permission to erect the service hangar which it had been endeavouring to obtain for so many years.
The other matter I want to raise relates to the Department of the Interior and the unsatisfactory state of the electoral rolls at the previous Northern Territory Legislative Council elections held in October last. I ask the Minister whether he will ensure that support will be given to the new Northern Territory electoral officer in every way possible, both physically and financially, to enable him to carry out his task of putting in order the Northern Territory electoral rolls for the forthcoming Federal election. I do not need to remind honourable senators of the state the rolls were in during the last local council elections. They are still in that state. I understand that the Commonwealth electoral rolls are used for local government elections. I again ask the Government and the Minister responsible to do everything humanly possible to see that the Northern Territory rolls are brought up to date in time for this year’s Federal election. I have another request. Can some appropriation be made for the establishment of a Commonwealth Electoral Office at Alice Springs? People in the Northern Territory feel that having an office situated at Darwin is not giving a service to the people in the southern part of the Territory. I ask that consideration be given to that matter in the next Budget.
– I am prompted by Senator McLaren’s submissions to raise 2 matters. One deals with the Commonwealth Electoral Office. It is a very simple matter. When we had senior officers of the Commonwealth Electoral Office and other persons before us during the Committee hearing it was explained that rolls are not consolidated in Queensland and Western Australia. We were also told that with the advent of new Premiers overtures are made to them to see whether they want their State to become part of the major roll collation system. Will the Minister advise whether the Commonwealth has made any overtures to Mr Tonkin since he became Premier of Western Australia in an endeavour to have a consolidated roll with the Commonwealth, as is done in most other States?
– We have 18-year- olds voting.
– That is a good point. The other matter concerns the Department of Customs and Excise. I remember that on one memorable occasion Senator Cotton and I engaged in extensive dialogue on the future of the labrador dogs which are used for customs smuggling detection. The Minister was rather pessimistic on that occasion. 1 want to know whether the dogs have been phased out or whether we are injecting a new cross-breed to fill the gap?
– Senator Mulvihill has made continuous reference to the need for denning the national park boundaries in the Australian Capital Territory. Regrettably, I was not here when he first mentioned that matter but I think I have the reference. He is concerned that it is time that the park boundaries were defined. He is familiar with the Australian Capital Territory. I have been over quite a large part of it. There is no doubt that in the ACT a substantial area has only one proper destiny, and that is as a park. It does not have any other destiny. It should not be considered for housing, settlement or grazing. I think that there are areas in the south which in the early years showed a little evidence of what I might call overgrazing and over-firing. The humus has gone and the soil surface has been destroyed. I think there is a substantial case here for a national park. Speaking only from my own knowledge and not with reference to the appropriate Minister, I understand that the problem is tied up with the consideration of the development of the Australian Capital Territory and the amount of avail able land which is suitable for housing within the population expansion pattern which, of course, is substantial.
It is also tied up with the problem of water conservation, water catchment, and the protection of the water shed where that area is in the ACT. Some part of the land is also destined for forestry. I think that it is practically totally occupied now. I think that the problem, if I can recall it from my earlier work, was in defining the park boundaries and obtaining what might be called a merger of the various interests which were the interests of people living in houses, people wanting natural recreation, the needs of the water supply programme and water shed protection, the needs of the park and the needs of forestry in an area which has some substantial limits for a number of the purposes. I shall be pleased to take up this matter again officially and ask when park boundaries will be defined. We must be reaching the point where it would be increasingly possible to do this.
Senator McLaren referred to the Darwin airport and the need for a master plan. If he has not yet received a letter, he will receive one in a day or so because the master plan for the Darwin airport was approved a couple of days ago. As I think the honourable senator knows, because he understands this matter, further work is going on. This is a joint user airport which really belongs to the Department of Air. We in the Department of Civil Aviation are privileged to use it with the permission of the Department of Air. We are given great help by the Department’s officers and are involved with them in developing the civil side of the occupation of Darwin Airport. The honourable senator will have some information in the next day or so about that. I again will search out the speech and if I am deficient on information. I will see that the honourable senator gets it. It was kind of him to thank me on behalf of the Darwin Aero Club. I appreciate his thanks and it was very good of him to convey them. He might convey my thanks back to the Club. But in all fairness I should say that he raised the matter with me, so if any thanks are due they are due partly to him.
The honourable senator mentioned the electoral rolls of the Northern Territory. I can remember him coming before the
Estimates Committee and discussing the matter with the Commonwealth Electoral Officer and his staff. It was clearly admitted then that the rolls needed substantial change and improvement. It was agreed that that would be done. My understanding is that it is taking place. It is a matter that he and the Commonwealth Electoral Office were concerned with then and I believe it is well under control. This is my understanding and expectation. He referred to the need for a separate office at Alice Springs. That is a new thought to me at the moment. I can understand the suggestion in view of the development of Alice Springs and Darwin. Both these centres are growing at a rate which is below Canberra’s growth rate but which is the next highest growth rate in Australia. With a huge Territory like this, with one centre in the north and one in the south, one can see the need for the development of what might be called separate community facilities. I will put that view to the Department on his behalf.
asked me whether there had been any overtures to Mr Tonkin, the new Premier of Western Australia, in regard to the combined rolls. 1 cannot answer that. I would expect that that would be a sensible way to proceed but beyond saying I will make inquiries for him I cannot help at the moment. He also spoke about the problem of labrador dogs and the use of these dogs in the drug search programme of the Department of Customs and Excise. The understanding we had earlier on this matter was that the dogs had not proved to be suitable for the job. There was some consideration being given to producing a new breed of dog by crossbreeding, but the honourable senator did not volunteer to help in the genetic programme and neither did I. If the authorities want us to do so we certainly will. Quite seriously, the honourable senator made a very sensible observation because some matters such as these are well worth taking further. The Department of Customs and Excise indicated to me and to Senator Mulivhill that it treated the problem seriously. The difficulty was getting the right genetic mix in the animal. Beyond that I cannot help but I was encouraged to hear Senator Mulvihill still pursuing his inquiries.
– I refer the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) to Division 170 for the Department of Civil Aviation and raise a matter which, although I intend to be very brief in speaking to it, is very important to the citizens of the West Wyalong district. It concerns the possible withdrawal of the subsidy for the operations of the airline operating in the West Wyalong district. I know that a deputation has been received by the Minister. The matter has been causing great concern to the people of the district. Is the Minister in a position to tell the Senate whether the subsidy will be continued?
– I have been to West Wyalong in relation to some of these problems twice in the time that I have been Minister for Civil Aviation. 1 have also seen the people of West Wyalong who came to Canberra and we had a talk about the problems. I undertook to consider the matter quite seriously to see whether I could extend the subsidy in some way to keep the airline service operating for a period in order to test whether the change in the rail service pattern would increase the traffic requirements at the airport. There has been quite a heavy change in the number of rail services in that part of New South Wales. Senator Douglas McClelland will recall that the problem affects Condobolin equally. I cannot give a firm undertaking at present. It is one of the matters which when Parliament adjourns I intend to consider in Melbourne and check through. Subsidies are very much a matter on which I have to get the final approval of the Treasury. As I told the people from West Wyalong, I will do what I can to extend the subsidy beyond the period when it is now indicated it will terminate.
Proposed expenditures agreed to.
– We now proceed with the group of departments covered by Estimates Committee E. The question is:
That the votes for the group of departments covered by Estimates Committee E be now passed without requests.
– I took note of the remarks of the Minister for Air (Senator Drake-Brockman) in reply and thank him for them and the statement that he would have a look at my speech. I do not doubt the integrity of the Minister when he says he will look at my speech when he gets the opportunity and when Hansard is published but I want to impress some facts upon him. During the consideration in Committee of Appropriation Bill (No. 1) last December the Minister told me that there was involved a further charge of $6,521 for the telephone service to the factory of Kailis Gulf Fisheries Pty Ltd. He then went on to say:
Both departments agreed that the final amount decided on should be approved. The amount paid to Kailis was $335,000.
The Hansard report then reads as follows:
– Has that been paid to Kailis?
– That has been paid to Kailis.
So as at last December $335,000 had been paid to Kailis for the acquisition of the land and buildings plus the $6,521 for the telephone service. The Minister has said to Senator Wilkinson that the total amount payable to Kailis is $343,000. On my reckoning this leaves a balance payable to Kailis after December last of $8,000. The Minister invited my attention to page 2 of the explanatory notes but I invite his attention to the explanatory notes under division 707 which state:
The additional appropriation is sought to cover: a. Learmonth WA. Additional funds to settle claims in respect of property acquired from M. G. Kailis Gulf Fisheries Pty Ltd. $68,000.
I only wanted to make that point clear for the Minister when he is having a look at this matter. I hope he will be able to give me some information on it.
– I noted what Senator Cant said. What I said in the first place was quite true and I stand by it. I will endeavour to provide in my correspondence with Senator Cant information to show how the Department of Air makes these payments and the procedures it adopts.
– I want to raise a matter relating to the Department of Primary Industry. Nowhere in these appropriations can I find an amount which has been set asideto meet the cost of the inquiry into the wine excise by Professor Grant. I understand there may have been 2 other inquiries into the wine excise. Can the Minister forAir (Senator Drake-Brockman)inform the Senate as to the cost of this inquiry conducted by Professor Grant and the cost of any other inquiries that may have been conducted also since this wine excise was imposed by the last Budget?
-I would think that even the Department of Primary Industry does not have the final cost of the Grant inquiry yet. No doubt there are certain bills coming in to cover expenditure somewhere along the line. I will take aboard what the honourable senator says and get the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) to reply to him personally.
Proposed expenditures agreed to.
Schedule agreed to.
Postponed clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
– Arising out of the report by Estimates Committee B I desire to move a motion. I am not sure whether I require leave to move the motion. I will indicate the nature of the motion. I will ask for leave to move it, to save creating problems. The motion is:
That the Committee is of the opinion that the matter of Estimates committees meeting in private session should be referred to the Standing Orders Committee for its consideration and report to the Senate prior to the next meetings of the Estimates committees and in. this regard confirms the opinion so expressed by Estimates Committee B in its report.
– Would the honourable senator repeat the last part of the motion?
– I am simply suggesting that the report of Estimates Committee B be referred to the Standing Orders Committee.
– What did the honourable senator mean by ‘confirms the opinion’?
– Simply that the Committee of the Whole confirms the opinion that the matter should be referred to the Standing Orders Committee. Estimates Committee B expressed the opinion that the matter should be referred to the Standing Orders Committee. We are just confirming that opinion, not expressing a particular view as to how matters should be dealt with. J ask for leave to move that motion.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I move:
The latter part of the motion is really historical to indicate how the matter arose.
– I speak only because I happen to be present. I have no responsibility with regard to Estimates Committee B. My colleague Senator Greenwood, who is otherwise engaged, has. I rise to notice the importance of the recommendation and to express my appreciation of the interest that Estimates Committee B has taken with regard to the ambit of information to which the Parliament is entitled with regard to the administration of public authorities. I understand the motion to be simply a reference of the recommendation by Estimates Committee B to the Standing Orders Committee for comment by that Committee and for any recommendation that that Committee might make to the Committee of the Whole as to the substance - that is to say, the consistency of principle - of this recommendation from the point of view of parliamentary principle as well as procedures. I think it is desirable that the matter should be referred to the Standing Orders Committee. I do not think it will be made a means of undue delay. I concur with the view that it is desirable that the matter be considered by the Committee whose particular function it is to get various proposals for procedure in line with the general trends of which the Standing Orders Committee has custody.
I rise to notice the matter and to mention what I have mentioned because the motion was moved suddenly and not all senators would have brought it into focus. I do not claim to have contributed anything to the debate but just to have occupied 2 minutes from the point of view of weaving the thoughts of Estimates Committee B together in the hope that all honourable senators will be appreciative of that Committee’s recommendation and will approve the course proposed - for the matter to be considered further by the Standing Orders Committee - so that we can make a judgment on this most important matter in modern politics.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill reported without requests but with a resolution expressing an opinion: report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a third time.
Consideration resumed from 17 May (vide page 1770), on motion by Senator Drake-Brockman:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Debate resumed from 17 May (vide page 1771), on motion by Senator DrakeBrockman:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– I suggest, with the approval of the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) that Supply Bill (No. 1) and Supply Bill (No. 2) be debated together.
– I would concur.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I do not propose to detain the Senate for very long with my speech on these Bills, although I must point out that the Senate has just dealt with a combined appropriation of $150m and that the Estimates committees spent a considerable amount of time dealing with Appropriation Bill (No. 4) and
Appropriation Bill (No. 5). We have also devoted a considerable amount of time this afternoon to further discussion of this proposed expenditure. The Senate is now about to have a look at the supply by the Treasury over the next few months - until November - of a combined amount of $1,688,384,000. I venture to say that this legislation will be passed without any great consideration of the items of expenditure involved. We have not had the opportunity of carefully examining all of the amounts involved. Largely they are on-going expenses to enable the various Commonwealth departments to function between now and the end of November. This procedure is normally adopted every year at this time. But I do want to register the point that we are dealing with a very large sum of money in an almost cursory fashion by agreeing to this legislation without a very careful investigation of what expenditure will be involved. I think that there ought to be more opportunity for us to go into detail on these matters in order to see where economies can be introduced. It is possible that certain amounts are to be allocated for works which may not be necessary at this point in time. In my view we do not adequately consider this type of legislation. But I can see no way in which we are going to get over that situation today. Therefore, I do not oppose the passage of this legislation.
– I shall be very brief in my remarks. What Senator Wilkinson has said is perfectly correct. We are dealing with huge sums of money and we are going to find more and more that this will be the case. My recollection is that between 1949 and 1972 the total Commonwealth revenue has multiplied something like 84 times. That is an illustration of how the whole economy has grown as it inevitably must in a developing country such as Australia. I suppose it is partly due to our concern for increasing expenditures that we have, as a Senate, undertaken more and more the examination of financial matters at an estimates committee level.
Senator Wilkinson has expressed the concern that the Senate should examine expenditure of this nature in more detail. I understand what he would want to do and
I have some sympathy for him; but I point out that we now have an estimates committee examination process which looks at the expenditure of Commonwealth departments in some detail and that it does so twice a year, namely, on the principal Estimates and the suppementary Estimates. The examination by the estimates committees does give an opportunity to Senator Wilkinson and others who have particular inquiries in mind to direct specific questions to the departments concerned. 1 make the observation that to the extent to which I have been involved in the activities of these estimates committees - I am responsible for some 9 or 10 departments in all - I have found that the departments with which I am concerned were at first blush very worried about what would happen but they have found their association with the committees to be a valuable exercise in their administrative processes and have come to regard them as something which, although time consuming and a bit difficult to organise, is of distinct value to them-, as I am sure it is to all honourable senators. There is also an examination of expenditure of this nature by the Public Accounts Committee and the Auditor-General. In view of the sheer pressure of time upon’ members of the Parliament, particularly honourable senators, I find it hard to see how any honourable senator could give much more time to a more detailed examination. In saying that I understand the natural wish of all honourable senators to be able to make inquiries about things that concern them. But there are problems with the sheer magnitude of the business, its high rate of growth and the pressure upon our time. As I have said, we do have some new and very good devices for checking out these things.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Debate resumed from 17 May (vide page 1772), on motion by Senator DrakeBrockman:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– Mr Deputy President, as this Bill was debated together with the Supply Bill (No. 1) 1972-73, the Opposition does not wish to delay its passage.
– Senator Wilkinson is quite correct, Mr Deputy President, in that we did agree to debate this Bill and the Supply Bill (No. 1) 1972-73 together. I appreciate that the formal processes have to be gone through. I think that the sooner we go through them the better it will be for all concerned.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Sitting suspended from 5.54 to 8 p.m.
Debate resumed from 25th May (vide page 2074), on motion by Senator Cotton:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– I would be grateful if the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) would indicate whether we should proceed to debate the 3 income tax Bills together.
– We would be happy with that arrangement.
– The Bills before the Senate are the Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 2) 1972, the Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 3) 1972 and the Income. Tax (International Agreements) Bill 1972. Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 2) relates to an amendment of section 26 (a) of the Income Tax Assessment Act. Its purpose is to define with more certainty the law relating to persons who have share transactions on the stock exchange. The present situation has evidently been ambiguous as to where the line of demarcation is to be drawn regarding the intention of a purchaser of shares. Each purchaser has been assessed on the circumstances surrounding each transaction and the onus has been on the taxation authorities to evaluate whether the share transactions have been engaged in expressly for the purpose of making a profit by resale or whether the purchaser had been making the purchase as an investment. , .
The Bill attempts to make a clear separation when shares are purchased other than for profit making. For that reason the Bill has disturbed as little as possible the basic principle of section 26 (a) Of the Act while at the same time spelling out in clearer terms what were previously areas of uncertainty. It provides that shares owned by a person for a period of 18 months before resale are riot to be taken into account when assessing income tax. This applies from 12th April- 1972. Briefly, persons who are not share dealers or traders are not subject to income tax on any profit arising from the resale of shares, but any loss sustained by those people is not tax deductible.
The other 2 income tax Bills are complementary. Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 3) relates to a rebate of the tax on dividends received by companies in particular circumstances and strengthens the law under which a public company is classified for income tax purposes. It provides that certain dividends paid by a private company to another, company are not to be taken into account in assessing whether the private company has made a distribution of its income for undistributed income tax purposes. The explanatory memorandum that was issued in association with these Bills is very comprehensive.’ It is- of a very technical nature but for those people who are interested in the finer details the measures are covered very effectively. As I pointed out earlier, these Bills are complementary and consequential to’ each other. As our economic advisers1 agree with the provisions of the 3 Bills it is not our intention to oppose them.
Senator COTTON (New .South WalesMinister for Civil Aviation) in reply - (8.3) - As Senator 0’Byrne, my , ex-associate in the Whips Union has indicated we are taking these 3 Bills together. As he. mentioned, they are related and we are discussing them as one. The Opposition: raises no objection to them and Senator O’Byrne has explained the general principles underlying each of them. Income Tax- Assessment Bill (No. 2) makes more certain the tax position of persons involved in stock exchange transactions. This has been uncertain and the Bill introduces more precision.
Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 3) has the purpose of stopping people from avoiding tax, particularly through private company arrangements under which profit is passed across to a public company and in the net process the tax liability is reduced. In relation to dividend stripping procedures that have been conducted in this country, thereby to some extent defrauding the revenue, that position is being overcome. The Income Tax (International Agreements) Bill brings the provisions into force in the international area. I think Senator O’Byrne was correct in saying that detailed explanatory memoranda are available to earnest students of this subject who are interested. This is a typical move by the Taxation Office. It always brings out this type of memorandum and does it very well. The position is explained and easily understood. I do not think the process of democracy is being furthered by engaging in a long debate on a subject on which we are all in agreement.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I wish to ask 2 questions. I have found that some people are a little confused by the wording in the Act. In the proposed new section 6d and in other sections of the Act reference is made to a share. I would like the Minister to explain whether the expression also covers the plural - shares. Would it also apply if an individual were to buy shares in a number of companies and hold them for 18 months? Are the profits made on shares in a number of companies free of tax after they are held for 18 months? This dilemma has arisen because it is for the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation in each State to say whether a person is still liable under section 26 (a). Therefore I would be grateful to have a clear definition of the liability of share purchasers in those cases.
My other question relates to the case of an individual who buys shares in the course of carrying on his business. Does this provision apply to an individual who sets up an investment company for the purpose of holding all the shares he buys for investment purposes?
– I am informed that in the proposed new section 6d the expression ‘a share’ does include shares in the plural sense. I have a further note dealing with the question of whether a profit made on the sale of shares bought for resale is subject to income tax when the shares are owned for 18 months before sale. Under the proposed new section 6d, profits or losses on the sales of listed shares will not be taken into account for income tax purposes provided certain conditions specified in the section are satisfied. These conditions are: (a) That the person selling the shares had continuously owned them for at least 18 months before sale; (b) the shares had been acquired on or after 12th April 1972, the day following the announcement of the proposed measures; (c) the shares were listed on the stock exchange at the time of acquisition or within 3 months afterwards; and (d) the persons had not acquired the shares as an incident in carrying on a business and had not notified the Commissioner of Taxation that the shares were acquired for the purpose of profit making by sale. Where all those conditions are satisfied the shares are to be treated as not having been acquired for the purposes of profit making by sale, so that any profit on a sale will not be assessable nor will any loss be deductible.
– I am stil] not quite clear whether this carrying on of a business applies to an individual who has an investment company.
– I was waiting for that point to be clarified. Whether share transactions are part of the carrying on of a business will depend upon the particular facts in each case. There will be a wide variation in the circumstances. It will depend upon the individual case that has to be handled by the Commissioner for evaluation. But that broad set of principles, I think, would aid the honourable senator. If the honourable senator would like a copy of it, I will get it for her.
– I wish to ask the Minister a question. Does what he has said mean that there could be variations in determinations by the various Deputy Commissioners of Taxation in the different States? Herein has lain a difficulty in the past, as interpretations vary from one Deputy Commissioner to another Deputy Commissioner. I would like to know whether this past experience of varying determinations could continue under this legislation or will determinations definitely be uniform in all States?
– I have asked the advisers from the Treasury briefly about this matter. I am assured that what I understood to be the case is the case and that policy is determined at the centre, that is, at the central office of the Taxation Office. If there is a variation therefore State by State, it is competent I think to have that question of policy determination checked out and to say: ‘There is not a continuous line of policy expressed in these determinations’. That is the only way in which I can suggest the matter be dealt with. The business of taxation is very much an individual matter; sometimes people must submit individual cases for evaluation. AH that I can suggest is that if a person finds that there is a differentiation between one State and another he should bear in mind the observation that policy is determined by the Commissioner as such and that action is delegated to the State Deputy Commissioners as his deputies.
– One of the difficulties with the Taxation Office is this lack of clarity or definition in telling people what they must pay tax on. From What the Minister has said, it appears as though there is still some doubt, depending upon the circumstances. The Taxation Office has got a lot of people into trouble and has got itself into a lot of trouble because it has not had any clear definition on this point. The result is that nobody knows just what taxation they are up for. If this Bill does not give this clarity of definition, it really is not a very progressive step. Actually I think that the Taxation Office is paying now for its foolishness over a period of years in being so grasping at other times as far as share transactions are concerned.
Senator Dame NANCY BUTTFIELD (South Australia) (8.14) - I am still thinking about the case of the individual who forms an investment company. I accept in part what the Minister said by way of answer to the effect that each case is an individual one. But could not some guidelines be given to individuals, who may be considering the formation ofan investment company or who mayhave an investment company and who may be considering buying shares as an investment? They do not know whether that action means that they are carrying on a business and therefore they would be subject to the provision of section 26a.
– This amendment applies only to transactions of individuals and not of companies. So, Senator Dame Nancy Buttfield’s investment company would not come within the provisions of this legislation.
– It would not be free of the other provisions?
– No, as I understand it.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 25 May (vide page 2077), on motion by Senator Cotton:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 25 May (vide page 2077), on motion by Senator Cotton:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
– Mr President, I move:
I ask for the leave of the Senate to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard. The speech itself is of 3 pages but there are attachments to it covering 3 pages.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The speech read as follows):
The purpose of this Bill is to provide for increased salaries for certain statutory office holders. I should say at once that this is not the beginning of a new round. It is in no sense an initiative but a remedying of the anomalies that arose from the action of Parliament in amending the Salaries (Statutory Offices) Adjustment Bill 1971.
It is customary for the salaries of full time statutory office holders in the group below the level of permanent heads of Departments of State to be reviewed whenever salaries for Second Division officers of the Commonwealth Public Service are increased. Such a review was undertaken following the determination by the Public Service Arbitrator of new salaries for Second Division officers, which took effect from 4th November 1971, and the Salaries (Statutory Offices) Adjustment Bill 1971 was introduced. .
The present Bill is required because of the amendments made last year to the Salaries (Statutory Offices) Adjustment Bill 1971 which had the effect of withholding from the statutory office holders referred to in the First Schedule to the Bill increases comparable with those which had been received by Second Division officers of the Commonwealth Public Service as a result of the determination by the Public Service Arbitrator. As was made clear at that time, those amendments were accepted by the Government only to avoid a situation where, because of the form of existing statutory provisions, some of the office holders would not have been entitled to any salary at all.
As indicated when the Salaries (Statutory Offices) Adjustment Bill 1971 was introduced, in the case of various other comparable statutory office holders approval had been given for increases of the same order be applied, subject to compliance with the requirements of relevant legislation. With a few exceptions, action for implementation of that approval had not been completed when the Parliament amended the Bill and, in view of the attitude taken by the Parliament, the increases were withheld from a considerable number of statutory office holders.
As foreshadowed by the Government during the debate on the earlier Bill, injustices have arisen from withholding the salary increases for this group of officers. There is a strong element of unfairness to them and the attractiveness of salary for new and vacant offices, for which the Government must attract suitable appointees, has been diminished. Serious anomalies have been created. For example, in some cases top staff now receive a higher salary than statutory office holders under whose direction they work, and some statutory officers now receive less salary than they would have received if they had remained in the Public Service. Examples can be given if desired.
The Bill provides for the salary increases to be effective from 4th November 1971. This is because that date was the effective date included in the Salaries (Statutory Offices) Adjustment Bill 1971, as originally introduced. In fairness to the officers affected by the unusual situation that followed the amendment of that Bill, the Government feels that there should be no departure from the original intention, which adopted the date of effect in the Public Service Arbitrator’s determination for Second Division officers.
It is also customary for national wage case decisions of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, which are applied to the salaries of officers of the Second, Third and Fourth Divisions of the Commonwealth Public Service, to be applied also to these statutory office holders. Accordingly this Bill also provides for additional increases of $104 per annum in the salaries of these statutory office holders, following the 1971-72 national wage case decision handed down by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission on 5th May 1972. As in the Public Service, this increase will apply from 1st June 1972.
The Government considers that, in terms of equity and principle, the salaries for this group of officers should, as in the past, be kept in their proper relationship with the salaries granted by the appropriate authorities to Second Division officers of the Public Service.
The Bill also includes revised salaries for lay offices under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act and offices of Deputy Public Service Arbitrator under the Public Service Arbitration Act. These salaries were reviewed separately in their own right and included in the Salaries (Statutory Offices) Adjustment Bill 1971 but were not approved by the Parliament. The revised salaries for Commissioners were also included in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1972 now before the Parliament. As originally intended, these increases will also be effective from 4th November 1971. As. in the past, this group will not receive national wage case adjustments.
Details of the salary changes involved have been circulated to all senators. I again emphasise that this Bill is .designed merely to complete the implementation of salary rates which have been paid to comparable Commonwealth officials as a. .result of arbitral decisions. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 25 May (vide page 2078), on motion by Senator Cotton:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
- Mr President, I understand that the 2 Bills, the Airline Equipment (Loan Guarantee)
Bill 1972 and the Loans (Australian National Airlines Commission) Bill 1972, will be dealt with together. Is that correct?
– If the Senate is agreeable to that course, the 2 Bills may be debated together.
– I am quite happy about that, if that is what the Opposition would like to do.
– Are honourable senators agreeable to that course? There being no objection, that course will be followed.
– The Senate has before it 2 Bills. One is the Airline Equipment (Loan Guarantee) Bill 1972 seeking to guarantee, by the Commonwealth, loans of up to $US31m to be raised through the Export-Import Bank of the United States and other sources which are not specified in the second reading speech of the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) but presumably at the discretion of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd, for the purchase of 4 Boeing 200 series aircraft. The second Bill, the Loans (Australian National Airlines Commission) Bill 1972, provides for the Commonwealth to raise loans on behalf of Trans-Australia Airlines also from the Export-Import Bank of the United States, one-half coming from that Bank and the other half coming from other sources which I understand are mainly European.
Twe years ago there was some considerable difference of opinion between the 2 major domestic operators on the type of aircraft which should replace or supplement their present fleets. I understand that TAA was of the opinion that traffic growth in Australia warranted the importation in 1974 of what is commonly known as the airbus, that is, the DC 10 or the Lockheed Tri-star series. By contrast, Ansett maintained that one could not predict the increase in traffic in the years ahead, that a recession could occur in this country and therefore the purchase of these larger seat capacity aircraft would not be warranted. Events would seem to prove that Ansett’s view of the controversy was the correct one. However, there may well be an upturn in loadings and traffic growth in Australia in the next 3 or 4 years which may result in a further decision being taken. But suffice to say that a decision has been taken and these 2 Bills seek approval for loans to purchase 4 Boeing 200 series aircraft for each airline.
Under clause 4 in the Second Schedule of the Airlines Agreement Act, the Commonwealth is required to guarantee loans to Ansett Transport Industries Ltd for jet aircraft. The purpose of this guarantee is to maintain a parity of available finance and equipment for the 2 airlines. As most of us are aware, ever since the introduction of the 2-airIine policy the Government has endeavoured to maintain parity in alf respects in the operation of these 2 airlines. The equipment, to all intents and purposes, is identical; the services are identical, and despite the recent changes which have taken place in flight scheduling nevertheless these services are very similar right down to the meals which are served on the aircraft. In the main this policy has served Australia reasonably well. Load factors have remained roughly parallel. TAA has kept an edge on Ansett Airlines of Australia over the years and currently has a load factor of 3 per cent more than Ansett Airlines. The Opposition believes that because of the attitudes which have been adopted by the Government over the years, certain factors have arisen which require the Government to take action to ensure that this parity is spelled out in more detail. For that reason, on behalf of the Opposition I move the following amendment:
Leave out all words after ‘That’, insert - consideration of the Bill be deferred until Ansett Transport Industries Ltd forms a separate company to conduct airline operations and related activities approved by the Parliament and provision is made for this company to report annually to Parliament’.
I think it is a fairly well known fact that the present operation of Ansett Airlines is incorporated in the overall operations of Ansett Transport Industries. If we believe that there should be parity between the airlines, and if the Commonwealth is prepared to involve itself uniquely in providing these guarantees for loans for the purchase of aircraft for Ansett, then it is only fair and reasonable that the accountability of Ansett Airlines should be clear and distinct. In the case of TAA the accounts do pertain specifically to the airline’s operation. Therefore, I submit on behalf of the Opposition that this should be the case with Ansett as well.
Recently the Minister supplied answers to various questions on this matter. We can see that over the years there has been a parallel situation between the 2 major operators on Australian domestic routes. For example, in 1966 Ansett-ANA as it then was, carried 1.6 million passengers and TAA carried 1.7 million. In 1971 Ansett Airlines of Australia carried 2.6 million passengers and TAA carried 2.7 million. This means generally a fulfilment of what the Government had intended. The Labor Party does not subscribe to a view on whether there should be a monopoly of the domestic airlines system in this country. We oppose - this is spelled out clearly in our platform - any discriminations which may exist against TAA, and the 2-airline agreement undoubtedly provides certain benefits and privileges to Ansett Transport Industries. I travel regularly by Ansett. Sometimes I travel by TAA. 1 must say - I do not intend my remarks to be directed against one airline or the other - that the whole purpose of our consideration of matters concerning the domestic airline industry is to provide for Australian people the best possible airline services that we can, and airline services which will reach the greatest number of Australians. But there are no questions of the preferential rights that exist for ATI. I would like to read from a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Industry and Trade by Ansett Transport Industries. As we know, this Committee recently inquired into the proposed takeover of ATI by Thomas Nationwide Transport Ltd. In that submission the preferential rights of ATI are spelled out clearly. They are as follows:
Under Clause 5 of the 1952 Agreement, the Company-
That is, Ansett - subject to the provision of efficient services with suitable time tables in accordance with the requirements of the Postmaster-General, shares the carriage of mail on competitive routes equally with the Commission (TAA).
Under Clause 6 of that Agreement, the Commonwealth agrees to ensure that, during its continuance, business conducted on government warrant in respect of the carriage of passengers or freight is freely available to both airlines and that the holder of a government warrant has a free option as to the service he will use.
Under Clause 10 of the same Agreement, the Commonwealth undertakes not to exercise any of its powers, under or by virtue of an Act or Regulation, so as to discriminate against the Company, and to accord substantially equal treatment to both airlines in relation to the grant of import licences and allocation of airport facilities. There is a similar provision in Section 15 of the Airlines Equipment Act 1958 which requires the Minister, in the exercise of his powers under that Act, not to discriminate in favour of either airline as against the other.
Finally, under Clauses 8 and 9 of the 1952 Agreement there are detailed provisions which ensure that the Commission and the Company will have an equal opportunity to purchase or hire surplus aircraft from the Commonwealth or any authority of the Commonwealth or Corporation (such as Qantas) in which the Commonwealth has an interest.
Mr President, I have taken the opportunity to quote directly from that submission to make it quite clear that there are certain privileges extended to Ansett as a result of Commonwealth legislation. For that reason it is fair and reasonable that the Commonwealth should have a proper accountability of the operations of the airlines section of ATI. It is unfortunate that the Commonwealth has not carried out the obligations which are placed on it under the provisions of the Act. For example, in the Airline Equipment (Loan Guarantee) Act 1969 we find a section which appears in the Bill with which we are dealing tonight. Clause 4 (d) of the Bill reads:
. undertakings to the satisfaction of the Treasurer are given that, so long as the loan or any interest on the loan remains unpaid -
It must be a matter of great concern to everyone interested in this subject to read an article which appeared in the Melbourne Age’ of Friday, 29th October last year, bearing in mind that the provision which I have just quoted from the Act - the same provision appears in the current Bill - has been put in for a specific purpose. Obviously the Government realised at the time that since ATI is an organisation operating outside the scope of the airline industry, it was necessary to write into the Act certain provisions whereby the Commonwealth would be able to ensure that the accounts of the airline operations of ATI in fact were in order, and these provisions are spelt out in detail. The newspaper extract to which I have referred reads:
A former chief accountant of Ansett Airlines-
I need not mention his name here - was placed on a three-year good behaviour bond by a Country Court judge yesterday for forging and uttering cheques worth $2,200.
The offences took place between July last year and May this year.
Mr Frank Galbally, said he was ‘the victim of high business, modern tactics and ruthlessness, utter ruthlessness’.
He was in charge of a staff of 250 people’, he said.
Mr Galbally, the defendant’s counsel, said that his client: was the only qualified accountant employed by Ansett Airlines.
I know this sounds incredible, but it is the truth. The article continues that Mr Galbally said that the accountant: had personal and ethical problems while employed by the airline. ‘One was to manipulate financial statements and finances. . . . ‘
That article does not make very pleasant reading. I have been a member of the Senate Select Committee on Securities and Exchange for the last 2 years. I am no longer surprised by anything that happens in big business. The provisions in the Act are spelt out quite clearly. The Commonwealth’s responsibility, if it is to provide the guarantees for the loans, is to ensure that the accounts of the firm involved are a true and accurate record of what is taking place.It would appear that these facts have not been known to the Commonwealth. They should have been known. I suggest that if the Auditor-General had been doing his job correctly the Government would have been aware of what was going on. I say again that it is a fair and reasonable proposition which the Opposition has put forward in its amendment. This is a unique situation in which the Commonwealth is prepared to involve itself, as it has done in this case. It is only fair and reasonable that the airline concerned should give a proper account of its airline operations.
In fact, the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz) in his reply during the second reading stage to the speech of Mr Charles Jones, the shadow Minister for Shipping and Transport, said quite clearly that he had a good deal of sympathy for the sentiments expressed in the amendment moved by the Opposition in that place. He agreed also that the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) had a good deal of sympathy for the proposition. So in essence if we are to maintain in this country a system of 2 parallel airline operators to whom equal privileges are flowing, there should be no discrimination one against the other. I noticed only recently, for example, that the amounts paid by the Commonwealth Government to the 2 airlines in respect of travel undertaken by Commonwealth public servants is weighted very heavily in favour of TAA. This situation may arise as a result of a decision on the part of individual public servants. If that is the case, that is the way it should be. But if we are to abide by a policy whereby we wrap the entire airline system in this country in cotton wool and we give both of these operators a gravy train ride - this is what it amounts to - to the exclusion of anybody else who may be interested in this field, the Commonwealth ought to make sure that what it is doing provides for complete equity between those 2 airlines. I suggest it is not doing this, although in the main we do have relative stability in the airline industry.
Some 2 months ago the Senate referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Industry and Trade the question of the take-over bid for Ansett by Thomas Nationwide Transport Limited. Unfortunately, that inquiry was aborted by action taken by the Victorian Government. When the interim report of the Standing Committee on Industry and Trade was presented to the Senate the leaders of the 2 main parties gave an undertaking that this matter would be brought back into the Senate the following week. Unfortunately, that did not occur.
That inquiry, about which I could say a great deal which would probably not be pertinent to the current debate, related to the question of air freight. Thomas Nationwide Transport Ltd maintained that one of the main reasons for wanting to be in the airline business was to carry freight and to build up the carriage of freight by air generally. If a comparison is made of the growth of air freight in this country with that in the United States, it reveals that air freight is the poor sister of passenger carrying in Australia. The annual report for 1970-71 of the Department of Civil Aviation contains freight figures which show that between 1966 and 1970 short ton miles travelled in Australia increased from 41,200,000 to almost 56,000,000, representing a rise of 36 per cent in the 5-year period. By contrast there was a revolution in air freight in the United States of America although not over the same period as the one to which I have referred. 1 do not have the figures for that period, but the ones that I do have reveal that between 1960 and 1968 there was an increase of 340 per cent as against 36 per cent in Australia. The disparity is too great to be ignored.
Some years ago a gentleman named Gordon Barton claimed that he was competent to operate air freight services in this country as an independent operator. He was unable to do so for the Commonwealth refused him permission to import suitable aircraft even though the Commonwealth and, I think, the Privy Council had decided that he was in fact entitled to do so. The reason for the decision is that the 2 main operators, TAA and Ansett Transport Industries, look upon air freight as an appendage of their passenger operations. As three-quarters of the air freight carried in this country is transported in passenger aircraft, the 2 main airlines are not concerned with the development of air freight in Australia. Their concern is for carrying people. Why should the transport industry of this country, and the people who wish to develop the air freight business, be denied the opportunity to develop that business because the 2 main operators, the Department of Civil Aviation and the Commonwealth Government do not want it?
I am aware of the difficulties associated with air freight. I am aware of the arguments about backloadings, and all the rest of it, but I am equally aware that in the past 12 months 3 times the amount of air freight was offered to the airlines as was carried by them. The Government should offer some explanation for this situation. If Thomas Nationwide Transport Ltd or Gordon Barton, or anybody else for that matter, can prove a capability to operate an independent air freight service in this country, the organisation concerned should be given an opportunity to do so. The whole of the airlines system should not be wrapped up in cotton wool, and we should not be spending our time caring about what TAA or Ansett Transport Industries want. If they want to treat air freight as something second rate, that is their business, but it should not preclude the independent operator who wants to function in this field from doing so. I do not know what the Government is doing about it and
I do not know whether it is considering any recommendations placed before it by the Department of Civil Aviation on this matter. I certainly hope that the Minister may be in a position to explain in some detail what is being done, and that he can justify why air freight operations in Australia are permitted to remain in the hands of 2 airlines that are primarily concerned with the carrying of people, not freight.
An examination of the figures to which I have referred for the United States of America indicate that there has been some-, thing akin to an explosion of air freight operations over the period L mentioned. No similar explosion has occurred in this country. From information supplied to me it seems that those who would like to develop an air freight industry here cannot do so because the 2 major . airlines are concerned more, with carrying; people, less with the carriage of freight. With the greatest respect I suggest to the Minister that he give serious consideration to the arguments I have raised. We cannot go on imagining that TAA and Ansett Transport Industries will be able to hold all the air traffic in Australia for ever and a day. The time must come when a third operator on the main line trunk .routes for which provision is made in the agreement, will enter the ,air freight field, and possibly, the passenger field as well. When that time arrives I agree that we must, ensure that sufficient freight or passengers are available to justify it. It may well be, that sufficient freight is already available^
One last point that I want- to raise concerns the operation of intrastate aerial services in Tasmania. All other. States in the Commonwealth benefit from intrastate aerial services. The one State that is very close to losing this type ‘ of ‘ ‘service is Tasmania. Some years ago TAA was operating this service in Tasmania but when it found that it could not make .profits from that field it moved out of it. “Ansett Transport Industries has never undertaken to operate this service. I emphasise that the Tasmanians are as entitled to an intrastate aerial service’ as other Australian citizens. The Tasmanian Government ‘ exercises the authority to determine whether’ Ansett and TAA shall carry passengers ‘ between Hobart and Launceston. Every’ State Government has the right to issue- a licence to permit the mainline operators’ to operate services like that. The stage has been reached when that right will need to be reconsidered and given to the Tasmanian intrastate service.
If either TAA or Ansett Transport Industries is not willing to operate some of the more difficult services around Tasmania but still wish to scoop off the cream between Hobart and Launceston, obviously there will have to be some rethinking on their position. I understand that the current licence expires in 1974. Tasmanians are just as entitled to be able to fly to their north-western and western regions as other Australian citizens in any other State in the Commonwealth are able to fly to remote areas in their States. The Tasmanians will not tolerate a situation where the 2 mainline operators provide the services that they want to operate to the exclusion of needs in other parts of the State. If it becomes necessary, these services will be operated in Tasmania by Tasmanians.
I issue a warning that although basically the 2-airline policy has served this nation reasonably well over the years, it has imperfections. Those imperfections ought to be ironed out of the present policy. I hope that as a result of the present rethinking by the Government, action will be taken without fear or favour. I trust that the Government will be not bogged down with concern about whether we are pitching for Ansett Transport Industries or for TAA. What must be done is to provide the best aerial services in Australia for the majority of Australians.
– In order that there be no confusion by honourable senators who have entered the Chamber since the second reading debate on this Bill began, I should like to inform them that we are dealing with Orders of the Day Nos 11 and 12. By agreement of the Senate they are to be debated concurrently. Senator Wriedt has circulated an amendment which relates to Order of the Day No. 12, and I have assumed that his foreshadowed amendment will be dealt with formally under that Order of the Day. I trust that the Minister will bear this in mind when replying to the debate.
– in reply - (8.50) - 1 think the course you have outlined. Mr President, is quite appropriate. I thank you for your help. As in the House of Representatives, so in the Senate the Government does not agree that the amendment is necessary. Accordingly, we do not propose to accept it. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the opportunity to say something about this matter. I, personally, am interested very much in the observations made by Senator Wriedt. He has been a student of the 2-airline policy, its ramifications and its problems for some time and is a member of the Senate committee which looked into the airline industry recently. I will have to take a little longer in making my remarks than normally would be the case because I think it is proper that I should make some of these observations amongst my colleagues.
Firstly, let me deal with the amendment. As I mentioned, it was put forward in the House of Representatives and not agreed to. It has been put forward in the Senate and is not supported by the Government. The motion does not need any amendment because no difficulty whatever is anticipated in having Ansett Transport Industries Ltd make the necessary adjustments to its accounts to achieve the desired results. This has been observed on behalf of the Government by the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz) who represents me in the House of Representatives. It was observed at an earlier stage by me. What is sought in the amendment is part of the process that is now taking place. In due course the requirements could be made a condition of the renewal of the 2-airline policy. A little later, I will have something to say about that because I believe it is a matter that could be aired a little in the Senate. As I see it, that would put the situation properly into context.
Let us bear in mind that we have an argument only in relation to the Airline Equipment (Loan Guarantee) Bill 1972 which applies to Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. We ought to understand that the Bill makes provision for a guarantee that the loan that company negotiates will be able to be repaid. The Government does not give the company any money. It just guarantees that the company will be able to repay the money it borrows. Senator Wriedt observes that it is important to have the 2 airlines on an equal footing. He says that Ansett Transport Industries Ltd should be on an equal footing with the Australian National Airlines Commission which has access to Government borrowing support. That is what this Bill really provides for. 1 could make a number of observations about the 2-airline policy. I will do so as I pass along, and ask honourable senators to bear with me if I am a little longer than normally I would want to be. The 2-airline policy in Australia is really best described as a duopoly. There is no doubt about that situation.
– It appears, judging from the timetables, that the Ansett company is going broke. It is going to change them again.
– Senator Keeffe is offering some observations which I will offer a little later, but perhaps more correctly. The situation is a duopoly. That means that it is really a monopoly position conferred upon 2 major operators. On one side we have the government arm, the Australian National Airlines Commission, and on the other side the market economy arm, Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. I do not want to go into a historical review of all this. But those who are interested can find plenty of reading material. It might be said that operating in this fashion is the equivalent of what might be callel a Scandinavian model. From my point of view, there is a great deal to be said philosophically for a utility - this is a utility - of this fashion to be operated in this form. We have 2 contenders - one the market economy arm and the other the government arm - as far as possible, working in equality, seeking to serve the public and competing with each other to make sure that the service is both adequate and competent.
But the operation of running a domestic airline is increasingly one that is very heavily capital intensive. As I read the report of the Senate committee which went through this exercise, it held the view that the earning rate on the total invested capital was not of a particularly high order. It is of a satisfactory order, but it is not of a particularly high order. The capital intensive nature of the industry and the fairly modest earning rate make it a venture that is not remarkably attractive to a great number of people. At the present time, we in the Department of Civil Aviation have a concluded view that the size of the market and the business envisaged over a period of years make it possible to have 2, but not 3, viable operators. Our minds are by no means closed to the idea that one day there might be a situation in which the size of the market and the potential market will make it possible to have . more than 2 operators. But at the present time that is our concluded view on. all the evidence we have. It is equally true to say that the 2- airline policy of this country, which was referred to by Senator Wriedt in quite a complimentary fashion, is very much admired by other countries. Many people regard this as a good policy to operate in this country. As in all matters, people can advance their views and can see how to do things better. That is always, possible. One should be always seeking to have improvement and should be looking for it.
It is my view - 1 have expressed this view to the 2 operators- that, because the 2-airline policy has worked well, because it is a good policy and because it is very much admired, that is not to say that it is not capable of being improved’ or bettered. Accordingly, I think that all honourable senators will agree that on any occasion when they have suggested to me things that I thought were beneficial I have seen to it, as best I could, that something has been done about the position. The Australian people have what Senator Wriedt has asked for, namely, the best possible service, except perhaps in one or two areas in which there is room for improvement. 1 will talk about them later. The Australian people receive an efficient, safe, modern and up to date service. Senator Wriedt said that the Australian Labor Party believes that Trans-Australia Airlines is not treated quite as well as Ansett Transport Industries Ltd is. I find it very difficult to sustain that view. I know that TAA sometimes claims this to be the case. I read very carefully its submission to the Senate committee. To the extent that the representatives of TAA made observations that they thought that it was unfairly treated, this is being taken up by the Department. But I do not think that TAA can fairly say that it has not had a pretty fair go.
We are awaiting the results of a very detailed and long term study of the 2- airline policy, the 2-airline agreement and the 2-airline equipment legislation, which has been conducted within the Department of Civil Aviation for some time. The agreement expires in 1977, which is 5 years away. Much of the time of the agreement is behind us. A little of the time is still ahead of us, in which to make some fairly clear determinations in regard to what ought to be the situation after 1977. This has been, is being and will be looked at extremely carefully. The areas to which we have been devoting ourselves are the ones that I have mentioned in the Senate before. One was to try to improve the parallel scheduling position. Any fair minded person will admit that we have succeeded in making quite useful changes in that position. We seek to make further changes. We have been seeking for some time to stimulate concession flying in Australia by the domestic carriers in certain areas, at certain places and at certain times. We are beginning to see some success in that.
Like Senator Wriedt, I, from the very beginning of my occupation of this portfolio, have been interested in and concerned about what I regard as the slow rate of growth in the air freight business in Australia. When 1 talk to the 2 airline operators about this they have some fairly substantial and valid reasons why their growth rate in this field is slow. There are many of them and we would be talking in terms of a total transport examination in a seminar form to canvass them all fully. Some of them are connected with the fairly low rates for road haulage between capital cities. Others are concerned with the actual cost of doing the job, compared with alternative means of transport. I think that some of them are the product of the operators not taking the initiative in air cargo that one might have liked to have seen them take. I understand from talks held recently with both operators that they are pushing their air cargo business quite substantially. So we will be looking for those results from them, as honourable senators opposite will be.
– Have they had any degree of success?
– Yes, I would say so. I would say that there is a degree of success, yet to be measured by actual figures as apart from prediction. It takes a while to achieve results. We do not see much result in these matters within a 12-month period. One of the other matters that have concerned the Department and me has been the necessity from time to time for the airline operators to fly during curfew periods, particularly at Brisbane airport, sometimes at Adelaide and quite often at Sydney. This has been a matter of concern and we need to watch always that the actual flights are fully justified. From time to time the Department engages in some fairly harsh exchanges with the airline operators because it believes that the flights are not justified and so refuses their requests and the airlines believe that they are justified and continue to press their case. This is a problem which I meet in the administration of the Department.
I have also been eager to stimulate country air service business, and to that end the Government has decided to spend about $10m on upgrading country airports. I was interested very much in Senator Wriedt’s observations, which I shall mention a little later on. Senator Wriedt made quite a lot of play on the fact that under the loan guarantee arrangements the Government had a responsibility to look at the accounts of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd, He ought to know that this is what the Department of Civil Aviation does. Quite regularly and specifically the accounts of Ansett Transport Industries are scrutinised. The figures relating to the company’s airline operations are isolated. The accounts are examined very carefully. They are inspected, and when I am given them to look at I find that the airline operations of Ansett Transport Industries and Trans-Australia Airlines bear a remarkable resemblance to each other in their comparability, operation results and investment pattern. As I said earlier, the Department has held the view for quite some time that there would be nothing wrong with Ansett in due course presenting its airline operation accounts in a separate form so that the public as well as the Department can see what the results are. But honourable senators need be in no doubt that the Department sees the company’s accounts and looks at them very carefully.
Senator Wriedt referred to an article in the ‘Age’ of October 1971. I cannot depend upon the veracity of that article or the observations in it of Mr Galbally. I can depend upon the officers of the Department, who get the accounts, scrutinise them and send a communication to the Minister that bears upon the Department’s examination of the accounts. The Senate committee expressed the view that there was wisdom in these accounts in due course being published iri that form, and with that we agree in general principle. We do not support the amendment. We do not think it is necessary. It will hold up the Bill and hold up the purchase of the equipment by the airlines.
An observation was made that Commonwealth public servants tended to travel more by TAA than they do by Ansett. That is by individual decision and not by Government decision. That is quite clear. I have even had figures taken out for each Commonwealth department and analysed across the board. One of the departments whose officers travel mostly with the private airline is the Department of Civil Aviation. In some departments a higher percentage of officers travel with TAA than is the case in other departments. It is purely a decision of the officer concerned and not an instruction by the department that produces this result.
I would like some help from Senator. Wriedt, not tonight but later, about his observation that last year the airlines were offered 3 times as much air freight as they could carry. That sort of evidence would be useful to me and I would be grateful if he could subsequently let me have it. I would be quite interested in those figures. He referred to Tasmania. I agree with him that Tasmania does not have the sort of internal air service that, if I were a Tasmanian, I would want to see. TAA had the service and dropped out of it. Senator Wriedt’s observations about the necessity for this service to be revived and what the Tasmanian Government may do about it are of interest and some concern to me. But I note the point that he makes.
I think Senator Wriedt made an observation on the decision by the airlines on what equipment they should have. At one point of time TAA thought that a particular type of aircraft would be better than the one it now has. Senator Wriedt talked about the airbus. Probably he was referring specifically then and later to the 10/11 and the DC10 aircraft. What is now known as the airbus is the A300B, which is a product of the British-French consortium and which will not be available until about 1975. That wide bodied jet is quite attractive “in many ways to the domestic airlines but it does not look as good to them as does the stretched Boeing 727 200 series. One gets no view from either of them that they are not entirely happy with the decision they have made for the equipment referred to in these 2 measures. It could be that both Senator Wriedt and I might find ourselves interested in this later on. The next stage in equipment may be the wide bodied jet that’ the senator is talking about- the DC 10, the 10/11 or the A300B, It appears to me, though, from my knowledge that those aircraft would be more properly considered at the next equipment stage rather than at the present stage.
I think I have referred to most of the points I wished to cover.’ I did not think I ought to have much to say about a former accountant of ATI and what he might have done when he was employed by that company. 1 assure the Senate that the Department of Civil Aviation looks at the accounts of Ansett extremely carefully. We need to do so. In effect we are responsible for ensuring that it will fulfil its loan obligations under the guarantee. We watch its applications for increases in fares very carefully. We make a pretty close scrutiny of what goes on, because, in: the end I think one cannot depart from the view that I expressed earlier, that domestic air transport in this country is fundamentally a public utility. It is operated on what I call a Scandinavian model. That is one under which a public utility is operated in a kind of duopoly sense, with -a market economy operator and a- . government operator. That has proved, to ,be the successful and competent way. .to-‘ do the job in this country in the past, and: it offers promise for a little while ahead yet.
But please be assured ‘ that the Department has an open mind. The Department’s view is that it ought to do pretty well what Senator Wriedt exhorts it to do. It does that. Its Minister seeks to do the same. It tries to operate fairly and equitably in the public interest. It tries to balance the scales in the public interest and to; be’ fair to both operators, giving one neither ‘ any advantage nor any disadvantage over the other.
Although they declaim vociferously from time to time against each other and the Government a genuine endeavour is made by the Department, its officers and the Minister to deal fairly with both. But the fundamental test is the Australian public interest.
Observations were made about what Mr Gordon Barton might have done in Ipec Australia Ltd if he had had a chance to do these things. The period in question was before my time. I cannot express any strong view on that. I do not want to canvass the past. Senator Wriedt referred to the air cargo situation. It is a fundamental truth that a great part of the air cargo is carried in the holds of passenger aircraft. It is claimed by the operators that this is the most efficient way of doing it, that it produces a rate that is competitive. It is my understanding that in the new aircraft coming up in the new series the cargo capacity has been increased quite a bit to try to stimulate air cargo business. The Department does, as senators probably know, license various operators who carry air cargo separately. I have not had much of a problem with any of these people. They seem to have been able to capture a part of the market, but the great expansion programmes they have talked about have rarely come to anything.
The conclusion one has reached is that the air cargo business in this country has not yet developed as it might do or could do. But there are still inherent factors in the kind of country Australia is. The population is concentrated in capital cities on the Australian seaboard, and alternative methods of transport are more expensive than they are in countries of the size and magnitude of America. In fact I conclude by saying that it looks a little as if the air cargo business is one that takes a while to reach what I call a take-off point. I would be anxious to stimulate air cargo business in this country, as the Department would be. I think it is not yet at the stage where it has achieved the self-multiplication that it will have later on when the country gets a bigger population and becomes more sophisticated.
I am sorry to have taken as long as I have. Senator Wriedt and I perhaps could have had a talk about this over a couple of cups of tea. Nonetheless I am grateful to him for his observations. I believe the airline policy has served this country extremely well. 1 believe that it was very well conceived. I have no personal feelings other than the greatest respect for the 2 main operators as well as for all the others, for the people who carry out their operations and for the people who take charge of their affairs. I think they do a. good job ‘ for the Australian people. If from time to time they claim they are being unfairly treated by the Department of Civil Aviation or the Minister, perhaps we might ascribe it to a little natural selfinterest.
– Earlier 1 addressed myself to honourable senators on the question of the Bills to which Senator Wriedt’s amendment applies. I understand, Senator Wriedt, that you would . like to make a statement on this. If so, would you seek the leave of the Senate?
– I seek leave briefly to clarify the position.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
Senator WRIEDT (Tasmania) - I explain that the amendment I have moved is in respect of the Airline Equipment (Loan Guarantee) Bill, which is Order of the Day No. 11.
– Honourable senators will recollect that I mentioned, quite correctly according to the amendment in my possession, that we were dealing with Order of the Day No. 12. However, we are dealing with Order of the Day No. 1 1.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Consideration resumed from 25 May 1972 (vide page 2079), on motion by Senator Cotton:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Message from the House of Representatives received intimating that it had agreed to the amendments made by the Senate to this Bill.
Debate resumed from 23 May (vide page 1905). on motion by Senator Greenwood:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– This legislation, known as the Broadcasting and Television Bill 1972 (No. 2), was introduced into the House of Representatives on 10th May and its passage through that place illustrates so typically the manner in which this Government is dealing with important legislation. The purpose of the Bill is to require licensees of commercial television and broadcasting stations to ensure that every advertisement on radio and television for cigarettes or cigarette tobacco is followed immediately by a 3-second announcement warning of the dangers to health of cigarette smoking. At this stage I intend to move an amendment, which I understand has been circulated, to the motion for the second reading of the Bill. On behalf of the Opposition I move:
Whilst we of the Opposition will not oppose the Bill other than by way of moving that amendment to the motion for the second reading of the Bill, nonetheless during the course of the Committee stage we will be seeking to amend the Bill as it now stands. When the Government originally introduced the Bill it intended that there should be a warning for 5 seconds at the conclusion of any advertisement for ciga rettes and tobacco. The Bill was amended in the other place in order to provide that the period of the warning would be reduced from 5 seconds to 3 seconds. We will be seeking to have the Bill amended so as to return to the original intention of having a warning for a period of 5 seconds. lt is interesting when dealing with this subject to note a report which appeared in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ of 29th May 1972 - last Monday. The President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr R. H. Macdonald, was reported to have attacked what he said was the ‘watering down’ of health warnings accompanying advertisements for cigarettes on radio and television. The report went on to state:
The original wording of the warning was: ‘The National Health and Medical Research Council warns that smoking is dangerous to ‘health’.
Parliament changed this to:’ ‘Medical authorities warn that smoking is a health hazard’.
The Opposition in the other “place opposed that amendment. This report continued:
Dr Macdonald said that the AMA had recently set up a committee in Victoria to study proposals to increase the number of non-smokers.
The committee has drawn my attention to the watering down of the proposed health warning, and I agree with the committee that the change is to be deplored’, he said.
Dr Macdonald said that to remove the name of the National Health and Medical Research Council and replace it with a vague and anonymous phrase ‘medical authorities’ was a weakening of the message.
The use of the words “health hazard” instead of “dangerous to health” also reduces the impact of the message’, he said.
Reducing the length of the message from 5 seconds to 3 seconds means that it will be seen and heard for 40 per cent less time than was previously intended, considerably diminishing the impact,’ Dr Macdonald said.
I have already said that the passage of the Bill in the other place was quite amazing, to say the least. When the Government introduced the legislation on 10th May it was intended that there would be a 5 seconds warning announcement stating: The National Health and Medical Research Council warns that cigarette smoking is dangerous to health’. During the Committee stage of the Bill in the other place the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) circulated an amendment which would have reduced the 5 seconds warning to 4 seconds and would have made it read: The Australian Government warns that smoking is a health hazard’. After that amendment had been circulated by the Postmaster-General, a Government back bencher circulated another amendment requiring a message of 3 seconds duration stating: ‘Medical authorities warn that smoking is a health hazard’. That is as the Bill stands at present. So we are now to have the ignominious situation under this legislation in which for cigarettes and cigarette tobacco there is to be a 3-second statement that medical authorities warn that smoking is a health hazard - smoking, not cigarette smoking or cigarette tobacco smoking. However, for advertisements relating to cigar smoking and pipe smoking, even though apparently the Government considers that medical authorities warn that smoking is a health hazard, no warning is to be given, as I read the legislation, on commercial television or radio.
For the purposes of this debate let me have set down in print exactly what is the policy of the Australian Labor Party as determined at its Federal Conference in Launceston last year:
Prohibition of cigarette and tobacco advertising in all forms . . .
And I emphasise those last words, ‘in all forms’: . . coupled with a vigorous campaign to educate the public, especially young people, on the serious health hazards associated with cigarettes and tobacco.
Quite clearly, although this Bill goes some little distance along that road, and it is axiomatic that the Labor movement will not oppose it, certainly in our opinion the legisation does not go far enough. According to figures made available to me by the research section of the Parliamentary Library, for the year ended December 1971 advertising expenditure by the cigarette companies through the principal media - and I shall elaborate the details of this later - amounted to more than $10m. The sum of $10m was spent last year by the cigarette companies on the advertising of cigarettes and tobaccos. This Government apparently intends to counter that type of expenditure by providing a mere $500,000 a year for 3 years- in other words, $1,500,000 over 3 years - compared with $30m over 3 years spent by the tobacco companies, for the purpose of conducting, in association with the States, a so-called education programme, aimed at informing the public of the dangers to health of cigarette smoking. How anyone can possibly say that, a vigorous campaign can be conducted with that amount of money compared with the amount that is spent on the advertising of the product is quite beyond me.
Let me trace the history of the matter in Australia. For some considerable time - for a number of years - the Australian Broadcasting. Control Board has. said that very careful consideration would have to be given before the Board as a single agency of the Commonwealth could take action on its own initiative outside the general context of health policy on this matter. Therefore, for some years the government instrumentality controlling commercial television and radio, the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, has been awaiting positive policy to be announced so far as Government action on cigarette advertising is concerned. The Government not having done anything about the matter, in 1966 - 6 years ago - the cigarette manufacturers and the Federation .of Australian Commercial Television Stations agreed to a voluntary code governing the advertising of cigarettes on television. Obviously this was agreed to only because of public concern, and of medical concern, and as a result of medical knowledge that was being passed on to the public about the evidence that cigarette smoking and cigarette tobacco smoking was dangerous, to health. It was a code agreed to by those 2 groups after a request was made to them by both the Commonwealth and State, health authorities. The request was that cigarette advertising be not directed to . young children but rather to persons who already smoked cigarettes or cigarette tobacco, in order to induce them merely to. change from one brand of cigarettes or one brand of tobacco to another.
That voluntary code operated, ineffectually, from 1966 until last year when the Minister now at the 1 table, Senator Greenwood, the Attorney-General, was the Minister for Health.. On 3rd May 1971 Senator Greenwood, in a ministerial statement indicated how ineffectual the 1966 voluntary code was, for on that day he announced a revised code in his capacity as Minister for Health. In doing so he was reported as saying, among other things:
Senator Greenwood said that the existing voluntary code for advertising of cigarettes was not sufficiently restrictive nor explicit and this further step had been taken in order to shift the emphasis on cigarette smoking, especially on television, away from young people.
So the 1966 voluntary code, deliberately drawn up to direct cigarette advertising away from young people, was altered in 1971 for the very simple reason that it had not been successful in shifting the emphasis away from young people. Senator Greenwood went on in May of last year to say that, the limitations of the new code involved a revision of the existing voluntary code and the placing of restrictions on the television advertising of cigarettes during children’s peak viewing periods.
So, although in a number of other countries^ - namely the United States, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries, to mention those that come immediately to my mind - there is no advertising either on television or on radio of cigarettes or cigarette tobacco, the Australian Government in this legislation is taking the easy course, is treading the half-way path, in an endeavour to appease those who advocate a complete ban, on the one hand, and those who do not want any interference at all, on the other hand.
– In those countries you mention there was no reduction in consumption, was there?
There may not have been a reduction in consumption, although that again is questionable on some of the figures I have seen. Senator Greenwood mentions that there was no reduction in consumption. I suppose he is referring, by way of illustration, to the United States of America. There the advertising was banned on radio and television, but it was not banned in the newspapers or in the glossy magazines, as apparently it has not been banned in this country. Also, I ask the honourable senator to bear in mind that at the time cigarette advertising was tolerated on radio and television in the United States of America there was what was known as a fairness doctrine. If an organisation did not have the financial wherewithal to com pete with an organisation or a group of companies that did have the wherewithal, then it was laid down by the Federal Communications Commission that the commercial stations involved had to give the organisation with financial limits the same time to advertise in competition with those that did have the money. In 1969 when I was in the United States, shortly after every cigarette advertisement, there was an advertisement advocating the complete banning of cigarettes. If this Government did that in Australia I suggest that in many respects this country would be far better off. That is one answer which I can immediately give to the AttorneyGeneral. ~
How was this decision which is now before the Parliament arrived at? On 20th March this year the Federal Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) issued a Press statement saying that the Australian Health Ministers, during their meeting in Queensland earlier that month, had given consideration to the whole question of cigarette advertising but that no finality had been reached. Sir Kenneth Anderson went on to say that he had told the State Ministers that he believed that if any one State imposed a complete ban on cigarette advertising, under the programme standards provisions of the Broadcasting and Television Act it would result automatically in cigarette advertising on television and radio being banned in that State. However, some of the State Ministers questioned the legal position involved. It was agreed that the Commonwealth would seek to have the legal position clarified. I think that this Parliament should be told whether the legal position has been clarified in relation to a State completely banning cigarette advertising within its boundaries and, if so, what the legal situation is.
On 23rd April another Press statement was issued by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson stating that the Commonwealth had decided that it would introduce legislation in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory requiring warning labels on cigarette packages as soon as possible without waiting for all States to do so. In addition, it would require warning labels on all packages of cigarettes that were imported. So far as J know that legislation has not been forthcoming to the Parliament. If that provision has been introduced by some other organisation, by way of regulation or in any way other than by legislation coming through the Parliament, I would be interested to know. I understand that agreement has been reached about some type of uniformity on the labelling of cigarettes. But I ask the Attorney-General and the Government: Why cannot the packets as well as the television warnings set out in bold, black type the percentage tar content of the particular brands and radio warnings give similar emphasis to this aspect. I would think that would be very effective not only in reducing the level of smoking but also in attracting those who do smoke to use a lower-tar-content cigarette. This would reduce to a certain extent the many hazards for those who do smoke. It appears to me that in all the Press statements which have been issued on this matter no-one has given consideration to including the tar content of a brand of cigarettes on the label.
I shall now deal with the proposed educational campaign. The Minister for Health, Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, in his Press statement of 24th April said that he hoped to convene a meeting of Commonwealth and State Health Ministers on 2nd May. He said that at that meeting, among other things, he would give a general outline of the Commonwealth Government’s plans for a national health programme against cigarette smoking. I have not seen the details of the actual educational campaign which is intended other than what is contained in the Minister’s second reading speech, which merely glosses over the effect of the educational campaign, and a statement which appeared in the Minister’s Press statement of 23rd April which stated that the Government had decided, among other things, to implement a national health educational programme directed towards young people. I do not know whether the details of the actual educational campaign have been given to the State Health Ministers. If they have I would like to know what they are. As I have said, they certainly have not been elucidated in the Minister’s second reading speech; there was merely a bald, overall statement about a campaign costing some $500,000 a year for 3 years which will be conducted in association with the States. The campaign is to inform the public of the dangers of cigarette, smoking - not the hazards. Frankly, I , had hoped that the Government in presenting this legislation would give to the Parliament a more detailed outline of its proposed educational programme and that it would say that because the cigarette companies are spending about $10m a year on cigarette advertising and cigarette tobacco smoking, it will expend minimally something like $4m or $5m a year on an educational campaign.
In addition I had hoped that the . Government would say that a fair proportion of this money would be spent on commercial radio and television, particularly in support of Australian produced programmes, and especially- in children’s viewing and listening times. There the Government would be achieving two things by such expenditure. It would achieve the stimulation of the Australian television production industry and- also it really would be effectively conducting an educational campaign directed at the younger generation of Australians. But, be that as it may, I shall now cite some figures which I mentioned earlier in the bald. These have been produced for me by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library Statistical Service. They are very interesting figures. According to the research service of the Parliamentary Library the advertising expenditure incurred by cigarette companies in the main media in the year ending December 1971 was: For daily newspapers, $390,300; and for Sunday newspapers, $61,800. For newspapers this makes a total of $452,100. The amount expended on women’s magazines was $41,300 and on general manazines, $204,800; making a total of $246,100. In relation to metropolitan commercial television the amount expended was $6,055,800; on country commercial television it was $1,963,700. This makes a total for television of $8,019,500. The amount expended on metropolitan radio was $1,334,500. Honourable senators will note that it excludes commercial country radio stations. The total expenditure incurred by the cigarette companies in the year ended December 1971 was $10,052,300. I regarded those figures as very interesting, because $10,052,000 is a fair amount to be spent in one year.
– More than the Queensland State grant this year.
– It is a great amount, as the honourable senator will agree, and it is much more than that which is being paid to the State of Queensland.
– The election was over last Saturday.
– Be that as it may, there is another one coming on in 4 or 5 months time, I remind the Attorney-General. Although $10,052,000 is a fair amount to be spent on the advertising of cigarettes and cigarette tobacco, it is a mere drop in the bucket compared with the excise duty on tobacco and cigarettes collected by the Commonwealth Government. I seek leave of the Senate to have incorporated in Hansard an answer provided on 9th December 1971 by the Federal Treasurer (Mr Snedden) for my colleague in another place the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman). It was furnished in reply to question on notice No. 4041 in another place.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows):
Mr Snedden the Acting Commonwealth Statistician has supplied the following information in reply to the honourable member’s question:
That shows that for the year 1970-71 the gross excise duty paid on cigarettes was $256,671,769- not a bad whack for the Commonwealth - and for tobacco it was $15,553,491.
– What was the first figure?
– It was $256,671,769 - in respect of the gross excise duty paid on cigarettes. That was a preliminary figure, subject to revision as at the date it was recorded in Hansard, 9th December 1971. It is very interesting indeed to compare how the figures have gone up the scale or down the scale since 1966 when the voluntary code for cigarette advertising was introduced. In 1967, the year after the code was introduced, the amount of gross excise duty paid on cigarettes and tobacco was about $200,638,000. Despite the voluntary code, by 1971 it had jumped to $256,671,000.
– The rate of excise went up.
– It may have done. Did it go down for cigarette tobacco? In 1967 the amount collected by way of excise on tobacco was $17,102,000 and in 1971 it was a mere $15,553,000. What was the effect of the voluntary code on cigarette and tobacco advertising? In short, what happened was that after the voluntary code was introduced the amount of gross excise duty paid on cigarettes rose by some $56m but the amount of gross excise duty paid on tobacco fell by $2m. Probably the figures that I have read out explain the Treasurer’s statement in reply to a question without notice that was asked of him by one of bis colleagues, the Government Whip, Mr Fox, on the same day. The question asked by Mr Fox was as follows:
I ask the Treasurer: ls he aware that there is a strong body of medical opinion which suggests that there is a relationship between cigarette smoking and the incidence of lung cancer and heart disease, the major cause of these diseases being considered to be the tar content of cigarettes? In an endeavour to persuade manufacturers to produce cigarettes with a lower tar content, will the Treasurer consider providing a sliding scale of excise duties so that those brands which have the lowest tar content will attract the lowest rates of duty? If the answer is in the affirmative, will he take into consideration both the gain to revenue from excise duty on cigarettes and the cost to the taxpayer of providing medical treatment and hospitalisation for sufferers from heart disease and lung cancer?
The Treasurer - I dare say, having in mind the coffers of the Commonwealth - replied on the same day that he replied to the question on notice by Dr Klugman as follows:
Like everybody else, I am concerned about the prevalence of lung cancer and heart disease, but whether those diseases are directly caused by cigarette smoking I do not know. So far I have not seen any conclusive evidence to that effect and, as I understand the position, there is still argument on the question. The balance of opinion seems to’ bc that there is a direct causal connection. If this is so I would think it is more a matter for the Department of Health. I do not favour the use of revenue procedures to encourage or discourage something which relates directly to the health of the community. However, I will give close attention to the honourable gentleman’s question to see whether the course he suggests is practicable.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– I support the legislation before the Senate and I oppose the amendment proposed by the Opposition. I do so on the grounds that we are seeking tonight, by this legislation, essentially to provide to the public a warning that the excess ingestion of tobacco products can be dangerous to health, that this is our responsibility as a Parliament and that the banning of advertising in itself is not the answer. Had we known at the time of Sir Walter Raleigh what our scientists know now perhaps we would not have legalised tobacco. But we start on the basis that the production of tobacco leaf, its processing by manufacture and its consumption are fully legal here and everywhere in the world. We start on the assumption that the acceptance of the continued legality of those processes is uniform on both sides of this Parliament. I think it is important to have in mind that the Opposition does not at all suggest that the growing, manufacture or consumption of tobacco should be banned. It should be legal.
I accept, although there are some who challenge, that body of medical science which puts forward the theory that the excessive consumption of tobacco particularly in the form of cigarette tobacco is conducive to cardiovascular disease and pulmonary disease, particularly emphysema. I accept that, although there are some grounds for controversy. I emphasise the excess consumption, because there is a body of scientific opinion which puts a level which is regarded as. reasonably safe, which puts levels , of tar content as minimising the dangers and which suggests that pipes and cigars , are. not the dangers that cigarettes are. Nobody - not the Opposition, the Government or anybody in the .world-r-is seeking to. . suggest that tobacco should be banned., In any case, I presume that this would be, an impracticability. You could not do it . because it is now so socially intertwined in the community. I do so on the basis that the emphasis by the medical and scientific professions is on excessive use and not just use, and on cigarette consumption more than on consumption of other products..
It seems to me that it is consistent with every other step this community has taken in respect of every other product which we permit to be manufactured and sold legally that we do not ban its advertising on the ground that it is dangerous. However, where we are of the belief or where there is scientific proof that there is an element of danger, a health risk, we do 2 things. Firstly, we put upon1 1 the product such a warning and, secondly, we place the onus which now rests upon the public sector of the community, upon governments and the medical profession who issue separate, warnings to the public that the excessive consumption of .these products could be dangerous.
If we were to decide that a total ban should be placed on this legal product we would be taking a unique step by saying on the one hand that it is legal and on the other that we will ban it. But we would then be doing something which would do no good anyhow. It would do harm because it would pretend to do good. There is a great danger in mouthing words and thinking we will do good. I remind the Senate that in Russia, the ideal socialist state so I am told, there is no advertising at all of tobacco, alcohol or any other product. Nevertheless, the consumption of tobacco and alcohol in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is amongst the highest in the world. The per capita consumption of alcohol is perhaps the highest in the world. And in the USSR there is a total absence of advertising.
– He is not quoting any figures.
– Senator Georges will be speaking in this debate. I shall listen to him in silence as I always do. I have never thought that noise from the sidelines was a substitute for argument except in Melbourne football. So we have as a classic example the case not only of Russia but also that of China. I could state many other countries in which there is no advertising al all but where the ingestion of these kinds of drugs is as high or is higher than it is anywhere else in the world.
I see the problem of excess tobacco ingestion as being much the same problem as the excess consumption of alcohol and drugs and particularly analgesics. I ask the Opposition: Is it its policy to ban only the advertising of tobacco or is it its policy to ban all parallel products which are health hazards if consumed in excess? Medical science is equally as strong in its assertion that the excess consumption of alcohol, not only in the creation of a quarter of a million known total alcoholics in this country but also in its contribution to many other evils, is at least equally as bad as tobacco.
– We agree.
– Then I ask the Opposition: Is it its policy to ban the advertising of alcohol as such?
– May I answer him? May I take the opportunity to answer the question?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Senator Georges, please be seated.
– Thank you, Mr Deputy President. I think it was Hamlet who said that ‘the rest is silence’. I can corrupt this when applying it to the Opposition by saying that silence is rest. I ask Opposition senators to state, when they speak in this debate, whether they propose that their policy shall be to ban all advertising of alcohol and its products, all advertising of analgesics and all advertising of drugs. And I ask them also: Do they propose in caucus to impose a total ban on their Party members who publicly and with utter irresponsibility, as members of the Australian Labor Party, advocate the legalisation of marihuana? As Shakespeare said, the Devil could cite scripture for his purpose. We have tonight the basic situation of the Opposition saying that we should ban the advertising of tobacco while a very vocal and uncontradicted section of the Opposition, being what I would call wantonly irresponsible, advocates to the public and particularly to the young people that they should go ahead and smoke marihuana. Is it not a fact that members of the Australian Labor Party and of the parliamentary Labor Party, uncontradicted in a Party whose policy is shaped by caucus and in the spelling out-
– It is not. Let him speak the truth. If he does he will be heard uninterrupted.
– I ask whether there have been numerous statements by Dr Cass and other members of the Labor Party advocating the legalisation of marihuana. Is the Labor Party, consistent with its policy, willing tonight to reject those statements and will the Labor Party senators condemn Dr Cass?
– No. Why should we?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Order! There are too many interjections.
– With or without the help from the Opposition I will have freedom of speech. There is no need for Opposition senators to help in this regard. Is it not a fact that Dr Cass and Senator Wheeldon have, unimpeded, advocated the smoking of marihuana and that no member of the Labor Party has condemned such advocacy as being antipathetic to the policy which the Opposition now puts forward? Or do we say that the policy put forward by Senator Douglas McClelland tonight is purely his policy or that it is consistent with the Opposition’s policy? If we are to approach the question of chemicals which can through excess ingestion damage health we should be consistent in our approach. In the past where we have not banned such products we have accepted them as legal products we have done 2 things. One thing we have done is to put a warning on the product as we did when we dealt with the phenacetin content of ‘APC powders, as we did with the bromide content of sedatives and as we did with analgesics. We may have to go further. I will go along with that course of action. But we have not seen fit to ban those products.
The Federal Government has a responsibility for 2 media which under section 92 of the Constitution cross State boundaries - radio and television - and we are acting upon those. If it is felt at a conference of State and Federal Health Ministers that the extension of the warning should go to magazine and newspaper advertising then by a consortium of Federal and State Ministers that extension can properly be made. That would be recognising the legality of a product but at the same time putting a warning from a public authority on that product. I remind the Senate that the Federal Government proposes to allocate $500,000 a year - not a small sum - for 3 years in this respect.
That sum is capable of escalation, capable of being advocated in escalation to the public warning on this matter. To me this is the most important thing of all. When the Opposition responds on its stated policy of the total banning of all advertising of tobacco, I take it that that will mean advertising literally down to signs on kiosks, signs on billboards, the whole question of leaflets, door to door gimmicks and indeed the promotion of sporting and other fixtures. Is that the total ban proposed by the Labor Party? We must try to seek out these things.
I make my position clear. I support the Government. As cigarette smoking is legal, as there are no prospects of its being rendered illegal, as there are grounds to prove, or at least to suggest strongly, that excessive consumption is dangerous, I believe that tobacco should be treated as we treat all other such chemicals. I want to go further. Some time ago in the Senate, by way of question and by way of speech, 1 suggested to the Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) that the right approach to this and other subjects allied to it was that we should undertake major research into causation, that prevention or prophylaxis in this situation is considerably more important than cure. I am emphatic about this. I have expressed here before my great concern - indeed this concern has been echoed strongly by the medical profession - at the enormous growth of psychosomatic illness in the community, the illness caused by stress.
In any general practitioner’s surgery on any day somewhere between 50 per cent and 70 per cent of all patients seen have illnesses caused by psychosomatic reasons, that is, by stress-induced causes. That being so, we are seeing a community which is seeking sedation, tranquillisation and escape as such, and tobacco, alcohol, analgesics and drugs are all part of this. I make a strong plea to this Parliament that we should, in addition to the programme we are conducting, undertake in this country in all of our universities and elsewhere massive research into the causation of these things so that we can approach this problem from the aspect of prevention rather than cure.
None of us knows causation. Indeed, the elementary suggestions are that smoking is an extension of the ordinary instinct of suckling. The other suggestion is that it is stronger in bottle fed babies than in breast fed babies. There are all sorts of theories but we know very little about this subject. I suggest that the next step allied to this programme should be post graduate research into the whole question of corelated drugs - the tobaccos, the alcohols, the analgesics and the other drugs. We should try to find out why we are seeking excessively to consume these products. We need to ascertain how we can best create a community that does not need those and other things such as worry beads and fumble stones, but instead can take up or sublimate these energies in other ways.
Therefore I support the measure. I commend the advertising programme which is projected to cost half a million dollars a year. I urge upon the Commonwealth Government that it consider in the future an extension of this into post graduate research into causation.
– Firstly let me answer the question that Senator Carrick asked me in particular. It is fortunate that I have documented my attitude to the advertising of cigarettes, alcohol and analgesics in a minority report to the report of the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse. My attitude is documented clearly. It is not an attitude which I have developed tonight in opposition to what Senator Carrick has said. My reservation on advertising was this:
The Committee’s recommendation does not go far enough. Sufficient evidence was received to show that the self-regulation of the drug industry was not to be trusted and that the intention of Government regulations were and will continue to be ignored. The promotion to the public of drugs of abuse greatly leads to their becoming socially acceptable especially to the young and this promotion should be discontinued. My conclusion is that a ban be placed on all TV and radio advertising of all pharmaceuticals, including minor analgesics, tobacco and alcohol and that the co-operation of States be invited to limit all other forms of advertising not under Commonwealth control.
– Is that Labor Party policy?
– I am speaking for myself at the moment. I will speak for the Australian Labor Party in a moment. Having spent 18 months investigating drug abuse in this country, it was fairly clear to me that there was a high level of drug abuse in this country. The report supports that statement. The main drug of abuse was alcohol. If one is to take action against cigarettes one must be consistent and also be emphatic that alcohol be included. But tonight we are dealing with only one form of drug abuse - cigarette smoking. I agree with Senator Carrick-
– If the honourable senator keeps that up he will win Senator Carrick over.
– He will not win me over. I doubt whether I will win him over.
– Does the honourable senator’s position differ from the position I have taken?
– The position that Senator Carrick has taken tonight is virtually one that does not accept the proposition that society, as a whole, ought to accept a responsibility to impose certain limitations for the good of the community. He feels that the individual can still be trusted to carry out his own controls. It is fairly evident that that is not the correct position, especially when one looks at the high level of drug abuse in this country.
– Does the honourable senator’s attitude differ from my attitude on diagnosis of alcohol, tobacco and analgesics?
– I do not differ from the honourable senator on the danger these drugs pose to the community. I differ on the method by which we should lower the level of drug abuse in the community. 1 am saying that these drugs are dangerous to the community and have been proven so. Research has been carried out in depth, especially in relation to cigarette smoking. The findings of our leading medical authorities are that there ought not to be promotion of cigarettes. They have recommended that there ought not to be promotion of the other drugs either. But we are dealing with one drug, so we should confine ourselves to cigarette smoking, knowing that in my mind and in Senator Carrick’s mind alcohol and the analgesics are in the same classification.
– Does Labor Party policy cover the 3 equally?
– No, our policy does not cover the 3. The policy of the Australian Labor Party at present is stated in the Platform, Constitution and Rules’ as approved by the 29th conference. Clause 17 on page 20 states:
The development of public health and industrial medicine campaigns by the Commonwealth Department of Health in co-operation with the States.
In effect, we would do what the Government is doing at present. It is providing $500,000 to carry out these campaigns. We would be more emphatic in the application of our campaign methods. The Government seems to concentrate on health campaigns in schools and various educational groups. Our campaign would be directed towards contra advertising to show the dangers of these drugs of abuse. However, the policy of the Australian Labor Party on cigarette and tobacco advertising is firm. It states:
– It does not refer to the banning of advertisements for the other 2 kinds of drugs.
– At the moment it does not. However, I would say that there is a strong movement within our Party, especially since some of us were involved in the investigations of the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse, to extend the ban. Resolutions are being brought forward in caucus from the various sections of the Party to extend the ban to other areas of drug abuse. We have become aware that the main drug of abuse, of course, is alcohol, as the report of the Committee stated. In effect, alcohol represents a greater danger than cigarette smoking because it can affect not only the individual but also other parties. A person driving under the influence of alcohol can cause considerable damage to both people and property and involve many people other than himself. However, even with cigarette smoking, there is an involvement of people other than the individual smoker because if a person is to be responsible for selfinflicted physical damage, he imposes a strain upon the community. The cigarette smoker at one time may not only require the sophisticated skills of a surgeon but may also occupy valuable hospital space that is needed for another reason. This problem is self-inflicted.
– And affects the foetus in pregnancy.
– Yes. In that case it goes beyond the individual to some future generation. While we accept the dangers; we do not accept the method. The Government accepts that the individual must be responsible for his own controls. We say that the individual is not in a position to protect himself, especially when he is young and uninformed, against the promotion of cigarette companies, pharmaceutical companies and other companies that produce drugs of abuse. The young person is not able to resist the promotion by which, as the companies have said, they are seeking to establish their share of the market.
– What is your attitude to marihuana?
– I will get to marihuana in a moment. A statement has been made which must be cleared up. The companies say that they are seeking their share of the market but, by their promotions to achieve that share, they are also expanding the use of a particular drug. One recalls just how quickly cigarette smoking was accepted by women in the United States. One recalls the promotion that was used by the Lucky Strike company to extend smoking in the United States. That company used a rather effective advertisement which stated: ‘Don’t reach for a sweet; reach for a Lucky’. In effect, the company was pushing, promoting and peddling cigarettes as a means of reducing weight. This method is still used and cigarettes are still promoted as a means of reducing weight.
The companies say that they are forced to promote and to advertise. However, we say that the companies should not be permitted to promote and, in fact, to peddle cigarettes. We say that the promotion of cigarette advertising should be reduced. We say that cigarette smoking should be made socially unacceptable. The social acceptability of smoking is the reason for its spread. If a person wished to become socially acceptable within certain social groups and if he wanted to have a nice, big car and be a prosperous businessman with all the associated advantages of company and the rest of it, he would smoke a particular type of cigarette.
– But apply that to Russia and China and other high smoking countries.
– I accept that there is a high level of alcohol abuse in Russia and that there is a high level of smoking in Russia. But let me make the point-
– Socialism probably causes that.
– No, it is not that at all.
– I am deadly serious.
– I am serious also. Wherever one goes in Russia one can purchase cigarettes and whisky or any other form of alcohol.
– But there is no advertising.
– It is readily available.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Order! There are too many interjections.
– Alcohol and cigarettes are subjected to high impulse buying methods in Russia. They can be purchased at every turn. Wherever one goes - to a snack bar or any other place - one can buy a packet of cigarettes or a bottle of Vat 69 whisky. They are readily available. Perhaps alcohol and cigarettes are used as an escape from certain of the social pressures that the Russians experience. We also have social pressures. I admit that the rate of use of alcohol and cigarettes in Russia may be increasing. But it should be remembered that the Russians started from a lower base than that from which we started.
It should be understood that the pressure for cigarette advertising comes not only from the tobacco companies but also from the advertising firms and the commercial radio and television stations. It is my belief that this pressure should be reduced in some way. I believe that we should reduce the economic pressure which is placed upon a radio or television station to accept such advertisements in order to survive. The radio and television stations know that if cigarette or drug advertising were to be banned their incomes would be seriously affected. The advertising and promotional companies also know that. It is their pressure, possibly more than that of the drug firms - I include in that the tobacco companies - that is resisting a reduction in or a banning of cigarette advertising. There was an inquiry into drug abuse in the Canadian State of Saskatchewan, where there is no advertising of alcohol. The alcohol companies were asked whether advertising would be of any advantage to them. They said that it would be of no advantage to them. In fact, cigarette advertising in the United States became of no advantage to the cigarette companies when contra advertising was permitted. The thing that the cigarette companies feared greatly in the United States was not the ban on cigarette advertising but the compulsory contra advertising. It was for that reason that the cigarette companies accepted the ban on cigarette advertising in the .United States. They were afraid of the contra advertising.
I take it from the fact that the Commonwealth will provide $500,000 a year for 3 years for an education programme aimed at informing the public of the dangers to health of cigarette smoking that the Government is not prepared to accept a complete ban on cigarette advertising. It ..should at least force a situation where the companies themselves will begin to withdraw from this type of promotion. If the Government .were prepared to spend money on advertising warnings on television and radio on the programmes on which cigarettes are advertised and if the health authorities were prepared to publish the truth as to the results of the research that has been carried out on the dangers and hazards of cigarette smoking, the effect would be the same.’ As a matter of fact I might be prepared to admit that it may be even more effective. However, I believe that there is a need to reduce the promotion of all types of drugs of abuse, including cigarettes.
If the economic pressure imposed by advertising firms on the media is preventing us from reducing the promotion of these goods by advertising, we ought to look at some way in which alternative income could flow to the media in the interim period during which they might lose income. I suggest that that could be done simply. As any ban on cigarette advertising would affect advertising companies as Well as radio and television stations, we should look to some means - by which the media could be subsidised. That is nothing new. lt is not something that has . not- been requested before. Commercial radio stations have demanded that they should receive some share of the money raised from licensing fees, and I am inclined to agree with that. If there is to be a high standard of advertising on commercial television , and radio, then those stations must be economically secure. If the banning pf the advertising of drugs of abuse, including cigarettes is introduced, then in all fairness we ought to ensure that the media are not in some way affected. 1 want quickly to move to another point. Some time ago I was quite concerned to find out how strong the lobby of the tobacco companies was within political parties, especially within the Liberal Party. Tobacco companies, in order to protect their position, have co-opted ex-members of Parliament whom they have considered to be useful to their cause. The first article that attracted attention to this matter was one Which appeared in ‘Inside Canberra’, volume 23, No. 41, of 15th October 1970. Under the heading Tobacco ads still immune’ the article states:
The Government shows no sign of acceding to increasing medical demands for limitations on advertising of cigarettes.
The 2 principle reasons for the Government’s resistance to pressure from the National Health and Medical Research Council and spokesmen for non-Government medical bodies wishing to see cigarette advertising restricted are the number of Country Party seats that could be affected by antagonising tobacco growers and the strength of the tobacco lobby within the Liberal Party.
There is a similar lobby within the Labor Party, especially from members who represent tobacco growing areas in Queensland. This lobby brings effective pressure to bear on members representing their areas for a particular reason, and I believe that it is not in the interests of the health of the community. The article continues:
The tobacco lobby has become increasingly active at Canberra in recent years.
It was very active about a fortnight ago when this Bill was going through the other place. One of the people whose name is mentioned in this article was active in the corridors of this place. Tobacco companies are using a frontal lobby that ought to be exposed and resisted. The article continues:
Originally it comprised Mr W. S. Bengtsson, a former research officer of the Liberal Party and later a member of the party’s higher councils. Mr Bengtsson ls now Director of Public Relations for British Tobacco (Aust.) Ltd.
– On a point of order, Senator Georges would not know this, but Mr Bengtsson died some months ago. I think that that should be make known. Obviously, he is no longer active in this field.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - There is no point of order.
– 1 am sorry to hear of Mr Bengtsson’s death. I am not reflecting on Mr Bengtsson; I am merely reflecting on the tobacco companies. Mr Bengtsson had the right to use his skills and talents to his own advantage. In any case, it is important to see just what is happening in this area because what is happening in the Liberal Party may also be happening in other parties.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - I ask Senator Georges to keep to the provisions of the Bill.
– I am indicating why the amendment has been introduced. The article in ‘Inside Canberra’ continues:
Since 1966 his principal assistant in the political field has been Mr C. W. J. Falkinder, who ceased to be Liberal member for Franklin (Tas.) just before the 1966 election.
Mr Falkinder was active in the corridors of this Parliament a fortnight ago. As an ex-member Mr Falkinder has privileges in this place. He has the freedom of the lobbies, but he ought not to misuse the freedom of the lobbies.
– Has Mr Dedman the freedom of this place?
– He is an exmember of this Parliament. All I am saying is that ex-members of Parliament have rights.
– You are not suggesting anything illegal? They are entitled to suggest things to members if they wish.
– You are trying a bit of character assassination.
– Character assassination does not come into it at all. I am merely stating the facts of the case. Exmembers of Parliament have taken on jobs as public relations men and lobbyists for the tobacco companies.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Georges, keep more closely to the provisions of the Bill.
– Because of pressure exerted by Mr Falkinder on behalf of the tobacco companies of this country this Government altered and watered down its own amendment to make ineffective the legislation it had introduced. To my mind there is a connection in this. I point out that ex-members of Parliament enjoy privileges in this place and they should not misuse them to seek to have legislation amended on behalf of companies by whom they are employed. It should not be accepted that these people should use their previous position to the advantage of outside concerns whether the ex-members happen to be members of the Labor Party, Liberal Party, Country Parly or any other party. lt is not in the best interests of good government.
In the past 1 2 months the British Tobacco Company’s public relations staff has been augmented by the appointment of Mr W. Bridges-Maxwell, who lost his Liberal seat of Robertson in New South Wales at the 1969 election. Irrespective of the health needs of the community the tobacco companies - taken as a group or individually - are determined to resist any legislation that might limit their operations. For this reason they take action to have friends in the right places. How much better can they do this when the Liberal-Country Party coalition is in government than to employ ex-members of Parliament as public relations officers or as lobbyists because these ex-members have access not only to the Parliament and the parliamentary parties but also to the high council of the Liberal Party. I point out that it does not matter to which party these ex-members of Parliament belong; such a situation should not be permitted especially in this area which concerns the health of the whole community.
The Labor Party does not oppose this legislation because even the little that it does is a move forward. But our own experts should not be ignored. In evidence given before the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse the Deputy Director-General of Health, in answer to a question, said clearly that cigarette smoking was the greatest cause of morbidity and death in the community. If our experts say this and clearly recommend the complete ban of cigarette advertising, we ought to listen to them, even if it is to the economic disadvantage of the tobacco companies and advertising concerns. The health of the individual in the community is at risk. Sufficient research has been carried out into cigarette smoking. Further research would be no more conclusive than the evidence at present. If the resarch has been carried out and recommendations have come down, those recommendations should be accepted. I cannot for the life of me understand why the Government refuses to accept the recommendations of its own experts.’ I cannot understand why the Government refuses to accept the inevitable unless it is because of undue influence brought to bear on the Government parties by these tremendous vested interests.
Have honourable senators seen recently the most provocative, incisive and aggresive type of cigarette advertising by one particular firm? It virtually says: ‘ If you cannot afford to buy one, borrow ohe. If you cannot borrow one, have one of mine’. This is the incisive, pressure type of advertising used to peddle - nothing more or less–a drug of abuse which does as much harm to the individual as alcohol, and firm action ought to be taken. I regret that the Government has not taken more effective action because it is a long and hard road to reduce the social acceptability of the use of drugs of abuse.
It is argued that the banning of cigarette advertising in the United States did not immediately reduce the increase in cigarette smoking, but it did considerably slow it down and it is too early to know the result; it will take a long time. The reduction of the promotion of cigarettes - the reason for this Bill - is vital to the position of young people in the community. They ought not to be subjected to the promotion of cigarettes by advertising. It ought to be removed from their province so that it will have no opportunity to influence them. In future generations cigarette smoking will be reduced. It will not be socially acceptable but will be recognised for the dirty vice that it is. I should have called it a dirty and dangerous vice.
– I will have to give it up now.
– I hope that you do, because I object to my friends smoking. I hate to have to waste my sympathy on them in the future. I have stated my case and I will now allow Senator Little an opportunity to follow me.
– I regret that the discussion on this Bill has tended to follow party lines because the subject matter is far above party politics. No party can honestly claim to have all the virtues or all the sins on this issue. Some members of all parties are heavy smokers and they tend to find it more difficult to accept the available medical evidence of the dangers of cigarette smoking. Some members of all parties are not smokers and therefore they find it much easier to accept the evidence. They become very partisan about it and as purists are convinced that cigarette smoking is an evil that ought to be curtailed in the community. I am a non-smoker and perhaps for me it has been easier to accept medical evidence that is available to show that cigarette smoking is harmful to the community. 1 am therefore amongst those people who have tried to do whatever is possible to curtail it. I am not. amongst those people who, in a flash of enthusiasm, rush out to try to repeat the American experiment. The sale of alcohol was banned in the United States and the history of that experiment, which is so close to us, shows how completely futile that was. lt achieved nothing at all except a tremendous increase in the amount of crime that was conducted, an increase that emanated almost entirely from the ban on alcohol.
Senator Georges has suggested that he does not support a ban on the sale of cigarettes. I accept, that. I do not suggest it either and I am not trying to put an argument contrary to the argument that he put. He also stated that the tobacco companies most fear contra-advertising. That is a principle contained in a minor way - perhaps more minor than I would have liked - in this legislation. The only difference is that instead of the Government’s paying for the contra-advertising it has endeavoured to force those who pay for the advertising of cigarettes to pay for the warnings that are to be issued to the public.
If we are to consider what is the most effective form of advertising of cigarette smoking in respect of young people, I think that we must get down to the basic facts. The most effective form of advertising the smoking of cigarettes to young people is that form of advertising for which nobody, including the cigarette com panies, pays at all. It is the simple gesture of the mother and the father - the parent - who smoke in front of their own children.
If that statement is not true, the babe inarms which is first taught to wave ‘ta-ta’ does not imitate the actions of its own parents. Because it does imitate the actions of its own parents, it begins to learn the gestures, the speech and the habits of humanity. If amongst those habits is the taking out of a box of cigarettes, the selection of a cigarette, the passing between mother and father of cigarettes and then the lighting up and smoking of them, the child has been subjected to the most powerful and effective influence in the form of advertising of tobacco smoking that it possibly can ever face in any period in its own lifetime. If we wish to curtail the effectiveness of cigarette advertising, first we must try to reach parents to show them that this habit, expressed by indulgence in front of their children, inevitably creates most fertile soil for the continuance of the habit in those children. If we accept that proposition, we begin to see the advertising of cigarettes in its proper perspective.
What Senator Georges has said is true; cigarette smoking is made to appear by the cigarette companies as a social grace and indeed as the road to success in industry, that it is a palliative. It is often depicted with cool running water. I cannot think of anything that is less like cigarette smoking than cool running water. Those parents who wish to help their children to resist following the habits of others by smoking cigarettes - those children may consider cigarette smoking to be a social grace - can do so effectively if they take such advertisements and use them to illustrate the complete ridiculousness of the suggestions that are contained in the use of flowing water as being a cool and effective thing as related to cigarette smoking. The general intelligence of the child will accept the fact that this is ridiculous and the child will begin to consider cigarette smoking as something ridiculous rather than as something towards which to aspire.
If it is of help to any parents, let me say that my wife and I adopted such a technique with our children in relation to the advertising of cigarettes. We have been fortunate enough to rear 2 young men who do not smoke at all. I believe that this was one of the major factors in turning them away from smoking and in resisting whatever insistency there was in that advertising that they should be like those people who do smoke cigarettes.
Much of the cigarette advertising that is alleged to be so subtle really, if analysed logically, is the most completely ridiculous form of advertising that exists on television or even on radio. That advertising tries to depict tobacco and cigarette smoking as something completey unrelated to itself and relates it to things with which it has nothing to do at all. So, if the argument that I have put forward is logical and is accepted, we can very readily accept that there is no easy passage to controlling this evil. 1 think that it was Senator Poke who interjected that if cigarettes are banned a lot of people will be put out of work. That is true. Although it is a true statement, it does not mean that if such a measure were effective it would be wrong to put people out of work, if cigarette smoking is so injurious as much of the medical evidence would seem to indicate that it may be. Senator Poke did not specify whom we would be putting out of work. I would think that he would mean the tobacco workers who helped to produce the actual cigarettes or the packages thereof. There are the tobacco growers, some of whom may be capitalists because they are most successful on their farms. Others are not so successful, as we know happens in all forms of primary production. Then again Senator Poke may have meant that it would put out of work the doctors who are trying to treat people who have lung cancer. I do not suppose any of us would suggest that is a very bad sort of objective.
The idea of putting people out of work should not influence us in any way when we deal with these subjects. There are considerations far more important than that. Nobody would suggest that we should have more motor vehicle accidents to keep the people who repair wrecked vehicles and wrecked human bodies in employment; or that we must not lower the accident rate because it will put out of work people whose lifetime employment consists of the repair of smashed motor cars; or that we should not put out of work the medical staff whose duty it is to patch up and repair wrecked human bodies as a result of motor vehicle accidents. By the same token, nobody would suggest that because we have wrecked motor cars and wrecked human bodies we should ban the use of motor cars. 1 think that in the beginning we have to get the right perspective.
I agree with the criticism made by Senator Georges when he said that this legislation is not what I had heard in the beginning it was going to be. I was of the opinion - and I still hold this opinion - that this legislation would have been more effective if it had been in the form in which 1 had first heard it suggested it would be. But at least I am willing to admit that this is only an opinion, lt- cannot be backed up by any factual evidence any more than- the banning of advertising of cigarettes or the banning of -cigarettes can be backed up by factual evidence. We are all caught in this society such as it is.
I accept that every honourable senator wants to try to do something to help ;he community deal with a very intricate problem. We are faced with this intricate problem as a result of a habit that has been formulated over the years. Originally it was thought to be harmless but it- has now been shown to be not as harmless as was once thought. The magnitude of the seriousness of the effects of smoking is perhaps not completely understood even now. If we are to deal with th’is1 problem there must be great deal - of experimentation as to what course we should follow. We would all agree that’ the complete banning of cigarettes and -tobacco would be ineffective. We cannot just hil a community that is conditioned to this sort of habit with a ban of that sort and get away with it. lt would be resisted. It would lead to law breaking. It would lead to enormous profiteering by those who would peddle cigarettes on a blackmarket and who would be able to make exorbitant profits out of the community, by. supplying cigarettes and tobacco to the people, who indulge in this habit. , . , .
We have to consider the young people because there is an attraction towards something that is banned. This is’ one of the arguments that is used concerning drugs such as marihuana - that the ban in itself attracts people to the use of the drug. I do not accept that argument. I think that if a ban has always been in existence it does not make the article banned attractive but if a ban is suddenly placed on an article that was previously freely available there is a different psychological approach to it altogether. I think most psychiatrists would agree with that point of view, although I do not purport to be a psychiatrist
I believe that this Bill is at least a step in the right direction and for that reason I support it, I do not believe that the attempt to express the opinion which is all that is expressed in the amendment contributes anything to the solution of this problem particularly when it has been suggested that there should be a total ban on the advertising of cigarettes. I am, of course, referring to paid commercial advertising which has nothing to do with what I think I have clearly demonstrated as a more effective means of advertising cigarettes. As an example I referred to parents who smoke in front of their children. Action against commercial advertising could be extended to the non-commercial advertising of cigarettes. In nearly every film shown of people who live temporarily in a world of make believe, escaping from the pressures, the humdrum and the boredom which exists in our society today the hero or the heroine will almost inevitably be seen smoking a cigarette. As far as we know the cigarette companies make no payment at all for much of this advertising, unless it is done under the lap.
When the world of Hollywood first began it may well have been that cigarette companies, by distributing huge quantities of free samples of their product to the promoters of films, promoted the habit of cigarette smoking. This may be particularly so in relation to womenfolk, who were depicted in films as smoking in a period when they did not smoke as much as they do today, for the purpose of having cigarette smoking accepted socially. However, we have now advanced beyond that point. Films depict people smoking because they wish to display realism. The theatres wish to display people as they are, and people do smoke. To depict people smoking in films is a subtle form of advertising. To cull an example from my own experience, in the days when I was a filmgoer Clark Gable, in depicting Rhett Butler in ‘Gone with the Wind’, inevitably was seen smoking a cigarette. This is a much more subtle and effective form of advertising cigarette smoking than all the paid commercials which show water rippling down a brook or some cowboy character1 riding a horse through the Australian bush and in some way connecting that with cigarette smoking. A far more effective form of advertising is the subtle and unpaid advertisement. Therefore if we are to ban one of these forms of advertising we have to ban cigarette smoking completely from being depicted as a form of human life. Yet how can we when it is a form of human life?
It is a very difficult problem. The Government has taken a step by introducing this Bill. It is not a very vigorous beginning as an attempt to . control cigarette advertising but it is a start. I think that we should not criticise one another for the opinions which we may hold as to the degree of success which the Government may or may not achieve in this regard. At the moment all any of us can have is an opinion.’ As Senator Carrick ably pointed out when mentioning those countries in which advertising has not become part and parcel of daily life, such as the Soviet Union where there is no commercial advertising of cigarettes, cigarette smoking is as popular a pastime as it is in those countries which are subject to this form of salesmanship. So I do not see any great virtue in the amendment which is proposed. It does nothing at all except to express an opinion. Even in this debate we are expressing an opinion. We will be able to pick up the newspapers tomorrow and read where a dozen other people have expressed varying opinions on this same subject. I do not think the Senate in trying to force people, on Party lines, into compartments of opinion on the banning of a product would do any good.
It is easy to over-indulge in a habit forming practice such as cigarette smoking. There are many other products that we could ban also. As you know, Mr Acting Deputy President, the Committee of which you are the Chairman was looking only recently at some of the problems of the Aborigines in the Northern Territory. I do not think that much of the commercial advertising engaged in on radio and television down in Melbourne reaches the people up in Arnhem Land. But the Aborigines in Arnhem Land, although they receive very low incomes, seem to be avid cigarette smokers and purchase large quantities of cigarettes. There is a substance which is more dangerous to the health of Aborigines than cigarettes. In view of the interest of Senator Georges and the Leader of my own Party, Senator Gair, in the sugar industry 1 almost hesitate to mention this matter. Aborigines buy enormous quantities of sugar when compared with
Other more nutritious products which they buy. Perhaps the high infant mortality rate amongst the Aborigines in Arnhem Land could be traced to an over-indulgence in what is regarded almost as a sacred product in Queensland and what is harmless to the rest of us, that is, sugar. The absorption of sugar into the metabolism of young Aboriginal children to the extent that they have no appetite for more nutritious foods makes them vulnerable to every disease that comes along.
So let us not suppose that we will cure the ills and woes of mankind by suddenly taking up the cause now espoused by scientists and medical researchers who have drawn attention to the dangers implicit in this habit, cigarette smoking, which has gradually taken possession of almost the whole of mankind.
Mention of the millions of dollars raised in excise on this product shows clearly how much a part and parcel of our way of life it has become. The ratio of the excise raised from cigarette sales compared with that for tobacco sales could reflect nothing in relation to the product, but it certainly reflects a change in the level of community prosperity. As a young man I recall in the 1930s that most of my friends could afford no more indulgence in smoking than to roll their own cigarettes. In those days the use of tobacco in this way far exceeded the volume of tailor made cigarettes. In the much more affluent socieity of today, people can afford to buy tailor made cigarettes which fits in with the social pattern that advertising has impressed upon the minds of some people, namely, that the tailor made cigarette is prefereable to the ragged looking, homemade product with a few strands of tobacco hanging out from
each end. No-one would light up one of that type at a parliamentary reception, at a dinner of notables, or at any function where cigarettes are available at government expense. Perhaps this is a practice that we would stop if we were sincere on this matter.
The ratio of the excise paid on tobacco to that paid on cigarette sales may have nothing to do with the amount that is spent on advertising the various products. It may merely reflect changing prosperity and the variation in purchasing patterns in a society that is better conditioned and has more money to spend. This measure is just a beginning. I hope that it will be of great success in helping to reduce cigarette smoking. 1 very much doubt whether it will achieve that objective, but at least the attempt should be made. I hope that this will not be all that we shall try to do and that we shall try to take other action to bring this habit under a measure of control so that no longer will it represent a threat to the health of the community - certainly the threat that it now poses. I hope we maintain an open mind on this matter and that we do not remain static in our thinking and convince ourselves that the only things that we think will be effective will be those that inevitably will succeed or that we will accept whatever the experts tell us but will discard those things which are unsuccessful and reach out for others.
If only we can reach the parents of children who now are sufficiently interested to take their young ones to baby health centres and the young women who seek prenatal care, we may be able to convince them that they will be sacrificing everything that they have tried to achieve when they indulge in the apparently harmless act of lighting up a cigarette in front of their children. By conducting an effective campaign young mothers have become interested in pre-natal care and in making use of baby health centres. In areas where those facilities are available virtually 100 per cent of pregnant women display their interest in the welfare of the young. We should now be saying to them: ‘You should not bui’ld a healthy body for a young baby in the first 3 or 4 years of its life and then set an example for it that will help to destroy it in its later years’. A campaign conducted along those lines would be much more effective than banning advertising of cigarettes or labelling cigarettes as dangerous. Human beings seem to be attracted to a box that wears a label that the contents are dangerous. I am not suggesting that we should not try an experiment of this sort in order to try to reduce the cigarette smoking habit. By all means let us try it, but let us not expect too much from it. There is some evidence that once a warning of this type is placed on a package, some people seem to be fascinated to the point of wanting to indulge in the use of that commodity. My Party, which has considered the Bill, will support it.
– I was interested to hear what Senator Little and preceding speakers had to say on this subject. I wish to offer as shortly as I can a few thoughts on it. I accepted the problem. I do not debate the subject of the extent to which smoking may be deleterious to one’s health. What I am not satisfied about are the facts in relation to the problem and the way in which we are approaching it. Firstly, I wonder whether cutting out advertising does not reduce competition and whether a reduction of competition does not prevent new competitors from entering into a field with better products having such things as improved filters. I wonder whether, in effect, the banning of advertising is not likely to lead to increased prices because the same competition is not obtained. In a number of ways I wonder whether this is the right way to approach the matter. I believe the general situation is that competition through advertising is beneficial to the community. I do not say anything further about that.
– It is pretty wasteful, too.
– There may be some wasteful aspects but I think the waste is picked up in the advantage. I believe it is a matter of balance. I come to the question of singling out one section of the community to bear the cost for the community benefit. I wonder on what basis we can justify singling out television and radio stations to bear what I think we all agree is a community cost. The situation over many years has been that these sections of the media, along with the other sections, have enjoyed a freedom to engage in advertising as a form of revenue raising. The whole system has operated on a basis that advertising is the fundamental aspect upon which radio, television, newspapers and magazines generally operate. Suddenly we are arbitrarily imposing in relation to one section only - I realise that there are limitations on our power to impose this on the other sections - what is in effect a ban. I can imagine how keen the tobacco companies will be to advertise that their products are dangerous or likely to bc dangerous.
Obviously, what has happened in other countries will most probably happen in Australia; the tobacco companies will turn to forms of advertising other than radio or television. So I pose the question: How fair is this approach? At least wc might have given the stations time to adjust to the change or alternatively approach the matter from the viewpoint suggested by Senator Georges, namely, that perhaps some rebate could be made out of the fees which are paid for broadcast listeners’ licences and television viewers’ licences. It seems to me that we are expecting some of the small and large companies of Australia which are serving a useful purpose to carry the cost of something which everybody agrees is being done for the community benefit. I would ask whether all we are doing is giving an advantage to those who produce films for showing in cinemas, who produce posters, who produce newspaper advertisements and who produce gimmicks of various sorts to the disadvantage of one section of the community which will have to bear the cost.
– Are you saying that it is not going far enough?
– I am not saying that it is going far enough. I would not like to go along with banning at all. I would prefer to approach the matter from the viewpoint of applauding the steps that have been taken in relation to the education programme. I think this is something for which the Government is to be congratulated and in which we can all hope there will be success. But I just wonder whether we have been entirely fair in singling out for bearing part of the cost of the total programme one section of the community.
Royal Australian Air Force Stores Depot, Regents Park - Telephone Directories - Senator O’Byrne
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– 1 rise only for the purpose of absorbing the pleasure that i have in being authorised by the Minister whom I represent here, the Minister for Housing (Mr Kevin Cairns), to inform Senator McLaren that in response to the suggestion that he made but a few days ago the Department of Housing intends to revise the form of application for the home savings grant and also the official pamphlet when they are next printed to give effect to the changes that he has suggested.
Interrupting a rather long silence that I have observed, 1 do not ask for leave but take the occasion of the debate on the motion for the adjournment to make a very brief statement in response to criticisms that are necessarily located in another place in regard to my Department. Members of the other place having gone home, it becomes the province of the Senate to receive an exertion of the facts. Criticism was made of the Department on the occasion of an expediency motion on 11th May when the House of Representatives was considering the Public Works Committee report on the Royal Australian Air Force stores depot at Regents Park, New South Wales. Thereupon my colleague who represents me there, the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp), gave an assurance to the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson) that he would refer the criticism to me. In response to it, in a spirit of parliament, I inform the Senate that the relevant remarks were: This regrettable tendency on the part of the Department of Works and some client departments not to confer adequately with local government’ and, in particular, ‘that the views of local government authorities were not taken sufficiently into account for the Regents Park proposal’.
The degree to which the Commonwealth consults the requirements of local government authorities in regard to planning in relation to Commonwealth works is a matter of some public concern and widespread anxiety. It is desirable to repeat yet once more that it is the practice of the Department to have discussions with local authority officers during the early stages of design, that is at the sketch plan stage, in order to inform the authority of the proposal and its nature, and to ascertain its reaction and requirements. This provides the council with the opportunity to consider the proposal in relation to other known developments in the area and generally to consider its compliance with town planning and other local authority requirements and regulations. This current practice of arranging discussions with local authorities has proved satisfactory as an expeditious means of arriving at an understanding of the authorities requirements and in attempting to reach mutually acceptable solutions. On this particular proposal, numerous meetings, discussions and correspondence took place between the Department and client department on one hand, and the State Planning Authority, Sydney County Council Electricity Supply Authority, Main Roads Department, fire commissioners and Auburn and Parramatta Councils on the other, in an endeavour to ascertain the requirements of each authority before finalising the design. Details are given in the attachment which out of consideration for the Senate I ask leave to incorporate in Hansard.
– Is leave granted?
– No, we will not grant leave.
– Order! I think honourable senators will realise, from looking at the statement that has been distributed, that it would be very difficult to read the attachment into Hansard with any degree of understanding. I suggest that honourable senators reconsider granting leave and that the Minister for Works ask for leave a second time.
– We are not as harsh as Governments supporters were this morning. You remember what happened last night, Mr President.
– 1 shall treat the refusal of leave as an inexorable record of the ignorance of Opposition senators and their determination to remain in ignorance. I shall supply the particulars by individual letter to their colleague who made the criticism and trust to his goodwill to disseminate it for the information of those of his ignorant colleagues in the Senate who wish to understand it.
It is significant that the evidence from the Auburn City Council - that is the Council which it was suggested had not been consulted - to the Committee stated in discussions some weeks ago between Works and Council officers … the indication given by the Engineer/Town Planner was that no objection was seen to the proposal’. This .is in complete agree-; ment with the statement of the Department of Works in evidence to the Committee and with our understanding, of the out-* come of our discussions with all authorities*
Mr President, I have taken’ the opportunity before the Parliament rises - before Opposition members of the Senate disperse - to inform them of the facts out of respect for the criticism that was made without complete knowledge by one of their colleagues in the other place. I hope that what I have said will conduce to a greater understanding and consequently a spirit of greater co-operation between local government and the Department of Works in the arrangement of its programme for the Federal Government.
– I apologise for detaining the Senate at this late stage, but the matter about which I wish to speak is one which has aroused some concern in Western Australia, as did a similar matter in other States, particularly Tasmania as was evidenced by a question asked a few days ago by Senator Devitt. I refer to the practice, adopted for the past 2 years by the Postmaster-General’s Department, of issuing separate telephone directories for different areas in Western Australia instead of one directory for the whole State, as was the case until 1971. I raise the matter at present particularly because I received from the Deputy Premier of Western Australia, Mr Graham, who is also the Minister for Development and Decentralisation, a letter asking me to do so. He has been corresponding with the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) about this matter as a result of a number of complaints he has received from various people in Western Australia. 1 should like, if I may, to read a letter dated 29th February 1972, from the Chairman of the Political Liaison Committee of the Farmers Union of Western Australia, Mr D. T. Eckersley, because I think the letter that Mr Eckersley has written to Mr Graham, Deputy Premier of Western Australia, does indicate some of the concern which is felt by people, particularly in the country areas of that State. In his letter to Mr Graham Mr Eckersley says:
On behalf of our organisation I would like to say how much we welcomed your criticism of the new telephone directories, in the ‘West. Australian’ of February 24th. j .The Farmers Union has written to ; numerous parliamentarians both State and .Federal, complaining df inconvenience to members. Some took the matter up on - our behalf and made direct approaches to the Director of Posts and Telegraphs and to the Postmaster-General:
All received the same unsatisfactory reply to the effect that the decision to split the W.A. Telephone Directory had been made after a study of subscribers habits, etc.
Those of us who felt we were entitled to the full range of directories were advised to make application for same and this we did.
Most of us received copies of the full range yet a senior member of our Executive who applied was told he was ineligible, apparently because he did not use his phone enough or as the refusal put it, he did not have a high enough call rating to warrant a free directory but could buy one if he wished.
The statement by the Director of Posts and Telegraphs in the ‘West Australian’ on Saturday February 26th is blantantly untrue and we have the evidence to support it.
There is obvious discrimination in the issue of free telephone directories. We submit that every subscriber is entitled to the same treatment. This is a service that is paid for and it is completely unacceptable to us to tolerate the existing state of affairs. lt is obvious that the change to the new form of directories was made without any prior consultation with, and with complete disregard for the views of the subscribers. Most country directories have pages and pages of unnecessary duplication of farmers names in the pink pages. We seriously doubt the economies of this, lt would be an interesting question to find out the extra cost of printing the ‘bits and pieces’ directories as against a concise single directory without all the unnecessary duplication of pink pages, post codes etc.
At the last General Executive meeting of the Farmers’ Union strong criticism was levelled at the administration of the PMG.
The recent postal strike was blamed not on the strikers but on the maladministration that allowed it to happen.
If I may interpolate, that seems an unusual letter from the Political Liaison Committee of the Farmers Union, which has not usually identified with trade unions. It continues:
The unjustifiable steep increases in rents, telephone und postal charges in recent years was also strongly criticised. inefficiency of operations in the field (many instances were quoted), mail delays, all came in for their share of criticism.
The Executive of the Farmers’ Union are of the opinion that a strong case should be made for a full scale inquiry into the administration of die P.M.G.
It was subsequently resolved by the Executive that we would support any such inquiry.
Your views on the matter would be much appreciated. 1 do not want to go into the matters raised in the latter part of Mr Eckersley ‘s letter, but I think that it does indicate some of the dissatisfaction felt in Western Australia by a body which, I am sure Senator Drake-Brockman would agree, is not notoriously in opposition to the Federal Government. In fact, 1 think that Senator Drake-Brockman is a member of this organisation. 1 do not think it is correct, as I hear suggested, that he moved the resolution that the letter be sent, but nevertheless I understand that he is a member of the organisation.
The position in Western Australia is that we now have not only the metropolitan directory but in a State which has a population of only 1 million people we have also directories for the South West area, the Great Southern-South Eastern area, the North Central-Eastern area, the MidlandsNorth West-Northern area and the Bullsbrook East-Pinjarra area. Some of these areas have very small numbers of subscribers and it would be seldom that any person wishing to make use of his telephone would confine that use to telephoning people living within the same area. In fact, if one looks at the maps of the telephone areas which are provided by the courtesy of the Postmaster-General’s Department on the front covers of some of the directories that are available, one can see that some of these areas have extraordinary shapes. In fact, the BullsbrookEast Pinjarra area, which attracted the attention of Senator Georges, has a most extraordinary shape.
– It looks like Senator Withers.
– No, it does not look like Senator Withers; it has quite a different shape. It is a semi-circular area.
– It has a big bulge at the back.
– It has a big bulge to the right. It is a semi-circular area stretching from the Indian Ocean, that sea so infested by Russian submarines, north of Perth, around the east of Perth and through to the south. It is a thin strip. It is a sort of–
– A veneer?
– lt could be either a gerrymander or a local version of the Polish Corridor. But it consists mainly of the outer suburbs of Perth, stretching right from the north of the metropolitan area to the south of the metropolitan area.
– Don’t tell me?
– I do not need to tell Senator Devitt because he has already had unfortunate experiences in Tasmania. But 1 am sure that he. with his lively imagination, can picture the sort of thing I am describing to him. It stretches right around the metropolitan area with no community of interest whatsoever between those people living in the south - that is the Pinjarra part of the area - and those living in the Bullsbrook East part to the north of the metropolitan area. Clearly this telephone directory is virtually useless to those people who have to make use of it. Another directory which I think could also be referred to with some derision is that of the Midlands-North West-Northern area which stretches from Moora which is a little over 100 miles from Perth right up to the Kimberleys. I imagine that there would be very few occasions on which somebody in Moora would want to telephone someone in Halls Creek, Wyndham or Cockatoo Island.
– Only Labor Party blokes.
– As Senator Drake-Brockman reminds me, conscientious representatives of the Australian Labor Party would do that but probably nobody else from the State would. It is very rarely that anybody in the Moora district, which is the southern part of the wheat belt, would telephone anybody in Halls Creek, Wyndham or Cockatoo Island but frequently they would wish to telephone people in Perth and the metropolitan area. These people are placed at considerable inconvenience which becomes all the more annoying when one discovers, as the Farmers’ Union of Western Australia reminds us, that so much of the space in these telephone directories is taken up with the largely unnecessary advertisements in the pink pages. As Senator Wilkinson was able to elicit from the Minister only recently, the pink pages contract is held by the International Telephone and Telegraph Company of the United States of America. It does seem rather unfortunate that the people of Bullsbrook East, Moora and other areas of Western Australia should be inconvenienced in order to subsidise the already large resources which are available to International Telephone and Telegraph.
In the directory for the metropolitan area there are 488 white pages. This includes a lot of material other than the names, addresses and telephone numbers of subscribers. There are 512 pink pages. If one turns, for example, to the Bullsbrook EastPinjarra telephone directory one finds that there are 64 white pages and 96 pink pages. lt seems most inconvenient for people who have to buy other directories that these pink pages are inflicted on them. The total number of pages in the metropolitan directory which, apparently, is regarded as a convenient size is 1,010. The total number of white pages in all directories for Western Australia is 1,008. So if the pink pages were eliminated and all the white pages were amalgamated there would still be 2 pages less in a State-wide telephone directory than there are in the present metropolitan telephone directory. To me this seems to be quite a scandalous waste. Is it felt that the size of the directory is too large? Certainly there are many much larger telephone directories than the metropolitan telephone directory in Western
Australia or, indeed, the old Western Australian directory which covered the whole State. But one finds, as is the case here, that if one eliminates the pink pages and amalgamates all the white pages with all the necessary directory information in them one would still have a somewhat smaller volume than that which is now issued in the metropolitan area. It goes without saying that the people of Western Australia, particularly those living in areas outside the metropolitan area, are entitled to feel some annoyance. There have been repeated complaints which have been made by all sorts of organisations - certainly a number of non-partisan organisations and others which, if they were partisan would show their partisanship generally by supporting the Government and not by opposing it. Although 1 have been critical of the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) in the past, I must confess, I do not expect him to be carrying all the information about the Western Australian telephone directories around in his head, but I ask him to convey to the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) the very strong resentment that is felt by a number of people in Western Australia and to ask that this series of anomalies be corrected.
– I shall convey to the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) what Senator Wheeldon has said. As 1 think he is aware, this issue has been aired in regard to other States where a comparable situation exists. It does cause concern, particularly to people in country areas. But I think it is one of the developments which progress and increasing population produce. I live in the metropolitan area of Melbourne. I think that the telephone directory we have at the present time, which seems to cover an increasingly smaller area of the metropolis, is large enough and cumbersome enough as it is. I would hate to see the day when we had a telephone directory which comprehended in the one volume all the telephone subscribers in the State of Victoria. That is a very real consideration. I imagine there was a time when all the telephone subscribers in Western Australia could be conveniently comprehended in the one telephone directory, but I think that with the expansion that has occurred in the West, particularly in the last 12 or so years, one woud expect that the present type of development would be occurring. I know there are problems. Maybe the problem is to be met by making telephone directories freely available to those who want them. I think that this is the position in Tasmania, if I recall an answer I gave recently on behalf of the Postmaster-General. These are by way of comments made in response to an entertaining speech from Senator Wheeldon. I assure him that I will convey what he has said to the PostmasterGeneral.
– I wish to refer to one who has played a considerable part in advancing progress and in increasing population. I bring to your notice, Mr President, and to that of all honourable senators, that the father of the Senate, Senator O’Byrne, has this day attained his sixtieth year.
Honourable Senators - Hear, hear!
– May I extend to him the congratulations of the Opposition and, I would hope, those of all members of this chamber.
– I join in extending good wishes to Senator O’Byrne on behalf of the Government. Knowing his early background on the land and his work in the Royal Australian Air Force, I feel sure that he will have many more birthdays to come.
– The compliment which has been paid to me by the Acting Leader of the Government (Senator Drake-Brockman) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) is most unexpected and I appreciate it very much indeed. The hour is too late for me to start reminiscing; also, I feel too young to reminisce yet. One of these days - in the next 25 years or so - I may start writing down a few of the experiences
I have had inside and outside of this Senate, tracing back events over the period. It is 24 years and 11 months since I first took my seat here in the Senate. It is 25 years and 8 months since I was elected to the Senate. I had that long wait between the election and taking my seat. In that time I have seen a flow of very interesting characters in the chair, amongst the most interesting of whom would be your good self, Mr President. I also have seen some very distinguished people occupying the position of Clerk of the Senate. Mr Odges has been a very worthy successor to Mr Edwards and Mr Loot over those 25 years. The same can be said about leaders of the Government in the Senate. We have seen many more leaders of the Government in the Senate than leaders of the Opposition in the Senate, but this means that we in the Opposition have been keeping the pressure on the Government, making those changes necessary.
This was a most unusual gesture to be made and I look upon it as a very great compliment. I hope that I will remain here with honourable senators, electors willing and God helping a bit also, and be able to complete the cycle which started when I came here as the youngest sitting senator.
– You still are.
– I do not want to become the oldest but it is very gratifying to have had good health, and good company and the wonderful experience of seeing the Senate revitalised the way it has been to reach its proper status as an effective, purposeful and worthwhile chamber. It has regained what it should never have lost in the competition between this House and the House of Representatives. I have always felt that the House of Representatives was junior on the lists of seniority and priority. Now that the Senate has established itself again it should never let its position go. I thank honourable senators very much indeed for the compliment.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11.27 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 31 May 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1972/19720531_senate_27_s52/>.